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Author jwernerny Date Thu Nov 09, 2006 2:38 pm Views 4068
Description Snow Traction, Ice Traction, Dry Roads
Category The Snow Tire FAQ Type FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions
Rating No votes [Rate Article]
3.07. Driving Conditions
Snow Traction

Deep, heavy snow is much like mud. It requires a tire with large tread blocks and good size openings. The tire must be able to dig in yet not get clogged at low speeds. If the tire can not expel the snow, it will start making itself into a snow ball. This type of tire is the "classic" M+S design. Classically, the blocks are large and have large voids (empty spaces) between them. The tires sold for most trucks (designed to see mud, regardless if they ever do) are representative of this tread.

Lighter snow often found when the weather turns really cold, and there are no salt trucks allows a different tread design. The snow tires designed for high speed driving in the snow are often designed for lighter snow. The tread blocks are closer, smaller, often cut with sipes (little grooves). Because the tread design relies on centrifugal force to throw snow out of the tread, these tires often do not work well at low speeds.

Ice Traction

Ice is a special case. The best tires for ice have 1/2" sheet metal screws protruding from them. To make the tires, holes are drilled through the tread and then screws are literally screwed into the holes from the inside of the tire. Next, a layer of protective material is put in. Since the holes will let air out, an inner tube is used when the tires are mounted. The tires work on ice because the screws chew into the ice to provide traction. Needless to say, these tires are not welcomed on most public roads.

A more road-worthy solution for ice is studded snow tires. Metal studs are inserted in factory drilled holes in the tires. Since the holes are put in by the factory and are not all the way through the tire, the tires do not need an inner tube. The pattern and number of studs will make a difference on the performance of the tire. In general, the more studs, the better the ice performance of the tire and the worse the dry pavement performance. (With studded tires, you are actually always running partly on the studs.)

There are also newer designs that work well on ice but do not use studs. The non-studded snow tires do not work as well as studs, but they do a very good job.

Dry Roads

Even dry roads are a special condition in winter. Temperature effects the tration of tires. The tread on winter / snow tires is optimized to work in sub-freezing temperatures. By contrast, the tread of summer only tires is optimized to work significantly above freezing. In winter, summer tires will be come very hard and a bit slippery. In summer, winter tires will become very soft, a bit stickier, and will wear very fast.

Rating No votes[Rate Article]
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