Do I need Winter Tires?

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When you think of winter, you probably picture cozy sweaters, hot cocoa, and holiday cheer. Still, this chilly season also brings driving hazards like icy roads, snowstorms, hail, and lower visibility. To combat these cold-weather road conditions, invest in winter tires that provide traction and safety so you can navigate whatever winter throws at you. 
When shopping for winter tires, look at the factors that make them capable and unique: tread rubber, tread depth and patterns, and biting edges. You need to find tires that are reliable, durable, and offer exceptional performance.
Don’t venture out to drive on black ice without first letting
car insurance
comparison and broker app
help you understand how important winter tires are—and which you should buy. 

What are winter tires? 

Essentially, winter tires are tires designed to withstand the rigors of winter driving. They offer better traction and are more durable.
The materials and traits that make them safer for winter driving include:
  • Tread rubber, which remains more flexible in cold weather than all-season or summer tires. This allows the tread of the tire to grip the road better.
  • Tread depth and patterns, which help reduce the amount of snow that builds up. It also allows the tire to provide better traction, as they are designed to channel away snow, slush, and water.
  • Biting edges and high sipe densities, which are thousands of little slits that provide additional traction against ice. Many winter tires have a specially designed tread to help them “bite” into the snow more effectively.
Many drivers opt for studded winter tires for even greater slip prevention. 

How many miles will winter tires last? 

On average, winter tires should last for about 30,000 miles. Of course, this depends on the conditions you usually face while driving. 
A top-of-the-line winter tire should be able to last close to 40,000 miles. On the right vehicle, this number of miles can actually increase.
Key Takeaway A winter tire should last roughly 30,000 miles. High-quality tires may be able to go up to 40,000 miles.

Will winter tires decrease fuel efficiency? 

Since winter tires are prone to increasing a vehicle’s traction, handling, and maneuverability, it allows the engine to work less. This goes a long way toward conserving fuel while increasing gas mileage
When used properly, winter tires require minimal effort to either speed up, slow down, or stop the car. When your car uses less effort, it requires less gasoline, and subsequently, its gas mileage improves. 
However, driving winter tires during non-winter months can force your car to work harder. This will reduce your car’s fuel efficiency and can also cause damage to other components of your car—and can potentially even damage the road. The same goes for studded winter tires.
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Are winter tires worth it?

Every driver who lives somewhere with severe winters, significant snowfall, and below zero temperatures absolutely needs to have winter tires. They make winter driving safer and can save lives and protect your car. 
The name says it all; if you have to drive in the winter, you need winter tires. 

How much should you pay for winter tires? 

A set of winter tires should cost the same as a set of
all-season tires
. For instance, a set of winter tires from a top manufacturer for a 2022 Hyundai Santa Fe Limited should cost about $800-$1000.
Costs vary per make and model of a vehicle, of course, but you should budget about $150 per tire for a car and about $200 per tire for an SUV or truck.
So, a full set for most cars should cost about $600 or $750 if you include a spare. For SUVs and trucks, it should cost you about $800 for a full set or $1,000 if you include a spare

What type of tires does your car need? 

Unless you live in a snowglobe, you need tires that are appropriate for every season and a range of road conditions. Having the right tire for your car is really important. It contributes to safety, gas mileage, and performance
Understand which tire is right for your car by reviewing this breakdown of the main types of tires, which vehicles and conditions they’re best for, how much you can expect to pay, and how long they’ll serve you before giving out.
Type of vehicle
Driving conditions
Best type of tire
Average cost
Average lifespan
Passenger vehicles (car, SUV, or minivan)
Climates above 45° F
All-season tires
$80 to $150
60,000 miles
Passenger vehicles
Extensive commuting in moderate weather
Highway tires
$100 to $300
60,000 miles
Passenger vehicles (especially sports cars)
Racing and warm-weather driving
Summer tires
$150 to $300
30,000 miles
SUVs and trucks
Mix of highway and off-road driving
All-terrain tires
$150 to $300
40,000 miles
SUVs and trucks
Mud tires
$125 to $300
20,000 miles
Cold weather, snow, and ice
Snow tires
$80 to $200
30,000 miles or 4 winter seasons

How to find affordable car insurance

The right winter tires let you drive on icy roads with confidence, and the No. 1 rated
car insurance
can ensure you never overpay for the right coverage.  
Jerry generates coverage and rate options tailored to your driving needs from 50+ top providers so you can upgrade your car insurance without sacrificing peace of mind.
Simply download the Jerry app and then enjoy end-to-end expertise and support that will guide you through the process until you find the right new car insurance for you. Did you know that the average Jerry user saves $887 annually?
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By Rob Shapiro
Updated on Jan 23, 2023
Reviewed by Jessica Barrett, Senior Editor.
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