Winter Snow TiresAs we get into the winter months with the possibility of wet, icy, or even heavy snow conditions in the Northern California area, it’s good to take a look at the condition of your tires. For drivers that must drive even in adverse conditions it’s also good to consider the type of tires you have on your vehicle. Here are a few tips for choosing tires in the Northern California area.

Mud and Snow Tires
Tires marked “M + S” (“mud and snow” tires) “MS” or “M/S”, also known as “all-season” tires, provide safe all-weather performance, but may not be suitable in heavy snow. One reason is that these tires tend to stiffen and loose gripping power around 0 Celsius. California vehicle code defines a mud and snow tire as “Snow-tread tire is a tire which has a relatively deep and aggressive tread pattern compared with conventional passenger tread pattern” (section 558). Often tires of this type are sufficient for the lower altitude towns like Redding, unless you plan on heading into the mountains during the storms.

Snow Tires
Tires rated as Snow tires are made of a different formulation of rubber. These are meant to remain softer and will retain traction even in the lower temperatures. The tradeoff is that they will normally wear much quicker than “All Season” tires. Tires of this type may be recommended if you live in the higher altitude towns like Mt Shasta. Even then it would depend on how much driving you do during the storms. If you live in an area where you can wait for the roads to clear before driving, a less aggressive tire may be adequate.

While it may be tempting to only put snow tires on the drive wheels, this is usually a poor idea. For best traction it is always best to have a full set of matching tires. To keep from prematurely wearing down your more expensive snow tires it may be a good idea to buy a second set of rims and tires and switch to those as we head into the snowy months.

Winter Wiper Blades
While a good set of tires is highly recommended in order to keep you on the road, other factors can also affect your winter driving safety. One thing People often don’t think about until a storm hits are wiper blades. There is also a choice here. During a heavy rain or show storm Silicone Wiper Blades can greatly assist being able to see. These often use a much higher quality rubber that contains an active silicone coating that treats your windshield, helping water bead on the surface, which assists in wiping water and snow cleanly from your window.

A good supply of wiper fluid also helps to keep your windshield clean. Wiper fluids designed for winter areas will not freeze as easily as straight water and will do more to clean your windshield and keep the snow from accumulating on the side of your window.

Before taking your car out into the heavy weather this year, be sure to check to make sure it is up to the task!