Your Winter Tires Information Guide
Winter tires are a necessity when you live in an area where you will be faced with driving on ice or snow at any point of the year. Winter tires allow for safer travels in comparison to all season tires, even thought the latter is quite the popular choice of many. Below is some essential knowledge you should be familiar with prior to making a purchase decision in order for you to make an informed choice between winter and all season tires for the upcoming cold weather.
Winter tires should be a number one choice for those who may regularly face weather conditions which include ice, slush, or snow, as they will provide the greatest amount of traction due to the rubber compounds and a tread design made for cold temperatures. Winter tires’ thread is able to remain flexible throughout winter and avoid cracking, as well as, inhibit the buildup of snow. According to Consumer Report conducted tests, winter tires were able to come to a halt six meters shorter than all season tires on loose snow, and nine meters shorter on ice at a driving speed of 30km/km. Winter tires provide a much lesser chance of fishtailing during turns and spinning out on icy hills, safeguarding your and your loved ones’ safety.
Please keep in mind, if you have a 4-wheel drive vehicle, it will not make you stop or slow down the vehicle any faster if you do not have winter tires, as there will not be enough grip for the tries to create traction.
All Season Tire Usage During Winter
All Season Tires are meant to be installed as an adequate choice in all weather year round, however, they are not an optimal option for any specific weather season. In order to create a tire that is able to handle various weather conditions, some valuable compromises have to be made to their structure and performance. All Season tires have a relatively passive tread design in comparison to winter tires, and they also have a tendency to stiffen up once temperatures fall below seven degrees Celsius, causing the thread indents to become full of snow quicker and lose grip while driving.
If you foresee the possibility of yourself driving in medium to heavy snow, a set of winter tires with an emblem of a snowflake inside a mountain with three peaks should be your first choice of purchase for the safety and performance of your vehicle. An M+S sign, representing suitability of the tire for driving in Mud and Snow, is only acceptable for severe winter conditions when followed by the mountain emblem mentioned above, when the sign is on its own, which may sometimes be seen on All Season Tires, is only sufficient for light mud and very light snow. Therefore, if you live in a climate that has gentle winter conditions, All-Season tires would be your best choice, however, please be advised that we do not recommend use of All Season tires for the harsh winter conditions of the Canadian Prairies.
All Weather Tires Advantages and Disadvantages:
As with any purchase choice, there will be positives and negatives to All Season Tires. Even though they are adaptable and overall more convenient, they do have shallow tread patterns and are geared more towards light snow.
The adaptability and convenience of All season tires to changing year round weather conditions is quite tempting for any consumer trying to reduce car costs, since they wouldn’t have to go though changing their tires every half a year, and the overall cost of all season tires is slightly lower than of specialised winter tires. However, if you reside in a place which has an occurrence of moderate to heavy snowfalls, icy conditions due to freezing rain, or excess slush, then All Season tires will not be a sufficient choice. Anything below seven degrees Celsius, causes the rubber of All Season tires to stiffen and begin losing traction making accelerating, stopping, or turning corners much harder. Also a generally shallower thread pattern is not specifically designed to grasp ice or denser snow, making it dangerous for driving in those conditions.
- Buy an additional set of rims for your winter tires, as this will allow to save you the time and costs (typically $60 to $100 per change of set) for balancing and swapping new tires onto existing rims. Simple rims are not overly expansive and save your pocket in the long run.
- Buy your choice of tires as the season approaches, ahead of a snowfall or poor driving conditions, to keep yourself safe and avoid any tire shop rushes or potential stock shortages due to high momentarily demand. The golden rule for tire changes is seven degrees Celsius, once the average temperature is below seven degrees, redress your vehicle to winter tires, once the average temperature rises above seven degrees, swap your winter ones for All Season or summer tires.
- If you are still unsure of what is the best choice for you, please contact our customer service team so they may assist you further.