3 reasons installing winter tires is a smarter, safer choice

October 16, 2014

Although your province may not require you to install winter tires on your vehicle by law, when the snow piles up and the roads get slick they help to improve safety substantially. Here's what you should know when looking for quality winter tires that perform well in slush, ice and snow.

3 reasons installing winter tires is a smarter, safer choice

1. Winter tires are grippier in cold temperatures

Unlike most all-season tires, winter tires are developed to maintain their traction and grip in temperatures at low as -35ºC (-31ºF) or even lower.

  • With your everyday, all-season tires, their rubber compounds will start to harden in frigid temperatures. In turn, this reduces their traction to potentially dangerous levels.

Why is traction critical?
Traction is the all-important factor that enables you to turn, start or stop your vehicle when necessary – or in an emergency.

  • With winter tires, you'll notice better braking capabilities and steering control versus your all-seasons.

2. Winter tires have deeper treads

One unique feature of winter tires is that they have tread patterns designed to really dig into the snow and ice. An analogy is the sole of winter boots, which tend to have deeper, chunkier treads than shoes you'd wear in summer.

  • These specially-designed deep grooves help to prevent slipping and sliding. What's more, they're designed to shed the snow and slush as the car moves so the treads don't get "clogged", thereby reducing traction.

In contrast, all-season tires are developed to perform on dry and wet surfaces.

  • As such, they lack the special design features that would make them optimal for winter conditions.

3. Winter tires will help save you money

Similar in cost to all-season tires, winter tires can be a lasting investment if stored properly.

  • If kept in a dry, temperature-controlled area, such as a basement, winter tires can stay in top condition for many years.

How will installing winter tires save you money?

  • More control on the road means less chance of getting into a potentially expensive accident (not to mention the risk of injury).
  • Although all-seasons tend to perform fine for the first winter or two – but not as well as winter tires – their declining traction means there's a tendency to replace them sooner.
  • Having a separate set of winter and all-season tires means they'll last longer as you swap them out for the seasons. Again, imagine if you wore the same shoes all year long. They'd wear out faster, too.

If you're wondering about the cost and availability of winter tires for your vehicle, most local tire retailers will have what you need in stock.

Stay safe on the roads this winter

Although most people know driving in bad weather can be dangerous, not all take one of the easiest precautions they can do: purchasing winter tires. It's an investment that offers immediate benefits.

If you've never purchased winter tires before there are a few things to consider.

  • It's recommended that you always purchase four tires. If you install only two winter tires, this can cause handling issues and uneven wear. What's more, if you have an all-wheel or four-wheel drive vehicle, two different types of tires on the front and back can potentially damage your drive train.
  • When temperatures start warming up and there is no longer snow and ice on the ground, you should remove the winter tires from your vehicle and put your all-season tires back on.
  • Because they are designed specifically for cold, harsh conditions, winter tires can wear more easily and not perform as well in dry conditions during the rest of the year.

It has been shown that winter tires can improve a vehicle's handling and decrease stopping distances on snowy, slippery roads. In turn, along with greater peace of mind, winter tires could potentially help you to avoid a dangerous and costly accident.

Before the first snowfall hits this season, will your car be ready to handle winter's worst?

The material on this website is provided for entertainment, informational and educational purposes only and should never act as a substitute to the advice of an applicable professional. Use of this website is subject to our terms of use and privacy policy.
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