The Land of Enchantment in all its beauty hides one simple fact: About 75% of New Mexico’s roads are unpaved.1 Because it’s so large (fifth largest in the union), most of the state’s streets and pathways are mostly gravel and rutted dirt roads which can make for some interesting driving experiences. And if you couple that with having all four seasons in regions that include “high desert” to high mountains and other variations of terrain and temperature, you soon realize that’s it’s not only important what type of vehicle you drive, but also the type of tires you choose.
Summer, Winter or All-season Tires?
So what tires are best for New Mexico? Of the tires to choose, there really are only three types: Summer, Winter or All-seasons. Each of these tires is geared specifically to a certain weather type thus the names: Summer for dry weather, Winter for slippery conditions, and All-season for both wet and dry conditions.
All-season are best, here’s why…
The tire type that stands out from the rest are All-season. Why? Because they offer a great combination of comfort, tread life, fuel economy and a smooth ride. Because of the way they’re designed, All-seasons are the best option to tackle the many driving conditions faced by most New Mexicans. The only caution for these tires despite their ability to handle many road conditions is that, depending on the vehicle and driver, there may be some compromise in handling in extreme conditions, hot or cold. So, driver skill and some precaution is suggested.
But you may be asking whether All-Season tires are reliable and safe? The short answer is yes. All-season tires do provide adequate performance year-long. But as mentioned earlier, they fall a tad short in extreme winter conditions. So why is this?
Tire design is about compromise, so safety and convenience is tops
Here’s the truth. "All-season" really doesn’t mean it’s great in all seasons. The original tire designers understood that a great all-around tire would have to trade wet grip for more mobility in snow. Thus, the name all-season because of their decent year-round performance. There’s also the added bonus where drivers are spared the back-breaking hassle of changing out their summer tires for winter tires and vice-versa as the seasons change.
Oh, one more thing.
Please keep in mind that All-season tires despite their adaptability to various driving conditions isn’t a great option for everyone! If you live on a farm in Taos and your vehicle is used for hauling or go elk hunting in in the Gila/Apache National Forest in Southwest New Mexico, you may need special tires that can best handle the uncertain terrain. But if you’re someone who only uses their vehicle occasionally, stays at home when snowflakes start to fall, or live in a city that does not receive much snow and you don't have a lot of driving to do, you might want to go for All-season tires.
Whichever tire you choose, our ASE Certified Master Technicians can replace your old tires and offer guidance in your decision for proper replacements. Schedule an appointment with us today.