Don’t get confused over the vast range of tires available in the market, especially when people refer to tires by similar names. Remember that each tire is designed and built for a specific purpose. To understand what summer tires are, think of long drives on stretched roads and high performance. That’s because summer tires are designed for those long summer road trips in Ontario and beyond, to get out and explore. Of course, summer tires are essentially designed and built to be the popular performance tires to last for more mileage. These tires are meant to provide a safe grip during high temperatures or rainy days in the summer months. It’s a known fact that most people plan their travels, road trips and long drives during the summer months. People tend to be on the road longer as they plan their outings and errands during the warmer weather. This is the time to have fun and that is why we recommend you have the best summer tires on your vehicle that provide high performance. While All-season tires can also be used during the summer months, they won’t provide the same performance outcome as summer tires, or any added benefit during the warmer summer months. All-season tires are meant to be good enough for all weather conditions.
Summer tires are designed to withstand high temperatures and the heat on the road. The tread pattern on a tire is important when you are selecting tires for specific seasons. Whichever driving season category your tires are in, it’s the tread pattern and the rubber compound that they are made of, that decide if they are good for that weather condition or not. When it comes to summer tires, they are made of a tread compound that has sticky additives to it. This allows the tires to maintain a sturdier grip on dry or wet asphalt, because the asymmetrical tread pattern allows for a straighter and shallower groove on the tire, which helps maintain the contact path with the road surface. In the end, it’s all about the amount and level of friction the tire has with the road. Friction between the tire and the surface helps to accelerate or stop a vehicle at different levels. The tread compound and pattern on the tire will impact the friction, and so based on this design, summer tires will last longer for performance. All in all, compared to all season tires, summer tires provide:
1. Better agility with speed
2. Better cornering and breaking
3. Better road holding performance
4. Better wet driving performance
5. Reduced grooving
So, get your high-performance summer tires installed as soon as the weather warms up and you are ready to take on that road trip.
What are All-season Tires?
All-season tires are design to provide versatility for all year driving, including for traction in light snow, rain and warm weather, while providing a balance of good appearance, performance and price throughout the year.
When all-season tires were first introduced, many drivers were elated over the thought of not having to change tires between winter and summer. That’s what the name “all-season” signifies too. You will notice that most drivers who have installed all-season tires on their vehicles will continue using them throughout the year, especially if they are not looking to drive too much in the winter. However, in extreme cold or hot conditions, they may not be your best choice. Most new vehicles come with all-season tires already installed, as they fit the purpose to drive optimally in most weather conditions, while also helping to save on fuel and general wear and tear.
Is it mandatory to swap out my All-Season Tires in Winter?
While the Quebec government has made it mandatory to replace all-season tires with winter tires during the winter season, it is not so in Ontario. Ontarians can decide for themselves if they require better control over their vehicles with winter tires; or, if they can manage with the regular tires they have on. As technology continues to evolve, tires are coming with a tread depth and pattern that allows greater control and safety on the road. At NMT Oakville, we recommend that you change your all-season tires to winter tires during our Canadian cold winters, as this will help with better road handling in the winter months, and longevity of both sets of all-four tires.
With many more cars on the road during frigid temperature then ever before, an increase in collisions during winter months has been observed. Imagine those days when it’s snowing hard and non-stop making the roads all wet and slushy, or when there are icy road conditions, you can’t really rely on all-season tires to bring you safely to your destination. Winter tires is what is required. However, your all-season tires can help you through the rest of the year. The all-season tires will provide you with good performance, appearance, and a combination of winter and summer tire feature benefits.
Which All-Season Tires are Best?
When you are looking to buy a new set of all-season tires, it will be useful to do some research and find out the range of tires available in the market. For example, if you can switch over to ultra high performance all-season tires, they work very well for car owners looking for driving adventures when the road conditions are right. These all-season tires are also relatively quieter. Remember to get your tires checked at our garage for performance before replacing them back in the vehicle.
What to consider when choosing winter tires
The weather and road conditions in your area, the frequency of use and intended mileage to be covered. If living in a remote area, you may be better off by adding studs to your tires for better traction on snow and ice, however some provinces and state laws prohibit these, so check with us about your driving location. Some winter tires have built in studs into the treads.
As weather conditions change, driving in snow, ice or both conditions make a difference on which brand and type of winter tyre is best for your needs. Visit us at NMT Oakville, to find out which winter tire is best suited for your driving needs, to get you through winter safely.
