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Why Winter Tires Should Only Be Used In Winter

Driving Tips
jason-baxtorJason Baxter

In addition to their costs, owning and maintaining a car or truck takes a lot of your time too. And, if you feel your vehicle uses up too much of your time, you might wonder if you can drive with winter tires all year round. That way, you could at least avoid the twice-yearly visit to the service centre just to get your winter tires swapped out for your summer tires or all-season tires.

3 Reasons Why You Should Never Drive with Your Winter Tires Year-Round 

Yes, you read that clearly. We said “never” and we said it because it’s a matter of the personal safety of you and your passengers.

  1. They Don’t Grip As Well – This might sound counterintuitive. Winter tires are designed for grip, aren’t they? But they are designed for grip in far colder temperatures and different road conditions than those we get in a Canadian summer. Winter tires are made from a different rubber compound and tread pattern than summer tires. In summer, the rubber compound on winter tires becomes very pliable, which can increase slippage. And the wider tread patterns mean less rubber on the road.
  2. They Don’t Stop Your Car as Quickly – In addition to increased pliability, which can promote skidding, a winter tire’s tread blocks suffer more degradation under braking. This includes literally dissolving, which makes their surface more slippery. Or they can start to marble as small bits of rubber break off, which also creates a slippery effect under the tires. In tests, winter tires require 15% more stopping distance on average versus summer tires when coming to a stop from 100 km/h, under dry, summer conditions. And that increases your chance of minor collisions. 
  1. It Is More Difficult to Control Your Car – That 15% number also applies to how much less steering precision you have when you drive with winter tires in summer conditions.

Less grip, longer stopping distances and more difficult controls also increase your chances of a careless driving ticket if you are found at fault in a collision that could have been avoided with summer tires.

If you enjoyed this post, check out our recent article “What to Do if You get caught in a Speed Trap”. 

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