Mechanics split on all-season versus snow tires

CLEVELAND - Another round of snow and slush means more skidding and sliding on our roads. The bad weather brings up the old argument about snow tires versus all-season tires. It's a slippery subject as the opinions vary.

"I'm from Florida, we're used to hot weather," Toni Bryant said.

Bryant was driving in northeast Ohio when her car started sliding.

"I just pulled over and had to get someone to come get the car," Bryant explained.

Bryant admitted her Florida tires are not good in snow. But what tires do you want if you live here in northeast Ohio?

Safeway Tire & Car Care suggests four snow tires adding that there really is a difference.

"Snow tires have hydrophilic rubber in them. The colder it gets, the stickier it will get," said Warren Bradford of Safeway Tire & Car Care.

The rubber compound used in snow tires stays softer in cold weather. The tires are also chunkier and grip better due to all the tiny little grooves called sipes.

"These actually help bite the snow and ice. They act like little cleats," Bradford explained.

Tests have shown snow tires can increase traction and handling by up to 25 percent in wintery conditions, but Rick Damper of Damper's Automotive Service said you don't need to invest in snow tires if you are a city driver.

Damper recommends all-season tires unless you are driving in lots of snow.

"People who like to go skiing, hunting, things like that, some of your older rear-wheel drive vehicles still need snow tires and some of your performance type cars," said Damper.  

Remember, if you invest in snows, your regular tires should last twice as long because you're using them less. The softer rubber on snow tires wears quicker on pavement, so change them as soon as winter is over.

No matter which tires you go with, experts advise proper air pressure. Replace your tires when they are worn or you may slip and slide around town no matter which tires you invested in for your car.

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