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Indianapolis, and Indiana in general, is an amazing place to live, work, and play, with a ton of different events and activities to be a part of all year long. Of course, the winters here can be rather rough, and while the summer might be most people’s favorite time of year for going out and having fun, there is still plenty you can do during the Indianapolis winter. Tires on your vehicle are very important, however, when it comes to driving during the winter in the Indianapolis area. Even if you are a skilled and competent driver, it will not matter if your vehicle cannot remain under your control.
Here at Blossom Chevrolet, we are committed to not only helping you find the right vehicle but also supporting you for years afterward. That means ensuring you keep enjoying your ride for a long time, with the right tires keeping you safe and in control all year round. When the weather starts to turn cold, then it is important to have the right winter tires in Indianapolis so that you can safely drive on snow, slush, and even ice. Come visit us at Blossom Chevrolet to find out more and make sure you have the best tires on your vehicle.
A lot of our customers come to us with questions about winter tires, or snow tires as they are also called, and whether they are really important. Before we talk about why you might need them (you do), let us take a moment to look at what, exactly, they are. Winter tires are tires for your vehicle specially designed to work best at cold temperatures and provide you with grip and handling in snowy and slushy conditions. That is why they are sometimes called snow tires since they are considered a necessity for areas that get a lot of snow.
There are different types of winter tires available, and you will find them in a wide range of sizes, just like any other standard tires. The two most common types that you might find are studded and studless tires. Studded winter tires have small metal spikes embedded into the tread of them - the studs referred to in their name. When you drive on them, the studs help break up ice and packed snow, allowing your vehicle to get better traction on the road. Studless tires have a design specifically for handling slush and snow but lack the metal spikes.
You might also hear people talk about chains when discussing winter tires and options for staying safe on the road. Chains are exactly what they sound like: chains that wrap around your tire and stay in place while you drive. Much like the studs, the chains help break up ice and packed snow, providing you with better traction, though they can also damage the road and your vehicle, and are designed only for use at low speeds and over relatively short distances. On the other hand, standard winter tires can go long distances and work just fine for interstate driving at safe speeds, making them perfect for traveling during the holidays.
When driving here in Indianapolis in the winter, yes, winter tires very much do make a difference and will keep you safer on the road. There are a number of reasons and ways that they make a difference, starting with the improved handling and control that they provide in poor weather. Winter or snow tires are specifically designed with large, deep grooves that scoop snow and slush from the road to let your tires get better contact with the pavement. We get about 22 inches of snow here in Indianapolis every year, particularly from early December through late March.
During these months, having winter tires on your vehicle can help you stay in control while driving on snow, slush, and even ice. Staying in control can help you avoid a collision with another vehicle or an object like a tree or guardrail. The only thing worse than seeing another driver lose control of his or her vehicle due to bad weather is when you try to react and realize you do not have control either. Good winter tires during the cold months here in Indianapolis can help you avoid that frightening situation.
It is also worth noting that winter tires are designed and manufactured using rubber that is different from what you will find on all-season tires. Those tires are designed to work well in all kinds of weather, though they are best when it is still warm out. Once the temperature falls below 40 degrees Fahrenheit, the rubber on standard tires loses a lot of its flexibility and pliability, which makes for worse handling. On the other hand, good winter tires are engineered to remain pliable even as the weather gets cold, ensuring better performance and more responsive handling while on the road.
If you are unsure of whether studded or studless winter tires would be best for you, then we can help you with that too. Here in Indiana, studded winter tires are allowed by law only from October 1st through May 1st each year. Chains are only allowed when clearly required for safety reasons, and you should never use them on an interstate or similar road. Ultimately, deciding on studded tires really depends on your specific situation, which is why we can talk to you and help you figure out if they would be right for you.
It is also worth noting that the deep tread of winter tires can make them a bit harder to judge in terms of lifespan compared to standard tires. When looking at them, you might think they are still fine, when in reality, they have lost much of their effectiveness and should be replaced. Since they can wear fairly quickly, you should only have winter tires on your vehicle from about Thanksgiving through the end of March – this will save wear and tear on them and let you use them for quite a few years. This is also why buying used winter tires can be very risky – they might look fine but are really on their last legs.