By now, we all know that winter tires are proven to enhance safety and reduce the likelihood of a collision. This is due to the improved traction, braking and handling in cold, snowy and icy conditions. In addition, you may be aware that installing winter tires will also save you money on your car insurance premium if you live in Ontario. However, if improved safety and car insurance discounts aren’t enough to convince you to install winter tires on your vehicle, here are 3 more things to consider. Hopefully, this will help motivate you to make the change, and get winter tires this year.
3 reasons why you should not drive without winter tires
All-season tires are just not the same
When travelling at 60km/h in winter temperatures, even without snowy or icy roads, stopping distance can be up to 60 feet shorter with winter tires compared to all season tires. That can make the difference between a safe stop, and a dangerous collision.
All-wheel drive helps you accelerate, not stop
All-wheel drive certainly is an advantage, and it can definitely help your vehicle accelerate in slippery conditions. However, when it comes to braking, there is little difference between two-wheel and all-wheel drive vehicles. In fact, traction capability in cold weather relies more on the type of tires on your vehicle, not the number of driven wheels. So, just because you have a 4×4 vehicle, that doesn’t mean you don’t need winter tires.
It’s not all about the tread
Although they do have a more aggressive tread pattern to bite snow and ice, the real secret to winter tires is in the rubber. Winter tires are constructed with a special rubber compound specifically designed for greater performance at temperatures lower than 7°C. The rubber in winter tires stays softer at lower temperatures. This allows the tires to stick to the road and provide better traction and shorter braking distances than all season tires in cold weather.
Winter tire buying guide
So you’re convinced that winter tires are important, and you’ve made the decision to get them installed this year? Awesome, so now what? Check out the answers below to the 3 most common questions Ontario drivers have about winter tires.
Which tires should I pick?
When it comes to winter tires, you really do get what you pay for. Premium brands utilize the latest rubber compound technology and tread design. This can result in up to a 15% increase in traction compared to economy brands. However, all tires marked with the pictograph of a peaked mountain with a snowflake meet specific snow traction performance requirements. Which means that they have been designed specifically for use in severe winter weather conditions.
When do I install my winter tires?
Many people will wait until the first snowfall to install their winter tires. However, the proper time is actually when temperatures are around 7°C. Remember, they are called winter tires, not snow tires because they offer greater tire flexibility in colder weather (i.e. at or below 7°C) allowing better grip on the road surface and helping you stay in control of your vehicle even when there is no snow on the road.
Do I really need 4 winter tires?
You should always avoid mixing tires with different tread patterns, tread wear, internal construction or size, unless specified by the vehicle manufacturer. This is especially important with winter tires as your vehicle requires the same linear and lateral traction in all four wheels to prevent spin-outs and loss of control. If you have winter tires on the front wheels of your car and all-seasons on the back for example, your front tires will provide better traction, while your back tires will slide. This could cause your vehicle to fishtail or spin-out.
In all, winter tires can drastically improve your car’s performance in wet, snowy, or icy conditions. Adding four quality winter tires to your vehicle before the winter weather arrives will definitely make winter driving safer. Plus, you’ll save some money on your car insurance! If you do add winter tires to your vehicle this year, give us a call so we can add your discount!