Winter tires: is it time to get them on your vehicle?
With last night's snowfall throughout Metro Vancouver, making sure your car or truck is ready for the winter weather has never been more important.
With temperatures dropping below 5 degrees Celsius, don’t be caught without winter tires when there is snow on the ground, when you might have to wait days (or longer) to arrange a service appointment.
Here's a few common questions we've answered to help you make switching to winter tires a breeeze.
What is the difference between winter tires and all-season tires?
The main difference is that winter tires have specially formulated tread rubber that stays flexible at low temperatures for better vehicle control. They perform exceptionally well in all types of conditions - snow, ice, sleet, slush and even cold dry roads.
With the amount of snow that Vancouver received overnight we're going to also see black ice. This, combined with rain and wet roads present similar dangers—less grip and longer stopping distances. Changing your tires now will give you much more control in today's challenging weather conditions.
When do I need to change my tires?
With temperatures consistently 7 degrees Celsius or less, it’s time for winter tires. We're quite confident that changing them today would be an excellent idea!
How can I tell if I need new tires?
All tires for sale in BC have wear indicators, known as “wear bars” moulded into the tire tread at 2/32’’ depth. All-season tires have a second wear indicator at 4/32’’ tread depth. Once the tire’s tread is worn level with the wear bars in two or more adjacent tread grooves, the tire is considered illegal and must be replaced!
It's really important that you check the wear bars often as you don't want your tires to fail under emergency circumstances.
An easy to way to check tire tread, besides looking at the wear indicators, is to use a quarter. By inserting a quarter into a tire tread groove with the caribou nose down and facing you, you can easily tell if the tires needs to be replaced. If the tire tread covers the tip of the nose, you’re good. If you can see the tip of the nose, it’s time to bring your vehicle in.
Three of my winter tires are fine, can I just replace one?
Unfortunately, no. Replacing just one tire can affect your vehicles traction in a negative way. You should always install all four winter tires. An uneven installation of your tires could cause your car to spin unexpectedly because of greater traction on the new tires.
If you do replace your tires, stick with the same brand for all four. Mixing different tread patterns, sizes, and construction can compromise vehicle performance and safety.
We'd suggest you check your tires before hitting the road this morning, and remember to keep your distance, slow down, and stay safe!