Are Winter Tires Necessary If It Doesn’t Snow In Your Area?

If you live somewhere where it gets cold but rarely, if ever, snows, should you still swap out your summer or all-season tires for some winter rubber?

According to Engineering Explained, you might simply be better off utilizing your regular tires, especially if you’re focusing on stopping distance when braking for an emergency.

This experiment was carried out in freezing temperatures (between 24 F / – 4 C and 26 F / – 3 C), and with three braking tests apiece, it was the summer tires that stopped in a considerably shorter distance.

Their best result was 127.1 feet (38.7 meters), while the winter tires only managed 156.7 feet (47.8 meters), and yes, that’s is a disturbingly big difference.

Now, we should point out that the conditions for this test were very specific (outside temp, road surface, tire width) and that the tread pattern you get on winter tires will prove useful more often than not, as roads can get slippery even if there’s no snow or ice around.


  • europeon

    BS! He usually does good informative videos, this is not one of those.
    There are so many wrong things with his “test”, I don’t even know where to begin.

    • Mike Sinyaboot

      While I personally would always recommend snow tires for people that have cold winters, I still find this video very interesting. I did not expect the stopping distance with the summer tires to be so much shorter. That being said, the snow tires would still be the better option as they gave him much more control while coming to a stop. The shorter stopping distance means nothing if the car is erratic and difficult to control.

      I live in suburban Detroit and we have already had a rather snowy winter. It has dropped 6″-10″ in the last 48 hours. My S3 is a beast with its winter tires. However, we did not have a lot of snow last year and I was able to avoid purchasing new winter tires at the time. I never had any issues. I would still always recommend them though.

  • Starscream

    I respect this person, but the test is faulty. The michelin x-ice winter tires referred to in the test are fairly dense tires whose teeth are produced for very heavy winter conditions. so it’s not a normal winter tire. while the summer tire is more resistant to friction than a semi-slick teething tire and asphalt surface.

    • brn

      It was an interesting test, but not helpful to anyone looking for advice. He used very soft tires summer, with a lot of road contact, under ideal conditions (other than temp) for such a tire. All the video showed was that they hadn’t hardened up much.

      It would have been better if he’d tested with “normal” summer tires, “good” all- seasons, and “normal” winter tires. Still not overly scientific, but so much better than what he actually did do.

  • Bash

    Subjective. Personally, I would answer that question by just saying NO!

  • Kagan

    No snow or snow/water no need of winter tyres. Ice then you need nails on the tyres.

  • Christian Wimmer

    Here’s it’s the law.

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