Are winter tires needed in Chicago?

By Product Expert | Posted in Community, FAQ, Safety, Tips & Tricks on Friday, August 23rd, 2019 at 2:20 PM
Close-up on the tire of a vehicle as it drives down a snow-covered street.

Using Snow Tires in Northern Illinois

It’s pretty obvious that adding winter tires to your car will increase winter handling. But many residents of Chicago choose to “make do” every year with only their standard all-season tires. Are winter tires needed in Chicago?

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While not required by law, using winter tires on your vehicle during the snowy months in Chicago is a very good idea. There is simply a healthy level of safety and security brought along by applying winter tires. Handling is thoroughly improved thanks to the fact that they get 25 – 50% more traction than all-season tires. They can also stop 42% quicker.

If you’re interested in snow tires, check out our tire center through the link above. Our service center will be more than happy to help you get them installed!

A prototype vehicle with legs walks out of a snowy ditch back onto a highway.

Though this level of “winter tires” doesn’t exist yet, we think it’d be pretty cool!


Read More: Should you switch to snow tires in the winter?

Are winter tires the same as snow tires?

Modern winter tires are different than the snow tires that many drivers remember from years past. Snow tires were loud and bulky. They didn’t do much good on ice or slush, and were really only useful in deep snow. They were also typically only put on the rear wheels.

The winter tires of today are specially optimized to control as well as possible on all winter surfaces- ice, packed snow, wet roads, and everything in-between. Most importantly, they maximize traction, the all-important element that a standard tire is able to get very little of in the winter. All-season tires also get harder when the temperature drops beneath 45 degrees, resulting in a loss of flexibility and control.

Do I need winter tires if I have all-season tires?

All-season tires are the most commonly used tires in climates such as ours, and they do a decent job. However, they are still significantly slipperier than winter tires.

True winter tires can be identified by the symbol of a mountain with a snowflake in it. This certifies that the tire complies with severe snow standards. All-season tires, on the other hand, are identified by an “M & S” sign, which stands for “mud and snow.”

Do all-wheel drive vehicle need snow tires?

Even if your car has features such as anti-lock brakes, traction control, and all-wheel drive, winter tires make a big difference. These features ultimately do not maximize traction in winter-weather conditions.

Do I need to put winter tires on all four wheels?

Yes, it’s very important to put winter tires on all four wheels of your vehicle. In the past, snow tires were often only added to two of the four wheels. However, doing this with highly optimized modern winter tires will severely throw off the traction of your vehicle. This can result in serious loss of control if two of your tires are able to stop moving and the other two keep sliding out.

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