Perfect for Canadian winter road conditions. Thanks to their special rubber mixture, winter tires are safer on the road at temperatures below 7°C. They are also equipped with additional rubber patterns that open when the vehicle is in motion. This creates grip edges that help ensure high traction and directional stability on snow, slush and mud. A further safety benefit is the shorter braking distance compared to summer tires, which is up to 10% less in wet conditions and up to 50% less in ice and snow.
The amount of rubber used in winter tires helps the tire stay soft and flexible so it can grip the road when it’s cold outside. If you drive on winter tires in the summer, then your tires will be too soft, which means they will wear faster, reduce fuel efficiency and also need a greater distance for braking. The reason for this is because winter tires are more pliable at higher temperatures, so they wear more quickly on hard, dry asphalt.
The rubber compound used in summer tires is considerably harder than it is in winter tires so they can handle the heat of summer. If you drive in the winter with summer tires, stopping distances will be longer and it will be harder to drive in a straight line because the tires aren’t soft enough to grip the road. If you’re even able to get going, that is…
Summer tires have large contact patches which give the vehicle a better grip on the road. Although the tread pattern has fewer grooves and sipes (thin slits that cut across the rubber) than that of winter tires, the grooves are bigger so they can move large quantities of water away to the sides, maximizing the contact with the road in order to avoid hydroplaning.
Winter tires, on the other hand, have a lot of grooves, which are also deeper than those in summer tires. It is these grooves that allow winter tires to keep their traction on snow and ice. There are also smaller channels called sipes that help the grooves keep the tire in contact with the surface. Your vehicle will skid if you drive on summer tires in winter, see for yourself what that looks like and how winter tires fare in the summer.
Whenever the temperature consistently stays below 7 degrees is when you need to use your winter tires. The rule of thumb is that below 7 degrees is when winter tires do best on the road and above 7 degrees is when summer tires do best.
The correct air pressure is determined by vehicle manufacturers and tire makers. You can consult a tire pressure chart – usually located in the vehicle’s door jamb or sometimes in the trunk, but always in your owner’s manual – to find the right tire pressure for your tires. Tire pressure depends on the type of vehicle you have, the type of tire and the load. You should check your tire pressure regularly, especially before you take any long trips.