A few years back if you wanted tires that would perform well in ice and snow then you would take your regular tires to the shop and get them studded. The shop would take your tires and fit metal studs into the tread. This would provide a better grip on icy and snowy surfaces, as the studs would penetrate the slippery top and allow for better all-round handling.
These days however, gigantic strides forward have been made in the designs and development of winter tires. With deeper treads and rubber compounds that work extremely well in the most inhospitable cold weather conditions, are studded tires really necessary?
Well, as with all these sorts of questions there are many factors to consider. Firstly you need to look at the weather you are likely to be travelling in and the terrain that you wish to cover. If the winter around your parts doesn’t get ridiculously cold and you aren’t thinking of driving off road, then winter tires should do just fine. Most highways will be cleared throughout the worst weather periods by ploughs and road surfaces are usually treated when the snow arrives.
However, if you do intend to cross some pretty remote land in conditions that would make a polar bear shiver then perhaps studded tires could suit your needs. Studded tires will not be the answer to all your traction problems however. When you have studded tires fitted, icy surfaces won’t suddenly react like tarmac. They will definitely help but you still need to be aware of what you are driving on and take it steady. Also they are incredibly noisy; if you’ve just put a really expensive music system in your car, then don’t show it off when riding on studded tires. Remember that studded tires work really well in bad conditions but they are expensive and will wear quickly when the weather doesn’t suit them. So if you don’t need them, get them switched, there are no benefits to using them for the sake of it.
So maybe chains or cables would be a better idea. Remember we are only talking about the most extreme winter weather conditions here and also in terrain that very few people would opt to travel through on a daily basis. If you do need to go into these places on a regular basis, maybe as part of your job, then chains could be a bit of a drag. This is because you have to fit and remove them as the weather dictates; which takes time and can be uncomfortable in extreme cold conditions. But, if you aren’t expecting weather that may over extend the capabilities of your winter tires then why go to the expense of studded tires. Buy good quality winter tires and get some chains or cables to keep in the trunk just in case. However, some vehicle manufacturers warn against the use of chains because they can damage some pretty important components that are situated around the wheels, such as the brakes. So always check this out before you make any decision.