Why You Should Buy Winter Tires Now: Clearance Sales and Benefits Explained
Check that date. Yes, it’s the beginning of February, and you may be surprised to hear that we’re telling you to buy winter tires now, even though we’re already halfway through the snowy season. However, this may very well be the best time to take advantage of clearance sales as tire retailers like Tire Rack are looking to clear out inventory.
Tires take up a significant amount of space for retailers, and as Tire Rack Vice President Matt Edmonds told The Car Connection, “We have several warehouses across the country. But they fill up fast and we need to have room for seasonal products.” This explains why retailers are eager to clear out space by offering discounts on winter tires.
But it’s not just about clearing out space. Tire manufacturers redesign their winter tires about every four to five years on average. This means that last year’s design may go on sale in January and February in anticipation of a new model debuting in the summer ahead of the next winter driving season.
To understand why winter tires are worth considering, let’s delve into the benefits they offer. If you live in Miami, and you’ve read this far, we applaud your enthusiasm for something you probably don’t need. But for drivers who live in areas where snow is a regular occurrence for at least a few months out of the year, winter tires make a lot of sense.
Compared to summer rubber, winter tires are generally less expensive to buy in the first place, and they allow drivers to have the best possible tire regardless of the season. Tires for most cars can be categorized into three groups: dedicated summer tires, all-season tires, and winter tires.
Dedicated summer tires are commonly seen on performance-oriented vehicles, while all-season tires are aimed at providing traction for a variety of driving conditions. However, when it comes to regular winter driving on ice or snow, all-season tires are not optimal. Good all-season tires may offer adequate traction on dry and wet roads, as well as lightly snow-covered roads. Still, they lack the necessary groove between the rubber’s lugs and often lack good siping, which are thin slits cut into the tire’s tread. It is this combination that helps winter tires grip slippery surfaces for acceleration and enhanced braking.
Winter tires are specially designed with a different rubber compound that is highly effective in cold weather. Their tread pattern is optimized to provide better acceleration traction and, more importantly, improved braking. While a car or crossover equipped with all-wheel drive may be able to get going in deep snow with all-season rubber, the biggest difference comes in braking performance.
Matt Edmonds emphasizes that although there is an initial purchase price for winter tires, they pay off in the long run. “Not only are they safer,” he says, “you’re only using them for half of the year. In late spring, you swap your summer or all-season tires back on.”
When it comes to the cost of swapping tires, most tire shops charge between $15 and $25 per tire. This means you would be spending about $60-100 twice a year. However, if you decide to buy a set of wheels to keep with your tires, you can either swap them out yourself in about an hour with a floor jack and a wrench, or most tire shops will do the job for less than $30.
According to Tire Rack’s recommendation, the winter tire season, commonly referred to as “T-day to T-day,” spans from Thanksgiving to Tax Day (April 15), although this timeline may vary depending on climate. Drivers at higher elevations in states like Colorado or Utah may have a longer winter tire season.
In conclusion, if you’ve been contemplating purchasing winter tires for your car, now is a great time to take advantage of clearance sales and discounted prices offered by various retailers such as Tire Rack, Discount Tire, and Les Schwab. Winter tires offer numerous benefits, including improved traction and braking on cold and slippery surfaces. While they may require an initial investment, their long-term advantages in terms of safety and performance make them a worthwhile purchase. So, check that calendar and consider investing in winter tires before the snowy season comes to an end.