Why You Need Winter Tires

Winter in Canada is nothing to sneeze at. After Toronto suffered its first snowfall of 2017, the OPP responded to over 60 collisions over a 12-hour period. A section of Yonge Street was actually closed for some time because no one could stop in the icy conditions. This wasn’t even a major winter event, just a light dusting.

While safe driving in the winter does mostly depend on the driver, having a vehicle capable of driving through snow and slush is a huge help. This is where winter tires come in. Not sure what driving in the snow and ice looks like? Check this out.

I Have All-Season Tires. Winter Is A Season. I Should Be Fine.

Sorry, but no. All-season tires are made to handle many different road conditions including dirt, wetness and even light snow. But winter tires are designed to handle one thing: winter. They’re made to perform optimally in extreme winter conditions like ice, slush, heavy snow and even just really low temperatures. The rubber used in all-season tires can harden in the cold, losing traction. The rubber used in winter tires is designed to stay soft and pliable in the cold giving them better grip in the cold. Imagine driving down the QEW, and you lose traction. It’s not a fun feeling. This is where the extra traction of winter tires will help you.

Do I Really Need Winter Tires?

Depends. Do you really need a keyboard to use a computer? No. But it sure helps. Generally, the rule of thumb for winter tires is if you live in a place where temperatures go below 7 degrees C, you need them. The average Toronto winter dips below -3 degrees. That doesn’t include snowfall or wind-chill.

I Have All-Wheel Drive, So I Don’t Need Winter Tires

Again, no. AWD improves traction by sending power to all four tires when you accelerate, instead of only the front two or back two. That’s great, but that doesn’t help you when you hit the brakes. While braking, all cars are No Wheel Drive. There’s no power going to any wheel. So your tires are going to have the same traction while stopping as a car not equipped with AWD. Take a guess when you are most likely to slip in the snow.

Do I Need Four Winter Tires? Or Can I Just Use Two?

We recommend getting four. Having two kinds of tires on your car can give it what’s called a “split-personality”. Basically, this means that the front and rear tires aren’t working together. Besides, if you only put winter tires on two of your wheels, your all-season tires won’t wear evenly.

Can I Keep My Winter Tires On All Year?

We would NOT recommend that. In warm weather, the soft rubber used in winter tires will wear out much faster than the rubber in all-season tires. You would end up paying more in the long run than if you just switched them.

Bridgestone uses a great analogy. You can wear running shoes all year long, on the beach in the summer and in the cold in the winter. But wouldn’t you rather wear sandals in the summer heat and boots in the winter cold?

Still Not Convinced?

If the fear of snow in the GTA still isn’t enough to convince you to buy winter tires, maybe appealing to your wallet will work better. Many winter tire manufacturers are offering great rebates right now on tires. You can view all the offers here.

For more information about winter tires, you can check out this page from our friends at Don Valley North Toyota. You can shop for winter tires, see what kinds of services they offer and learn more about tires.