Check out Rawly the shop dog’s blog on winter tires. Link in profile. ?? #wintertires #snowtires #shopdog #winteriscoming #twinfallsidaho

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It is hard to believe but old man winter is right around the corner for those of us up here in the northern hemisphere.  If he comes in with half as much snow, rain, wind, and cold temperatures as he did last year the roads will once again be a snowy icy mess.


Not to fear!  Winter tires and some preventative measures will help reduce the effects of whatever frosty brings us.  


1. Stud-less Winter Tires

Winter tires have really changed over the years.  Instead of chains and studs, there have been new compounds introduced that help creates better friction between the tire and road surface.  Usually, these tires feel much softer and tacky to the touch.  These softer compounds help the tire remain flexible and grip the road.  Normal harder compounds become cold and stiff thus leading to less grip.  Be careful not to drive on these tires too long after the snow has dissipated as that softer compound will wear down a lot quicker on dry hot roads.


2. Studded Winter Tires


While stud-less winter tires have become very efficient at providing superior performance in winter, studded snow tires can still add an extra level of gripping in icy conditions.  Studs are little pieces of metal inserted into the tire that help grip the road surface.  Here in the state of Idaho studded winter tires are only legally allowed from October 1st through April 30th due to their ability to chew up roads. Studded winter tires create what can be an annoying sound while driving as well.



3.  Tire Chains


If you are snowbirding down south for the winter but may run into weather either before you leave or along the way snow chains are a good option.  These are a chain system that is specially designed to attach to each tire thus creating a very aggressive tread for biting through snow and ice.  While these are less expensive than a complete set of snow tires they will require work to put on (hopefully not in the middle of a snowstorm on the side of the road,) you will not want to go too fast with chains applied, and they become very noisy.  If you are headed to the mountains skiing, snowshoeing, or sledding and the weather may roll in, a set of chains is not a bad thing to have in an emergency kit.


4. Tire Pressure


While tire pressure won’t help you get un-stuck from a snowdrift, cold weather will affect the pressure inside your tires.  This may lead to a “Low Tire Pressure Warning Light” (TPMS) to be illuminated.  When the temperatures outside drop the air inside your tires will contract to lead the sensors to show low tire pressure.  This can be avoided by maintaining the proper inflation level in each tire.  Proper inflation levels are indicated on a label on the driver's door pillar.  There is a “Max” pressure indicated on the tire's sidewall, this is not the recommended pressure setting it is the maximum amount of pressure that tire can safely hold.  The dealer will gladly be able to help you set these pressures and is a standard maintenance checkup item when having oil changes performed at dealerships.


5.  Batteries


Cold weather can really drain batteries.  When it is below freezing the chemical reactions that take place inside a battery are slowed down.  Again the state of your batteries health is something that is tested every time a dealership performs service on it.  If your vehicle is taking longer and longer to crank over it may be a sign of a weak battery.  Sometimes a battery will fail without the long cranking symptom, not something that would be fun to find out in the middle of a Christmas trip.


If you have any questions or concerns about winter tires or getting your vehicle ready for winter please do not hesitate to swing by Middlekauff Auto or give us a call.  We are all hoping for great winter mountain activities and safe travels to and from those activities here in the valley.


By Taylor Morgan, Middlekauff Ford Parts Manager


Categories: Parts