Studded Snow Tires

Studded snow tires are the best solutions for slippery and dangerous roads during winter season. They are specialty tires designed to withstand extreme temperature changes that affect the highways and roads during extreme weather. Winter brings snow fall and the formation of ice sheets on land as well. Driving becomes undeniably more difficult during the cold seasons as thick layers of ice and snow cover most public roads and highways. The traction between the tires and concrete is less favorable during later the autumn and winter months, which in turn makes it necessary for vehicle owners to replace their regular set of tires with studded snow tires instead.

Studded snow tires promote safe driving on snow and icy roads. They are relatively narrower than all-season tires or tires that are used in normal driving conditions. In addition, deeper treads are characteristic of studded snow tires as well as softer and flexible materials. All these qualities result in more reliable tires that feature increased traction and enhanced safety to motorists during winter months.

Studded tires are worth the investment, especially among vehicle owners who live in geographical regions that experience harsh winters. Scandinavian countries like Sweden and Norway encounters long, hard winters making it a requirement for motorists to equip their tires with studs. Even four-wheel drives and vehicles that are made for rough terrain need to replace their tires with four studded snow tires to ensure safety and avoid accidents while on the road.

Studded snow tires are heavy duty in nature. They are installed with metal studs that are made from tungsten carbide and protrudes beyond the tread surface, which in turn provide better traction and grip between the vehicle and the pavement. Studded snow tires are known to use a vehicle’s centrifugal forces and its own weight to deliver increased traction as it drives along a snowy or icy road or highway.

The studs that are placed on the tires’ tread portion are made from metal and are featured in various sizes and depths. Studs are then placed firmly onto the treads by a flange at the base. The design of the studs ensures that they promote optimum traction and grip even in the harshest of winter months.

Vehicle owners can purchase Mud and Snow (M&S) tires come in a variety of tread depths, but typically these types of tires are at least 12/32” inches to make it ideal for driving in snow and ice sheets. Currently, there are five different tread depths for snow tires. Accordingly, there are also five stud lengths that correspond to them. They are color-coded by stud manufacturers to facilitate easier matching of studs with its corresponding tire or vice versa.

Majority of studded snow tires feature 80- to 100 studs that are molded in the tread design. There are also snow tires that feature pre installed studs, making it easier for vehicle owners to use them right away. If you’re snow tire is not yet installed with studs, you may need the assistance of experts for proper installation. In addition, there are tools that need to be sourced that were only made for tire stud installation. When studs are inserted incorrectly, they will not perform their main function; that which is to increase the traction; thus making it dangerous to speed up when driving on snow and ice sheets.

If the stud’s length is too short or if the studs are inserted far and deep into the treads, there will be no protrusion, thus making it impossible to achieve the desirable grip that studded snow tires commonly feature.

On the other hand, if the studs are too long and or are inserted shallowly into the treads, they will not perform their original function as well. There is a large chance that the studs will be ejected while driving in treacherous snowy and icy roads.

Vehicle owners should remember that studs can only be installed in new snow tires. You cannot use them on a set of snow tires that were used during the previous winter season. This should be followed to ensure effectiveness of the studs and to avoid accidents that may happen while driving during the winter season. Consequently, studs that were used from the previous winter season should not be installed on new snow tires as these studs already are worn out and will be unable to perform its function too. Do not skimp on studded snow tires as its utilization during icy and snow months will save your life from dangers brought about by slippery pavements and roads.

Studded snow tires should never be used during spring or summer seasons. It is recommended to take out your set of snow tires once the snow and ice clear up. Since snow tires and tire studs are more prone to wear and tear, they are known to be less reliable in dry and hot weather conditions. In addition, studs are known to damage the surface of public roads and highways. Hydroplaning is more likely to happen on roads that are damaged and cracked by studded snow tires. Millions of tax payers’ money goes to the rehabilitation of pavements and roads due to studded snow tires. In the United States, there are several states that prohibit and ban the use of studded snow tires:

-          Alabama

-          Florida

-          Hawaii

-          Illinois

-          Louisiana

-          Maryland

-          Mississippi

-          Texas

Before installing studded snow tires onto your tires, be sure to check in with your city or municipality regulations as well. This is to ensure that the installation of studded snow tires is legal in your territory so you can avoid paying exorbitant fees due to traffic and safety violations or rules.

A Guide to Studded Snow Tires

Engineers have designed many different types of tires for the various conditions under which they are intended to be used. One of the primary areas of research has been in that of winter tires. Many parts of the world, including the northern United States, experience hazardous winter driving conditions due to snow and ice. Winter, or snow tires, have been crafted to create more friction between the tire and the road giving the driver more control over the vehicle in winter weather conditions. One of the most effective types of winter tire is the studded snow tire.

Studded snow tires have tiny metal tips, or studs, extending from the surface of the tire. These studs help grip the road more firmly by breaking up sheets of snow or ice and supplying more surface area to produce added friction. The effectiveness of a studded snow tire can be modified by either changing the length of the stud or by increasing/decreasing the total amount of studs. The severity of your local winter weather conditions will typically dictate which type of tire to install.

