Snow tires are back in style thankfully. We know they perform much better on snow and ice than all season tires do. The softer rubber with deep treads means they stop faster, grip better, and are more manoeuvrable than all season tires as well. The insurance companies in Ontario recognized their benefit and have given policy holders with snow tires discounted premiums. In some provinces, like Quebec, they are required by law during the winter months.
If you are going to drive this winter, I highly recommend you invest in a set of snow tires for your car. They seem expensive at first glance, but they extend the life of your other tires significantly, so the financial savings is on the back end of the deal. They also save lives and prevent accidents.
Transport Canada has put together a Winter Tire Safety Tip sheet. Here are some portions of it for your information:
Vehicle handling will be improved when tires of the same type, size, speed rating and load index are installed on all four wheels. View a demonstration video showcasing the benefits of using four winter tires of the same type, size, speed rating and load index by visiting visit http://www.rubberassociation.ca/wintertirevideos/wintertirevideos.html.
Tires marked with the pictograph of a peaked mountain with a snowflake meet specific snow traction performance requirements, and have been designed specifically for use in severe snow conditions.
If you intend on driving in severe winter conditions, install four winter tires that meet the "snow tire” designation on your vehicle. These snow tires will assist you to control your vehicle safely in slippery conditions.
Tires marked "M + S" – or "mud and snow" tires, also known as "all-season" tires— continue to provide safe all-weather performance, but may not always be suitable for severe snow conditions.
Wide, high performance tires, other than those that are specifically designed as snow tires, are not suitable for use on snow covered roads.
What Snow Tires are Available
You can contact tire dealers or manufacturers to obtain information on which models meet this new designation.
· Install four winter tires - To help maintain control and stability of your vehicle in icy conditions, Transport Canada and the Rubber Association of Canada recommend that you install winter tires in sets of four.
· Mixing tires with different tread patterns, internal construction, and size degrades the stability of the vehicle and should be avoided.
· As a tire wears, snow traction is reduced. Tires that are worn close to the tread-wear indicators have reduced traction and should not be used on snow-covered roads or in severe snow conditions.
· Proper air pressure extends tread life, improves safety, and reduces fuel consumption — all vital factors in saving energy and protecting the environment. Tire pressure decreases as temperatures drop, so be sure to check the pressures at least once a month when the tires are cold, preferably after the car has been out all night. (For more information on proper tire inflation, please see our publication “Riding on Air” at http://www.tc.gc.ca/eng//motorvehiclesafety/tp-200.htm.)