A stock photo of a desolate snow-covered road.

How Important Are Winter Tires?

Winter is truly a beautiful season in Ontario. Just about every study on winter driving has found winter (or snow) tires to be an absolute game-changer when it comes to safely navigating winter roads. However, depending on which part of the province a person lives or visits, they may need to take some extra precautions when driving. Certainly, this means taking things slow and driving to match conditions. It also means people need to consider investing in a set of specialty tires. So, how important are winter tires? Let a Golden Mile Chrysler product expert share a few things you might want to know.

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What Are The Parts Of A Winter Tire?

In the old days, winter tires were little more than a regular set of tires filled to lower pressure. The former still made for less than ideal handling, and the latter heavily damaged the road surface. Tire chains were also typical. Modern winter tires are made from very specialized rubber compounds that are designed to remain as soft and pliable as possible at significantly lower temperatures. Tire manufacturers have also refined every other element of a winter tire to help them help drivers.

If someone were to look at different kinds of tires set side-by-side, winter tires would stand out for having deeper and more unique tread patterns. The deeper tread depth reduces the amount of snow that builds up, providing more tire-to-road contact than other types of tires. Additionally, the tread pattern on winter tires is specifically designed to help expel snow, slush and water away from the tire as efficiently as possible.

Finally, many winter tires have additional biting edges around the circumference of the tires. Within these biting edges are thousands of tiny slits, called sipes, that actually trap water and use the rotational force of the wheel to expel water to the rear of the vehicle.

Why Can’t I Just Use All-Season Tires?

Most passenger vehicles are shipped from the factory to the dealership with all-season tires. This is because all-season tires are great for most of the year and can even be effective in some mild or moderate winter conditions. However, when temperatures drop to 7° C and lower, all-season tires will get too stiff and start to lose effectiveness. Even vehicles with all-wheel-drive and electronic stability controls may not be able to overcome the loss of traction between a set of all-season tires and an icy road surface. 

Make an appointment with a Golden Mile Chrysler representative if you still have some questions about winter tires.