In case you plan to drive on snowy roads, replacing your regular tires with studded tires is usually a good idea. Especially if the place doesn’t have very well-developed roads, the studs will make up for the lack of traction by granting your car more grip over the surface.
However, while it is much safer and more convenient to use studded tires when driving in the snow, these tires also come with a downside.
When driving with a studded tire, you can’t drive as fast as you would when driving with regular tires. As a matter of fact, you likely won’t be driving too fast on snowy roads anyway, as it is extremely dangerous.
How fast can you drive with studded tires?
The maximum speed at which you can drive with studded tires varies from one tire to another, but some studded tires are suitable for driving at more than 100 mph. To get the exact speed limit of a specific tire, you will have to check its speed rating.
Although studded tires may potentially have a speed rating of 100 mph, we do not recommend driving faster than 40 mph on snow.
Even when driving on regular roads, it is better to stay at least 15 to 20 mph below the limit set by the tire speed rating. High speeds and excessive tire spinning can potentially eject the studs from the tires.
You should also note that studded tires require a break-in period, which means you need to drive them at slower speeds initially. This is due to a lubricant applied to these tires while curing – it reduces traction and makes the tires more slippery than usual.
Once you have driven long enough for the lubricant to dry up, you may start driving at higher speeds. The break-in period is the first 62 miles that you drive with the studded tires, and the speed should not exceed 31 mph during this period.
Do studs change the speed rating of a tire?
Studded tires always have a lower speed rating than regular tires. They generally consist of softer materials to improve grip, which also makes them more prone to wear and tear when driving at high speeds. This is one of the reasons why non-studded tires are a better choice unless the terrain calls for studded tires.
How fast can you go with snow chains?
Snow chains are a better alternative compared to studded tires, in terms of traction offered. In some states, it is mandatory by law to use snow chains when driving on heavily snow-covered roads. Snow chains have a much larger surface area than tire studs, and can grip the snowy roads much more effectively.
However, while it is safer to use snow chains than just studded tires when driving on snow, you have to drive much slower while using chains. Keep your car between 20 to 30 mph if your tires have snow chains on them.
Going any faster than 30 mph can cause the chains to break. Besides the inconvenience of having to get the chain repaired or replaced, this can also be extremely dangerous.
Remember, you should never drive on bare roads or pavement with snow chains on the tires. When there’s no snow for the chains to break, the friction and impact against the road can cause severe damage to the chains.
You should actually stop the car and take off the chains as soon as you leave the snowy area and get back on dry roads. This essentially means that you will be using the snow chains only on snowy surfaces, and it’s unsafe to go too fast on snow anyway due to poor traction.
Some elements that determine the speed at which you can drive your car with studded tires are:
- The chain’s fit: You can drive faster with a chain that fits tightly, than one that has a loose fit. This is why choosing the size when buying a snow chain is important.
- Road conditions: While snow on the road requires you to drive slower, this is especially true with soft layers of snow. In case the ice has already compacted and offers a hard surface, you can drive faster.
- The chain’s age: You can drive faster with a new snow chain as you can be more confident in its durability. On the other hand, old chains are prone to breaking when you drive fast.
Are studded tires noisy?
Unfortunately, studded tires are noisier than regular tires. Especially when driving on dry roads, the studs bite into the road, causing much louder noises while damaging the road.
Moreover, studded tires also have an aggressive tread pattern to allow a stronger grip on the road. This contributes to the higher noise levels too. However, the noise isn’t loud enough to be unbearable or annoying, so it should be fine.
In case you still feel bothered with the noisiness of studded tires, you may explore your options and choose a studded tire that’s less noisy. While studded tires are louder than regular tires, not all of them are equally noisy.
Are studded tires safer?
While studded tires can be safer than regular all-season tires, it depends on your driving terrain. After all, the purpose of studded tires is to break and grip onto snow for extra traction when driving on icy roads. The studs do not have anything to grip on regular dry roads, which reduces the traction and increases the chances of skidding.
So, yes, if you are driving on snowy roads, studded tires are much safer. It is highly advisable to use studded tires if your route includes driving downslope on an icy mountain passage.
However, on dry roads, it is safer to use regular tires. The same goes for snow chains too – greatly reducing the chances of crashing due to losing grip on snowy roads, but the traction is equally poor when driving with snow chains on regular roads.
Do studded tires help on black ice?
Black is can be extremely dangerous and cause your car to lose grip on the road if you aren’t careful. As you might be aware, black ice isn’t actually black – it’s a very thin and transparent sheet of ice through which the black road underneath is visible. As a result, black ice can often be very hard to notice.
As these thin sheets of ice are very slippery, regular tires have a hard time dealing with them. The safest way to drive on black ice is to use studded tires.
Designed specially to deal with such icy roads, these tires bite into the ice with their deep grooves and metal studs, countering the slipperiness with increased traction.
How many miles do studded tires last?
When buying new tires, it is always a good idea to check out their expected lifespan. The lifeline of studded tires is not as long as that of the normal ones and they serve around 40K miles. Some manufacturers offer studded tires that are a little tougher and can withstand four seasons of winter driving.
There are multiple reasons why studded tires do not have the same lifespan as all-season tires.
Studded tires wear away faster given that the material is softer. They also have much deeper treads with larger gaps in between. This means the surface area touching the ground is smaller than regular tires, and has to withstand a heavier load.
Regardless of the tire speed rating of your studded snow tires, we would never recommend driving at high speeds on icy roads. It’s easy for cars to lose control and skid on snow when moving at high speeds.
While you can speed up on dry roads, make sure to stay below the speed rating of the tires as studded tires offer lower traction than regular tires on dry roads.