What Tires are Right for You?

When people think of a vehicle’s performance, they think of their engine. But tires are often the most overlooked part of a vehicle’s performance. They’re your vehicle’s only point of contact to the road (or at least they should be). They control tread, fuel economy, acceleration and stoppage, and a list of other things.

From a teen’s first car to the family minivan, choosing the right tire for your vehicle’s situation plays a vital role in vehicle performance. Listed below are the pros and cons of common tire types.

Snow Tires

Studded: If you haven’t seen these tires, you’ve probably heard them without knowing it. These tires are equipped with metal or rubber studs to improve grip. Check with your local guidelines before purchasing, as these tires are regulated because they can damage roads. Here are the laws in the four states nearest to Shadow Lake:

  • Nebraska & Iowa: Permitted November 1 through April 1
  • Kansas: Permitted November 1 through April 15
  • Missouri: November 2 through March 31

They may come in metal or rubber studs, but metal studs might be overkill. In fact, Alaska only allows rubber studs throughout the state and they experience significantly more snowfall than the lower 49 states.

Studless: These winter tires are equipped with small cuts in the rubber called sipes. The increased amount of edges within the tread grab and grip, hugging the road during unfavorable weather conditions. In addition, the deep grooves disperse precipitation and deflect it away from the sipes, increasing traction.

Chains: Tire chains are a popular option because they’re affordable. Chains are relatively easy to install and can be simply placed over all-purpose tires. Certain chains must be wrapped around for installation, other can be simply driven over. Chains offer the best traction in snow but can be annoying to put on, especially when it’s cold outside. One major tip is to never go over 30 mph with snow chains. Those speeds practically guarantee the chains will fall off. If you commute through town, chains are okay but stick to winter tires if you exceed 30 mph during your drive.

Pros: Winter tires are made for gripping the ground while on snow or ice, not open roads. These tires will help you slow down and accelerate on uncleared or under-cleared roads.

Cons: Since these tires are built for grip, they make your vehicle harder to control on open roads compared to all-season tires. It’s important to note that it’s not a significant loss of control; you’re only commuting around town, not playing real-world Mario Cart.

If your region experiences snow for extended periods of time, as the Midwest does, snow tires are a good purchase.

Summer Tires

Built for speed and agility, summer tires are mostly utilized in high-performance vehicles. The tread has fewer grooves and maximizes rubber contact with the road. Since these treads are built for performance and less for weather, you do not need them for your minivan. Owners of performance vehicles often avoid bad weather. Since it frequently rains in the summer, all-season tires are the better option for your commuter vehicle.

All-season tires

Pros: All season tires are built for the average commuter. They perform well in all-season conditions, are durable, provide stable handling in wet and dry conditions, and require less maintenance. In addition, these tires are cheaper than snow tires and will save you money since you will not have to purchase multiple sets of tires.

Cons: Since these tires are more balanced, they do not perform well during heavy snow, ice or extreme weather conditions. The shallowness of the grooves makes handling anything past light snow a challenge.