Winter tires are designed for use on ice and snow and in lower temperatures. No surprises there but really, who needs winter tires? I have driven for years…many years, and have never even once used a snow tire. But, looks like I’ve not been understanding the whole picture.
Winter tires are usually tires with a different rubber composition from all-weather (or all-season) tires. Winter tires start to perform better than summer or all-season tires if temperatures fall below 7°C because the rubber compounds in the latter harden resulting in decreasing grip even on dry pavement. So that means, you can get winter tire advantage in, well, August! The main differences are that winter tires have softer rubber compounds and have more aggressive tread patterns (or siping rubber) resulting in increased traction on snow and ice.
Siping is the process of cutting thin slits into a rubber surface to improve traction in wet or icy conditions. Siping was invented and patented in 1923 under the name of John F. Sipe. The story is that, in the 1920s, Sipe worked in a slaughterhouse and kept slipping on the wet floors. He discovered that cutting slits in the tread on the bottoms of his shoes provided better traction than the uncut tread.
The increased traction as a result of siping applies to acceleration, braking and cornering. The downside is that on dry pavement, winter tires perform poorer than all seasons or summer tires. But the upside far outweighs the downside! There is a substantial performance advantage from using winter tires on icy and snow. When comparing all-season tires to winter tires, all-seasons take double the braking distance to stop on packed snow which makes them three-season tires! All –seasons really just give you mediocre to poor performance in all conditions. So, the part that grabbed my attention is…if you live in northern harsh climates and can absolutely only purchase one kind of tires, you are probably better off buying winter tires. They are the ones with the mountain peak and snowflakes. Winter tires are a little bit more expensive than all-season tires, but the cost difference (tire cost an d extra steel rims) is marginal over the lifetime of the vehicle. Typically a driver may have the car for 100,000 km and is very likely to to need two sets of tires over this period ie two sets of all-seasons or one set of summer tires and one set of winter tires. The cost in the end will be roughly the same…but wait for it…you will have had much better performing tires all year round over those 100,000 km.
Come in to Ducharme Motors and ask about the right winter tires for you! Ducharme is well stocked with the most popular tire brands in the industry including Michelin, BF Goodrich, Good Year, Hercules Bridgestone and more. Ducharme Motors offers same day install in the QuickLane and back that service with the guaranteed lowest prices on all major tire brands and free rotations.
Health & Safety Manager