Even in Canada, there are many misconceptions about winter tires and the differences between Winter/Snow, All-Season and All-Weather Tires.
When do you need winter tires?
While “All-Season” may suggest performance in all weather conditions, these tires do not meet the minimum snow traction requirements necessary to be considered a “Winter Tire.” Winter-rated tires offer superior grip, largely made possible by softer rubber compounds that improve flexibility and provide superior traction, especially in extremely cold temperatures. The specialized rubber compounds of certified Winter Tires, coupled with sophisticated tread designs, allow for greater control and braking ability on all cold-weather surfaces – whether dry, snow covered, icy or slushy. Remember:
- Even on dry pavement at temperatures just below freezing, stopping distances for vehicles with certified Winter Tires are as much as 30 per cent shorter than for vehicles with all-season tires
- Certified Winter Tires deliver better on an ice or snow-covered road surface at -30°C than all-season tires at 4°C
Temperature is everything with Winter Tires. At or below 7°C, Winter Tires outperform All-Season and conventional summer tires, which start to harden and lose traction once temperatures drop.
How to identify a Winter Tire
A certified Winter Tire is easily identified because it features the highly recognizable Three-Peak Mountain Snowflake Symbol (also known as the ‘Alpine Symbol’). This symbol ensures that any tire considered a Winter Tire meets the industry snow and traction performance standards. Certified Winter Tire testing is rigorous, reliable and sophisticated. Winter Tires that are marked with the ‘Alpine Symbol’ must follow the ASTM F-1805 tire test in standardized testing conditions to ensure their snow traction performance meets or exceeds minimum industry requirements.
Dedicated Winter Tires versus All-Weather Tires
Advances in rubber compound technology and tire design now offer more choice for consumers when it comes to winter driving. Some Winter Tires are designed to be better in snow, while others are designed to perform better on ice.
Recently, consumers have been introduced to “All-Weather” tires, which also display the ‘Alpine Symbol.’ These tires meet the Winter Tire definition, but are designed to be used during warmer months as well. Unlike certified Winter Tires, which are designed specifically for Canadian winters. For the best performance and safety in the winter months, choose tires manufactured specifically for winter road conditions.
Click the image below to download a list of winter tires available in Canada, and ask your tire technician about winter tire options best suited to your winter-driving needs.