Everything you need to know about winter tires in comparison to all-season tires. And 5 simple reasons that will make you reconsider using all seasons tires in the winter.
In a country that has less than four months of heat and the rest filled with icy storms, slushy rain, and spontaneous blizzards, it is naive to think that all- season tires will keep you from sliding into a ditch or another vehicle. The simple decisions we choose to make impact us and the people we love. Getting winter tires is one of those simple yet positive decisions that can profoundly impact your driving quality in snow and ice.
The Canadian Safety Board has conducted many studies and tests, to compare the two forms of tire and there is irrefutable evidence in favor of winter tires. To put it simply, you should think of the winter tires as a specialized expert for snow and ice whereas, the all- season tires are considered jack of all trades but master of none.
Knowing that, who would you want protecting you and your loved ones? The expert? Or the master of none? Given this choice, we are sure you would all choose the best, the expert: WINTER TIRES.
Let’s start by discussing what makes a “winter tire” a winter tire. Foremost, the rubber used in winter tires contains a different compound that is not used for all-season tires. The name “all-season” is completely deceiving as it is not created and meant for all seasons. Especially not for the harsh and crazy winters we face here in Toronto and the GTA.
Winter tires are made with a rubber compound that stays soft past 7 degrees Celsius. You may be wondering: why is soft rubber important? Well, this unique quality found in winter tires, makes it possible to create more traction. Allowing you to drive normally during harsh weather conditions, accelerate normally on ice and snow, and provide more instantaneous braking. Winter tires are the difference between you braking on time and avoiding a serious accident or sliding and smashing your vehicle.
All-season tires are made of a compound that is a compromise between summer and winter conditions, they perform better than summer tires in cold weather but are no expert at handling ice and snow. Below 7 degrees Celsius, all-season tires are inferior to winter tires. In Toronto and the GTA, -7 is still considered our autumn weather. We get temperatures around -15 to -20, which is our winter. So, would you want tires that are specially made for that kind of weather or tires that are not equipped to handle those conditions.
If you look at the winter tire, you will notice a very prevalent feature. There are small blocks and cuts all around called the tread pattern. These tread patterns allow the tire to grip through the snow, and channel out the slush and water. Overall, the tire treads allow the winter tires to increase the rubber contact to the road, and accelerate and brake better in comparison to all-season tires.
The tread also contains small slits which are called sipes. These open when they touch the road to provide more grit. There are also tiny holes called micro-pumps, which pick up the thin layer of water that can form on top of ice, or when the asphalt is damp.
This myth needs to be debunked immediately. Yes, all wheel drive is helpful in the winter, but it's only part of the equation. All wheel drive will help you accelerate and keep you from getting stuck in the winter. However it does not help you slow down or turn in the winter conditions we face in Toronto and the GTA. To completely achieve maximum safety for yourself and your family, pair the all wheel drive with a set of winter tires.
We are always here to help you get the car services you need, while saving the most money. So here are some tips/information of winter tire purchases:
In all honesty, it is important to save money where you can and cut down on things you don’t need. But winter tires shouldn't fall into that category. We can only spend and enjoy our money if we are safe and protected. A collision cost much more than the price of winter tires.
Oftentimes customers think they only need to 2 winter tires, when a vehicle needs 4! If you have decided to buy winter tires, you understand the importance they have during harsh winter conditions. Then why compromise the safety and well-being of everyone around and in the vehicle by only purchasing 2 tires. Saving on this cost, has no benefits and instead causes more harm.
With only 2 winter tires, there is a series of problems that can occur. The most negative impact this has is on the steering and braking aspect of the vehicle. Steering and braking is greatly compromised, two main features needed to keep you safe.
The danger comes in the rear of the vehicle having very little traction causing an imbalance most often resulting in a rear-end skid (or oversteer) due to loss of control. As for installing only two winter tires on the rear of a front wheel drive, this setup will reduce the chance of a rear-end skid but it greatly compromises steering grip and stopping ability with only all- seasons on the front. The safest is always to use four winter tires. Why would you want to compromise your and your loved ones safety.