As much as we may detest the onset of the colder months in Ontario, it is inevitable that once the trees are bare and autumn has run its course, the winter season will rear its ugly head.

Preparing your vehicle for winter may not have even crossed your mind yet, but it should. One of the most important things you can do to improve the performance and safety of your vehicle this season is to install a set of winter tires.

While it is generally common knowledge that winter tires are essential in a climate like ours, many drivers forego them due to expense, lack of storage space, or are perhaps uneducated of the benefits they provide.

Christopher Chin is the manager of marketing and special projects for Atlas Tire Wholesale Inc., a dedicated wholesale tire distributor that has been in business for 22 years. He clarifies that the importance of winter tires lies in temperature not snow.

 

“When the temperature drops below 7C the rubber compound in summer and all-season tires begin to harden and behave very much like a hockey puck does on ice.”

Braking and handling are dramatically improved because the softer rubber compound in winter tires allows them to provide grip at colder temperatures.

Tires marked with a mountain snowflake symbol represent that they meet or exceed the snow traction requirements of the industry. Chin advises that the tires you choose should be based upon the winter conditions you encounter most, such as deep snow or icy roads.

So how much money should you invest in a set of winter tires, and does a higher price mean better quality? Chin suggests that while a more expensive winter tire generally implies that more research and development went into the production of the tire than the less expensive one, even using a lower priced winter tire is better than not using one at all.

If you are worried about things like cost or where to keep them when they aren’t on your vehicle, you need not be. You will essentially double the lifespan of your other tires and many dealers will actually change and store rims and tires for a reasonable fee. Your biggest concern should be the safety of yourself and the other occupants of your vehicle. As Chin says, “Remember that the tires are the only part of a vehicle that actually touches the ground.”

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