Winter tires can be crucial to maintaining your car’s performance, and your safety, in the colder months. Winter tires are proven to reduce braking distance and improve performance of vehicles in cold, snowy, or icy conditions – beyond the performance that can be expected of a typical "all-season" tire.
The rubber compound that is used to make winter-rated tires is able to stay pliable at lower temperatures, which allows it to make better contact with the road. Summer tires, on the other hand, are composed of a harder rubber compound, which allows them to maintain their stance, even in intense heat. All season tires tend to be made of rubber compounds that fall somewhere between – and this can be dependent on tire make and model.
Steel rims are often recommended with winter tires – instead of the aluminum wheels that can be purchased OEM or aftermarket for almost any vehicle. This is because the changes in temperatures over the winter months cause the metal to expand and contract. Aluminum wheels tend to contract more in colder temperatures, which can cause inconsistent tire pressure, as well as allowing air to leak over time. Steel rims contract less in colder temperatures, which contributes to maintaining manufacturer’s specified tire pressure – which is beneficial to both vehicle performance (both handling and fuel consumption) and long term tire wear.
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