With winter approaching, adding snow tires to your car may seem like a sound idea. Designed with a special tread pattern that can hold the road when it is icy and snowy, these tires work because they are made of a softer rubber compound that stays flexible in cold temperatures and can better conform to the road’s surface.
Unlike regular tires that harden and become less flexible in the winter, specially designed snow tires will keep the car on the road, improve your ability to stop and start, and help you avoid getting stuck. Some tires have studs embedded in the rubber to increase road grip even more.
Are Special Winter Tires Necessary?
If you have good quality all season tires on your vehicle, do you need to go the extra mile and purchase snow tires? In many areas, all season tires will do the job. Their title implies that you can use them in all types of weather, which means they are not optimized for particular weather conditions. They do not conform to the road as well in very cold or snowy weather as snow tires do.
To save money, some drivers opt to put snow tires on the front tires of front-wheel-drive cars and or just on the rear tires of rear wheel drive models. The problem with this approach is that you may not be able to control the back wheels of a front-wheel-drive car that has only two winter tires, while with a rear wheel drive car, you might not be able to make the car respond when you turn the steering wheel.
Where Utah Law Requires Snow Tires
In some areas of Utah, snow tires are required by Administrative code R920-6 between October 1 and April 30. These requirements are not in effect for the whole state, but if you travel on certain highways in Utah, you must have mounted snow tires with or without studs, steel chains, or elastomeric tire chains for radial tires. While putting snow tires on just the drive wheels of your car is generally a bad idea, the law requires that four-wheel-drive vehicles have at least two mounted snow tires. These regulations do not apply to the whole state, but mostly for roads near ski resort areas such as Snowbird, Alta Park, Deer City, Brighton, and Solitude.
If you are found driving in these areas without snow tires, you could be fined, and even worse, be considered negligent in case of an accident.
Making Winter Tire Usage Easy
Some drivers object to changing to snow tires because it means having your car repair shop take your regular tires off the rims and putting on the stone tires. Smart drivers make their life easier in this respect by buying a matching set of rims in the correct size from a salvage yard and having the tires for inclement weather installed on them.
State Automotive of Utah can mount your snow tires and check out your brakes and other systems that are important for a well-performing vehicle in the winter.