Studded tires: advantages and disadvantages

Although summer has just barely ended, it’s already time to start thinking about the cold-weather season. And when you think of winter, you automatically think of winter tires! This year, perhaps you’re wondering if you should get studded tires.

Unlike conventional winter tires, studded tires are embedded with small metal protrusions similar to cleats. These enable the tire to grab onto snow and ice to optimize traction and thus reduce the risks of having an accident.

Of course, tires like these don’t come cheaply. Before getting them, you should consider whether your travel routine, your place of residence or your needs necessitate this type of purchase. To make an informed decision, there’s nothing better than comparing the advantages and disadvantages!

The undeniable advantages of studded tires…

The popularity of studded tires is primarily because of their excellent adhesion to ice and packed snow. They offer better traction, prevent the wheels from skidding, ensure more secure accelerations and shorten braking distances. These qualities are highly appreciated by motorists who travel snow-covered rural routes or steeply graded terrain: if you need to go up or down a steep, frozen stretch of road, the strong traction provided by studded tires will prove to be a valuable asset. Likewise, if your vehicle only has rear-wheel drive, studded tires will compensate for the lack of power to the front wheels.

In other words, if you frequently have to travel icy streets where the temperature can change suddenly, making driving more perilous, you’ll find studded tires to be of considerable aid in ensuring your safety, as well as that of your passengers and other motorists on the road.

…As well as their numerous disadvantages!

On the other hand, if you live in the city and travel roads that are regularly plowed, you’re better off opting for traditional winter tires. Studded tires offer no advantages on these types of roads. To the contrary! First, on plowed asphalt, they’re much noisier than classic tires, which—you’ll most likely agree—isn’t exactly pleasant. Especially considering that the additional friction will also increase your vehicle’s fuel consumption. Second, the very source of their strength on snow-covered roads becomes their weakness on dry or damp pavement: the braking distance is, in fact, somewhat increased.

The effectiveness of studded tires on snow comes at a price: you’ll have to shell out an average of 10 to 20 percent more than you would for comparable classic tires. Given that studded tires wear down more quickly, you’ll also have to replace them more often, depending on the demands you place on them.

Last, studded tires are subject to certain restrictions. While they’re permitted in Canada (except in Southern Ontario), you are only allowed to use them during a very specific period. For example, the SAAQ (Société de l’assurance automobile du Québec) only allows them from October 15 through May 1. Outside of this time frame, you’ll risk having to pay a fine. Why? Because studded tires cause severe damage to asphalt.

So now you understand why the purchase of studded tires is something you need to think through carefully. While their efficiency is undeniable, you must first consider your travel routine. Do you mainly drive in the city, on the highway or on side streets? To get the answers to your questions and the help you need to make an informed decision, don’t hesitate to speak with the professionals at Trans-Mico Automotive. They’ll give you the straight facts and propose the perfect compromise between performance and cost.

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