Canada is known for its cold, snowy winters. Although it is great for winters sports, such as skiing and skating, it can significantly affect driving, causing dangerous driving conditions and accidents. During the winter, it’s important to ensure your car is equipped to take on the hazards that Mother Nature throws at you! A big part of staying safe in the winter is making sure that you and your car are adequately prepared to handle these conditions (see top 5 things you must do to prepare your car for winter driving HERE).
Winter may be unpredictable, but ice, snow and cold temperatures are no match for a good set of winter tires. Winter tires provide you with superior traction and control when driving becomes slippery. Knowing what to look for in a good winter tire and the features that provide the control you need, can become overwhelming! Knowing the different features of the tire and how those features affect performance will help you choose the best tires for your driving needs.
Features of Tires:
1.. How its made (aka Compound) – The materials that are used to create tires, determine how they will function under different temperatures and circumstance.
- Non winter tires (aka all seasons/summer tires), become hard and loose their grip on the road. This makes traction near to impossible.
- Winter tires, on the other hand, stay soft and pliable, allowing the rubber to grip to the ice and snow, providing better traction. Winter tires are usually comprised of a specialized high silica tread compounds that perform best at cold temperatures.
2.. It’s all about the Tread – If you have looked at your tires lately, you may have noticed they have a funky pattern of grooves and ribs. Although, I would like to think it is a style thing, it is actually a scientific pattern designed to help your tires perform for the season in mind.
- Summer tires have unidirectional treads. They are designed for warmer weather and the ability to drive on wet or dry roads. They have less grooving so it puts more rubber on the road allowing for increased speed and agile performance.
- All Season Tires have a much smaller v-groove tread designs. They are designed to stay flexible in temperatures above and below 7°C, while still providing excellent grip on snow, slush, wet roads and bare asphalt.
- Winter Tires have an open tread design. They are designed for extreme cold conditions and have the ability to grip the road while conquering snow, water, and slush.
3.. Does it have Sipes? If you are like me, you have know clue what a “sipe” is or even if you need it for winter driving. A Sipe is the tiny slit in the tread block of a winter tire. They give your tires a 3D edge ensuring you have a better grip and performance on wet/moist pavement, while increasing your better lateral grip (cornering) as well.
There is a lot of information out there on how to prepare your car for winter and which winter tire is the best for your car. When I need help with things like Sipes and tread, I turn to #CanadasGarage. From fluid top up, to winter maintenance to excellent tire advice, Canadian Tire has you covered!