when to use studded winter tires? (studded vs studless winter tires)

Changes in seasons, cooling, or warming are associated with the replacement of car tires. Car owners are faced with the choice of tire type, wondering at when to use studded winter tires or studless tires and how much heat can tires withstand for accident-free driving.

when to use studded winter tires

when to use studded winter tires?

Summer tires are designed for positive temperatures. Winter tires are used at 7°C and below. The main differences are in the quality of the rubber, as well as in the tread pattern. “Winter” rubber tire compound provides a shortened braking distance and good grip on snow and ice surfaces. The tread is characterized by a high density of sipes, a directional pattern, and expanded grooves. 

When choosing, you should consider the difference between traditional studded and studless tires.

Read special guide on How Fast Can You Drive On Winter Tires?

Studded and studless Winter tires

studless wheels are made of soft rubber and have an extensive network of grooves on the tread. Water from the road surface is distributed over the lamellas and absorbed. The friction between the wheel and the surface increases, and the car “sticks” to the road.

According to the results of testing of both options, which was carried out in difficult conditions, the average stopping distance of a car with studless tires is 15-17% less than studded cars.

winter tires operating temperature

The braking distance depends on temperature, road conditions, and ice conditions. The car travels the same distance from pressing the brake pedal to a complete stop on the spikes or studless tires at -15°C. When the temperature drops, it is advisable to wear “soft” tires, and when the temperature rises, studded tires.

Studded tires is suitable for rough ice, because the lamellas cling to uneven surfaces. On a smooth ice field, a car with spikes will be more stable. If the sun has melted the surface, studded tires will also be more effective.

When the temperature drops to -20 ° C, the braking distance of the car on spikes is 20% longer than studless tires. Therefore, during severe cold weather, it is better to use “soft” rubber.

In the range from -5°C to 0°C, the braking distance of the car on the spikes will be shorter. Meltwater causes studless tires to slip. The more water, the worse the grip of the wheels. In puddles, the effectiveness of any rubber is reduced. But studded tires are better for slippery surfaces.

When choosing tires, first of all, you should take into account the climatic zone of the region where you live. On frozen roads, during harsh winters, it is better to use studless tires. Spikes are more suitable for mild climates, thaws, and ice.

If you want to know Can I Replace Just One Tire?

what temperature to change winter tires?

The standard condition for changing tires is a decrease in the average daily temperature below 3°C. Consider the difference between the city and the suburbs. City streets can be dry, while rural roads are icy. Therefore, a change is necessary if the daytime temperature does not exceed 3°C.

Soft winter tires lose their effectiveness at 10°C and above. The braking distance increases, the probability of accidents increases, the comfort of travel decreases. The optimal period for replacement is from mid-October to November 15-20. The first “call” is snowfall or frost.

As a general rule, the car must be prepared before the appearance of snow or ice on the road. If a sudden change in temperature is expected, and the car is used intensively, put the studless tires on at 9°C. In such cases, it is necessary to avoid abrupt maneuvers, choose a gentle speed mode, and keep an increased distance.

If the car is used irregularly, the optimum temperature for replacement is 0°C. In order not to get into an accident, you can use public transport and wait for favorable weather conditions.

Tire change and legislation

Tires must be marked “M+S”, “M&S” or “M S”, a specific tread pattern. The requirements apply to cars of category B and trucks. The mandatory use of winter tires may be extended by regional ordinances.

The difference between spikes and studless tires is the allowed period of use. Studded models are used only from September to May. Tires without studs can be used all year round. It is necessary to change shoes from summer tires without marking to winter tires in the period September-November.

Scheduled tire replacement

The tread depth of a winter tire must not be less than 4 mm. Wearing worn tires can result in a fine or a warning. A fine is issued only when operating a car on an ice or snow surface.

In the off-season, the owner of the car must take into account such factors as the climatic zone, the standard replacement period, and the condition of the tires. Knowing at what temperature it is possible to ride studless tires, the driver will prevent accidents, and increase safety and driving comfort.

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