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What to know to go on snow

In rural southeastern Pennsylvania in the 1950s, winter was heralded not by the stores’ Christmas displays the day after Halloween, but by the snow fences municipal road crews installed along stretches of highway and the snow tires our parents installed on the family station wagon.

We haven’t seen a snow fence in years, but after a couple of decades when “all-season” tires were in high favor, snow tires are again in vogue. This time around, they’re called “winter tires” to reflect their ability to perform better than ever in a variety of winter conditions, but also more adequately on dry roads with fewer of the issues–noise, rapid wear, lowered fuel economy, poor handling on icy surfaces–that characterized conventional snow tires. High-tech premium winter tires, versions of which have been developed in the past ten years by all of the top tire manufacturers, mean you don’t have to forgo control on ice in favor of a safe and comfortable ride through deep snow. Or packed snow. Or slush. Most can handle a variety of situations quite well, while many brands sell a range of winter tires, including some designed for optimum performance on ice, others specifically for SUVs.

Gerry Malloy for Sympatico / MSN Autos Canada suggests that “if you regularly encounter ice, unplowed snow, or slush in your daily driving, your need for winter tires should be obvious. But if your driving is on well-plowed, paved roads, good all-season tires may serve your needs adequately most of the time.”

Only you can determine if “adequately” and “most of the time” meets your personal criteria for a safe ride in an emergency situation.  Clearly, you can make your winter driving experience many times safer and surer by buying a tire that fits your weather conditions.

More good news: your Fred Beans service professionals will give you expert guidance in choosing the correct winter tires and get them installed on your vehicle now.