Now that the snow has finally decided to make an appearance wet, slushy, snow-covered and icy roads are presenting a challenge to Canadian drivers. Since road and weather conditions can change at a moment’s notice it’s important to ensure you’re vehicle is as safe as possible. Winter tires can greatly improve the way your car handles in severe weather to get you to your destination without slipping and sliding.
What are winter tires?
Winter tires combine special treads with rubber compounds to maximize traction when the roads are cold, snowy and/or icy. Neither of these unique features are found in all-season or summer tires, making them virtually useless during the winter months.
Why you need to replace all four tires:
If you only swap the drive tires (the front tires in a front wheel drive, for example) you will likely find that overall handling declines considerably. That’s because multiple differences between the two sets of tires decrease your ability to maintain control when accelerating and braking. In many cases one set will understeer while the other oversteers. In some places, like the province of Quebec, winter tires must be installed on the wheels of all passenger vehicles between December and March; by law.
Consider the cost of winter tires:
If you are concerned about the price tag and the cost of labour, keep in mind that winter tires actually wear less than all-season tires do in low temperatures.
Therefore, you will save money in the long term if you switch between all-season tires and snow tires since you won’t be wearing through as many all-season tires.
Aside from considering how long your tires will be effective for, the other cost concern that you really can’t put a price on is your safety. Exercising good judgement, driving according to weather conditions and paying attention to other drivers are all important factors that you can control, while snow tires mitigate risk of things you cannot control, like improved handling to minimize accidents. Collision avoidance means you won’t have to drain your bank account to pay hefty mechanics’ or medical bills.
In either case, the peace of mind you get from your winter tires likely outweighs any concern about the additional expense.
As explained, winter tires are of great benefit to those navigating the weather worn streets during winter months. Winter tires are an investment in your personal safety, as well as that of your family and those you share the road with, so while it may seem like a vital decision it actually is. With this information (and a good set of tires) you can fight back against the scourge of ice and snow covered roads… and be safe about it!