Winter Tires Are A Marketing Ploy
Rubber is rubber. Sure a sales guy is going to tell you about how a softer tire in the winter will stick better to ice. You know as well as I do that nothing sticks to ice. I can stick a tongue to a frozen pole, and that’s only because the thin layer of saliva is instantly transformed from the slippery liquid into temporary permanence with the chilly metallic structure.
The roads will never be like that tetherball pole in December. Your tires will never be tongue-like in appearance. Adding walnut shells, or ground up gecko feet will not help me when stuck in a snowbank. Studs, chains, a couple of floormats, or a AAA membership will though.
That’s why I stick to the All-season tire. If the material selection and design wasn’t suited for every season, including hockey, football, and tornado season, then how could they make the claim that these were tires suited for anything less? Engineers put their degrees on the line. Companies rely on sales year after year of reliable products. To put tires on the market that don’t perform as their type implies would be outright wrong.
I won’t lie. I have done the seasonal tire change in the past…two times. I was 16, new to the roads with a license acquired 30 days after my birthday… which means that most of my learning was done around Christmas. Being from a snow-filled land in Northern BC, studded tires were good for getting my car out of the ditch after doing donuts in icy parking lots. We were too young to drink, and gasoline was much cheaper back then…so why not. As for the second time, well…that spring those winter tires came off, mainly because I couldn’t hear the stereo when rolling down the highway because of those damn studs.
Now that I am a bit older, wiser, and experienced in how to drive these roads all year round…I know my tax dollars pay for road salt and snow plows. Those same dollars don’t pay for tire storage or twice a year tire swaps. Plus, when the roads are too bad to drive, maybe it’s better to just call in sick.
So don’t waste your money on winter tires, stick with the all-seasons. Focus on the road, and consider driving in slick conditions just another skill to master. If you need to learn, I teach on Saturdays.