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Snow & Ice Around the Corner: How to Choose the Best Tires

Dec 18, 2020

A woman and a store representative are looking at tires.

With holiday shopping well on its way, you may be wrapped up looking for things you want to take home. Allow us to remind you of something you need to take home for the upcoming winter months: new tires.

While tires may not be very high on your holiday wishlist, upgrading and replacing them is not something you should put off. In fact, bad tires can be blamed for more accidents than you may realize. Winter weather can mean difficult driving conditions, with plenty of snow, ice and freezing temperatures on the road.

Tires are a serious and necessary investment that require lots of consideration. Let’s break down the most important things to think about when choosing the best ones for you.

What Do Winter Tires (or “Snow Tires”) Really Do?

Winter tires are best for driving in snowy and icy conditions. In the harshest weather, unique tread patterns and biting edges allow tires to grip the road better for the best traction possible.

In addition to the elements, winter tires will hold up against freezing temperatures that drop your tire’s pressure and cause immediate or future damage, making these your go-to if you live in an area where temperatures frequently drop below 45°F in the wintertime.

What Other Types of Tires Should I Look Into?

All-Season Tires

These tires feature a tread pattern optimized for a strong grip on dry, wet and snowy roads. This versatility allows them to hold up against a wide range of conditions and temperatures, not just snow and ice. If you live in a place where the days and roads alternate between warm and wintery, these are your safest best.

All-Terrain Tires

As implied in the name, this is a tire built for traction on a number of different surfaces. Drivers with all-terrain tires typically take their vehicles off-road, driving on dirt, mud, sand, gravel and in other conditions. If you stick to mostly paved city roads and highways, this is probably not the tire for you.

How Are Tires Rated?

Tires are rated by the U.S. government with a set of standards known as the Uniform Tire Quality Grading Standards (UTQGS). A tire’s official rating (which can be found on the sidewall of every passenger vehicle tire sold in the U.S.) is based on its treadwear, traction performance and temperature resistance each of which is an incredibly important factor to consider in its own right.

What Do These Factors Really Mean?


A tire’s tread grade is a gauge on how long it should take that tire to eventually wear down, assuming fairly standard driving conditions and driver habits. All tires are compared to a standard, base-level tire with a grade of 100. A tire with a grade of 200, for example, means that tire’s tread should last twice as long as the average tire.


Tire traction is how well or how poorly a tire grips the road, and how it stops on wet pavement. Traction is graded from the highest grade of “AA” (tire with the most traction) to “A”, “B” and the lowest grade of “C” (tire with the least traction).

A tire with a grade of “AA” should be able to stop on wet roads in a shorter distance. Tires with traction grades of “B” and “C” aren’t necessarily poor tires, but drivers should be prepared to brake with more time and space for possible impact, especially in poor road conditions.


A temperature grade indicates a tire’s ability to disperse heat buildup, or its heat resistance. Exposure to high temperatures over a period of time leads to major wear and tear. For example, long road trips on boiling hot roads leave you vulnerable to blowouts and tread separation. Similar to traction grading, temperature is graded from “A” (most heat resistance) to “B” and “C” (least heat resistance).

What Now?

Ultimately, the right tire will depend on where you live and the lifestyle you lead. And now that you know what to look for in your next set of tires, you have to figure out a way to pay for them. Luckily for you, Acima is here with all of your tire leasing needs.

To get rolling with your lease-to-own agreement* on tires, find a name-brand tire dealer near you among our 15,000 Acima retailers. After an easy application, all that’s left for you to do is fix up your wheels and get back on the road.

Money shouldn’t keep you from upgrading one of the most important parts of your car. Drive on with Acima!