Sadly, it’s that time of year again: the temperatures have dropped, we’re waking up to frost on our windshields, and every now and then we feel our vehicles slip just a little bit when we try to stop. In other words, it’s time to ditch our all-seasons and replace them with winter tires.
At the very least, you should be asking yourself some important questions:
- Do I really need winter tires where I live?
- What’s the best time to have my tires changed?
- Are you already using winter tires, but don’t know it?
In the next three minutes, we’ll give you a complete winter tire rundown. You’ll learn where you need them, why you need them, and when you should book your service appointment to have your all season tires replaced.
You Actually Need Winter Tires
If You Live in B.C. … You Legally Need Them: As of October 2015, drivers of specific highways in British Columbia are required–by law–to use winter tires. “If caught on a designated highway without proper tires,” said Gary McLeod of the Northern BC Truckers Association, “you could face a fine of over 100 dollars for either not having snow tires, or not having a proper depth of at least 3.5 mm.”
If you’re an avid skier/snowboarder and plan on making some trips westward this winter, make sure your vehicle has the proper tires. It’s a hefty fine if you’re caught without.
If You Live in Alberta .. You Might Need Them, Too: In Banff National Park and Jasper National Park, vehicles are required to have snow tires from November 1st to March 31st, or any other time where the road is covered in snow or ice.
But it’s probably a good idea for you to use them anyway if you live in Alberta. Even though the Farmer’s Almanac is predicting lower-than-normal precipitation in Alberta between November and March, do not let that fool you. Even if it snows half the amount you expect, there will still be very snowy, very icy, very dangerous drives for you this winter. There always is. Be safe, Albertans. Use winter tires.
What You Need to Know About Winter Tires
Tire Pressure Decreases as the Temperature Drops: Check your tire’s air pressure regularly during the winter. Because it is the most important time of the year to have proper air pressure, given the fact that tire pressure decreases more rapidly in the cold. As Consumer Reports tells us, “Colder temperatures will cause tire pressure to drop about 1 psi for every [5.5°C] drop in air temperature. Getting a tire pressure warning light on a chilly morning doesn’t necessarily indicate a puncture, just that your tires are running low pressure and you need to top them off as soon as possible.”
Proper air pressure…
- Increases tread life
- Maximizes safety when driving
- Reduces the amount of fuel you use
On top of keeping you safe, these reasons actually save you money down the road. Increasing your a tire’s tread life means that tire last longer, plus you won’t need to stop at the pumps as often because you’re using less fuel. Finally, optimal safety saves you on costly repairs.
ABS Systems Still Need Winter Tires: Having an ABS braking system doesn’t mean you don’t need winter tires. Winter tires actually work in conjunction with the ABS system, helping it stop your vehicle faster. An ABS system on its own is designed to improve your vehicle’s stability, transmission, and increase the speed at which you stop. It has nothing to do with traction or grip on icy surfaces.
Winter Tires are Designed for the Cold, All Seasons Aren’t: Winter tires are built with a specific rubber compound that was designed to perform in cold temperatures. In fact, the colder it gets, the better they work, especially between 7 and -30 degrees Celsius. Winter tires also have specific tread patterns that improve your car’s handling and grip on snow and ice.
How to Check if You Already Have Winter Tires
Check the Symbol: To make sure your tires are, in fact, winter tires, check for the symbol. Any tire with this symbol on the sidewall has been specifically designed for colder temperatures and icy conditions.
Check Your Tire’s Tread Design: If you want to get fancy, you can check the tread design of your tires. Look closely at a winter tire’s tread and you’ll see a large, open V-shaped design. This pattern works to push slush, snow, and water out of the vehicle’s way. The tire should also have hundreds of tiny lines surrounding the V-shaped symbol. This helps you steer better and gives you more control on slippery, wet surfaces.
Book An Appointment and Save Today
If you don’t have winter tires and live in Alberta or BC, you’re actually in luck!
Go Auto is currently a Winter Tire promotion. If you buy 4 tires from any Go Auto location, you will receive all this for FREE:
- 10% off your purchase
- 2-year road hazard warranty
- Lifetime flat repair (with that set of tires)
- Lifetime tire rotation (with that set of tires)
- 5% of your purchase back in points to use towards future service/parts savings
To book an appointment, visit your local Go Auto Tire Centre. We have thousands of tires available from dozens of brands, for every make and model.
If you need your all-seasons or summer tires switched over, book an appointment before the snow falls. We’ll get the job done for you quick and easy, and we can even store your extra tires for the winter.