Do I really need winter tires?

Published: 10/17/2010 by AutoShopit

Do I really need winter tires?

Just as there are different types of vehicles designed to handle various terrain, winter tires are manufactured to stand up to harsh winter conditions offering drivers additional control throughout the severe snow conditions. For those of us dealing with seasonal snowfall, winter tires can be a great way to get the best performance out of your vehicle during the cold weather.  From rain and sleet to snow and hail, winter conditions in northern climates can be a grueling test for your vehicle, and by equipping it with the best and most road-worthy products on the market you are more likely to survive the season without skidding off into a ditch or getting into an accident. Winter tires can save you thousands of dollars in car repairs and potentially you and your loved one's lives through accident prevention.

How they work: Winter tires differ from regular tires in both the rubber used to manufacture them, and the tread they use.  The rubber in winter tires is softer than in standard tires, so that they can more easily grip the ice and snow, thus lowering the risk of sliding out of control. However, due to the softness of the tires, they cannot be used during warmer months without quickly wearing down in the summer heat. The tread on winter tires also differs from the standard model, with flexible, deep grooves to prevent snow build-up and offer 25 per cent added traction on the road.

When to use them: In many areas, winter tires are a necessity to safely navigate through the season without ending up in a snowbank, and may even be required by law within certain municipalities. When deciding when to have them put on for the season, pay attention to your local weather and outdoor driving conditions. A good rule of thumb is to have them installed when the outdoor temperature reaches 10 degrees Celsius or less, and you can then remove them in the spring when the weather consistently reaches 10 degrees Celsius or higher. Try to avoid driving the tires into the warmer months, or you will risk wearing them down and compromising their performance before their time.

When to buy: It’s important to make sure you don’t wait to the last minute to purchase your tires, as you can then face higher prices and a backlog of people waiting to have theirs installed at the same time.  Prices can vary by location, so shop around to find the best option and keep an eye out for seasonal sales – summer can be a great time to get a deal on your next set of winter tires.

In order to add or remove winter tires, you will need to seek out a trained mechanic to get the job done. By browsing through our database of local mechanics at, you will be able to find the nearest shops within your neighbourhood and browse through reviews and advice before you decide where to take your business – you may even discover local deals that can save you money on your purchase, or discounted pricing during certain times of the year. 

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