Winter Tires … right for the season


Photo of road in winter

Are your tires the right ones for winter driving? Do you drive where there’s a lot of snow? The condition and type of tires you use are important for safety.
If you are like most vehicle owners, you probably have “all-season” tires on your vehicle. While they are designed to handle most driving conditions, they may not be suitable in heavy snow.

Photo of road in winterProper tires do make a difference for your safety!
All-Season Tires Good all-weather performance. Not as effective in heavy snow and slush.
Wide or Hi –
Performance Tires
Unless designed for snow, traction is limited in snowy conditions.
Winter Tires Deeper tread. Best for snow, slush and on ice, as well as wet and dry roads.
Studded Tires
(optional for Northern Ontario residents only)
Most effective on wet ice when the temperature is near zero.

All-season tires can begin to lose their grip when the temperature drops below +7°C. Winter tires are made for cold and snowy conditions. They remain more flexible than all-season tires in colder temperatures and the deeper tread pattern allows the tire to clear itself of snow as it rotates. Studded tires are most effective on wet ice when the temperature is near zero, but don’t outperform other tires in other winter conditions.

Tips from the experts…

Symbol for excellent snow traction

Tires marked with this symbol meet the requirements for excellent snow traction performance. They are designed for driving in snowy conditions.

  • Check the condition of your tires and check air pressures regularly. A tire can lose one pound of air pressure for every five-degree drop in temperature.
  • Avoid mixing tires of different tread patterns, construction and size. Replace any that are damaged or have worn treads.
  • It’s recommended you install four winter tires, even on front-wheel drive vehicles, for best control in slippery and snowy conditions.

Stopping distances at 50 km/h*

Chart:sub-compact 39.1 m winter tires, 50.7 m all-season; minivan 38.3 m winter tires, 51.1 m all-season; 4-wheel drive 35.7 m winter tires, 42.8 m all-season

Test conditions

  • – 20° C with 3 to 5 cm of compacted snow and ice on asphalt surface.
  • Vehicles equipped with automatic transmission and anti-lock brakes.
  • Tests in 4-wheel drive vehicle conducted in all-wheel drive mode.

*Fournier L., Comparative Evaluation of Performance of All-Season tires and Winter tires, Ministry of Transportation, Quebec, 2002.