Winter driving can be dangerous and treacherous, as you may have to contend with such hazards as snow, sleet, freezing rain, or “black ice.” Many Kansas City residents make it a regular practice to swap out their summer tires with winter tires. These tires are supposedly designed to provide improved traction, handling, and braking power in winter weather. But do snow tires in Kansas City live up to their billing?
At McCarthy Auto Group, your trusted new and used car dealerships in Kansas City, we have our own thoughts on the matter. Here are some common myths that are floating around about winter tires, and how they stack up with the reality of deploying winter seasonal tires on your vehicle.
Myth 1: I Really Don’t Need Winter Tires Because I Have All-Season Tires
Reality: According to the experts, if you live in an area like Kansas City that regularly gets below 45 degrees, investing in a good set of snow tires is a sensible idea and worth the cost. While all-season tires can handle a variety of different road conditions, their rubber compounds can harden in cold weather. Not only do winter tires have special rubber designed to withstand low temperatures, their tread patterns and other factors are specifically engineered for wintery weather.
Myth 2: Since I Have 4-Wheel or All-Wheel Drive, I Don’t Need Winter Tires
Reality: This is a common misconception. Many people think that 4-wheel drive or all-wheel drive will get them out of any winter jam. However, the fact is that these systems just deliver power to all four wheels when you push on the gas. Winter tires will still improve traction, turning, and stopping power, regardless of whether your car is two, four, or all-wheel drive.
Myth 3: I Hate Spending Money On Four Winter Tires. Two Are Good Enough.
This is a bad idea! Mixing winter and all-season tires can be a real problem. You run a greater risk of losing control because all four tires are mismatched. If you want to use winter tires, you need to buy a full set of four to ensure safe and reliable performance in bad weather.
Myth 4: My Tires Have An “M+S” Symbol So They Are Good For Winter Weather
Reality: You may be able to get away with all-season tires that are rated “mud and snow” in light snow. But they aren’t made to handle anything more than some occasional flurries. If you see a symbol that looks like a “snowflake inside of a mountain,” you’ll know that your tires are approved for “severe snow service.”
Myth 5: There’s Nothing Wrong With Using My Winter Tires All Year Long
Reality: This could be a costly mistake. As previously noted, the rubber compounds used in winter tires are much softer so they won’t harden in cold weather. This positive turns to a negative if you choose to run your tires year-round. The softer rubber will wear out a lot faster, costing you money in the long run when you need to replace them.
Car And Driver Magazine recently tested a variety of all-season and winter tires and came up with this simple, common-sense conclusion: summer performance or all-season tires just don’t handle as well in the snow. There was a dramatic difference in handling when the all-season tires were replaced with snow tires. Remember that “M+S” designation we spoke about earlier? Car and Driver notes that there are wide differences in the capabilities of tires that earn these ratings. They explain that winter tires must meet strict traction performance criteria to earn that “snowflake in a mountain” emblem.
The bottom line: When you compare “apples to apples,” tires specially designed for winter weather perform much better than all-season tires. So if you have the means to swap out your summer tires for winter tires, we think it’s a good idea to consider that could keep you safer on the roads this winter.
The Deals Are Heating Up At McCarthy Auto Group
Get a grip on prices when you shop at one of our Kansas City dealership locations. When the temperature drops the deals heat up with manufacturer incentives on our selection of Chevys, Hyundais, Nissans, and Toyotas in Kansas City. Take advantage of exceptional savings on our wide selection of certified pre-owned cars, SUVs, and trucks.
And if you are in the market for tires in Kansas City, we make it easy to shop for the right tire online 24/7. Just go to our Tires Anytime page, and click on the McCarthy car dealership near you and start shopping.