Often at this time of year we are asked “why isn’t an all season tire or even a four-season tire [with the snowflake symbol on the tire] good enough for winter?” The difference is in the type of rubber and the design of the tread. The most common comment we hear from someone after having winter tires is “why did I wait so long to get them?”
All season tires are really only 3 season tires at best. The tread is designed for long life; because of this the tire does not have the lugs needed for good snow traction. Also the rubber used in the tread becomes hard and less flexible as the temperature starts dropping below 7 degrees Celsius, making the tire slip on ice and snow.
Four season tires are a compromise and winter traction is sacrificed to get longer life out of the tire. They are really all season tires with a slightly more flexible rubber compound and a tread pattern that works ok in snow. Unfortunately, the tread compound is designed for long life making it only a bit better than all season tires on ice.
Winter stud-less tires are the best for most winter driving; they will have a very flexible tread that grabs the road for the best traction through the winter. Some winter tires have provisions for studs. These tires generally have a blockier tread pattern that is great in snow but the tire does not flex as much as a stud-less winter tire; these tires rely more on the studs for the added ice traction.
At Crestview Auto Service, we can help you find the winter tire that is right for you. We recommend booking in late September/early October. Remember to book ahead of time. Appointments can be made online at www.crestviewautoservice.caor by phone (306) 244-6522. We look forward to helping you be prepared for winter driving.
(*Note: The picture with the two cars depicts braking distance at a speed of 50 km/hr).