Why can’t I use my All-Season Tires?
Just like the name suggests, all-season tires are meant to accommodate all kinds of road conditions – dry, wet or a bit of snow. However, knowing how road conditions can deteriorate during continuous snowfall, or wet roads turning into dead ice in sub-zero temperatures, you don’t want to rely on tires that are meant for all seasons. Compare this situation to the famous proverb “Jack of all, master of none”. Whenever you are driving on low friction surfaces like wet or icy roads, your ability to maintain control is diminished. For you and your loved ones’ safety, you want tires that are most suited to a specific weather condition. It is recommended to change to winter tires when the temperature reaches 7 degrees Celsius.
Tread Patterns on Winter Tires
The tread patterns on winter tires differ greatly from all season tires and high-performance summer tires. Winter tires are designed with a deeper tread depth that have more slots and sipes, tiny slits with biting edges that grip onto the ice. The combination of these tread features on the winter tire, allows for better control on the roads due to their ability to grip the ice harder, and dig deeper into snow.
What can Winter Tires do that a regular tire can’t?
That’s a valid question. Let’s explain to you what tires do and how winter tires are designed to facilitate driving in tough weather conditions. Friction is what keeps the tires running on the road or stopping when required. Tires are designed with appropriate tread depth to provide a contact path or adequate surface area that will enable continuous friction. When the contact path decreases, the friction decreases which can lead to a vehicle’s slipping or loss of control on the road. The tread compound of all season tires can start to harden as the temperature starts falling. This will in turn reduce the traction or contact path leading to increase in chances of slipping or sliding. On the other hand, the rubber compound used in winter tires will ensure that the tread can withstand cold temperatures, even extreme cold, thereby maintaining appropriate traction. The tread depth and tread pattern for winter tires will allow a stronger grip on an icy road, or dig deeper in snow. Proper friction will allow the vehicle to maintain control during accelerating and applying brakes. Driving and stopping – both become easier. That is why winter tires will keep you safer during snow and ice-related road conditions.
Why should I replace all four tires?
Simply because it is safer and serves the real purpose of winter tires! Remember that each of these tires is meant to strengthen the vehicle’s accelerating and stopping capabilities. Each tire will provide contact path that will ensure appropriate traction leading to required friction. If you change only two, the other two will be lacking the friction support so necessary for tough road conditions. It means you will have less control with acceleration, applying brakes or cornering. Especially, as most vehicles will either have a rear wheel drive or a front wheel drive. With all four tires changed to winter tires, you have better vehicle control on the road than changing just a couple of tires.
Do I need studless or studded winter tires?
On severe icy roads, or snow covered off grid mountainous terrain studded tires are recommended, but they may be prohibited in some Provinces and States. In Ontario, studded tires are permitted from October 1st to April 30th. Be mindful that studded tires will lack traction in on bare asphalt roads and in slushy conditions. For regular winter driving, stud less tires will be a better choice. If driving of grid or out of province, come and talk to us about your best winter tire options. Do I still need Winter Tires for an all-wheel drive or 4-wheel drive vehicle? Yes. All-wheel drive or AWD, and 4-wheel drive or 4WD provides improved traction by powering all four wheels when accelerating, however this does not help provide control to your vehicle when you are turning, or apply the brakes. Winter tires will provide better control with overall driving.
Do I need to check my tire pressure in cold weather?
Yes. You should consistently check your tire pressure in all weather conditions, however more frequently in winter conditions is recommended. In cold weather, the outside temperatures drop and so does the temperature in your tires. As a result, the contracting air inside your tires lowers the tire pressure causing them to deflate. Once you start to drive and the air inside your tires may warm up and expand again, but there may still be loss of overall pressure, so check this frequently to ensure your winter tires can work well in cold weather.
Why do I need to replace Winter Tires in summer?
If winter tires help withstand harsh cold conditions, you might wonder why to change them at all. After all, it can be quite cumbersome to keep changing tires every few months. The reason is economical. If you decide to continue using winter tires during the hot summer months, the soft rubber compound will wear out sooner, and you will have to buy new winter tires by the time it’s winter again! A stitch in time saves nine. Replace the tires once the temperatures rise above 10 degrees Celsius and chances of snowfall are negligible. Use your all-season tires until it starts snowing again. To find out more about winter tires and its’ benefits in winter driving safety, check this report by Traffic Injury Research Foundation.