Winter Tires – Five Important Factors for Choosing Winter Tires

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Living in Canada means there is a high chance that your city will experience some level of ice and snowfall in the winter months. Typically once the temperature falls below +7C the rubber on your tires can stiffen up, reduce traction and pose dangers on the road. Choosing the right winter tires can be complicated but it really boils down to a few main factors:

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 Will 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.

Where 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. Take the time to learn which winter tires are best for your car and to determine what size will fit that car best. A lot of people don't even realize that in addition to the safety factor having winter tires installed on your car can actually also save you on car insurance. If your interested there is no harm using our online insurance quote tool to see how much you could save on your exiting vehicle just by adding on winter tires.

Try it now. Compare Cheap Ontario Car Insurance Quotes. See for yourself.

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 both winter tires and the impact on your car insurance rates.

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.

Frequently Asked Questions About Winter Tires

How do you read a tire size?

Your summer and winter tires will be the same size. The tire size is printed as a code on the sidewall of your current tires similar to the following example:
Code: P225/60 R17

225 - This measure corresponds to the width of the tire tread in millimetres.
60 - This measure represents the ratio (%) between the top of the tire (sidewall height) and the width of the tread (section width).
17 - This measure indicates the interior diameter of the tire (inches).

Are winter tires worth it?

Winter tires are designed to enhance your vehicles traction on ice and snow and can really add an additional element of safety when it comes to driving in the winter. Depending on the weather conditions of where you live the benefit of winter tires can greatly outweight the associated cost.

Do winter tires lower insurance?

Insurance companies are required to promote discounts for safer driving and the installation of winter tires automatically qualifies you for an insurance discount. Talk to your insurance broker or agent to get the best insurance deal and make sure they know you have winter tires installed.

Is it okay to put snow tires on the front only?

Regardless of whether your vehicle is front or rear-wheel drive its recommended to apply winter tires to all wheels. If you only install winter tires on the front wheels only you increase the risk of losing rear tire tractions when braking or rounding corners on wintery roads.

Do I really need winter tires?

If you don't drive in wintery conditions or usually exit your house after the roads have been cleared than you might be able to survive driving with all-season tires. However if you are planning to driving in snow than its best to utlize winter tires during the winter months to avoid the chance of an accident.

How much should I pay for winter tires?

On average a decent, basic winter tire will cost $120/tire however this doesn't include the cost of rotating the tires each season (average of $75), the cost of rims and/or any other maintenance you might require.

How much do you save on insurance with winter tires?

An insurance discount for winter tires could be as high as 5% of the cost of your policy. If you have an estimated policy of $1,600/year you are looking at savings of $80 per car per year just because you made the decision to be a safer driver and install winter tires in your car.

How many years do winter tires last?

Generally speaking most tires have a life of 5-7 years however lower-milage drivers can potentially make their winter tires last longer. It all depends on how much you drive and the terrain the tires are exposed to.

Can I leave my winter tires on all year?

It's not recommended to use winter tires all year around. Primarily because winter tires are made of a much more flexible rubber and will wear out faster on warm, dry pavement. You are better off to use all seasons for warmer months and will help your winter tires last longer.

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