Get a Grip This Winter with Winter Tires

Q: Should I purchase a set of winter tires if I plan to drive in Winnipeg this winter?

A: Experts say “yes”. Winter tires, also known as snow tires are designed for winter conditions below 7°C. They are made of a rubber compound that is softer than other tires and therefore flexes better in cold temperatures. By comparison, all-season are not as effective as winter tires or “all-weather tires”, because they use a harder rubber compound that doesn’t work as well in lower temperatures. Also, winter tires have special treads and more sipes (slits) to increase traction in snow.

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Q: Do I need to buy four winter tires or only two?

A: Experts advise drivers to always install winter tires as a set of four as only two winter tires (either front or back) will adversely affect the way the car handles. Most people mount their winter tires on a separate set of wheels because changing over a set of wheels twice a year is easier and faster than changing the tires themselves.

Q: How do I know which tires are winter tires?

A: In Canada, a 3PMSF (Three Peak Mountain Snowflake) symbol on the tire means that the tires meet specific snow traction performance requirements and have been designed specifically for use in severe snow conditions.

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Q: What about air pressure in my winter tires?

A: Check the air pressure in your winter tires frequently during the winter months as tire pressure drops as temperatures fall.

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Extra facts:

  • Winter tires are mandatory in the province of Quebec from December 15 – March 15.
  • Manitoba Public Insurance has a Winter Tire Program that provides low interest financing which can be used for the purchase of qualifying winter tires and associated costs. Find out more.⇒

Sources:

About.com – Advice for Owners

Wikipedia – Snow tire

Transport Canada – Motor Vehicle Safety