Considering just last week we were talking about how to take your pets on a summer road trip, it seems wrong to already start talking about winter. However, this week we will be covering the advantages of winter tires, as well as clearing up a few misconceptions.
It’s All About the Temperature
A common myth is that winter tires need snow and ice to work properly. In fact, winter tires simply work best in temperatures below 10° Celsius. Tires need to be able to flex and bend slightly to provide maximum grip, which is why winter tires use special rubber compounds to remain flexible in the cold, and thus provide additional traction on all fall and winter surfaces.
All-Season Tires and Winter Tires do the Same Thing
Another common, and potentially dangerous, myth is that all-season tires work just as well as winter tires in the cold and snow. As stated previously, when it comes to tires it’s all about temperature. While winter tires remain flexible and maintain their grip below 10°, all-season tires become hard and begin to lose their grip below -5°. So when you consider that most areas in Canada see winter temperatures dip well below -5° Celsius, it is a dangerous proposition to keep all-season on your vehicle year-round.
Only the Powered Wheels Matter
A common cost-cutting tactic used by many drivers is to purchase winter tires solely for their powered wheels. This means while their vehicles perform better under acceleration, the inherent imbalance of having more grip at one end of the vehicle than the other can cause serious control issues. In order for your vehicle to brake and steer effectively, the grip from all four tires needs to be equal.
You Don’t Need Winter Tires if You Have 4WD
Another common misconception that many drivers believe, is that vehicles equipped with 4WD or AWD don’t require winter tires. These drivers are most likely duped by the increased traction upon acceleration that dividing power to all four wheels offers. While it is true that 4WD or AWD helps you pull away from a stand-still, these systems do nothing to help you stop or steer – braking and turning is dictated almost entirely by your tires. So drivers of 4WD vehicles without winter tires place themselves in a dangerous position where they can easily accelerate but cannot stop or steer.
Why Can’t I Keep My Winter Tires on All Year Long?
Many drivers keep their winter rubber on all year long, but it’s important to remember these tires use special rubber compounds to remain soft in the cold. During the heat of summer they increase the rate at which they wear. They may also increase your fuel consumption because of their increased rolling resistance.
So as winter draws ever closer, protect yourself by investing in a set of winter tires. Many drivers balk at the upfront cost, but if you think about it, two sets of tires, applied to the right conditions will essentially double the life of both sets of tires. Also, let’s not forget that winter tires are far cheaper than the cost of repairs and increased insurance premiums if you find yourself in an accident. Try these links for great incentives on winter tires in Winnipeg, Regina and Carman.