Nobody likes to have to buy a second set of tires for their vehicle. A new set of snow tires can cost anywhere from a couple of hundred dollars for a subcompact car all the way to almost a thousand dollars for a full-fledged pickup truck. But what you don't realize is how much safety and peace of mind they buy you. All-season tires are generally fine for most climes where you don't get much winter precipitation, but for the ice, sleet, slush and deep snow you experience where it's almost guaranteed, snow tires are a wise investment that also happens to protect your car from unforseen body, suspension, and frame damage.

A good rule of thumb in deciding whether or not you need snow tires is the temperature. If temps don't drop below 45 degrees most of the time, you're probably safe with just all-seasons. If temps go below freezing, and you get snow every winter, invest in a good set of winter tires. Here are three more reasons to get them on your car before things get bad. 

AWD and 4WD Don't Make You Invincible

suv stuck

It seems most folks believe that an All-Wheel Drive or Four-Wheel Drive drivetrain setup ensures they won't get stuck, but that's far from the truth. We've seen our fair share of SUV owners stuck in snow with the wheels spinning. Most SUVs come with all-season tires, and though power to all four wheels is great to have in inclement weather, it's not a sure bet.

First of all, narrower tires tend to do better in snow because they push the snow aside rather than riding on top of it. Second, if a front-wheel drive car gets shorn with excellent snow/ice tires, they can sometimes beat AWD or 4WD vehicles that have only all-seasons. 

Snow Tires Provide Traction AND Control

snow tire anatomy

We've all been there. Your car is on a snowy road. You're not stuck, but your car lacks control, and you find yourself constantly correcting, worrying about sliding into parked cars on the side of the road. It's exhausting and stressful. Snow tires aren't just about pulling yourself out of a bad spot. It's also about having control when you're driving.

The better traction you have from snow tires (because of the tread depth, tread pattern and tire composition), your car will handle better when it's moving. See the photo of above of a dedicated ice/snow tire that's designed specifically for the task. It provides snow and ice traction, improved cold weather control and the ability to push away slush and water better than an all-season tire ever could. Again, it's not just about gettting unstuck, it's also about avoiding sliding into a snowbank on the side of the road in the first place. 

Even With Little Snow, Good Winter Tires Rule

snow tire cold

As mentioned above, snow tires don't just capitalize on a different tread pattern, they also are constructed differently than all-season or summer tires. Snow tires are built to handle a variety of road conditions that also include dry, cold road surfaces, in addition to snowy, slushy, and icy roads. They're designed to perform in winter conditions like low temperatures, whereas all-season tires tend to harden and lose traction when temperatures drop.

Special rubber compounds that stay malleable when it gets cold ensure that your tire has maximum traction. But it's not just traction to get you going, these special compounds (combined with tread patterns) allow your car to brake better, as well. It's something drivers tend to forget, even when they have SUVs with four-wheel or all-wheel drive. Next time you see a big SUV slide through an intersection, you also need to realize that heavier vehicles need better traction and better stopping distances that aren't just credited to good brakes.