What Snow Tires Are Best in Youngstown?

November 25th, 2020 by

As you know, Youngstown is far inland and over 800 feet above sea level, meaning it gets cold in the winter. In the summer, you are lucky if the temperature goes above 80 degrees Fahrenheit. The winter runs from October to May, and snow can fall during all eight of these months.

With these climate conditions in mind, it’s important to know how to get around when the weather changes.

chevy silverado with snow plow

Basics of Tires

Road tires vary in hardness, depending on the type of vehicle you are driving. Sports cars need soft tires to give them better traction. Large 4x4s need hard tires to survive off-road and support the weight of the vehicle.

Then you get the sub-categories:

Summer tires: These are fine for warm climates with little rainfall. These use hard rubber with shallow tread patterns and are dangerous on flooded roads.

Wet weather tires: These are softer than summer tires and have deeper treads to disperse the rain out from under the tire. Though great in wet conditions, in dry conditions, these tires get hot and wear out fast.

All-season tires: All-season tires are the most common since almost all new cars have these put on them before they leave the factory. They have a reasonable amount of tread to cope with standing water, and the hard rubber makes them last. They may even handle light snowfall.

All-terrain tires: All-terrains are common on SUVs and trucks. The high sidewalls help them deal with rocks, and the deep tread gives them a better grip on loose surfaces. These aren’t good for highways since they make a lot of noise, and the shape gives them poor performance at high speeds.

Winter tires: Metal strips or studs give you the best grip on snow or ice. Some winter tires are also good on mud roads. These tires will have a three-peak symbol with a snowflake at its center. The tire should also have a snow depth grading.

What Are the Different Types of Winter Tire?

Each type of winter tire will give you a different level of grip. Many winter tires used to rely on metal or ceramic pins that dig into the ice on the road. The type of winter tire you use will affect the road noise in your car and your vehicle’s handling.

A true winter tire will have the three peaks logo visible on its sidewall, whether it has studs or not. Your tires may also have the M+S stamp for Mud and Snow. Modern winter tires tend not to use studs since there are too many places where they are illegal.

We can compare the benefits of each winter tire:

All Rubber

car tire close up

Image via Flickr by OregonDOT

Winter tires have deeper and wider treads than typical all-season tires. The idea is that as the temperature goes below 20 degrees Fahrenheit, the ice and snow will compact and give the tire a better grip. You can get rubber winter tires that will last for years, and they are not much noisier than regular tires. The walls are straight to help them cut into the ice and snow as you turn.

They also often have deep center ridges in the tire to help you control the vehicle. The rubber on a winter tire is a lot softer than an all-season tire — the cold shouldn’t have a big effect on their performance. These are legal in most states, and you can drive on them when the snow disappears, though they will wear out faster in dry weather.


car racing in snow

Image via Flickr by royal_broil

Studs can make a lot of noise, but they are also lifesavers in areas that suffer from a lot of road ice. Metal pegs in the rubber give you an amazing amount of control on ice and snow. Studs still offer superior grip in mud and on ice.

Some states have even made studs illegal to use year-round since they damage the road surface. The amount of control you get from studs will make you feel like a rally driver. Even in a two-wheel-drive vehicle, the cornering and straight-line performance can feel incredible.

Which Winter Tires Are Best for Each Need?

The laws of your state or even your area will dictate the tire you should be using, though certain weather conditions and driving surfaces behave better with certain tires.

Pure Ice

Driving on pure ice with studs is an amazing experience — the grip you get is not possible to achieve with rubber alone. You may find the ride is too uncomfortable and hard when you use them on a standard car.

Your truck or off-road vehicle will need studs if you are planning to drive up mountain trails covered in ice. You cannot use studs on main roads or highways, so you will need a soft winter tire to give you grip. You want studs for driving on frozen lakes or off-road trails through the mountains.

Loose Snow

All-season tires have treads to cope with temperatures of around 40 degrees Fahrenheit. The rubber is soft so that the tire will not freeze solid, and you get a good contact area with the road. The tread is a little deeper and wider than a normal wet tire.

If you don’t do too much driving throughout the year, you can keep these tires on. If you do a lot of highway driving in the summer, you may still want to swap them out to lower the wear and tear.

Compacted Snow on a Highway

Winter tires without studs are now comparable to older tires with studs. The rubber is softer, made for temperatures below freezing. The deep and wide treads compact and then eject the snow for greater grip. You should not have any legal issues when driving on main roads.

You can even drive these in the summer, but they will wear out fast if you do. Winter tires are great for a 4×4 and even a sedan if you are planning to journey to ski resorts that may have plenty of fresh snow leading up to them.

A Warm Helping Hand

Sweeney Chevrolet has dealerships in both Youngstown and Boardman, Ohio. We have close to 1,000 vehicles in stock and a team of experts to give you help with snow tires and winterizing your car.

If you would like to know more about tires and driving in the winter or you want to hear more about other driving experiences, you can send us an email. We can let you know when we publish our next article, and we would love to hear your comments.

Posted in Tips