5 Reasons Why Your All-Season Tires Aren't Good Enough For A Canadian Winter
Snowy weather is just around the corner for most of us in Canada, but some drivers still haven’t had their winter tires installed. Despite what its name suggests, all-season tires are no good for winters in Canada. When temperatures drop below 7 degrees Celsius, the rubber compounds found in normal tires begins to harden. When you’re faced with dangerous driving conditions like ice, snow, slush and freezing rain, having a good set of tires is essential to your safety, and the safety of those who share the road. Unlike all-season tires, winter tires are designed with thicker rubber which produces more traction and better grip for colder surfaces. Winter tires remain softer in freezing temperatures, allowing the grooves to lock your wheels against the road, and not slide out of control. The overall thickness and grooves found in a regular tire are no match for winter roads, and having the proper set of winter tires will keep you safe in the unpredictable Maritimes weather. Here, we debunk some popular myths about winter tires.
Popular Myths About All-Season Tires
Myth #1: All-season tires grip wet roads better than winter tires.
Fact: All-season tires were designed to mimic summer climates more so than winter climates. Their patterns and grooves may work in wet, humid road conditions, but the thickness of the rubber is no match for frozen surfaces or dry ice. Without winter tires, you are at risk for losing control of your vehicle on a patch of ice. All-season tires are also significantly thinner than winter tires, and the grooves do not provide sufficient traction for freezing temperatures. While all-season tires are able to stay flexible at low temperatures, they are no match for slippery surfaces.
Myth #2: Winter tires aren’t cost effective.
Fact: Many drivers opt for all-season tires because they believe this means they will save money by not purchasing winter tires once the seasons change. However, your Owner’s Manual will outline how often you should be replacing your tires for general maintenance, and if you leave your tires on all year round, you run the risk of wearing them out too quickly. Failing to install winter tires not only compromises your safety, but increases the amount of wear and tear on your vehicle as it tries to perform in all kinds of driving conditions. Winter tires cost the same as any other tires, and it all depends on the brand, make and model of your vehicle, and installation fee.
Myth #3: I have 4WD so I don’t need winter tires.
Fact: Four-wheel drive or all-wheel drive has nothing to do with your winter tires. Sure, 4WD can help move your vehicle forward if you’re in a compromising situation, like the back of a snowbank, but 4WD does nothing to help you come to a full stop. If your vehicle slides out on a patch of ice, the stop times on all-season tires do little compared to winter tires. Plus, if the tires don’t have enough tread to push snow out of the way, they won’t help. On snow, ice or frozen pavement, the stopping distance of a car with winter tires can be up to 30 to 40 percent shorter than one with all-seasons. If you’re in the midst of an oncoming collision, this could mean the difference between a scratch or a fatality.
Myth #4: Winter tires are only for snow.
Fact: Different types of tires have been engineered to accommodate varying roadside surface conditions. Summer tires are thinner, and deal better in wet or humid environments. All-season tires protect your vehicle in temperatures 7 degrees Celsius and above. Winter tires have been specially designed for temperatures below 7 degrees Celsius. The rubber compounds and other components that go into winter tires keep them flexible, which improves vehicle handling and improves abrupt stopping or braking, with or without snow.
Myth #5: All-season tires are fine for winter use.
Fact: All-season tires are fine for spring and fall when climate conditions prompt mild weather changes, but as soon as extreme cold and snow hit, they’re no match for Canadian roads and highways. The thicker rubber and groove patterns found on winter tires allow for more traction, better performance and deep tread makes driving safer and easier. Plus, the rubber won’t bristle or crack in freezing temperatures.