The answer is yes; you need SUV snow tires in winter conditions. For you to drive safely in winter conditions, you will need a tire that is approved for use in winter conditions. This is regardless of what vehicle you drive. A summer tire will loose its key properties when the temperatures drop to freezing. At low temperatures you are better off with a SUV winter tire than you are with a summer tire. If you have an all-weather or all season tires, you are ok, if they are winter approved.
Tires that have low rolling resistance will need less power to make them roll. This will result in lower fuel consumption when you drive. With the current high fuel prices, a low rolling resistance can save you a lot of money.
Tire pressure can impact your rolling resistance, so make sure that your tires are properly inflated, to ensure that you are not wasting money on fuel. Regardless if you buy a new set of summer tires or winter tires, try to get a set that has a low rolling resistance that you can save on those fuel bills.
Snow tires or as they are also called, winter tires, should be used as soon as the temperatures are lower than 32°F, i.e. freezing. The rubber compound in summer tires becomes hard at these temperatures, so you will need a winter tires that has a different composition and remains soft at these temperatures. So it is not only when you have snow and ice that you need them, you need them at low temperatures and when driving in winter conditions.
So change early so already when the temperatures drop, so that you are ready when the snow arrives and can continue to drive safely.
When it comes to mounting snow tires on your vehicle, it is important that you put them on before the cold weather or the snow arrives. Both have an impact on your driving ability. Cold weather already makes the summer tires perform worse than winter tires as the rubber in the summer tire turns hard, which reduces the friction. So to avoid that, you need to make sure that you change to winter tires in time. If you fail to do the change before the temperature changes, it might be that you have to leave the car behind until the weather improves.
You want to make sure that you have a proper winter approved tire mounted. You will have three different types to choose from, an all-weather tire, a studded tire or then a non-studded tires. The choice depends on the most prominent weather conditions that you experience. Not so harsh winters tend to be perfect for an all-weather tyre or a non-studded tire and if you have really harsh winters, then the non-studded and the studded tires are the best option. A lot of icy conditions, then you tend to be best off with a studded winter tire.
Both your SUV summer tires and your SUV winter tires need to be taken care of to ensure that they deliver the best performance for your SUV. There are a few things that you need to check on your tires on a regular basis. You need to make sure that you have sufficient tread depth on your tires. This can easily be checked with a coin.
Do a visual inspection to see that there are no cuts or tears on the tires. For SUV studded tires, check also that the studs look in good condition and that there are enough of them. Tire pressure is important to check as it impacts the driving performance. It also has negative impact on your fuel efficiency and tire wear, so it can impact your safety as well as your financials. Remember that with decreasing temperatures the tire pressure decreases and needs to be filled up.
If your tires look good and the tread depth is good with sufficient air pressure, then you should be in good shape to drive safely regardless of what weather condition you will face.
If you reside in North America, there is a chance that you might experience some winter weather during the year. If you live in Florida, it is less likely and if you live in Alaska it is almost certain. The only certain factor is that if you do experience any type of winter conditions and you need to drive, regardless of temperature and road conditions, then you need a winter tire.
By winter tire, I mean a tire that has been approved for use in winter conditions. Here you basically have some All-weather tires and you have the winter tires. The winter tires will come both as studded and non-studded tires. Your choice among them should be based upon how severe your winter is and how certain is it that you will experience winter and for what duration.
If you always have proper winter, the winter tire is your option and the choice between studded or non-studded is dependent if you want the absolute best grip, especially on ice, then choose a studded tire. More snow than ice based winters; a non-studded will be a great choice. Occasional winters, then an All-weather tire will be the most convenient choice.
When you drive during winter, there are two important factors that you need to make sure that you follow to remain safe. The first one is to make sure that you fit your vehicle with a proper set of winter tires. A proper set means a high quality set of tires that are approved for winter use. Winter tires come as either studded or non-studded. The studded winter tires will have metal studs on the tread. These studs ensure that you will get good traction so that you can control your vehicle during slippery conditions.
As winter is associated with snow, ice and slush, you need a tire that can handle these types of surfaces. A good quality winter tire will be able to do this for you. You also have non-studded tires, that uses both very innovative design of the tread to create great grip as well as special rubber compound, which gives you additional grip on slippery surfaces. Both the non-studded and the studded tires will give you sufficient grip for safe winter driving. The studs are a bit better on icy surfaces and tightly packed snow.
