Picking the perfect winter tire set can be a lengthy process. You need to know the answers to a couple of questions like what winter conditions you will be driving in or what is the state traction law regarding winter tires, even before your hunt begins.
It is important to purchase the correct winter tire set! These tires are designed to ensure your driving safety in the colder months. Therefore, what tires you get will differ depending on a couple of factors.
But, what is the difference between studded tires, studdable winter tires, and studless tire sets?
Let's find out the answer together!
What are Studded Tires?
Studded tires are a special type of winter tire, which features protrusions along their tread area. These small bulges are strategically placed on the tread area to increase traction on snow and ice surfaces.
Studded snow tires offer better grip, as studs clawing at the ice- and snow-covered surfaces generate additional biting edges. This significantly enhances their traction in winter conditions.
What are Tire Studs?
But, what are studs for tires?
Studdable winter tires use hard rubber studs or metal studs to further increase their winter weather performance. Studs are inserted into the pinned tread area, in order to generate additional biting edges.
Studs feature larger diameter cylindrical ends that have their roots inside the tread. Their top sports specially designed pins, that are taller than the footprint. You can purchase metal studs as well we hard rubber studs for tires.
Metal studs size chart:
What are Studdable Tires?
Studdable winter tires are between studded and studless tires. They are sold with pinned tread areas, where studs can be inserted. Studdable snow tires are designed for versatile winter conditions.
You can add or remove studs from the tread area of studdable winter tires. However, doing it too often will damage the tire tread's integrity. Used tires cannot be studded to ensure their driving safety.
Yet, there are new tire technology methods to stud, which have created removable tire studs that help to regulate winter weather performance.
Still, studdable winter tires allow drivers to make decisions for themselves about whether they want to stud their tires or not. While studding tires is a time-consuming process, keep in mind that you will need specific tire stud sizes for specific tire models.
How to Remove Studs from Tires?
It can happen that you will need to remove snow tire studs. When this happens, this is what you need to do:
Removing tire studs is not too difficult, but it is a timely process. You will need tire lubricant and a pair of pliers. Make sure the lubricant is safe to use for tires and that it does not damage its compound or tread area. Lubricate the studs on an inflated tire, and use the pliers to remove the studs by twisting them.
If you do not have time for this lengthy activity, you can also take your vehicle to a tire shop to have these car studs removed.
How do Studded Winter Tires Work?
Compared to non-studded winter tires, studded tires offer a better grip on snow and ice. But, how exactly do winter tire studs work?
Studded tires provide extra grip during winter driving. Tire studs increase traction on icy and packed snow roads. This is due to the car studs gripping the driving surface, by breaking the top layer of ice.
Furthermore, the car weight helps winter tire studs installed on the tread area to increase traction as the tires rotate. This is something studded tires cannot provide.
However, this piercing ability is what makes studded tire laws necessary. But, we will talk about that later.
Studded vs Studless Winter Tires
When it comes to the studded vs studless winter tires debate, it is important to what advantages these tires offer. Purchasing a specific winter tire set for your needs is crucial to ensure your driving safety.
But, what do these winter tires offer? Let's take a closer look!
The Advantages of Studded Winter Tires
Studded tires were specifically designed for harsh winter conditions. Tires with metal studs are able to grip snow and ice-covered roads better, ensuring their forward motion and performance without slipping.
Snow tires with spikes provide superb traction on ice-covered hillside surfaces. Ice studs for tires guarantee the tire's performance even on uneven and unpaved roads. Unfortunately, studless winter tire sets are unable to provide the same.
You might also wonder how to get better traction in snow. Well, the answer is also studs, as long as we are talking about off-road surfaces. Packed snow can be easily conquered by studded tires, just make sure you follow state traction laws.
The Advantages of Studless Snow Tires
Studless winter tires provide better traction on paved road surfaces. While they do not offer much help on hard-packed snowy surfaces, they conquer cold weather conditions.
The detailed tread pattern of studless tires creates the necessary number of biting edges in order to increase its winter performance. Using studded tires on paved roads can damage roads easily, and for this reason, their use is highly regulated.
Thanks to the wide groove pattern of studless snow tires, hydroplaning is also minimized. These tires are able to channel water and slush from below the footprint, to further ensure driving safety.
Where Can You Use Studded Tires?
When it comes to the studded tires vs snow tires debate, which tire set works for you greatly depends on where you live.
The question isn't a simple "when do studded tires need to come off?", it's more complicated than that. The use of studded tires is highly regulated by state law. In some states, tires with metal studs can only be used between specific dates, while other states completely outlaw them. It all depends on where you are going to drive your vehicle.
Whether you are restricted by dates, location within the state, or weather conditions, be sure you know what you sign up for when purchasing rubber or metal studded tires.
So, are studded tires worth it? You need to be the judge of that! But, before you decide, check below what your state allows.
