Which tire is best for cold weather driving: All-season or winter?
Thursday, October 24, 2013
There are few guarantees in life, especially when it comes to the weather. However, an almost 100 percent certainty is that when it's winter in Canada, snow will be on the ground at one point or another.
With the frozen white stuff comes the risk of being involved in an accident, as auto insurance claims tend to increase this time of year. With the proper maintenance, though, motorists can significantly reduce their chances of getting involved in a crash - particularly if they keep their tires in good working order.
But each year, the age-old question invariably comes up: Should I install winter tires or all-season tires? In a special for Wheels.ca, automotive guru Benny Leung recently attempted to clarify the issue once and for all.
According to numerous mechanics and tire experts he spoke to, Leung said that the consensus is winter tires, for the most part; perform better than all-season tires when the road is slick with ice or snow. Transport Canada performed some analysis of its own and corroborated this belief, saying that all-season tires don't hold up well when the temperature dips below 10 degrees Celsius.
With this in mind, Leung made several recommendations to ensure that motorists get the most out of their winter tires:
- When installing winter tires, make sure every wheel is for winter driving, rather than just two. This enhances the capability of electronic-stability systems.
- Install tires early on in the season, preferably before the first snowfall.
- While it may seem like a good idea to keep winter tires installed on a car all year long, make sure you take them off when the cold weather season ends. Otherwise, the wear and tear will make them less effective when next winter rolls around.
Auto expert Richard Russell, who's a frequent contributor to the "Drive" section of The Globe and Mail, recently indicated that there are a variety of ways in which motorists can store their winter tires so that they last for a long time. For example, instead of resting the tires on the ground or in a car garage, it's best to stack them one on top of the other by positioning them horizontally. However, before this is done, make sure you clean the tires to get rid of any brake dust that may have accumulated in the crevices over the winter. Allowing brake dust to remain locked in the tread can cause the rubber to corrode more quickly.