Do I Need Winter Tires? The answer all depends on the type of driving you plan on doing during the cold months. If you need to travel across the state of New Mexico, there are places winter tires can serve you best.
Modern winter tires do a terrific job for NM driving in a wide range of winter conditions. First of all, below 45°F/7°C, regular tires become hard and inflexible. That means they don’t provide the road grip NM vehicles need. Even if you don’t live somewhere in NM with a lot of snow, but it still gets below 45°F/7°C in the winter, you will be safer with winter tires.
In addition, they are specifically designed to more effectively move snow and water. That’s the key to traction on ice-packed snow and wet New Mexico roads. They use a micropore compound that allows the tire to bite into ice and snow. They also use wider grooves that run around the circumference of the tread to expel snow from the tire better. The lugs and grooves on winter tires have a special shape that throws the packed snow out of the tread as the tire turns. The tread is then open when it comes back in contact with the road and can provide good traction for NM drivers.
Winter tires also have a lot of sipes. Sipes are thin slits in the tread. The edge of the sipes grab ice and packed snow to provide tons of traction and to expel water and slush out of the tread. Winter tires have a rounder casing to cut into the snow’s surface. The treads on regular summer tires can actually get packed with snow instead and become very slick. Winter tires offer 25% to 50% more traction for NM drivers than all-season tires. And when it comes to stopping power, all-season tires take 42% longer to stop than winter tires. Sometimes that’s the difference between getting home safely and spending the night in a snow bank.
Rio Rancho drivers often assume that if they have four-wheel drive or all-wheel drive they don’t need winter tires on all four wheels. Would you intentionally disconnect the four-wheel drive in poor road conditions? Of course you wouldn’t, but that’s essentially what you do if you only put winter tires on one end. It only makes sense to have the same level of traction and control at all four corners.
Many modern cars have traction control and anti-lock brakes so NM drivers may think that they don’t need winter tires. But you need traction to accelerate, steer and stop. The tires provide the traction so that the traction control and anti-lock brakes have something to work with.
So when the Rio Rancho temperatures drop below 45°F/7°C, be sure you have a set of four winter tires for maximum performance on snow, packed snow, ice, plus wet and dry roads. Your friendly and knowledgeable American Tire and Service tire professional can help you find the right winter tire for your vehicle and driving needs.