If you frequently encounter snow or ice, or if the temperature consistently approaches freezing, your tires need the extra grip and turning capabilities that only winter tires can deliver. Even if you have 4-wheel-drive or all-wheel-drive, you still need winter tires on the front and back to conquer the elements and stay safe.
Winter tires are designed to perform better in a wide range of wintry conditions such as wet roads, snow and ice. They also improve your vehicle's grip and performance in these conditions and they shorten your braking distances for better safety.
In cold temperatures, summer tires do not provide the performance that winter road conditions require. They are made with different materials optimized for warmer conditions and they can, for instance, harden under cold temperature, thus lowering their gripping ability. Summer tires have difficulty gripping the road in snow or icy conditions.
All-season tires are designed to be driven year-round, but if you live in an area with severe winter conditions (heavy snow or ice), they may not be sufficient. All-season tires are designed to perform well in a large range of conditions, but not to handle the worst.
Winter tires can provide you with the extra grip you need to get through deeper snow or ice-covered roads.
Only tires which have the Three Peak Mountain Snowflake symbol (a snowflake inside a mountain) have been tested for use in severe snow conditions. They meet or exceed industry-established severe snow traction performance requirements. Tires with this marking are what we traditionally call "winter tires".
They have been specially designed to improve your car’s performance in mud and fresh or melting snow. Many all-season tires have this marking.
However, not all “M+S” tires have been tested as winter tires. So even if a tire has a “M+S” marking, it can only be considered a true winter tire if it also has the Three Peak Mountain Snowflake symbol. On the other hand, all winter tires carry the “M+S” mark.
Winter tires do not wear more quickly in winter conditions when compared to all-season tires. The rubber is different, but comparable in durability. You can fit them early to enjoy maximum benefits.
Over the life of your vehicle, you will likely need to purchase at least one new set of tires. Equipping the vehicle with winter tires during the first winter season will represent a slightest higher investment in the end but will optimize the performance in treacherous driving conditions with the benefit of added safety.
For maximum safety and control of your vehicle in cold weather conditions, fit winter tires on all four wheels.
4-Wheel-Drive does provide optimized power transmission delivery but minimal assistance in transverse handling and braking situations. With winter tires, you can feel optimized levels of traction during all manoeuvers including acceleration, braking, and handling.
Studded tires are the right choice for you.
Non-studded winter tires could be a better choice.
Tires with metal studs inserted into the tread to increases grip on ice, making it easier to start and stop on the least friendly road surfaces imaginable.
Studded tires are not ideal for driving on roads that are not covered with ice, as they can increase braking distance, road noise and wear.
Studded tires are not allowed in some provinces in Canada. These provinces may completely ban the use of studded tires or only allow their use during certain times of the year. Check with your local officials to ensure studded tires are allowed in your province before you purchase studded tires.