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Driving in winter weather can be dangerous. However, there are steps you can take to make winter weather driving a safer experience. Near the top of that list is investing in a set of winter (snow) tires.

Off the lot, most cars come equipped with all-season tires. Drivers should be aware that all-season doesn't necessarily mean "all year," depending on where you live and drive. All-season tires are manufactured to handle several different conditions including dry, wet, and light snow-covered roads. Winter tires, on the other hand, are built to handle road conditions that include ice, slush, snow, and low temperatures.


So, who should buy winter tires?

Typically, anyone who lives where the air temperature routinely drops below 45° F. Winter tires stay softer in cold conditions, allowing them to perform better. All-season tires will likely fit your needs if you live in an area with more moderate yearly temperatures. Something to consider in addition to temperature is how much winter precipitation your area receives.


Consider owner's Manual Recommendations

If you've decided to buy winter tires, the first step should be consulting your owner's manual. Many cars already have suggested winter tires for a particular make and model. Consulting your local Pep Boys tire expert can also help you select the correct winter tire to meet your needs.


Save Money in Long Run

Cost is something that will likely need to be considered as well. Winter tires come at several different price points - but you also need to factor in the cost of changing your tires as the seasons change. One option is to purchase dedicated rims for your winter tires, which costs more upfront but can save money in the future by eliminating mounting fees. In the long run, changing out your tires for the winter will help reduce wear on your summer or all-season tires, meaning they will need to be replaced less often.


Matching Tires

Make sure to purchase four matching winter tires. Using winter tires only on the front wheels of your vehicle can lead to spinouts. Having them only on the back wheels could limit your ability to negotiate turns.


Think Narrow

Other general tips when considering winter tires include choosing a narrower tire. This allows the tire to better cut through snow. Consult with your owner's manual and local Pep Boys tire expert on what sizes will work with your vehicle's make and model.

As a rule, winter tires tend to last about 20,000 miles or three winters. Consider replacing your winter tires when the tread depth falls to 4/32 in. or less. Don't forget, winter tires tend to only be sold in the fall and winter seasons, so plan accordingly if you are in the market.


Or, shop for Winter and Snow Tires in our Tire Buying Guide!