Many different companies have come up with their own versions of studded snow tires. A large portion of these can have the studs installed and removed for changing seasonal conditions. Some of the most popular brands are the Cooper Weather-Master, Firestone Winterfire, and the Firestone Winterforce. However, there are numerous other brands from various manufacturers.

Although having more control over your vehicle sounds like an all-around good thing, there are some driving pointers to take into consideration. Although this added traction will help with acceleration and turning in wintry conditions, studded snow tires do little to decrease stopping distances on slippery surfaces. It is also very important to realize that these tires will be less effective in rainy circumstances than standard all-weather tires. Finally, it is imperative to install studded snow tires on all four wheels of a vehicle as opposed to the drive wheels only. Operating a car or truck with only two such tires may cause unsafe handling during turning.

There are also a few legal issues to investigate before installing studded snow tires. Before purchasing any tires, make sure your vehicle’s warranty does not have any stipulations against doing so. You may also want to check with state or local governments about ordinances involving the use of snow studded tires on government-maintained roads as there may be a seasonal limit as to when they may be used.

While the above two paragraphs have appeared very cautionary in nature, the value of good winter tires on treacherous winter roads cannot be overstated. Anytime you are operating a vehicle safety should always come first. The first part of being safe in snowy or icy conditions is having a tire that is able to grip the road firmly. Such traction has, and will continue to save lives.

Studded Snow Tire Laws

Snow tires have long been popular with drivers who live or drive in areas that have a lot of winter weather because of their improved traction. In the early 60s studs, or small pins made of metal, were added to these tires for even better performance on snow and ice. Most people have stopped using these studs because of improved tire design and the fact that the studs have been shown to rip up road surfaces. Due to this many states have implemented laws and restrictions on the use of studs.

There are seven states in America that do not have any laws on the books about using studs. These are Vermont, Wyoming, Colorado, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Kentucky and New Mexico. New Mexico and North Carolina only experience snow and ice in their mountains and Kentucky has no heavy snowfall at all. There are two states that allow visitors to use studs. Wisconsin allows people to come to their state and use studs, but not for more than 30 days and Minnesota allows workers and students from other states to use studs.

There are certain states that have special restrictions that basically restrict the use of studs to the point where it only makes sense to use them if you live in certain areas or have a special situation. In Maryland you can only use studs in 5 of their counties located in the mountains and only during the winter months. In Georgia you can use them when it snows, but must remove them afterwards. In South Carolina you can use 1/16″ studs in snowy or icy conditions. In North and South Dakota school buses are allowed to use studs no matter the month and fire vehicles can use them any time in South Dakota.

The rest of the states allow the use of studs based on the seasons. This mostly means you can have them on your tires from about October or November until somewhere near the end of April. Two of the coldest states in the country do allow longer use of studded snow tires in their colder northern areas. In Alabama you are allowed to use rubber studs whenever you want.

If you are going to use studded snow tires, it makes sense to know what the laws and regulations are in the area you are planning on using them, because there can be hefty fines for breaking the rules. Stay safe and learn the laws to avoid penalties.

Studded Snow Tire Reviews

When the seasons change from fall to winter the roads start to get messy and dangerous to drive on as ice and snow coat them. Studded tires are an ideal way to get traction even on the slickest roads. While they tend to be noisy and their use on certain roads is highly regulated, nothing else compares to the grip you’ll have with them. Consider these studded snow tire reviews if you need them on your vehicle when winter storms in.

The Nokian Hakkapeliita 5 is largely considered one of the brands of studded winter tires available on the market. Nokian has a unique stud design with a surface that is similar to a claw so it can grip on roads caked with snow and ice. The treads also contribute to the ability to grip and consist of four individual rubber compounds. Their use should be limited to snow and ice covered roads since the metal studs compromise handling on wet and dry roads.

Another recommended brand of studded winter tire that is available on the market is the Gislaved Nord Frost 5. These tires are from a less common and popular manufacturer headquartered in Sweden, Gislaved. They were designed for the harsh winter conditions that Scandinavians have come to expect year in and year out. They provide excellent traction for ice, snow and slush covered roads. The stud base is oblong, instead of circular, which makes it less likely to get ejected from the tread. Both the tread pattern and studs themselves work with each other to provide excellent traction. Like other studded tires, traction is compromised on dry roads.

The Nokian Hakkapeliita 4 studded winter tires have been replaced in some markets with the 5, but the Hakkapeliita 4 is still a budget option for those who need studded winter tires while on a budget. It offers excellent traction on slush, ice and snow covered roads. The studs claw into the surface with their square bases. It has all of the features that consumers have come to expect from Nokian, including the driving safety indicator. This is an easy to read method of knowing how much tread is left on the tires before they need to be replaced.

