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To Change or Not To Change: That is the Question

With the perceived confidence of 4 wheel-drive, all-season tires, and advanced safety technology, consumers can’t help but wonder whether installing winter tires on their vehicles are necessary to prepare for the cold, snowy winter ahead. We will explain how winter tires work and address your concerns to help you make more informed decisions regarding winterization of your vehicle. 

What Makes Winter Tires So Special?

Winter tires are constructed differently than summer or all-season tires. They are made with soft, flexible rubber and larger treads, which work together to increase grip in cold weather and push away snow and slush to help avoid hydroplaning.

In comparison, all-season or summer tires are not made of the same type of flexible rubber as winter tires, so they become tough when it's cold outside, losing their grip on the slippery road. Since effective grip relies on tires being soft and malleable against the road's surface, hard tires can make your vehicle more difficult to control. 

Therefore, using winter tires, which are engineered for cold and winter weather, helps to provide drivers with extra control over their vehicles, preventing the car from slipping on roads, regardless of their condition. 

Stopping Distances

In most driving situations, thirty feet is not considered as a major distance, as it is roughly the distance across a small intersection. At the highway speed limit, you travel thirty feet 3 times per second.

However, when you need to stop for a red light at a busy intersection covered in snow and ice, thirty feet suddenly becomes a huge deal. Thankfully, a decent set of winter tires can easily slash 30 feet or more from your stopping distances on snow, which could make all the difference between avoiding and entering an accident. 

Significantly Enhance Other Vehicle Safety Features

It is commonly believed that if a vehicle has an all-wheel drive and advanced safety technology, it does not require winter tires; however, this couldn’t be any further from the truth. Although allwheel drive can provide you with power on the road, and safety features help to keep your vehicle from sliding to avoid collision, these systems will not be as effective if your tires cannot grip the asphalt to create the necessary friction required to control your vehicle. In other words, your safety features will work better — and keep you safer — if you use winter tires during the colder months.

Some Statistics

According to a recent report from the Tire and Rubber Association of Canada’s (TRAC), for 80% of Canadian motorists, “to change or not to change” is not a question anymore, as they all use winter tires on their cars. 8 out of 10 respondents say there have been times when they needed their winter tires to regain control and prevent a collision.

They confirmed what we already know—that the superior performance of winter tires has a place in Canada, and that their greater grip and significantly shorter stopping distances on all cold-weather road surfaces keep Canadians safer on winter roads.

Since “to change or not to change” isn’t the question, the right question to ask is “when?” The general rule, according to the TRAC of Canada, is as soon as the temperature dips below 7°C.

In Canada, it is never too early to start thinking about winter tires. If your tires are worn and you need replacement or installation, we are ready to help you. Book an appointment with us today!