For plenty of Canadian drivers, the concept of winter tires seems like an unnecessary hassle and avoidable expense. From making the purchase to storing them in the off-season to paying for installation before the winter, it’s just not worth the effort and the cost. Or is it? Consider this—winter tires have a proven track record for performing better than all-season tires, especially in temperatures lower than 7 degrees Celsius. If you have a set of winter tires, this will also prolong the life of your all-season tires, as you’re not using them during the winter season. If you have skipped out on winter tires or think you can make it this season on your all-season set, you may want to reconsider. The Rubber Association of Canada offers these demonstration videos to help you realize the importance of winter tires.
Assessing All-Season versus Winter Tires
All-season tires, despite their name, are not really for all seasons (unless you live in California or other year-round sunny states). We agree, it’s misleading! In fact, experts in the tire industry often refer to them as “three season” tires because when it comes to the winter road conditions, they do not hold up as well as they need to. All-season tires harden and lose their grip once temperatures fall below 7 degrees Celsius. While they are designed with a tread compound that delivers traction in dry, muddy, rainy and even slushy streets, it is the temperature and ice that causes a problem for all-season tires.
Winter tires offer better traction and handling in winter conditions and as a result, your vehicle’s braking ability will not be compromised. Winter tires do not harden below 7 degrees Celsius, and instead, offer excellent gripping because the rubber is designed to remain malleable during cold weather. On the flip side, winter tires will wear out quickly if used in warmer seasons as they’re unable to withstand the heat.
Buying and Installing Winter Tires
If you are finally ready to upgrade to winter tires before the temperatures start to drop, here are a few tips:
- Don’t let the cost be a reason to forsake your safety on winter roads. For as little as $90-$100 per month, you can save enough to buy your set of 4 winter tires.
- Only tires with the mountain snowflake symbol are true winter tires, and have been approved by Transport Canada. Don’t be fooled by any other snowflake image on tires.
- Install winter tires on all four wheels, not just the two responsible for providing power to the vehicle. All four tires are needed to improve handling and control, as well as optimize your ABS and associated electronic stability systems.
- Transport Canada advises that you must install all 4 winter tires of the same type, size, speed rating and load index, so don’t fall prey to cheap deals on mismatched tires.
- Do not wait until snowfall hits before switching to winter tires. Instead, install them a few weeks before the season because temperatures drop below 7 degrees Celsius before the first sign of snowfall. Book your appointment at AutoNiche, your local auto shop in Markham offering tire repair and tire installation.
- Have a professional inspect your winter tires. Because they have been in storage, you want to make sure they have adequate tread, there are no cracks in the tread and sidewall, and are not in need of repair from a previous puncture.
- Do not keep winter tires on your vehicle year-round. They should be removed when the average daily temperature comes above 7 degrees Celsius and there is no more risk for snow or ice.
- Buy winter tires that meet the manufacturer recommendations for your vehicle.
- Winter tires will lose air pressure frequently because cold temperatures cause pressure levels to drop. Always check the pressure and keep your tires properly inflated.
Now is the time to prepare for winter. Whether you need to install your winter tires or want a car safety inspection to make sure your vehicle is ready for winter, trust in the professionals at AutoNiche. Our expert technicians can inspect your vehicle and tires, and perform any necessary repairs so that your vehicle is safe for the snow, ice, sleet and other hazardous winter road conditions.
Call AutoNiche today to book your tire installation and inspection. Feel free to contact us online with your questions regarding winter tires or winter vehicle safety.