Maine Considers Legalizing Retractable Studs

Glenn Swanson
by Glenn Swanson

Maine is enduring one of its snowiest winters on record . This has the state’s lawmakers pondering a bill that would allow the use of retractable studded tires year-round, reports WMTW. Under current Maine law, studded snow tires must be removed by May 1st. The bill, sponsored by State Senator Bill Diamond, would allow tires that deploy studs when road conditions get bad, and retract them when conditions improve. Diamond says the tires meet federal motor vehicle safety standards. According to, “retractable-stud tires incorporate an air bladder that pushes the studs out from inside the tire when needed, and deflates so the studs retract into the tire when not needed. The tires are not entirely maintenance free- the bladder needs to be refilled with air after the studs have been deployed around 50 times.” No comment.

Glenn Swanson
Glenn Swanson

Glenn is a baby-boomer, born in 1954. Along with his wife, he makes his home in Connecticut. Employed in the public sector as an Information Tedchnology Specialist, Glenn has long been a car fan. Past rides have included heavy iron such as a 1967 GTO, to a V8 T-Bird. In between those high-horsepower cars, he's owned a pair of BMW 320i's. Now, with a daily commute of 40 miles, his concession to MPG dictates the ownership of a 2006 Honda Civic coupe which, while fun to drive, is a modest car for a pistonhead. As an avid reader, Glenn enjoys TTAC, along with many other auto-realated sites, and the occasional good book. As an avid electronic junkie, Glenn holds an Advanced Class amateur ("ham") radio license, and is into many things electronic. From a satellite radio and portable GPS unit in the cars, to a modest home theater system and radio-intercom in his home, if it's run by the movement of electrons, he's interested. :-)

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4 of 6 comments
  • Glenn Swanson Glenn Swanson on Mar 01, 2008

    Perhaps they're analogous to a cat's claws: Roads slippery? Deploy your claws. When the roads clear up, retract 'em. 'Course if you end up flying through the air upside down, there's no guarantee you'll land on all fours. ;-)

  • Rpn453 Rpn453 on Mar 01, 2008

    I use studded tires in the winter, but I don't see this happening. "Studs on Demand" is a good concept, but I think it will be too expensive to be common as winter tires. Why not just use permanent studs on a set of dedicated snow tires?If they're designed to be winter tires, most will want summer tires as well anyway. If they're compromised to be good in summer, they won't be as good in snow.

  • Shaker Shaker on Mar 02, 2008

    I had this idea 20 years ago, but figured the implementation would be expensive, and the tire's structure would be compromised at high rotational speeds. Methinks that "mission-critical" vehicles (buses, ambulances, maybe city police vehicles, power company trucks) would be the market for this product.

  • Rm Rm on Mar 02, 2008

    I'm with rpn453 on this... A rubber compound that is good in the winter will be junk in the summer and a good summer compound is junk in the winter. Putting studs on all season tires that are compromised so thoroughly that they're good at nothing... Well, I guess they'd be really expensive all season tires that are almost good for nothing. I'd love to be proven wrong, but then again our winters here aren't bad enough (SW Michigan) that we need studded tires. A good set of winters does pretty good even with the amount of snow we've had this year.