A lot of drivers debate whether they should switch to winter tires or keep using all-season tires, at this time of year.

All-season really means 3 seasons and does not include winter.

Winter tires are made of softer rubber that maintains flexibility even in freezing temperatures,have big blocky tread, which moves water and slush more efficiently thereby giving more traction and shorter braking distance in winter driving conditions. In hot temperatures that softness becomes a liability, which is why you need to swap out winter tires for all-season or all-weather once spring is sprung.

Swap to winter tires around Thanksgiving and back to all-season or summer tires around Easter—winter tires’ softer rubber compounds wear quickly in warmer temperatures.

Keep in mind that having two sets of tires isn’t doubling the expense, it’s halving the wear. You’ll have twice the number of tires but will need to buy new ones half as often. In addition to that, if you mount all four winter tires on your vehicle, insurance companies give you a discount in your premiums, so having a second set of tires doesn’t cost as much in the end, and for the safety it provides, the little extra expense is worth it.

Remember, fancy new tires or not, the standard winter driving advice still applies: slow down, double your following distances, anticipate traffic changes ahead, and give yourself extra time to get where you’re going. Good luck!

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