Are you one of those drivers who is thinking about getting winter tires for your vehicle or are you waiting for the weather warning to make the change from summer or all-season tires to winter ones?
If you like to be prepared for the harsh Canadian winter rather than just wake up one morning to fluffy whiteness outside your window, you have probably already done this. But if you are just the opposite and are waiting to replace whichever type of tires you have for winter ones until the very last minute, stick with us to learn when is the best time to do so and why.
It’s good practice (and just plain sensible, really) to get on with installing winter tires on your vehicle as soon as temperature dips below +7°C or before the first snowfall – whichever comes first! The reason for that is that the rubber in all-season tires starts to harden, resembling a hockey puck when the temperature drops below +7°C. The harder it gets, the fewer traction tires have.
On the other hand, winter tires are made with rubber that stays softer in the cold giving increased traction, braking and handling on cold and dry pavement. They also have treads designed to grip ice and snow. Therefore, as soon as you are able to see your breath, it’s time to change your tires.
Should you want to be diligent in your winter vehicle preparations – and would like to avoid the rush at your trusted mechanic’s shop – October is not too soon to install winter tires. Many drivers have encountered this specific problem before and have chosen not to go through the ordeal ever again, so they’ve made it their annual routine.
The pros for installing winter tires are numerous and well documented:
“Tests conducted by Transport Canada and the Rubber Association of Canada have demonstrated that all-season tires veered off the testing track at speeds of 40-50 km/h; this didn’t occur with cars with winter tires.
A study by the Quebec government concluded that proper winter tires on your vehicle improves braking by up to 25% over all-season radials and improves collision avoidance by about 38%.
Winter tires that are in good condition offer better stability during braking and a shorter stopping distance. They also improve the motorist’s ability to keep a vehicle on course while turning.”
“In comparison tests between all-seasons and winter tires in normal temperatures, it took winter tires an average of 7 meters further to stop from 96.5 km/h on a dry track. On a wet track, it took winter tires 9.4 meters further to stop.”, states TRAC.
Another important thing when it comes to installing winter tires is that it should be done in sets of four to help maintain control and stability of your vehicle in icy conditions. Anything less than installing four identical winter tires at the same time compromises your vehicle’s safety and the overall effectiveness of winter tires.
Installing only 2 winter tires on the same axle is quite dangerous as it leads to a false sense of confidence and may cause the driver to oversteer or understeer:
Depending on where you live and drive, how you drive and store your car during the winter, and whether your tires are properly inflated, balanced and wheels aligned, a set of four winter tires should last approximately 80.000-120.000 kilometers. (For more tips on how to extend the life of your tires, check out this blog post.)
In that sense, these are the questions you need to ask yourself when choosing the right tires for your vehicle:
- Are cold temperatures common where you live?
- Do you have to use your vehicle every day?
- Do you drive on icy or snowy roads?
- Do you drive off main streets and roads in winter?
Seeing as we are almost at the year’s end and winter is nearly upon us, when you have all the corresponding answers, visit your trusted mechanic and consult our certified and experienced technicians here at CRS Automotive about the latest tire technology and how tires perform in different environments.
We will be more than happy to keep you safe this winter. Visit us today – our repair shops are in Hamilton and Oakville!