Do Pickup Trucks Need Winter Tires?
Are you unsure if your truck needs winter tires? Whether winter is already at your doorstep or you're preparing for the coming season, this article can help you determine if your pickup truck needs winter tires and understand all the details associated with getting new tires. You rely on your truck to get you around, and you will depend on it even more in the winter season, so make an informed decision. Learn the difference between tire chains and installing winter tires, the benefits of winter tires, when to put on your winter tires and when to replace them.
Benefits of Winter Tires
Large portions of the United States are covered in snow every year. More than 70% of the roads in the U.S. are in areas that receive 5 inches or more of snow each year. Where there is snow, there is also ice. Knowing your city's weather is critical to preparing your pickup truck for transportation each winter. Having your vehicle ready for treacherous winter seasons keeps you safe when driving and helps protect others on the road.
The Federal Highway Administration (FHA) reports that 24% of weather-related accidents occur from snow, slush or ice. Nearly 15% of accidents are when snow or sleet is falling. With those odds, you need to prepare your pickup truck for the months ahead. Even if winter in your area is not treacherous, installing winter tires is a good idea because the type of rubber they use reduces hardening.
Here are the critical differences between winter tires and standard tires:
- Rubber: The rubber in winter tires doesn't harden as regular tires do in colder temperatures. Because the rubber stays softer, winter tires can still grip the road and maintain flexibility in cold weather.
- Tread: Winter tires have full-depth tread that enables them to disperse snow more easily and increase traction. They also have tiny slits in the rubber that help maintain a grip on wet and icy roads.Winter Tires vs. Chains
You may be wondering why you should buy a new set of tires for winter when you can apply chains to your current set of tires. Though they seem similar, tire chains and winter tires have several differences. It's often best to opt for winter tires over chains.
Tire chains are generally less expensive and can provide traction, but using them requires planning to bring them or keeping them in your truck at all times. Putting chains on your tires requires you to be outside in the cold, snowy weather, often crawling around on the ground under your truck.
Winter tires may be more expensive than chains, but they offer more convenience and safety. Once you install your winter tires, you don't have to install anything in the snowy weather. Winter tires also provide better traction for snow and ice than chains.
Driving is not the only thing to consider when choosing between chains and winter tires for your pickup truck. The more important consideration is stopping. Winter tires generally allow you to stop the vehicle with a more normal braking time. When using chains on regular tires, stopping can still be an issue, especially if you need to stop quickly.
When to Put on Winter Tires
When the temperature starts falling to the point of winter clothing, that's an excellent sign to switch over from regular tires to winter tires. It's best not to wait until the snow starts falling to install the winter tires. When there is snow on the ground and low temperatures, it could mean there is a high probability of ice on the roads already, which decreases your safety while driving.
A good number to keep in mind is 45 degrees. If the temperature falls below 45 degrees and remains there or gets lower, it's a good time to install your winter tires for the season. Be sure to check your tire pressure when you install your winter tires. The recommended pressure can vary depending on your vehicle and tire size, but there are some general guidelines you can go by if you are unsure about the details of your vehicle.
- Tire pressure between 32 and 35 PSI is a good range for many vehicles.
- There is generally a 3 to 5 PSI difference than during the warmer seasons because of expanding and contracting rubber.
- Watch the pressure regularly. Even in normal conditions, tires lose an average of 1 PSI every 30 days.
When You Should Replace Winter Tires
If you've chosen winter tires for your truck, you still need to know when to replace them. The best metric for deciding how often to replace the winter tires to maintain the safe driving they provide is the tread. Like regular tires, you want to examine your winter tires for uneven wear and tear, cracks or other damage on the tires.
A quick way to check your tread is to use a U.S. penny. Place the penny inside the tread with Lincoln's head facing into the tire. If you can see the top of his head while the penny is in the tread, it's time to replace your tires. As always, it's best practice to carry a spare winter tire in case of a flat tire, blowouts or other unforeseen emergencies in the winter months.
Contact General Spring for Truck Parts
Preparing your truck for winter involves more than just switching out the tires. It's an excellent time to inspect your vehicle all around. If you need to update your suspension or replace your leaf springs, General Spring has what you need! When you order from General Spring, you can rest easy knowing you are getting quality truck parts shipped straight to your home quickly. Enter winter stress-free and contact General Spring and start preparing your truck for the winter months now!
Safety comes first, and General Spring understands this and strives to provide the best quality springs and other suspension parts for your truck. We have been the authority in leaf springs and suspension since 1965. There is no better company to provide safety for you and your family.