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Preparing your vehicle for September snow in Montana: Snow tires are key

Posted at 7:33 PM, Sep 26, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-26 21:38:53-04

Tire shops around Helena have been busy all week, as people prepare for the upcoming storm by getting snow tires.

Phil Sebastian, owner of Eagle Tire in Helena, says they put on 30 to 40 sets of snow tires on Wednesday alone.

He says this is, by far, one of the earliest times he's seen people line up for snow tires.

Sebastian added there's different kinds of tires that can be used in the winter months.

From all-weather, or all-season, tires, to studded snow tires to stud-less snow tires, it's important to know which tire will keep you safe, based upon what kind of driving you'll be doing during the snowy season.

Sebastian explained that with snow tires, "the difference is in the tread compounding the snow tires is made out of a tread that gets softer and more pliable when it gets cold out and so when it is snowing. The all season gets a little bit, on the surface it gets harder so it gets a little less traction than the snow tire."

We asked Sebastian what kind of tire he recommends for a storm, like the one predicted this weekend.

He said it's all personal preference, but he prefers stud-less tires.

"Personally, I like studless. You know at this time of year, they aren't making any noise, and they're going to give you the traction you need and you can use them a little bit longer without having the studs wear down," said Sebastian.

Under Montana law, studded snow tires are prohibited between May 31 and Oct. 1.

However, the Montana Highway Patrol encourages motorists to take steps to be safe with the approaching storm.

And troopers have discretion to not ticket drivers who choose put them on a few days early.