Choosing Winter Tires: Costs and Benefits

While they often get overlooked and are sometimes an afterthought, tires are arguably the most essential part of your vehicle, particularly in winter. Tires are required to keep the car balanced in all seasons and they allow the driver to control the vehicle in every climate. Tires are critical in maintaining the stability of the vehicle, braking, accelerating, and cornering. In some countries, such as Canada and in most other northern climates, the winters are harsh and weather and road conditions require that cars be equipped with high-performance winter tires.

Choosing winter tires

When choosing winter tires, it’s essential to do your homework and know what each brand offers.

Before you make your decision look at things like features, price, quality, and it doesn’t hurt to check out some online reviews.

Do you Need Expensive Tires for Winter?

To get the most out of your winter tires it’s important to understand your needs and requirements. An expensive winter tire is usually of better quality when compared to a cheaper model or brand. To choose the right set you need to think about several aspects. For example, what type of road will you be traveling on in the winter – highway driving with roads that are frequently plowed and salted or smaller, backcountry roads that are serviced much less often – the condition of both will vary greatly.  You also need to consider your budget and the type of car that you drive.

As you can imagine, winter tires for a small sedan will be much more affordable than winter tires for an SUV. On top of that, choosing winter tires becomes challenging because many tire companies offer low, mid and high-end options. Generally with tires, as with all things, you really get what you pay for, in terms of quality and reliability. Tires are one of the most important features of your vehicle, and each time you drive in precarious winter conditions, you’re trusting those tires to get you safely to your destination. Think about the value of your life when you’reconsidering how much value to put into your vehicle’s tires.

Winter Tires are Different than Snow Tires

Most people confuse snow tires with winter tires and they mistakenly believe that the two are equal. However, the truth is, snow tires have completely different types of radials, designed and manufactured for snow covered roads. On the other hand, winter tires are designed for ice-covered roads.

choosing winter tire vs snow tire

Tire manufacturers offering both expensive and affordable tires insist on their product’s efficiency on ice because most urban motorists drive on snow cleared roads and hard-packed surfaces containing ice. If you’re choosing winter tires for a drive in the country or on mountain roads, then the smarter option is to pick a tire that has an aggressive design with plenty of grips for any condition.

Built for Speed

If your car came from the factory with standard performance tires, then it’s recommended that you replace those with high-end performance tires. A car designed for speed will fare best with winter tires that have a Z-Speed rating or higher.

Friction or Studded Tires

Some motorists prefer studded or friction tires when they need to drive on roads that ice up really quickly. Many countryside roads and highways that are exposed to strong winter winds have a rapid buildup of ice. Although slightly more expensive than regular winter tires, if winter driving safety and performance are important to you, you may want to consider purchasing friction tires to give confidence on all winter roads and conditions. Avoid opting for the cheap studded tires as the quality will likely be below the standard, and you might need to change the tires frequently, which in the long run might be more costly than if you had opted for the high-end version.

Winters in Canada are harsh, our roads are laden with snow, and more particularly ice poses a great driving risk to motorists. To be on the safe side it’s essential to change from all season tires to a set of winter tires that will keep you and your family safe.

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