Winter tires should not be used other seasons but winter. This is important not only due to the damage the winter tires can do to the roads but also due to the damage the increased temperature can do to the tires. The disadvantages therefore of winter tires are the fact that they are made only for the winter season and as such their use is limited to winter alone and if using studded tires, even more so. This is because studded tires and their dates when they can be used are even more limited and in some States their use is even forbidden.
There is no doubt that winter tires both studded and non-studded tires are great for severe winters with lots of snow and ice with studded tires performing the best on hardpacked snow and ice. However, when using dedicated snow tires, when to change into winter tires as well as out of them, is complicated and varies quite a bit from State to State. In general, it is recommended to switch out of winter tires (studded or non-studded) when temperatures stay consistently above 45 degrees Fahrenheit and the same for changing into winter tires in the fall once the temperature stays consistently below 45 degrees Fahrenheit.
The reason for changing out of winter tires when the temperature rises and stays consistently above 45 degrees Fahrenheit is because with the specific rubber compound in winter tires which are made to stay flexible in cold weather (below 45 degrees Fahrenheit) they don’t fare well in temperatures above 45 degrees Fahrenheit. This is because they start to run hotter and hotter and eventually start to chemically degrade. This chemical degradation can actually cause the outside of the tire to become somewhat greasy and even decrease the gripping of the road, making it difficult to brake and increasing stopping distance.
The alternative to dedicated winter tires would be all-weather tires. This is because the all-weather tires hold the “Three Peak Mountain Snowflake” emblem signifying their approved use in severe winter conditions. This is the same emblem held by dedicated winter tires. The all-weather tires are made of special rubber compounds that can withstand heat and are made to operate in a wide temperature range maintaining proper traction in a variety of driving conditions throughout the year. In fact, the all-weather tires are a hybrid between all-season tires and winter tires. If you own a SUV then you have the advantage that the 4-wheel drive allows for better traction keeping in mind that this is only during acceleration and not braking.
The fact that winter tires are not to be used during any other season than winter makes them less flexible than all-weather tires that can be used all year round thereby eliminating the need for the changing of tires. In addition, with the all-weather tires being severe snow service rated allows them to perform as well as winter tires.
For more information regarding winter or all-weather tires, visit: www.nokiantires.com