Winter Tires – Five Important Factors for Choosing Winter Tires
Choosing winter tires can be complicated but it really boils down to a few main factors. The right winter tires for you can be determined by considering the weather where you live, the type of driving you do and on what roads, what kind of car you are driving, how much you can afford to pay for winter tires, and how long you plan to keep the same vehicle.
While most of Canada experiences cold and snowy winters, they are not all the same. The prairie provinces have some of the coldest temperatures and heaviest snow, while parts of Alberta and Ontario may hover closer to freezing and experience more slush on the roads. Coastal Ontario and Quebec can be prone to ice storms that result in extremely slippery roads. Wherever you drive, driving on rural versus city roads can make a difference in your needs as well. And of course, your car, how long you plan to keep it, and how much you can afford to spend on winter tires are important factors as well.
Where do You Live?
The province and city in which you live can make a big difference in what winter tires are best for your needs. In the prairies, extreme cold and a lot of snow are common, but there is little in the way of hills. This means you will need the best winter tires for traction on slippery but flat road surfaces. If you live in Alberta or British Columbia you may live in the foothills or directly in the Rockies. That means a lot of hills and mountain driving that can be dangerous and require high performance winter tires. Ontario and Quebec can experience both heavy snow and ice storms that result in icy roads.
Choosing the best winter tires for where you live depends on the temperatures during the winter as well as the snow pack and ice conditions on the road.
Where do You Drive?
Driving in the city versus the country is very different. City road are usually cleared and salted or sanded quickly and maintained for safer driving. Speed limits are also lower within city limits, reducing the danger. Highway and rural driving means higher rates of speed as well as roads that may not be as well maintained.
IF you do a lot of highway or rural driving, you will need a better grade of winter tire that offers the best possible traction on the road.
What Kind of Car Do You Drive?
Remember that having four wheel drive can certainly help when you are in wintry road conditions, but that doesn't mean you don't need winter tires. Winter tires can help every type of vehicle maintain better traction on the road. The type and size of winter tires you need will depend on the type of car you drive, however.
Take the time to learn which winter tires are best for your car and to determine what size will fit that car best.
What is Your Budget?
While we would all like to purchase the best winter tires on the market, most people are on a budget for buying them. Used winter tires may be the best budget choice for you, or you may need to look for a good winter tire sale where you can buy the ones you need at a better price.
The bottom line is to find the best winter tires you can afford while staying in your budget, whether they are new or used. Sometimes used is the best deal, but not always. Shop around and compare.
How Long do You Plan to Keep Your Car?
If you don't plan to keep your car for more than a few years, it may not make much sense to purchase the most expensive set of winter tires you can find. Older cars or cars that you plan to sell or trade in still need good winter tires, but it may make more sense to go with used winter tires since you only need them to last for a few years at most.
Cars differ in terms of what size of winter tires will fit them. That means that you likely won't be able to use the winter tires from your current car on a new car when you buy it. Should you choose to buy a new set, however, you will have the option to sell them with the car or separately and put the money towards a set of tires for your new car.
Choosing the best winter tires for you depends on all of these factors put together. Start with your budget, and then determine which tires will fit all of the other factors and still fall within the budget you have set. Then shop around to find the best deal on the tires you have chosen. This will ensure you get the winter tires you need for safe driving in Canada's harsh winter driving conditions, and that you will also pay a fair price for them that stays within your budget.