Do I Need Winter Tires?

Winter is here. As we chisel from frost bitten windows and pull winter clothes out of hiding, it’s clear snow and frosty temperatures are right around the corner- the preparation has begun. Winter jackets are close at hand, boots are in the closet, and your vehicle is all set with all-season tires. However, while jackets, boots and gloves are beautifully suited to keep us safe and warm in the freezing cold, all-season tires, fitted all year round, are far less effective at keeping you warm and dry. Why? Because just like jackets with polar fleece are designed to further insulate your body and provide extra heat, winter tires are specifically designed to stick to ice. Just like your wind breaker won’t do the job in winter, all-season tires are not adequate. We have taken our expertise, boiled it down, distilled it and now we present to you-Seven reasons why it’s time to ditch you’re all-seasons!

1) All-season tires are a compromise. When using all-season tires in the winter , stopping distances can increase 30 to 40 percent longer than one with snow tires. Add the fact that the force of a crash increases with the impact speed and it becomes clear-snow tires could mean a major difference in the outcome of a winter accident.

2) Despite how it looks from the treads, the most important part of a winter tire is the composition of its rubber compound- which is designed to stay soft and pliable in freezing temperatures. Like a gecko climbing up a wall, the soft rubber treads of a tire are able to wrap around imperfection and protrusions and create traction- even on what would appear to be a flat surface. Summer tires, on the other hand, harden as temperatures fall and cannot grip with the tenacity of a winter compound. All-seasons, designed for usage all-year round, cannot match winter tires in low and sub-zero zero conditions.

3) Quality counts and premium tires before better than basic models. You are paying for the latest rubber technology and tread patterns available which, when it comes down to it, can perform 15% better than an economically-priced winter tire.

4) It’s about the temperature NOT the snow! Prepare yourself and your vehicle and install winter tires when you expect the temperature to dip below seven degrees.  When temperatures fall, the compound in summer tires begins to seize and become inflexible, destroying traction and letting the car slip and slide.  Unlike Quebec (where drivers are legally required to  equip winter tires between Dec.15 and Mar. 15), a particular date is not specified- watch the thermometer and plan ahead!

5) Winter tires should be narrower than your summer or all-season tires. We recommend moving down one or two sizes when installing winter tires-if you came with 200-millimetre tires your winter tires should be 190-millimetres or even 180-millimetres. By reducing the width of the tire, more pressure can be exerted on the surface beneath-helping a winter tire slice through snow and prevent slippage.

6) When it comes down to it, winter tires are designed to move water. When your tires apply pressure to snow or ice, they melt the top and create a thin film of water (the exact same thing happens when you skate on ice). Of course, if the water is not moved out of the way, the car will hydroplane! This is exactly why winter tires have such large grooves  and treads-to quickly move water away to the sides and allow the vehicle to contact the surface.

7) Believe it or not, all-wheel drive helps you accelerate-not stop! On slippery surfaces, vehicles with four driving wheels can accelerate better than those with two driven wheels. However, when it comes to turning the vehicle limits are determined by the amount of grip and traction, not the number of driven wheels.

Plus, because of winter tire specials
and GM price-match guarantees, there has never been a better time to protect yourself and get your vehicle ready for winter!  Use a tire finder, such as the one below to get the best possible prices and book a service appointment with nothing but a few mouse clicks.