Why Do I Need Four Winter Tires?

Regardless of traction electronics a vehicle has, in the winter, it boils down to rubber-meets-the-road-traction. Tires are the most important safety item on your vehicle. Today's winter tires are better at providing ice and snow traction than ever before. The technology used today is far superior then in the past. New tread compounds and designs have evolved to stay soft and flexible during the coldest of temperatures. This technology vastly increases traction in winter conditions.

Traction comes from your tires gripping the road. No grip, no traction. Traction is important not just for stability, but steering, braking, and propulsion. If you use two dissimilar types of tires on your vehicle they won't react and perform the same as the other in dry, wet, slush and snow conditions. This condition will be exaggerated in emergency conditions. Your vehicle will probably under-steer in one condition and over-steer in another. By matching all 4 tires your vehicle will handle as consistently as possible.

Will All-season tires work in the winter?

Some all-season tires are adequate in the snow, many are not. Various tires that are "rated" all-season have sport tire attributes, and are inadequate in the snow-even dangerous. All season tires can stiffen in cold weather, stiff tires - less traction. An all-season's tread design and rubber compounds provide extended mileage and good handling in the summer's heat, but are less effective in the winters freezing temperatures. The best all-season tire is not better in the snow than a premium winter/snow tire.

Myths:

"I don't need winter tires if my car has traction control."
While traction control will help keep you from spinning your tires, it doesn't actually improve your tire's gripping power; it simply limits your cars acceleration to the traction of your tires.

"ABS brakes help me in the snow."
ABS brakes keep you from locking up your tires. However, it will not improve your traction unless you have winter tires to help with gripping the ice and snow.

"Front wheel drive is sufficient enough in the winter."
Front wheel drive does provide an advantage with acceleration but provides no assistance for stopping. Winter tires in the rear will provide you with the added traction for stopping in ice and snowy conditions.

"I have all-wheel drive. I don't need winter tires."
All-wheel drive helps with providing torque to all 4 wheels but doesn't proved the traction, your tires do. All-wheel drive combined with 4 winter tires will maximize your safety in winter driving.

Consider the fact that leading automobile manufacturers such as BMW, Mercedes-Benze, Honda, Nissan, and Toyota recommend in their owners manual that you install four winter tires for winter driving.