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Should I buy winter tires?

More and more drivers are turning to winter tires to better their driving experience during the colder months. Many provinces are stepping up to encourage this transition too. Since 2007 all Quebec motorists have been required by law to install four winter tires on their vehicles between December 15 and March 15. If not equipped drivers face fines between $200 and $300. BC also requires winter tires or chains when driving in certain mountainous regions. While not law elsewhere all provinces recommend the use of winter tires to their residents. Some provincial governments like Manitoba and Ontario also provide money-saving incentives to encourage people to make the switch during the cold months.

Benefits of Winter Tires

  • Better braking
  • Better handling (especially cornering)
  • Better stability
  • Improved reaction time
  • Reduced fuel consumption
  • Extended life of your tires
  • Handle cold weather ice snow and slush better
  • Reduce your chance of being in a serious accident

Quebec saw a 3% decrease in death and serious injury and a 5% decrease in accidents since the winter tire law came into effect according to Fountain Tire. The benefits of winter tires are undeniable and it’s not just about their better performance in snow.

When temperatures drop below 7C the rubber in summer and all season tires lose their pliability which affects their functionality. They don’t grip the road as well so handling braking and stability are negatively affected. This doesn’t even factor in snow ice and slush!

Winter tires however are composed of a different rubber compound which is equipped to deal with colder temperatures. Their treads are also engineered to “push out” slush and snow and their tread design performs better on ice as well.