7 Things About Winter Tires You’ll Kick Yourself for Not Knowing

Car Maintenance, Service, Tips, Wheels & Tires

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When it comes to driving in winter, only around 48% of Canadians in Manitoba use winter tires. Despite the relatively harsh winters we get here, it’s surprising to see such a low percentage of people. In fact, the same study shows that around 51% of us believe that all-season tires are good enough for winter driving and are unlikely to make any kind of changes to our vehicles to fit the winter weather.

However, this is a habit that we all need to change!

Winter tires can prove to be much safer than their regular all-season counterparts. With incentives such as the Winter Tire Program, Manitobans have easy access to winter tires for their vehicle. As long as you qualify for the program, you could receive up to $2,000 per vehicle to spend on financing winter tires for your vehicle. This sounds like a great deal, but it still isn’t enough to convince people to use different tires for winter conditions. So in the rest of this post, we’re going to show you seven things about winter tires that you should know. Hopefully, this should convince you to make the switch for a much safer and more pleasant driving experience.

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1. Winter tires aren’t just useful when there is snow

One of the big misconceptions about winter tires is that they’re only useful when there’s snow. This is wrong. Winter tires also help with icy and slushy conditions which are common in Manitoba. This is because the rubber in winter tires are soft and pliable when the weather is cooler, unlike regular tires. This means that your tires will be a lot more grippy on a variety of winter conditions, making them a far better choice than all-season tires.

Given that road conditions in Manitoba can be relatively harsh, it’s important to prepare ahead of time for these dangerous road conditions. Manitoba is seeing unreasonably cold temperatures as of late and roads are starting to get covered in both ice and snow. If you want to drive with peace of mind, then switching to winter tires as soon as the season shifts is a fantastic idea.

2. Winter tires are much safer than all-season tires

You might think that all-season tires are designed to last, well, all seasons. This is only true if you drive infrequently or in relatively tame conditions. A bit of snow or ice on parts of your journey is easy for all-season tires to handle, but you need to keep in mind that Manitoba sees heavy amounts of snow and ice at predictable times throughout the year. In addition, all-season tires aren’t designed for the low temperatures that we see in Manitoba.

According to the TRAC Winter Tire Report, 22% of people said they don’t drive enough in cold-weather months to warrant using winter tires. If you personally don’t drive much in the winter then it’s understandable if you want to keep your all-season tires since they do a decent job of keeping your vehicle stable during icy and snowy conditions. However, winter conditions are predictable in Manitoba and having them for every year from now on is going to make things a lot safer and easier for you. Winter tires don’t just disintegrate after you’ve used them–you can keep them in storage for the next year as well!

3. Winter tires are a must when temperatures drop below -7ºC

Manitoba frequently sees temperatures drop to -18ºC or lower. That’s just one of the things we have to deal with living so far up north compared to the rest of the world, but it’s something that we’ve grown accustomed to. Unfortunately, our cars can’t adapt like us and they need to have specific tires that are designed for these extremely low temperatures. As the temperatures drop, your all-season tires can be extremely stiff due to the low temperatures which means less traction and a harder time braking. This makes handling your vehicle extremely difficult and dangerous.

Think of it this way; you’re accustomed to wearing winter gloves and a winter coat when the temperatures drop. In the same way, you should also be “dressing” your car to brave the low temperatures in Manitoba. Think of switching your tires as putting on your car’s winter clothing.

4. Winter tire pressure needs to be checked more regularly than all-season tires

One of the difficulties that we have with winter tires is checking their pressure more regularly. Cold weather can decrease the pressure in our tires much more quickly than normal temperatures, meaning it’s important to have a tool to check your tire pressure on a regular basis. Once you start seeing snow and ice, it’s important to check your tires at least once a week to see what their pressure levels are like. A 6ºC drop in temperature results in 1 PSI deflation. Ideally, you should be keeping your tires around 30 to 35 PSI during winter.

The amount of pressure is important for your tires regardless if they’re winter tires or all-season tires. Low pressure compromises your traction and handling ability, and they also become far less durable. If you drive in cold conditions with winter tires, you absolutely need to protect your investment by keeping the pressure at a stable level to ensure that they’re working as intended. On the other hand, filling them with too much air can also be a bad thing! So make sure you balance it correctly and always keep an eye on it.

5. Winter tires are designed to prevent slipping and sliding

The design of winter tires means that they’re made specifically to prevent any kind of slipping and sliding. This is accomplished in three ways:

  • The number of biting edges is increased on winter tires. You’ll find thousands of tiny slits in the treads that help to improve traction on icy roads. This greatly helps with your grip on the road during winter conditions.

  • The tread rubber is different on winter tires. When the temperatures drop, the tread rubber on regular tires can stiffen, meaning they don’t provide much traction on cold roads. To prevent this, winter tires use a different type of rubber compound that is designed to stay flexible and grip the road even when it’s cold.

  • The tread depth and patterns are also different on winter tires. They have much deeper tread depths and a unique pattern that helps it reduce snow buildup and also offer better traction when driving through snowy conditions. It’s also designed to get rid of slush and water as you drive.

Winter tires are designed from the ground up to offer you a much safer driving experience in cold conditions. If you know that you’ll have to drive in snowy and icy conditions for an extended period of time, investing in tires designed for the job is going to save you a lot of hassle and keep you safe.

6. Winter tires allow you to drive at your normal speed

Another common misconception about winter tires is that in order to use them effectively, you have to drive slowly. In reality, this is what you need to do when you drive in all-season tires. If you’re not using winter tires, you’ll need to be much more careful when you drive because you have less traction and you have a higher chance of slipping or sliding because all-season tires are simply not designed with traction in mind.

When you switch to a pair of winter tires, you’ll find that you don’t need to lower your speed at all. In fact, you can drive at your regular speed and feel safe doing it on top of ice and snow because you have far more traction.

7. Winter tires are more affordable than you think

Lastly, it’s also good to know that winter tires are far more affordable than you might think. While you might think the initial cost is high, winter tires are extremely durable and can be stored away when they’re not needed. In fact, winter tires can often last four or five seasons. If you don’t drive as much during the winter, then you can get even more years of service out of a single pair of winter tires. It’s also a small price to pay for peace of mind and safety when driving in cold conditions.

We hope that this article has convinced and encouraged you to purchase a set of winter tires. Again, make sure you check out the Manitoba Winter Tire Program if you’re looking for a low-interest financing option for purchasing winter tires. At Ride Time, we offer financing through the MPI Winter Tire Program on our extensive range of winter tires. Check your eligibility here for the Winter Tire Program through MPI and get your set today to make your driving experience much safer and more pleasant throughout the cold winter season.

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