As snow falls across Pennsylvania, many drivers are asking themselves whether or not they should invest in new tires. If you live in an area that gets snow, ice, sleet or freezing rain and temperatures below 40 degrees, then snow tires are the right option for your car. While driving on snowy or icy roads, the tires will give you good stopping ability and secure handling.

Summer and all-season tires are made with a stiffer rubber compound, which helps the tire retain its shape while driving on hot pavement. Winter tires however are made with hydrophilic rubber, which stays softer and more pliable in the snow. The snow tire is more flexible and gives drivers more traction on the snow and ice. Some winter tires are marked with a mountain or snowflake symbol to indicate the tire is designed specifically for use in cold weather and severe conditions.  

When shopping for snow tires,

·         Buy Early. Tire retailers stock snow tires in the fall, so if you wait until the snow falls, you may be stuck with a small selection. 

·         Always buy four matching tires to prevent your vehicle from spinning on snow and ice.

·         Don't forget to budget for installation. Few tire shops include the cost of installation in the cost of the tires. Most charge $10-$20 per tire for mounting and balancing. Often, you can get tires installed whether you purchased the tires online or in the store. Online retailers carry a wider selection and will sometimes ship to stores directly.

Once you purchase snow tires, you will reap many benefits. Snow tires will grip better on snow and ice compared to an all-season tire.  A good snow tire will last about three winters, and often come with a 5-year warranty against defects. 

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