With winter approaching, it’s time to start thinking about swapping out the summer tires for the winter tires. But every once in a while we get that errant rainstorm and you may be nervous about putting your winter tires on too soon.
So, you may be wondering are winter tires good in the rain? In my experience, they work just fine in the rain. Are they as good as tires specifically made for wet conditions? Not quite. Winter tires are made for better traction on snow and ice, but in the end, they are still rubber tires and work fine in the rain.
Every winter, when I lived in Maine, I had the annual tradition of installing winter tires on all my vehicles. It was a necessity for living up there. Obviously, we didn’t have snow and ice all the time, every once in a while we did have other weather. I never had a problem with winter tires in wet conditions in the 12 years I lived up there.
Many consumer reporting tests rate winter tires unsatisfactory for wet/rain conditions. That should not surprise you, because they are designed for winter conditions. But they can still work ok in rainy weather and would allow drivers to feel safe and comfortable even when the roads are wet with surface water.
So, if you find yourself driving in rain with snow tires, don’t worry. You won’t go careening off the road because of your tires. So if winter tires can drive in the rain, can you leave winter tires on all year?
Looking For Tires
If you are experiencing your first winter or just need to replace your old winter tires. Check out SimpleTire.com for a huge selection of new tires for a safe driving experience.
WHY YOU SHOULDN’T LEAVE WINTER TIRES ON ALL YEAR
Winter tires are specifically designed for cold temperatures and winter precipitation. Once it gets warm, you can no longer benefit from deep tread depths in snow or biting edges for traction on ice. Here are some reasons why using them year-round is not recommended:
Winter Tires Don’t Last Long in Warm Temperatures
Winter tires tend to wear out faster on the pavement in the summer which leaves you open to accidents. The rubber tread of winter tires can get worn down more quickly in the warmer months, while all-season and summer tires can help provide more durability in hot weather.
These tires are made with a rubber compound that is designed for a wide range of temperatures and road conditions. Driving winter tires in the summer can wear them out faster. That’s because the rubber compound in winter tires is designed for colder conditions, not warmer temperatures
Winter tires are designed for traction on the snow and ice, not longevity, as in they are not meant to last with continuous wear. In addition to this winter tires, experience decreased performance in the warmer weather, in other words, they do not handle as well.
It Doesn’t Pay To Keep Winter Tires on Year-Round
It can cost you, not save you money If you’ve made the investment in the added safety of winter tires, changing them out with a set of all-season or summer tires at the right time can help extend the service life of your winter tires – saving money!
Also, compared to all-season tire types, winter tires often have higher rolling resistance which can cost you at the gas pump. This means less fuel economy and that is a bad thing.
Traction and Handling Issues
The softer rubber compound in winter tires won’t deliver as crisp of handling as an all-season tire. Cornering, acceleration, and braking may be compromised on hot, summer roads and higher temperatures.
Every winter it would take a little while to adjust to the ‘feel’ of the winter tires. Because on regular roads they did drive differently. That’s why I waited until the end of October to put my winter tires on.
When it comes to traction lack of tread depth can be a bigger safety risk in winter. If you do use winter tires in the summer, you can expect those tires to have less tread for the following winter. That means your tires won’t channel snow, slush, or water as well.
To sum this all up winter tires are just fine in the rain. You will not have the handling and feel of a good all-season tire, but you will also not be all over the road.
You can’t avoid wet conditions even in the winter. Warm pavement, sunshine, other traffic will create wet conditions even during the winter. Winter tires can handle these situations just fine.
Winter tires are built for traction on snow and ice. That’s where they excel. But they can handle the rain, especially during the cooler months of the year.
Just don’t make it a habit of driving them all year round for the reasons that we discussed. They wear out faster, cost you money, and reduce your handling. If you are looking for a new set of winter tires check out Simple Tire; they have an excellent selection of tires for your vehicle.
Take care of yourself, take care of your tires, until next time…
Fascinated by tires? I have a number of other articles that you may find interesting. Check them out below.