How to best prepare your car for 'winter' in Texas

Should you winterize your tires, even if region doesn't experience true winter?


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This article is sponsored by Texas Truck Tire.

In some parts of the United States, preparing for wintery conditions on the roads means stocking your car with salt, snow chains, an ice scraper, a shovel -- the whole nine yards.

But in Texas, that's not quite the position people find themselves in.

Sure, Texas isn't exactly the Northeast when it comes to winter, but temperatures are still known to drop and conditions certainly change starting around this time each year.

Texas Truck Tire specializes in OEM factory wheels for major brands.
Texas Truck Tire specializes in OEM factory wheels for major brands.

When it comes to the changing seasons and safe driving, tires play a critical role, said Stephen Harden, of Texas Truck Tire.

Tires can sometimes be overlooked when drivers are preparing for the colder weather.

So, what should drivers get to best prepare for Texas's version of winter?

"We don't recommend breaking out the chains, but we do recommend an option that makes sense, depending on what weather is headed your way," Harden said.

For people who live in a climate without much traditional winter weather, a normal, highway-terrain tire can last most of the season. But if you deal with any ice or snow, you might want to upgrade to something suited for those weather patterns, such as an all-terrain tire, Harden said.

An all-terrain tire has some edge, compared to a highway-terrain or a mud-terrain tire.

"This is a nice, even, sweet spot you can go to, without spending too much money," Harden said.

The latest in off-road tires.
The latest in off-road tires.

All-terrain tires cost about the same as highway-terrain tires, he added. And an all-terrain tire is geared toward all the seasons.

The experts at Texas Truck Tire work with all kind of drivers who are updating their vehicles and consulting with the shop about the latest recommendations and offerings.

"We had some customers come in recently who were shipping cars out to Iceland," Harden said. "We said to get an all-terrain tire instead of a winter tire. Winter tires do well in the snow and in the wet weather, but they might not do as well off-road."

That's another thing to consider.

Snow tires, by the way, are designed with increased tread and temperature-withstanding compounds that can keep tire material pliable in extreme cold, which typically gives drivers better traction on the road.

But, Harden said, there's another factor to keep in mind: An all-terrain tire is likely to do better in off-road and on-road conditions.

And when we use the term "off-road," we don't just mean extreme circumstances, such as driving down sand dunes or through the mud.

Maybe the roads in your neighborhood aren't perfectly paved, which is the case in many rural and even some suburban areas.

All-terrain tires might be your best option. The tires might feel a little different at first, comfortwise, and the mileage can be a little less than some drivers are used to.

"But it's just by a small fraction, and for a similar price, these tires can lead to a safer vehicle," Harden said. "If weather conditions roll in and they're bad, these will help you out."