Winter Tire Guide
The Complete Winter Tire Guide
If you live in an area that requires you to drive in snow and ice, then a winter tire is a really good decision. A lot of people say "I can get around fine on all season tires", and that may be true, but you can get around even safer on winter tires. Many people that have driven on all season tires their entire life have been extremely surprised when they tried a winter tire and experienced how much better winter tires are in cold weather, snow and ice. We hope the following information will make you feel more comfortable in making your decision to purchase winter tires.
Ready to get your winter tires installed, simply give us a call or click here and book your vehicle in. If you want to learn more about why winter tires are a must, we hope you find this page beneficial.
When Should You Install Winter Tires?
The performance of all season and performance tires decreases with the temperature, while the performance of winter tires increases with the decrease in temperature.
Who Needs Winter Tires?
Regular all season tires lose elasticity when the temperature dips below 7°C/45°F. Winter tires are constructed with a special compound that allows them to retain more elasticity in cold temperatures.
Technologically engineered tread designs prevent snow build-up and improve ice and snow traction - so you get a better grip on the road and better control of your vehicle.
Winter tires provide better control for all vehicles - cars, SUVs, pick-ups and light trucks - on snow and ice-covered roads. Without winter tires you are more likely to fishtail on corners and spin out on that icy hill.
We tested a vehicle equipped with Goodyear Nordic tires in winter temperatures, and found that (compared to all season tires) our stopping distance while traveling at 60 km/h (37 mph) was up to 18 metres (60 feet) shorter.
Other tests on ice show that even at 24 km/h (15 mph), vehicles equipped with winter tires stopped from one half to a full car length shorter than identical vehicles driving on all season tires.
What Is The Difference Between All Seasons and Winter Tires?
While all season tires provide safe all-weather performance, snow tires are much better suited for snow and icy conditions. All season tires are designed to perform well under a wide range of conditions - dry roads, wet roads and hot temperatures - as well as providing durability over long mileage. This prevents them from being ideal for any one condition.
All Season Tires
Designed to provide a quiet ride and good performance under most conditions.
Treads feature broad contact with road surface with channels to divert water.
All season tires can start experiencing reduced traction at 7°C.
Engineered with compounds to provide long wear on dry roads..
Mud and Snow (M + S or M&S) designation on all season tires is based on tread design.
Designed with larger grooves and tread blocks to grip the road better and prevent sliding in snowy, icy or slushy conditions.
Tiny razor-like "sipes" or cuts in winter treads provide a good bite into ice and snow to help avoid sliding. Unidirectional, V-groove tires move slush and water out of the way.
Winter tires such as Goodyear Nordic maintain gripping power to -35°C.
Engineered with compounds that maintain elasticity in lower temperatures for better traction.
Severe snow rating in winter tires is based on performance testing.
What Are The Benefits Of Winter Tires?
It's a common misconception that putting snow tires on just the vehicle's drive tires (ex.: the front tires in a front wheel drive) is almost as good as having four winter tires.
If you use dissimilar tires on your vehicle, you can find your overall handling declines in performance. Mixing tires with different tread patterns, internal construction and size degrades the stability of your vehicle and should be avoided.
With different tires at the front and rear of your vehicle, each end of the vehicle won't react and perform the same as the other in dry, wet, slushy and snow conditions. Especially in emergency situations, you'll find that your vehicle may understeer in one condition and oversteer in another. It is imperative to keep the same level of traction at all four corners of the car; otherwise, you'll lose the full benefits of ABS or traction control systems. By installing four winter tires, you maintain the most balanced and controlled handling possible, so you can accelerate, brake, handle and better steer your vehicle through winter's challenges.
Transport Canada recommends that snow tires are installed in sets of four. And in the province of Quebec, the law requires that winter tires be installed on all wheels of passenger vehicles (cars, SUVs and light trucks) during the winter season from December 15th until March 15th.