Here are the studded snow tires laws by state:
Studded Tire Laws by State
|State||Laws for Stud Use|
|Alabama||The use of studded tires is only allowed when safety requires them on slippery road surfaces, as long as the studs are of reasonable proportion to the tires.|
North of 60°
Latitude - The use of studded tires is allowed between September 16th - April
South of 60° Latitude - The use of studded tires is allowed between October 1st - April 14th.
|Arizona||The use of studded tires is allowed between October 1st - May 1st.|
|Arkansas||The use of studded tires is allowed between November 15th - April 15th.|
|California||The use of studded tires is allowed between November 1st - April 30th.|
|Colorado||The use of studded tires is not allowed|
|Connecticut||The use of studded tires is allowed between November 15th - April 30th.|
|Delaware||The use of studded tires is allowed between October 15th - April 15th.|
|Florida||The use of studded tires is not allowed|
|Georgia||The use of studded tires is only allowed when safety requires them on slippery|
|Hawaii||The use of studded tires is not allowed. Exceptions: the Mauna Kea access road above Hale Pohaku and on all roads within the Mauna Kea Science.|
|Idaho||The use of studded tires is allowed between October 1st - April 30th. Exception: Fire departments.|
|Illinois||The use of studded tires is not allowed. Exceptions: Rural mail carriers and persons with disabilities living in unincorporated areas are allowed to use studded tires between November 15th - April 1st.|
|Indiana||The use of studded tires is allowed between October 1st - May 1st.|
|Iowa||The use of studded tires is allowed between November 1st - April 1st.|
|Kansas||The use of studded tires is allowed between November 1st - April 1st.|
|Kentucky||The use of studded tires is allowed.|
|Louisiana||The use of studded tires is not allowed|
|Maine||The use of studded tires is allowed between October 2nd - April 30th.|
|Maryland||The use of studded tires is allowed between 1st - March 31st for vehicles registered in the following counties only: Allegany, Carroll, Frederick, Garrett, and Washington.|
|Massachusetts||The use of studded tires is allowed between November 2nd - April 30th.|
|Michigan||The use of studded tires is not allowed.|
|Minnesota||The use of studded tires is not allowed. Exception: Rural mail carriers are allowed to use studded tires on certain road conditions between November 1st - April 15th.|
|Mississippi||The use of studded tires is not allowed.|
|Missouri||The use of studded tires is allowed between November 2nd - March 31st.|
|Montana||The use of studded tires is allowed between October 1st - May 31st.|
|Nebraska||The use of studded tires is allowed between November 1st - April 1st.|
|Nevada||The use of studded tires is allowed between October 1st - April 30th.|
|New Hampshire||The use of studded tires is allowed.|
|New Jersey||The use of studded tires is allowed between November 15th - April 1st.|
|New Mexico||The use of studded tires is only allowed when safety requires them on slippery road surfaces.|
|New York||The use of studded tires is allowed between October 16th - April 30th.|
|North Carolina||The use of studded tires is allowed.|
|North Dakota||The use of studded tires is allowed between October 15th - April 15th. Exception: School buses.|
|Ohio||The use of studded tires is allowed between from November 1st - April 15th.|
|Oklahoma||The use of studded tires is allowed between from November 1st - April 1st.|
|Oregon||The use of studded tires is allowed between from November 1st - March 31st.|
|Pennsylvania||The use of studded tires is allowed between from November 1st - April 15th.|
|Rhode Island||The use of studded tires is allowed between from November 15th - April 1st.|
|South Carolina||The use of studded tires is allowed|
|South Dakota||The use of studded tires is allowed between October 1st - April 30th. Exception: School buses and municipal fire vehicles.|
|Tennessee||The use of studded tires is allowed between October 1st - April 15th.|
|Texas||The use of studded tires is not allowed.|
|Utah||The use of studded tires is allowed between October 15th - March 31st.|
|Vermont||The use of studded tires is allowed.|
|Virginia||The use of studded tires is allowed between October 15th - April 15th.|
|Washington||The use of studded tires is allowed between November 1st - March 31st.|
|West Virginia||The use of studded tires is allowed between November 1st - April 15 th, but only on tires operating at 40psi or below.|
|Wisconsin||The use of studded tires is not allowed. Exception: Emergency vehicles, school buses, and mail delivery vehicles.|
|Wyoming||The use of studded tires is allowed.|
The Tire Studding Process
You need specific stud sizes for specific tires. After that, you can use a tire studding kit or a tire stud gun and tire lubricant.
The tire pins need to be lubricated in order for the tire studs to be inserted. You can use tire screws or a tire studding tool to add studs to the tread area. However, be careful. Studs need to be inserted correctly, or they will just cause additional problems. Yes, there is an answer to "how to stud tires correctly?".
Depending on their depth, studs can be inserted in the following ways:
- Correctly - When studs are correctly inserted, only its headpin will come past the tire's tread area.
- Too Deep - Inserting tire studs too deeply will render them ineffective, this is caused by either too short studs or adding the studs too deeply in the tread area.
- Too Shallow - When studs are too long or not inserted deeply enough, they can easily come loose from the tread area or enlarge the molded hole by wiggling.
Additionally, tire studs should be inserted at 90-degrees. Anything more than a 10-degre difference will hinder the studded tires' winter performance.
How Fast can You Drive with Studded Tires?
Well, some studded winter tires are rated for over 100 mph. Yet, since they are made to be used on snow and ice, they should not be driven faster than 40 mph. This is because faster driving in deep snow and on icy roads can become dangerous. Additionally, these tires need a break-in period to safely perform.
When to Put on Winter Tires?
Winter tires are designed to be used in below 45 degrees Fahrenheit. When temperatures drop below this, winter tires can be safely mounted and used on vehicles. Due to their special rubber compounds, winter tires should only be used in winter weather.
When can You Put Studded Tires On?
When you can use studded winter tires greatly depends on where you live. Some states without snow do not permit the use of studs at all or with some exceptions. Other states have specific dates when studded tires can be used on the vehicle. Check your state laws to know if you can use such tires or not.
How Long do Studded Tires Last?
Studded tires have no set life expectancy, as their performance depends on many factors. However, as long as the tires with winter tire studs are operated correctly (only on ice and packed snow-covered road surfaces), they will last for about 5 to 6 seasons.