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The Difference between Winter Tires and Snow Tires

October 27th, 2011

With the winter season quickly approaching, tire shops all around the country are being asked by customers, what is the difference between a snow tire and a winter tire? What kind of tires should I buy this winter season … snow tires or winter tires?

Winter Tires

  • These tires are designed for clear roads with a minimal amount of snow and/or ice.
  • Winter tires are engineered with a rubber compound that works well in colder weather.

Snow Tires

  • These tires are designed for much heavier snow and or ice at the expense of dry road handling. Yes, snow tires don’t do as well on dry roads, but if you plan on driving around in an area with some serious snowfall, then snow tires should be installed on the vehicle.

Snow traction depends are things like the flexibility of rubber, wider grooves, and biting edges on the tread. Snow tires used to look like bulky blocks with square edges, but with recent computer technology, the design of these tires has dramatically improved over the years.

Although snow tires can sometimes feel unstable on a highway with no snow, the impact snow tires have on a snowy or icy road can definitely be felt, and recognized as a positive experience.

Winter tires use a complex rubber mixture that has less play on a paved road, making these tires a bit more ideal and generalized. Winter tires are known to be far better on pavement and dry roads than snow tires.

If you are looking for a quieter ride, with less play, decreased noise level, longer lasting wear and tear, and good ice and snow traction, winter tires are the way to go.

If you plan on some serious snow and ice driving, then snow tires are meant for just that.

Use our Tire Finder to search for snow or winter tires, and get them installed on your vehicle at one of our locations near you.

The Difference between Winter Tires and Snow Tires was written by of Conway and OMalley
  Posted in: Tire 101