So if you driving involve a lot of icy surfaces, you are better off with a studded tire. For both tire options the second aspect of safe winter driving comes into play and that is to keep the speed down. For you to be able to drive safely, you will need to keep the speed at a level that is adapted to your surroundings. The lower speed gives you much shorter braking distance. Braking distance is already significantly increased during winter conditions. Due to the increased braking distance, you need to keep longer distance to the vehicles in front of you to ensure adequate stopping distance. The lower speed and the good tires will ensure that you can stop in time to avoid an accident if you keep proper safety distance.
Since winter driving is so extreme, you do need to make sure that you follow these rules in order to stay safe. It is not only for you, but also for the other people on the road.
People often ask if this is possible and if it is a good idea. The answer is that it completely depends on where you live. If you are not experiencing any winter weather during the year, or cold weather and snow is something that happens extremely rarely, then you might get away with just having summer tires. If you do go for this option, then you should not drive your car if there is snow on the ground. Also if the temperature is below 32°F, then it can be dangerous to drive with summer tires, as the roads might be slippery and summer tires get very hard at these temperatures, so you will not have any traction. Without traction you cannot steer your car nor get it to stop.
This is the drawback of not changing tires according to the weather. When you have winter weather you definitely need winter tires. If the tire is not approved for winter weather, it really means that it will not perform well in the cold. It is not safe to drive with them mounted on your car. It might feel unnecessary to have winter tires only for a short time or in case there is winter weather, but in these cases you might want to opt for a all-weather tire, which gives you winter properties and are still good for the summer. They are though not giving you as good performance during the summer as your summer tires will, so it depends what you prioritize. If you want the best performance out of your car, you need to equip it with the right tires for the right conditions.
As safety should be one of your main concerns, you need to be able to make sure that if you go for performance that you also need to take the safety aspects into account. So the choices you have are: having summer tires and not driving during the occasions when you have wintry weather, going for a compromise tire that might not give you the optimal performance, but the best possible combination of performance and safety, or going full out with two sets of tires.
This might seem logical, but most people don’t seem to think about it. They keep on driving regardless of weather or the condition their tires are in. There tends to be little knowledge of the importance the tires actually have and how important they are for your safety. The safety aspect is extra important during the winter season as it is so much more challenging to drive during winter.
The difference between having winter tires mounted on your vehicle and not having winter-approved tires mounted during the winter, is how much control you have over your vehicle. With summer tires, you will have almost zero grip on ice. This means that you will not be able to control the direction nor can you get your vehicle to stop if you are driving and want to stop. I think everyone agrees that we need to be able to control our vehicles, therefore there is no real option except getting tires that are to be used during the winter season. If your winters are not very harsh, you seldom have freezing temperatures and snow, you might manage with a tire that can handle a range of weather conditions and surfaces, but if you do have real winters with snow, ice and slush, there is no reason why you would not get a set of winter tires to be used during the winter.
On ice you need winter tires that have been designed with this in mind. The winter tires have a completely different rubber compound and tread design than summer tires have. This is what makes them so great on slippery surfaces. For studded tires, they rely on metal studs that are integrated into the thread surface to give traction on ice. They also have wide grooves to manage the slush. The non-studded tires has special rubber compound that creates the traction without the studs.
Once you have settled for the tire that is great for you, make sure that it is of high quality. It is safer, more economical and wear-resistant.
If you aim to drive your vehicle during winter conditions, it is always recommended that you use a proper high quality winter tires. Driving with a summer tire during winter conditions is associated with great danger, not only for yourself, but also for everyone else in your proximity. This is true regardless of what vehicle you have. If you an SUV, it might look like the tires would be good enough to meet any conditions, but if they are SUV summer tyres, they might look rugged, but the rubber will turn hard as you reach the freezing point.
The fact that the rubber in the tyre turns hard is the main reason why it is not safe. The hard rubber has almost no grip on slippery surfaces, which means that you will not be able to control your car, if you face ice or tightly packed snow. A vehicle without any control is always bad news. So for winter you need to change to tires that are approved for winter use. If they are not approved, they will not give you the safety that you need from your tires during the winter. So depending on how severe your winters are, you should choose tires accordingly. If you tend to experience a lot of snow, then a snow tire that is non-studded will be your best option. If you tend to have a lot of ice and the snow tends to get tightly packed and very slippery, then a studded tire is your best option.
Both these options will perform well during winter conditions. So the choice is more based on personal preference and your driving habits. So before you make your choice, it tends to be good to talk to a tire expert or do some research online. A studded tire has a bit more restrictions on its use than a non-studded tire, but then it has also the best grip on ice, so it all depends on what you need and what you prioritize. If you select a high quality tire, you will increase your chances of getting the best properties for these challenging conditions. Also a high quality tire tends to have a lower rolling resistance resulting in lower fuel bills as well as they are more wear resistance, which increases its product life.