Living in the heartland of the nation, St. Louis residents are accustomed to varying degrees of weather. The 60º-temperatures we experienced last week, followed by the icepocalypse of 2017 is a clear representation of how quickly the weather patterns can change in our area.
Nevertheless, winter has a reputation of being fierce in St. Louis, and with eight weeks remaining until the first day of Spring, there’s still plenty of time for snow to ravage the metro area. Therefore, in this article, we’re aiming to answer the age-old question: Do you need snow tires in St. Louis?
What makes snow tires different than regular tires?
Before we can properly explain why should or should not have snow tires on your vehicle, let’s first define the main differences between winter tread and the rubber you already have on the pavement.
The standard car tire is made up of multiple layers, each stacked to provide a sound structure capable of holding pressurized air, which in turn, holds up your vehicle. On the outside of every tire is the tread, the rubber portion that sits directly on the road. This vital layer is responsible for providing traction, despite varying road conditions.
Snow tires are constructed in a similar manner, with reinforced layers intended to support your vehicle. Unlike their seasonal counterpart, however, snow tires consist of materials designed to improve traction in cold, wintry conditions. For areas with more extreme levels of snow and ice, some snow tires even come with metal studs embedded in the tread for maximum grip.
Do you need snow tires in St. Louis?
Although the choice is ultimately up to you, St. Louis drivers do not need to invest in winter tires. Here’s why…
According to weather studies conducted in our area, St. Louis receives an average of 14.5 days worth of snow each year; that means for the remaining 350.5 days (96 percent) of the year, snow is not an issue.
Taking the above information into consideration, it should also be noted that snow tires do not perform well on non-snow-covered pavement. When used on dry asphalt, snow tires wear down quicker, and they will not have the same stable ride-feel you’re accustomed to with your seasonal tires. In addition, those who choose to drive studded snow tires on dry asphalt could actually damage the roads they frequent.
As a result, purchasing snow tires for your vehicle to wear for 14.5 days of each year is not something you need to do, nor can we recommend for you to do it. Instead, you are advised to respect the quality of our roadways if and when snow falls. The Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) offers some important tips to help you navigate winter driving conditions. If conditions become too severe to venture out onto the road, simply wait for the roads to be treated or for weather to improve. Your safety is more important than any place you need to travel to.