For all these safety reasons, it is Canadian Tire's policy to install winter tires in sets of four.
How Do I Break in New Winter Tires?
After installing your new winter tires, your car will feel and sound different on the road. The tires are designed to provide more traction on snow and ice, with different tread patterns and different handling. When you've installed new winter tires of any sort, take the time to get a feel for your vehicle's new traction and handling.
Your new winter tires will have a deeper tread depth and more open tread space than your all season tires. This feature that gives you greater traction also make tires more flexible, which may make your tires feel less responsive in handling.
Tires are constructed from several layers of rubber, steel and fabric that require a break-in period before they reach maximum performance. To give these components time to fully integrate, for your first few hundred kilometres avoid any aggressive driving - stay with easy acceleration, cornering and braking.
New tires may also have a mold release lubricant on them as a residue from the production process. You should be aware your vehicle might initially have reduced traction before this thin layer is worn away from regular driving.
What Are The Key Differences Between Tires?
The Mud and Snow(M+S or M&S) designation you will see on many all season tires refers only to the tread pattern itself-not the performance of the tire on snowy roads. M+S tires have a "knobby" design with gaps between the treads designed to provide improved traction over the straight rib tires used on earlier vehicles.
In 1999, The U.S. Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA) and the Rubber Association of Canada (RAC) agreed on a performance based standard for identifying tires that have been tested to perform better on snowy roads. Severe Snow Tires are specifically designed for severe snow conditions and meet snow traction performance requirements. Tires meeting this standard are marked with a pictograph of a peaked mountain.
A mountain/snowflake symbol branded on the tire's sidewall identifies tires that perform a minimum of 110% better than a standard tire in a mandated snow traction test, which provides drivers with significantly shorter stopping distance and better handling.
Why Are Winter Tires So Important?
While it's possible to have only one set of wheels for your vehicle, purchasing separate wheels for your winter tires can be a smart, economical choice that makes the seasonal switch quick and easy for years to come. When you install your winter tires on their own set of wheels, you only need to have your tires mounted once. Switching your tires for the season then requires little more than removing some wheel nuts and swapping out your tires.
Each season you save the cost of mounting and unmounting tires from your wheels, plus you also eliminate the additional tire wear this can cause. If your car is equipped with a tire pressure monitoring system, this can also avoid any damage to the system or its components. And by selecting specialized winter wheels, you'll have your winter tires mounted to wheels that can withstand the rigorous of Canada's harsh winter conditions.
Winter tires and wheels aren't just about practicality-they can be about good looks too. Steel wheels are the standard wheels you'll see on most vehicles during Canada's harsh winters. These practical wheels are painted with a black finish and specially coated to resist corrosion. You'll find a complete selection of designs at Canadian Tire, including OE wheels with an original factory fit, and multi-fit wheels, designed and guaranteed to fit multiple vehicles.
Winter alloy wheels offer the aesthetics of performance vehicles, and are clear coated with a rust-free, resilient finish to withstand harsh weather conditions. By using alloy wheels, you not only improve the looks of your vehicle but also the performance. Alloy's extra strength provides longevity as well as positively affecting tire wear. Alloys are 15-20% lighter than steel, and the weight reduction will improve steering response and handling, as well as help improve acceleration and braking.
The narrower your tire, the more easily you can get through snow. Select a winter tire size based on the optional tire and wheel size for the base model of your vehicle, or by "minus sizing". Not only will this help you choose tires more suited to winter, but you may also find the cost of a tire and wheel package is lower than staying with your vehicle's original specifications.
Prices not applicable in Quebec. Price represents the Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP). Price excludes environmental excise fees (where applicable), freight, PDE (full tank of fuel, floor mats and installed block heater cord), air and tire levies, license, registration, insurance, duties, and applicable taxes . Dealer may charge additional administration fees, which may vary by dealer. Dealership may sell for less. Equipment, specifications and price are subject to change without notice.