Snow Tire Packages

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The Benefits of Winter Tires

The facts about winter tires and why all-season tires just won't do

Ever since the introduction of the all-season tire, Canadian drivers have slid and spun their tires through the coldest months of the year. Here's the kicker: it doesn't seem to matter whether there's snow on the ground or not.

Unlike all-season tires, severe-condition winter tires (identified by mountain and snowflake symbols on their sides) have tread patterns and rubber that are tailored for colder conditions. And that helps them perform better than all-season tires once temperatures plummet, whether or not they have to dig through the white stuff.

In contrast, all-season tires can turn into four round black rocks when the cold hits. Even on dry pavement, at a balmy 5˚ C, a severe snow-rated tire outperforms an all-season tire. And a study conducted by the
Quebec Ministry of Transport showed that a proper winter tire can improve braking by up to 25 percent over an all-season radial and can improve collision avoidance by about 38 percent.

Drivers should also not be tempted to skimp and buy only two tires. Do you want to slide off the road forward or backward? Four winter tires are necessary to maintain proper handling and balance.

Regardless of where you drive, you need to keep a close eye on the condition of your tires. Ensure that your tires still have deep treads to help with snow traction. And pay attention to their inflation. In winter, temperatures can drop rapidly. Tire pressure varies by approximately 1 p.s.i. (pounds per square inch) for each 5° C rise or fall in air temperature.

In winter the temperature can easily slide from 5˚ to –15˚ overnight, dropping tire pressure as much as 4 p.s.i. In an already under-inflated tire, that could put you into the danger zone. Tires, therefore, should be checked monthly. If you're not up to keeping track of the pressure of your tires when winter's chill sets in, consider stopping by your trusted
repair centre.