Should you switch to winter tires?
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You can feel safer and more confident when driving on snowy and icy roads by switching to winter tires, designed to handle various winter driving conditions.
This guide will help you take the guesswork out of selecting winter tires so you can have one less thing to worry about when driving this winter.
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Choose the best option for your driving situation
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- Found on most passenger vehicles.
- Treads are self-cleaning with above-average traction in muddy or very light snowy conditions.
- Start to lose elasticity and start hardening at around 7ºC, and completely lose elasticity at -15ºC, which decreases traction.
- Are marked with "M+S" (mud and snow) symbol on the tire sidewall.
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- Purchased as an optional accessory.
- Tread pattern is designed specifically to give you the extra traction, braking, and handling you need to confidently drive on snow and ice.
- Retain their elasticity down to temperatures around -40ºC and provide 25% to 50% more traction.
- Are marked with a mountain snowflake symbol on the tire sidewall.
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The tires you use during winter affect how quickly you can stop on snow. The chart below shows the stopping distances of vehicles based on temperature and road conditions.
How do I decide what tires I need?
Take a look at the roads you travel on during the winter months:
- If most of your driving is in the city on cleared but slick roads, your best choice will be winter ice tires.
- If most of your driving is on unplowed side roads with moderate to heavy snow, your best choice will be winter snow tires.
- For a combination of both city slick and unplowed rural roads, AMA endorses the use of winter tires.
Are you ready to buy winter tires?
When buying winter tires remember to:
- Look for the mountain snowflake symbol, to ensure the tires meet strict industry winter performance standards.
- Review your vehicle's owner manual for manufacturer specific recommendations.
- Use a set of four identical tires. This ensures good traction and handling.
For more winter tire information, see Tires for Winter Driving.