Winter Tires Markham
Markham Tire Dealer
Winter Tires: Tips & Advice
Winter tires have special tread compounds that use one or more of the following features to deliver improved traction:
- “Soft stud” tread fibers “bite” like metal studs yet are quiet and do not harm the road.
- Special compounds retain their flexibility even in the coldest temperatures. A more flexible tread surface equals more traction and control.
- Silica-based, micro pore compounds (or comparable technology) are used to bite through the water film and increase snow and ice traction.
All-season tires have very different compounds:
- Compounds are “averaged” to deliver better wear and good traction in a wide range of conditions, but the trade-off is a decrease in traction below 7°C. This is the point where all-season tire compounds begin to harden and lose traction.
- These tires must use denser compounds to deliver better wear. Micro pore or comparable technology is not suitable for these designs.
- For the same reason no soft stud material is built into these tires.
Winter tires have tread designs dedicated to improving snow and ice traction. Today’s most advanced winter designs deliver this while maintaining a comfortable, quiet highway ride as well as excellent dry traction.
- Wider circumferential grooves enhance winter traction by providing efficient channels to drain water and expel snow.
- Unlike snow tires of old, smaller shoulder grooves increase snow and ice traction with no sacrifice in dry handling or highway ride.
- Special lug and groove shapes allow more snow to be packed into the tread and expelled as the tire rotates for better deep snow traction.
- Sophisticated, high-density sipe designs (sipes are the little slits in the tread surface) help cut through water and slush so the tread compound can make better contact with the road.
- Rounder casing designs add traction by cutting into the snow’s surface.
All-season type tires cannot include these features and still deliver the wear and high temperature traction that is required for driving during other times of the year.
- Shoulder blocks and groove designs are a “compromise” that must meet cornering, wear and all-season traction requirements.
- Less aggressive tread designs deliver more highway ride comfort, but tend to pack and not expel now effectively as winter tires.
- Less siping is used.
- Flatter tread designs enhance dry traction but don’t cut into snow effectively.
Common Questions and Answers About Winter Driving
I live in the city and during the winter I drive only around the plain, do I need winter tires?
When the temperature falls below 7°C, which is normally during the period of late September through early April. Winter tires have greater grip than summer tires. During the colder months, a summer tire can harden, reducing grip, traction, and therefore, braking.
Aren’t winter tires expensive? Why should I buy them?
Purchasing winter tires ensures a level of safety and peace of mind that only winter tires can offer. You will now have a set of tires specifically designed to manage the rigors of winter driving as well as a set of summer tires that can be perfectly maintained during the winter months and re-mounted on your vehicle when temperatures rise, simultaneously preserving safety.
But if it’s true that winter tires give such better performance than summer tires, why can’t leave them mounted all year long?
Winter tires are developed to ensure the best performance in temperatures below 7°C. The softer composition of winter tires allows for increased grip when temperatures fall, where the summer tire’s composition becomes more rigid. The winter tire is best utilized during colder weather to take advantage of its soft compounds, but the summer months can accelerate its wear resulting in decreases in performance.
Can winter tires be used only on snow?
No. Winter tires are developed to actively react to both wet and dry conditions during the colder months. Winter tires offer greater adherence to the road thanks to a tread pattern that remarkably reduces hydroplaning, and has excellent dry pavement grip in colder weather due to advanced tire compounds.
Can I mount only two snow tires on the driving wheels and keep the summer tires on the others?
No, most manufacturers recommend mounting 4 tires of the same brand, type and size.
If I mount winter tires am I forced to drastically reduce my speed as if I am driving on chains?
No. Some winter tires are speed rated to a “W” speed rating, which is approved for speeds up to 167 mph/268kph. The use of snow chains drastically reduces your safe operating speed, and in many places there are restrictions to enhance safety when chains are in use. Please drive responsibly and within the limits the law allows.
If I keep my summer tires mounted during fall and winter, do I have less control of my vehicle?
Yes. Summer tires are manufactured to perform optimally during times when temperatures exceed 7°C. Conversely, winter tires provide greater safety and control in cold weather.