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Do I Need Snow Tires?

By: Jeff Youngs, 12/11/2013
If you've ever shopped for snow tires, you are aware that they are not inexpensive. For example, the least expensive set of four winter tires designed for use on a 2013 Honda Civic LX is priced at more than $325, and that's before factoring in any installation costs. Bigger vehicles with larger wheels are even more expensive to shod with winter treads. Therefore, the answer to the question as to whether or not you need snow tires is, partially, answered by your household budget.

Beyond this, your geographic region and your own comfort level with driving in snow or on ice is a factor. For example, if you learned how to drive in Minnesota where severe winter weather is the norm but now live in Virginia in more mild climes, chances are you're pretty comfortable with whatever weather the mid-Atlantic region is going to produce. However, if you learned how to drive in Virginia and now live in Minnesota, chances are that a set of snow tires is an excellent idea.

If you do live in a region where heavy snow is the winter norm, determine whether you actually drive when a storm does hit. Lots of people simply stay home, and that's a good plan. However, if you have no choice but to venture out when the weather is awful, then yes, snow tires are a good idea.

Clearly, there is no hard and fast rule with regard to snow tires. Whether or not the added expense makes sense is determined by individual needs and requirements. Think of snow tires as a sort of insurance policy. Much of the time you won't need them, but during the times that you derive a benefit from them, you'll be glad you spent the money.

Where do I Buy Snow Tires?
Any major tire retailer should have a selection of snow tires in stock, especially during the winter months. However, if you live in a region where severe winter weather is not the norm, but you intend to travel by car to an area where snow and ice are common, you do have options. Snow tires can be ordered at your local tire shop or through a number of online retailers. Keep in mind, however, you will pay additional shipping charges, so be sure to factor this into your cost estimate.