According to the Tire and Rubber Association of Canada, usage rates leapt from 35 to 65 percent from to So it could be a good time to exchange your rock-hard summer tires for something more suitable for wintry weather. One thing to bear in mind when choosing winter tires is that regulations vary slightly across Canada's provinces.
However, it's also important to note that every single province recommends using winter tires as a precaution when the weather demands it. Unlike all other provinces, winter tires are absolutely mandatory in Quebec between December 15 and March In British Columbia, only some highways are covered, but where these regulations do apply, vehicles need to be fitted with winter tires between October 1 and March An updated list of impacted roads can be found here.
By contrast, Ontario does not currently require motorists to use winter tires, preferring to improve signage and provide in-depth weather updates.
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If you do intend to make the change from summer or all-weather to specialist winter tires, there are some generally accepted guidelines for when and how to do so. Generally speaking, all-weather and summer tires will lose their traction significantly when temperatures dip below 7 degrees centigrade.
That usually occurs well before substantial snowfalls arrive or ice patches develop, but don't be fooled. The difference in handling and braking is noticeable below the 7-degrees threshold. And in any case, switching early will leave you ready for bad weather as soon as it hits. It's always advisable to fit sets of four winter tires, so don't be tempted to opt for just the front or back two tires.
In fact, doing so is extremely dangerous, leading to false confidence in your car's traction or instances of understeering due to poor front grip. Quebec has made winter tires compulsory, and credit the measure for reducing winter road deaths by 36 percent. But even so, there continues to be a debate among Canadian drivers regarding the merits of winter tire usage.
However, there are plenty of sound reasons to buy a set of winter tires. For one thing, studies have shown that specialist winter tires can improve grip even when roads aren't covered in snow. It just takes temperatures to fall below 7 degrees for standard tires to start to stiffen up and lose their grip.
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Secondly, winter tires can reduce braking distances by as much as 35 percent in icy conditions, drastically lowering the risk of collisions. If you've ever rear-ended another vehicle or had it happen to you, you'll know the inconvenience and cost accidents can cause not to mention the trauma of more serious incidents. Thirdly, winter tires might not be as expensive as you think.
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That's because insurance companies are increasingly offering bonuses to customers who switch to winter treads. Finally, switching to winter tires can have benefits for your summer tires as well. Driving on summer treads in winter is a sure fire way to degrade them quickly.
Switching tires can extend their lifespan by a matter of years. With a choice of reliable budget tires and high-end options, you should be able to find the ones you need for a reasonable price. When selecting your tires, look out for the three-peak mountain snowflake symbol, which is essentially a seal of approval in the automotive sector.
This also indicates that the tires have been thoroughly tested in extreme conditions, so they should deliver exactly what the manufacturers claim. Generally speaking, good winter tires tend to feature as much surface area as possible. Specially designed grooves, sipes, ribs and lugs on these tires ensure that as much snow as possible is routed into them, maximizing the amount of the tire that actually contacts the road at any one time.
And that's the key to good handling in icy conditions.
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With those things in mind, here are a couple of standout tires from 's selection. General Tire Altimax Arctic - Altimax has come up with a set of winter tires which score highly on both cost and performance. The sipes on Arctic tires are built to resist deformation, while featuring a multi-directional tread design which maximizes grip. Lifetime Limited Warranty only valid for as long as the original customer owns the vehicle. Additional conditions and limitations apply.
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