What is Siping?
Siping a tire is the process of cutting razor slits across the tread of a tire. Note that siping is NOT the same as grooving a tire.
What is the purpose of siping a tire?
The SAF-TEE Siper brochure will tell you that siping offers better traction, extended tire life, softer ride,better braking, and better acceleration. I can confirm from many years of experience, that siping makes a night and day difference in traction.
Why should I sipe my tires for deep snow wheeling?
Siping is one of my three criteria for a deep snow tire. As you drive through the deep snow, the snow gets packed under your tire. The siping gives your tires hundreds of new biting edges. Additionally, the siping helps loosen the tire carcass allowing your tire to flex better when aired down. From years of personal experience I can say siping helps... a lot!
Should I sipe just the center lugs, or all the lugs?
Sipe all lugs of the tire, not just the center. The more siping, the better. The common concern seems to be with the outer lugs chunking. Not sure where this idea came from, but I've never had a problem with it. When siping my tires, I stop about 1/4" short of the shoulder.
Will siping damage my tires?
Generally, No! Siping will not damage your tire. Some tires might already have
factory siping, or tread designs that may not hold up well with additional
siping. I wouldn't recommend it for situations where there is a lot of wheel
spin on loose course rock. It's certainly possible to get a little chunking here
and there, but I've experienced chunking on non-siped tires as well. Chunking is
not something I've ever been concerned about or had a problem with.
It should be noted that some tire dealers use it as an excuse to void tire warranties. So be sure to check that out first.
Where can I get my tires siped?
Depending on where you live, many tire stores will have a siping machine. Finding someone that can operate the machine correctly can be a little more difficult. Siping is popular with the semi-trucks, so I'd try to find a store that services both passenger vehicles and semi-trucks.
Can I sipe my tires myself?
You bet! In fact, I prefer to sipe my tires myself. The siping tool most people use is the Ideal Tire Groover . The trick for siping is to flip the blade upside down. The object is to just cut slits in the tire, not remove any rubber.
Make no mistake, siping by hand is a time consuming process and is a LOT of work. The end result is a much more precise siping job that can be customized to your particular tire.
How much does tire siping cost?
Last time I checked, siping was in the $10 - $15 per-tire range to have it done at a tire shop. The Ideal Tire Groover is $69.99 at Amazon.