Firestone also offers an option with their Winterforce studded winter tires. The tread is similar to an all-season tire, but it has sipes in the tread blocks to improve handling on snowy roads. It can be run with or without studs to improve traction beyond the already well-designed tread system. Traction levels decrease when driving on dry and wet roads with the studs though and should only be used when necessary due to hazardous driving conditions.

Best Winter Tires

As the seasons change and you prepare your vehicle for the cold winter months it is important to remember that your tires need attention too. Even if you’re in a region of the country where snow and ice are not common sights during the winter months, it’s still necessary to look for the best winter tires for your vehicle. Formerly called snow tires, winter tires are designed specifically to focus on all types of roads that occur during the winter months. These include ice, slush, wet pavement and dry pavement.

The problem with all-season or summer tires is that they operate best during the summer months when the temperatures are warmer. They get hard when cold temperatures make their appearance and performance tends to decline when temperatures drop below 44 degrees Fahrenheit. Winter tires, on the other hand, operate best during the colder months because they are soft and pliable. This allows them to grip the road better than the alternatives.

The pattern of the tread also determines what makes the best winter tire. Since winter tires are more pliable, they can grip better to the surface of the road. Winter tires are designed specifically to work with slush, ice and snow so they don’t lose grip when going over covered roads.

The difference that these types of tires have on performance and traction is astounding and really begs the question of why more individuals don’t change the tires on their car when the seasons change. Even vehicles without four-wheel drive can grip the road in the winter just as well as they do in the summer if they have the proper tires for the road conditions. Many people attempt to justify not buying winter tires due to the costs, but the cost of possible injuries, insurance premiums rising and automobile accidents are much higher than the cost of buying four new tires for the winter every three to four years.

Having the best tires suited for the weather and road conditions doesn’t mean that you don’t need to exert caution when driving. It’s still essential to only drive as fast as conditions permit and follow other vehicles from further back during the winter months to prevent sliding into them if you need to brake quickly.

The Toyo Observe G-02 Plus is an ideal brand for snow and ice traction, but may not be ideal on dry roads. The Yokohama IG20 IceGuard tires are a value quality tire that handles excellent on snow and ice with only minimum dry road performance concerns. They also wear better than comparable tires in the class. The Bridgestone Blizzak WS60 is considered one of the best winter tires with a new design to focus on traction. If you’re looking for winter tires that have traction on both dry roads and those covered in snow and ice, you’ll be best suited with either the Michelin Pilot Alpin PA3 or Bridgestone Blizzak LM-25 tire that can be left on your vehicle all-year round.

Winter Driving Tips

Without proper preparation, winter driving can be scary. Plan for driving to take longer. A car handles differently when the temperature is low and when there is snow or ice or both on a road. In the winter, roads that look normal may not be. The surface may actually be black ice. You can maintain control of a car during winter by following these winter driving tips.

Prepare the car beforehand. Think of your car as winter survival equipment. When snow is hitting the windshield, it’s not the time to think about replacing wipers. Have a good battery, and carry around cables, a shovel and cat litter or sand just in case you or someone else needs a jump or traction.

Cold temperatures affect metal. Allow the car to heat up for a few minutes before driving it the first time in the morning. The car will heat under the hood.

When accelerating from a full stop, pull back on the gas if the car starts to slide. Don’t speed up when going into a turn. Allow the car to coast instead.

Black ice normally forms on bridges and overpasses. The dark patches are not easy to see. Keep extra distance between your car and the one in front, and stay in the main lane. Breaking on black ice may be impossible, especially without good tires.

Tires must grip the road to prevent skidding. Winter tires grip better than all-season tires by 25 to 50 percent. Greater traction means a car can turn more quickly and stop faster. The tires are designed with soft stud thread fibers. Special compounds allow the tires to remain flexible and overcome the water, slush, snow and ice. The tread is designed to drain water, throw off snow and grip the road. The tires work well on dry roads, too.

If the car does go into a skid, let up on the gas, gently turn the wheels and begin gentle braking. Gentle turning and gentle braking is key. These actions will help you regain control. Turn in the direction of the skid.

When traveling uphill or down, if at all possible, never brake. Speed up slightly before going uphill to give the car more momentum to make it up. Going downhill, coast. Keep the speed as even as possible.

Throughout winter, keep extra distance between your car and the one in front. The goal is to brake gently. Be alert to your surroundings, brake lights and intersections.

Use the tail lights of the vehicle ahead of you when visibility is poor. During snowstorms the road markings are often covered over, but you can see tail lights and tire tracks. If a snowplow or sand truck is ahead of you, stay behind it.

If you find yourself driving in a heavy snowstorm after dark, put the headlights on low. It will be easier to see where you’re going.

Practicing in a safe environment is helpful. Parking lots with a few inches of snow are a good place to practice turns, braking and backing up.

Driving in winter is a challenge that most people handle successfully. Applying these winter driving tips can help build your confidence to drive safely throughout the season.