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What you need to know about winter tires

Published on October 28 2016

We feel it as soon as we step outside, winter is upon us.

We feel it as soon as we step outside, winter is upon us. And with the arrival of winter comes the necessity to get our vehicle ready to take on icy and snowy roads, steep inclines that we inevitably struggle to get up or down, and the general complexities that comes with winter driving.

That said, there are certainly ways of getting ourselves prepared for winter, and making our time out on the roads that much easier. It all starts with your winter tires which are the only contact point between you and the road. Although only mandatory in Quebec, anyone in Canada should seriously consider putting winter tires on their vehicle. Believe us, it will make things a lot easier.

It’s not always easy to navigate the complex world of winter tires. From which tires are approved for winter to knowing when you have to replace them or which tires are better suited to your vehicle, there are a lot of considerations.

That’s why we turned to the tire experts at Mendes Toyota to find out everything you need to know about winter tires. Hopefully the information below will answer some of the questions you may have.

Do I need winter tires?

The quick answer is yes. Although they are not mandatory in Ontario, winter tires make a huge difference in winter, even when compared to all-season tires. It all starts with the outside temperature which, when it dips below 7 degrees, will harden your tire’s compound and make it less flexible and therefore less effective.

Winter tires are designated by a pictogram of a mountain and a snowflake on the sidewall and they are designed to remain elastic even when the weather dips to -40 degrees. That means that they can take on basically any weather winter can throw at them. Tests have proven that a winter tire’s braking distance is more than two car lengths shorter than when braking with an all-season tire.

Do I need to replace my winter tires?

Once you have made the decision to go the winter tire way, then you need to determine if you need to replace your tires, or buy new ones. The key is the tread depth which needs to be at least 6/32 of an inch if you hope to drive all winter on your current winter tires. For them to remain effective, their tread depth most be more than 2/32 of an inch.

You can use the tire’s wear indicator to determine if they need to be replaced. The wear indicators are a series of bars inside the grooves. If these bars are level with the tread, the tire needs to be replaced. You can also use a Canadian quarter by inserting the quarter with the caribou’s nose pointed downwards in the groove. If you can see the nose, you need new winter tires.

Which tires are right for my vehicle?

That is not an easy question to answer given that there are so many factors. That said, when having a look at the various comparison tests found all over the web, there are certain tires that seem to stand out.

-    Nokian Hakkapeliitta 8

-    Michelin X-Ice Xi3

-    Bridgestone Blizzak WS80

-    Continental Winter Contact Si

-    Toyo Observe GSi-5

On the other hand, there are other winter tires that offer the same level of safety and durability. The right tire for you will depend on how much you drive your vehicle in winter, in what conditions you drive your vehicle, and what type of vehicle you own. Come in today to talk with the experts at Mendes Toyota to find out which tire is right for you.

We can also help you with storing your summer tires. There are also a few implications when it comes to storing, namely making sure they are in a clean environment with very little humidity. Also, you want to avoid stacking your tires unless they are on rims. Contact us today to learn more!


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