Choosing a Winter Tire

Alaska Tire Service in Anchorage and Eagle River.

Winter is upon us, which means it’s time to start thinking about investing in snow tires. If this is your first time approaching this market, we understand it can be a little overwhelming. We’ve created this guide on how to pick the right winter tire. Keep reading for more information. When you’re ready to check out snow tires for sale in Anchorage, Alaska, visit our dealership. Alaska Tire Service is conveniently located in Eagle River. We’re also happy to assist with wheels, repairs, and financing options.

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Do I Need Them?

The first question you’re probably asking yourself is whether you need winter tires for your vehicle. Generally speaking, if you live in an area that experiences heavy snowfall, ice, sleet, or freezing rain, you should consider investing in a set of tires that are equipped to handle those conditions. It’s also a worthwhile consideration if you live somewhere that temperatures drop below 40 degrees.

Many people assume that they’re in the clear because they have all-season tires, but this isn’t the case. When you drive on icy or snowy roads, winter tires are the only ones that can provide you with the stopping ability and secure handling that you need. What makes them so special? For starters, they’re built with a different compound. Unlike summer and all-season models, winter tires are designed with hydrophilic rubber that remains softer in winter weather.

Studded vs. Studless

Now that we’ve cleared that up, the next question you’ll want to address is whether to choose studded or studless winter tires. Your driving habits and the area where you live will play a factor in this decision. Aside from that, consider where you will be driving. For example, studless snow tires are ideal for driving on slush and compact, packed snow. They’ll give you traction through their wide, deep grooves and irregular surfaces with sharp edges.

The studded option is your best choice when you need the best traction possible in all conditions, even ice. The studs are lightweight pins scattered across the tread that allows them to dig into slick surfaces. Keep in mind that extra tread depth is required to accommodate studs. Therefore, the size options are fairly limited.


On the subject of sizing, this is another important consideration when shopping for winter tires. As a general rule of thumb, you should aim to use the same size as the OEM. However, there are some exceptions. Going down a bit in size isn’t the end of the world, especially because driving through snow with narrow tires helps you avoid getting stuck. When they’re narrower, you have less snow to push through, which means there’s less resistance.

With that said, make sure you consult your owner’s manual or the placard located on the doorjamb which will note your tire size. When all is said and done, the overall diameter of the wheel and the tire combined should be consistent with what the vehicle came with originally.

Ready to find the right winter tires for your car? Give us a call or stop in and see us. Alaska Tire Service is conveniently located in Anchorage, AK. We’re proud to serve all of Alaska.