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How to Buy Winter Tires!

  1. Realize that you are going to need to buy four tires. Some people try to fit just their front tires with winter tires. This is actually more dangerous than just leaving the all-season tires on your vehicle because it can cause you to spin out. All four tires should be the same brand, size, model, speed-rated, load index, tread pattern, and type.
  2. Look for a symbol on the sidewall of the tires that consists of a snowflake on mountains. Tires with this symbol have passed the stringent Severe Winter Traction Standard. All-season or all-weather tires are marked with M+S (which stands for mud and snow) and are not acceptable for use in extreme winter conditions.
  3. Determine what size tire you will need. The most common mistake is buying tires that are too small for the vehicle. Check your car's owner manual, or look up your car by make and model in a database. Most places that sell winter tires will have that information.
  4. Check the tread depth. If you are planning in driving in snow and slush, then the tire tread depth needs to be 6/32 inch or more.
  5. Install the tires, or pay someone else to do it. Most stores that sell tires also perform labor, so you may have installed right when you purchase them.

Tips and Warnings

  1. To reap the full benefit of having winter tires, you need to make sure they are properly inflated at all times. Air pressure can be checked with an air gauge, and should be done at least once a week in the winter.
  2. Some towns and cities have outlawed studded tires. You should check your local ordinances before investing in these kinds of tires.
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