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When considering what winter tires to choose, you first must decide whether you want studded or non-studded tires. Factors to think about include:
- How much you drive in the winter
- The condition of the roads you drive on
- How comfortable you are driving in winter conditions
- Is your car equipped with safety features such as ABS brakes
To help simplify your choice between studded and non-studded tires, you should also consider the following points:
Autumn conditions are hard to predict.
Non-studded winter tires can be a good choice in autumn when weather conditions and temperatures are unpredictable. A benefit of non-studded winter tires is that once you have them mounted, you will be prepared for rapidly changing road conditions approaching the winter season.
Driving on ice is different than driving on snow.
If the roads you travel in winter tend to be more icy than snow covered, studded tires are the better option for you. Drivers who live near coastal roads, which tend to be more icy, will find studded tires much better for maintaining traction. For areas that get more snow than ice, non-studded tires are typically a better choice.
Packed snow is a challenge in highly traveled areas.
Crossroads, driveways, and other high traffic areas are prone to have heavily packed snow and wet ice. Studded tires perform better than non-studded winter tires on wet ice and hard-packed snow.
Tire type affects the quietness of your ride.
If a quiet ride is important to you, non-studded winter tires will provide a quieter ride in milder conditions.
Studded and non-studded tires should only be used in winter.
Studded and non-studded winter tires are both designed primarily for winter, and not intended for use during other seasons. Winter tires are made of softer rubber and feature tread patterns specifically engineered for handling snow and ice. They wear significantly faster on clear roads and at warmer temperatures.
Whether you choose studded or non-studded winter tires, safe winter driving depends largely on skill. Practices such as maintaining proper speed and allowing plenty of drive time will help you drive with confidence.
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