Driving during winter and ice-covered roads can get very dangerous, especially if you don’t have the right tires to handle the road conditions.
Apart from providing regular winter tires, tire manufacturers have developed additional studded tires to handle extreme situations. But do studded tires work? Here’s all you need to know.
Do Studded Tires Work?
Studded tires do in-fact work in icy conditions as they help to increase traction and handling. Unlike winter tires or tire chains, studded tires work as the studs provide an anchor to the ground by penetrating the ice. Additionally, studded tires are better at braking and accelerating on icy roads.
For more information about studded tires, how they work, and what makes them better than regular winter tires, read on!
Are Studded Tires Better Than Regular Winter Tires?
Although studded tires come with a more enhanced grip than typical winter tires in snowy road conditions, they are not always necessary.
If your area or town occasionally snows and you won’t have to drive on icy roads regularly, then the traditional winter tires will work just fine.
However, if your roads are snow-packed all the time, it’s okay to equip your car with studded tires.
By choosing tires with metal studs embedded in the tread blocks, your tires can cling to the most solid ice surfaces and confront frozen gravel.
Do Studded Tires Work During Other Seasons?
In the same way, winter tires aren’t ideal on ice; studded tires are also not all-rounded for all types of weather conditions. So how do they perform during other seasons?
When driving on a clear road with no snow or ice, studded tires have reduced traction because the tire’s tread block has reduced contact with the road.
In the same way, when it’s raining, and the road is wet, tread blocks are needed to channel away the water.
However, when the tires have studs, the tires will not get the maximum grip, and the drives will become slowed down.
Therefore, it’s better to get the standard winter tires during these periods, mainly because of the temperatures.
Summer & Dry Seasons
Just like during the rainy season, studded tires are not ideal for dry roads during hot and summer seasons.
Apart from the reduced grip, the tires will produce an irritating noise that comes from studs contacting the asphalt.
Therefore, these tires don’t work for this season, and it’s better to use all-season tires.
Additionally, every state has laws that govern the use of studded tires; therefore, you can’t use them outside of specific dates because the metal studs damage most roads.
To avoid getting into trouble, you’ll have to mount your summer or all-season tires.
Studded tires are exclusively winter tires; therefore, they should not be used during the warmer seasons or during summer.
All winter tires are made with a special rubber compound that helps them work best in snowy and icy conditions.
Additionally, they are meant to be used only when temperatures are ~45°F or below; therefore, the hot summer temperatures will make them wear out faster.
How Long Do Studded Tires Last?
While studded tires have no set life expectancy, they should ideally last you about four seasons, depending on different factors.
Treadwear on your tires will wear out faster depending on how many miles you drive monthly and whether the roads are always covered in snow and ice.
Your tires will wear out faster if they have to drive through snow-packed roads for most seasons.
What Are The Advantages Of Using Studded Tires?
Now that we’ve established studded tires are ideal for which seasons, what’s the advantage of using them over other winter tires? Let’s take a closer look.
Compared to studless tires, these alternatives have better performance and superior grip on ice-covered and snowy roads.
When the driver brakes and accelerates on the ice with studded tires, they have the combined advantage from the winter tire compound and studs clawing into the ice, improving the vehicle’s responsiveness.
These metal studs were designed specifically to dig into the ice for better traction.
Improved Braking Time
Although tread depth affects the stopping distance when braking, the studs on these tires also influence how fast or stop you come to a halt.
Studded tires brake earlier at a safer distance which is ideal for both the driver and other motorists on the road.
Therefore, these tires work pretty well throughout the winter season.
When Are Studded Tires Not Ideal?
Apart from the United States, countries such as Canada also have laws that govern the use of studded tires on their roads. Let’s look at some of the downsides of using these tires.
Since the tire is primarily made of rubber, the additional metal studs can make the tires noisier than usual when they make contact with the asphalt.
However, you’ll notice that the noise tends to increase when you drive on non-snowy roads because they are not the most ideal.
As mentioned above, states and cities have developed laws that dictate which months drivers can use studded tires. This has been implemented because the metal material damages the road surface, incurring repair costs to the state.
While some tire manufacturers distribute already studded tires, some brands sell tires that can have studs added later.
When buying these tires, you’ll notice the studded ones are more expensive but will be more durable compared to the ones installed by your dealer.
Studded tires work well when the roads are snow-packed or covered in ice during the winter season.
However, if your city roads are not extremely snowy, it’s better to stick to the traditional winter tires; they’ll provide the best tractions for such conditions.
In addition, studded tires should not be used during other seasons, such as summer when the temperatures are hot. The heat is not suitable for the tire compounds, and the studs will not serve any purpose.
If you are looking for good traction and performance during winter, these tires are your best alternative.