Baby, it’s Cold Outside. Time for Winter Tires!
Are you still driving around on Summer tires? It is winter and the roads are awful — covered in snow and ice. All-Seasons aren’t going to do the trick either. Once the temperature drops below -7 Celsius, all-season tires and summer tires start to stiffen up and lose traction. Winter tires (otherwise called snow tires) are made to withstand the frigid conditions and maintain ample traction through very intricate tread designs. When your car is equipped with four winter tires, it will handle better in not only snowy conditions, but also on icy roads and on cold, dry pavement as well.
All-Season Tires Versus Winter Tires
If you are used to driving your car with all-season tires, you may be wondering whether winter tires are worth it. The truth is that while all-seasons can be reliable in more temperate climates, our harsh Edmonton winters require tires with better grips to deal with more treacherous roads.
As you may have noticed, driving your car with non-winter tires can cause your tires to spin more and can put you at an increased risk of a vehicle accident. Installing winter tires on your automobile will provide you with increased traction, braking, and handling when driving in winter conditions. Winter tires are specially designed to get a better grip on icy roads or loose snow, making them the ideal choice for our colder climate and unpredictable road conditions.
What make snow tires better equipped to deal with Edmonton winters? Both the tread patterns and the material components of winter tires make them more suitable for slippery winter conditions. Winter tires are made with rubber compounds that are specifically designed to handle cold weather.
Snow tires have better grips because of their channeling tread patterns and their open tread block configuration. These features allow your vehicle to have greater traction when driving on roads with deep snow. Winter tires also allow for better grip on wet and slippery surfaces because they have a larger number of tread sipes (which are the tiny slits in your tires’ tread blocks).
Winter Tires Can Save You Money
Another financial advantage to buying winter tires is that your tires will last longer. In Edmonton, our winters can last for six months. If you have winter tires on your car for half the year, this means you will take a half year of wear off your summer or all-season tires. Therefore, you will only have to replace your non-winter tires half as often as you were replacing them in the past.
When to Install Winter Tires
When is the best time to have your winter tires installed on your vehicle? When it comes to being prepared for winter, it is best to put your winter tires on early, about as soon as you can see your breath when you are outside. According to the Tire and Rubber Association of Canada, you should put winter tires on your car when the temperature drops to below seven degree Celsius. When you have your winter tires installed it is important to have then installed in sets of four. This will help ensure your vehicle has adequate control and stability in icy driving conditions.
Things to Consider When Buying Winter Tires
When purchasing your new winter tires at Optimum Auto, make sure you consider the types of driving conditions you are most likely to drive in. If you drive mostly on country roads that are not plowed often, you will want snow tires that are designed for heavy snow. If you mainly drive on city roads, you will need tires designed for icy roads. If you are not sure or drive in all sorts of conditions, you will need tires that are designed to get you through anything Winter might throw at you.
Here is a quick list of questions you should consider when selecting your winter tires:
- Do you typically drive on icy or snowy roads?
- Do you have to drive every day, no matter the weather?
- Do you drive on city roads or country roads?
- Are the streets frequently plowed where you live (or do you need to drive through a good deal of snow)?
- In the wintertime do you drive in low visibility conditions, such as early morning or late at night?
- Do you moderate your speed based on the weather conditions?
When to Replace Winter Tires
How long your winter tires last you depends a great deal on whether you swap them for summer of all-year tires each year and also on the amount that you drive. The average winter tires can last you anywhere from five to seven years. However, depending on the amount that you drive and also on whether you swap your tires yearly, your winter tires may have a shorter or longer “life expectancy”.
Your winter tires “life expectancy” depends on how long they provide the designated amount of grip to be considered safe in winter conditions. If you are unsure whether your tires have enough grip, you can bring them in to your local auto mechanic shop to have your treads looked at.
An easy way to judge how old your tires look is by looking at the small numbers on the sidewall, near the wheel rim. The last four digits will tell you the week and the year that your tires were manufactured.
The exact life expectancy of your winter tires will also depend on how your tires were stored between seasons. If your tires are exposed to heat or light where they were stored, then they would age more rapidly. If you want your winter tires to last you longer, try storing them in a location that is cool, dry, and dark. It is also recommended that you store your tires in a fitted plastic bag (from which the air has been removed). If you don’t want the hassle of storing your tires at home, bring them in to Optimum Auto Service. We offer tire storage for a nominal fee.
Winter Tires from Optimum Auto Service
Come into Optimum Auto Service to check out our selection of winter tires or call (780) 477-2883 with your tire size to get a competitive quote. We offer a wide selection of tires that is sure to be in your price range.