First, let’s talk about the things that dedicated winter tires do really well, touch on all-seasons and then you should have some information to help you in your tire selection.
The first thing about winter is that it’s cold. The rubber compound used in summer and all-season tires gets a bit hard when Michigan temperatures drop below 45 degrees Fahrenheit/7 degrees Centigrade. Winter tires, on the other hand, stay more pliable as the thermometer drops in Berrien County. This means better dry road traction in the cold.
Ice and snow is the next thing drivers worry about during Michigan winters. Now some Michigan drivers live where there is a lot of snow, a lot of the time. Extreme winter condition snow tires have a tread design that cuts into and expels deep snow for maximum traction. These tires have a mountain and snowflake icon on the sidewall of the tire.
If you live in Michigan where the ice and snow are more moderate you can still benefit from winter tires. Their tread has many small “cuts” called sipes that really help them get a grip on ice.
Now, all-season tires are a year-round compromise between high summer performance and high winter performance. They just don’t handle either extreme as well as do dedicated summer or winter tires for Michigan driving. For example, winter tires offer 25% to 50% more traction than all-season tires. And studies have shown that all-season tires can take upwards of 40% longer to stop than winter tires. This could be enough difference to prevent getting stuck or in an accident.
So what’s best for you? Ask your M & W Tire tire professional! You can discuss the conditions in which you drive in Michigan throughout the year and how important performance is to you. For many drivers that put a premium on handling performance, dedicated summer tires in summer and dedicated winter tires in the winter (for cold as well as ice and snow) are what they need to satisfy their performance needs. M & W Tire technicians will mount different tires depending on the season.