Should I put snow tires on my Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge, or Ram?




           Summer Tire         All Season Tire          Snow Tire           
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Executive Summary:

Approximately 97% of the tires in the United States are "All Seasons."  They come standard on most Chrysler, Jeeps, Dodges, and Rams. With All Season tires, your vehicle will p
erform admirably in a variety of temperatures and conditions.   However, if you live in an area where snow and ice regularly accumulate, snow tires will noticeably reduce wheel spin and sliding on slick surfaces.  You wear different shoes for track running than you do for hiking, and your vehicle will perform better if you change its shoes too. 







Advantages

Disadvantages
Summer Tires
(sports cars only)







  • Shallow tread blocks limit wobble through hard turns.
  • Very soft rubber sticks like bubble gum in warm temps.
  • Fewer grooves and channels maximize size of "contact patch" with road.


  • White knuckles in inclement weather.  Cold temps turn gummy compound into a hockey puck.
  • Fewer grooves and channels offer less space to squeeze out rain and snow.  
  • More tire noise, especially at highway speeds.
  • Soft compound wears out more quickly. 
  • Tire swaps required in Spring and Fall.  


All Season Tires
(the most common tire type)




  • Low tire noise.
  • Relatively long lasting.
  • Can be driven year round without tire changing hassles.


  • The jack of all trades is the master of none.  An all season tire doesn't grip warm asphalt as well as a summer tire, and doesn't grip snow or channel water as well as a snow tire.
Snow Tires
(also known as a "winter tire")


  • Fine grooves in each tread block are called "sipes," and they dramatically increase the amount of texture and grip on ice.
  • Softer compound sticks better to ice and snow.
  • Deep voids and wide spaces between tread blocks offer more room to squeeze out rain and snow. 
  • Shorter braking distances and reduced lateral sliding on slick surfaces.


  • More tire noise, especially at highway speeds.
  • Softer compound wears out slightly more quickly. 
  • Tire swaps required in Spring and Fall. 

 





Answer these questions to see whether snow tires are good idea for you:


1.  Do you live in an area with frequent ice and snow events?
2.  Do you live in an area with steep roads and driveways?
3.  Do you need to leave home and drive when roads are slick?
4.  Do you currently have summer tires on your car?
5.  Do you stay on top of your auto maintenance for semi-annual tire swaps?
6.  Do you have a place to store a second set of tires?
7.  Have you had an accident or bad experience with winter driving?
8.  Do you plan to keep your car for three or more winters to justify the investment?







Considerations and Recommendations:
  • If you decide to buy snow tires, buy a set of inexpensive steel rims so you can keep the tires mounted on them for easier and less expensive swapping. 
  • Though buying a set of winter tires is costly, two sets of tires will last approximately twice as long as one set, so really the only incremental expense is having Planet swap your tires twice a year.  
  • In slick conditions, you are going to experience some slipping and sliding no matter what kind of tire you use.  A vehicle weighs a couple tons, and rubber meets the road on only four modest rubber patches. 




Hard-core options if you live on the side of mountain:
  • Studded snow tires.  Studs are metal pins inserted into the tread blocks so you have rubber and steel meeting the road.  They're legal in Massachusetts from November until the end of April.
  • Chains.  For extreme conditions, you can put chains on most tires, but they're cumbersome to install and you shouldn't drive very far or very fast with them. 







Call or visit Planet's tire experts in our parts department.



Tire Care Quiz


Test your tire care knowledge with this true/false quiz!

Answers appear at the bottom.

True or False:

  1. Your brakes stop the wheels, but the tires stop the car.
  2. Tire pressure should be lowered in the winter.
  3. In the tire size "P195/70R14," the number 14 means it is a radial tire.
  4. A tire with too little air pressure will wear more on the outside of the tread.
  5. Tires are not considered safe when the tread is less than 1/16" thick.
  6. Overloading a car has the same effect as having underinflated tires.
  7. Every time a tire screeches, the potential mileage is reduced.
  8. The best time to check the pressure in your tires is after a long trip.
  9. Worn tires are more likely to "hydroplane."
  10. While driving, if you think you have a flat tire, pull off the road immediately.

Answers:

  1. True. This is why tire care is so important. The control of your car is only as good as the tires' contact with the road.
  2. False. Tire pressure usually lowers itself in winter -- dropping about one pound for every 10 degrees the temperature falls. Check tires regularly, particularly during the winter months, to ensure that the proper pressure is maintained.
  3. False. The letter "R" in the label means the tire is a radial. The number "14" indicates the rim diameter is 14".
  4. True. Too little air will cause excessive wear on the outside of the tread. Too much air pressure will cause undue wear on the middle of the tread.
  5. True. Many states have minimum tread depth laws that reject tires with tread worn below 1/16 of an inch in two or more adjacent grooves. The tire is considered worn out.
  6. True. Most people know that driving with underinflated tires causes excess tread wear as well as making the tire prone to failure. But most people don't realize that overloading their car's tires has exactly the same effect.
  7. True. The driver who feels it is necessary to "peel out" from a stop sign or squeal around a corner potentially has erased hundreds of miles from the tread life of the tire.
  8. False. Tire pressure will increase while driving so it is important to check tire pressure when tires are "cold" -- in the morning or BEFORE starting a trip. Recommended tire pressure is always expressed as "cold tire pressure."
  9. True. A tire's tread grooves are designed to evacuate water from under the tread. If tires are worn, they are more likely to "hydroplane." This means they surf along on a film of water just like a water skier.
  10. False. It is important to come to a gradual stop if you believe you have a flat tire. The driver should not pull off the road until he finds a safe place. It's better to ruin a tire than risk an accident.










Planet Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram is your source for questions about winter tires, snow tires, performance tires, and any kind of tire, especially if you hail from Boston, Providence, or Worcester.
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