ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — As temperatures drop, many head to the auto shop to pick up snow tires, but we wanted to know if they are worth it. 

The News 8 car has all season tires that have been used all summer. We decided to put those to the test against winter tires at the Bill Gray’s Iceplex. 

Four cones were set up diagonally for a small course to drive around and after three runs the average time was 30.1 seconds. A braking test was also done to see how far the car slid on ice. 

Next was a trip to Browncroft Garage to get the all-season tires switched over to winter tires provided by Midtown Tire Inc.  

Midtown Tire operations and sales manager Steve Keusch said winter tires have not only a different tread, but more importantly: “A winter tire is a softer rubber compound than an all-season tire,” said Keusch. Nokian Tyres were installed onto the News 8 vehicle. 

It was then back to the Iceplex and back on the track. This time around it took 23.04 seconds, almost eight seconds faster. That is a 25 percent improvement.

The winter tires also stopped several feet sooner than the older tires.

“When you have to hit the brakes hard, that’s not when the all-wheel drive is going to help you, that’s when your winter tires are going to help you,” said Keusch. 

He says for the customer, the first thing to do is research to make sure you have the right tire for the Rochester winter. Also, if possible, it is best to get the tires for all four wheels, so all the tires wear evenly. If that isn’t an option, then choose the back tires. 

It is also important to remember that four-wheel drive still does not prevent slipping and sliding on snow and ice. It is the rubber that meets the road that will ultimately help controlling the vehicle.  

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Editor’s note: This piece was originally published on November 1, 2018