With autumn on full display with colours of yellow and orange, the decision to install winter tires should be black and white. Making your tires winter-proof is essential to ensuring you drive safely through the year’s coldest period. Here’s why you need to make that winter tire change sooner rather than later.
Winter changes road conditions
Winter weather can reduce visibility and grip on the road, making it important to maximize traction on the road. These weather elements affect brake time and handling ability as well, which winter tires improve. Summer and all-season tires aren’t designed for this weather, making it important to find an alternative.
With winter tires your brakes will work more effectively and react precisely. That’s why we rated them for you.
Fitting your car with winter tires offers resistance to these elements, especially if conditions are below seven degrees Celsius. Below that mark, winter tires are most effective, creating a better grip on the road to counter the bad conditions.
Winter tires are designed to protect you
Winter tires are specialized for the elements, and that is evident in their design. Winter tires are made from a special compound that is tailor-made for the colder seasons. That compound includes natural rubber and a higher concentration of silica. That mix softens the tires, making them more fit to handle below-zero temperatures. That’s one of the reasons why they have better grip when it gets cold out!
Winter tires also have cuts and grooves implanted in them called sipes, which provide the surface with extra traction. Sipes collect bits of snow that then stick to the snow on the ground, creating friction that keeps you in command of your vehicle.
Compared to all-weather tires, which offer similar benefits and are designed to handle each season, winter tires are better at handling severe winter conditions. From heavy snow to rough ice, they can take it because they are flexible and have a shorter stopping distance.
All-weather tires are meant for milder winter conditions like heavy slush, light snow, and rainfall.
When is the best time to get a winter tire change?
You don’t want to leave your winter tire change too late into autumn. You want to ensure that you have the best selection, can get an appointment to install them, and meet the deadline for insurance discounts. Try aiming for late October or the first week of November to get your winter tires changed.
There are no special rules regarding the switch unless you’re in Quebec, where you are legally required to use them between December 15 and March 15. All other provinces in conjunction with Transport Canada encourage you to use winter tires between October and May. However, some provinces have guidelines regarding the use of studded winter tires as opposed to their non-studded counterparts.
You might also be wondering about waiting for the temperature to drop before arranging the winter tire change. Well, waiting until the first time snow falls is a gamble. Once temperatures drop below 7°C, tires designed for warmer weather will stiffen, reducing traction and increasing rolling resistance. Consider changing your tires when the weather drops into the single digits, as the ideal temperature for winter tires.
November and December are prime times for the weather to drop below the seven-degree mark, so it would be smart to invest in winter tires before then. Leaving a bit of buffer time is well worth the added safety.
Pro tip: Don’t leave your winter tires on during summer. Seriously.
What are the financial benefits of installing winter tires?
Having specialized tires for the winter means that you won’t need to replace them as often, since you won’t be using them all year. Winter tires last for a handful of seasons, depending on the tread and conditions. You can also get winter tire discounts or savings on your auto insurance premium by proving you use winter tires. And for safety reasons alone, winter tires are always worth the cost.
Don’t cheat yourself by getting two winter tires instead of four, though. While it costs half as much to do that, it’s not advisable because your car’s front and back wheel will have differing grip levels. That imbalance puts you at higher risk of losing control over your vehicle. Winter tires should be applied as a complete set of four, whether it’s an all-wheel, rear-wheel, or front-wheel drive.
Winter tires will protect your car against danger so you can safely get where you need to go during the colder months. Plus, a winter tire change can save you money too. See what your winter tire discount looks like with an online quote you can get in 5 minutes!