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Do You Need Winter Tires or All-weather Tires?

In Canada, there are two types of drivers when it comes to tires: the kind who switch out their summer tires for dedicated winter tires, and those who can run one set of all-weather tires year- round.

If you need new tires this fall, figuring out which kind of driver you are will help you spend your tire budget wisely and enjoy optimum safety in the sleet and snow ahead.

Driver Type #1 – Drivers Who Need Winter Tires

  • Where you live – Cities, suburbs or rural areas with heavy snow and consistent winter conditions
  • Where you drive – Highway, mountains, unplowed roads
  • Conditions you face – Harsh winters filled with heavy, hard-packed snow, ice and moderate to extreme cold
  • Why you need winter tiresWinter tires feature an aggressive tread pattern with deep, chunky tread blocks that bite ice and snow and then push them away for superior traction. You’ll also get necessary braking and cornering control on ice and hard-packed snow because winter tires are made with a rubber compound designed to stay soft and flexible even at – 30 C.

If you face a lot of rough, wet and black ice, you might also want to consider studdable winter tires. Metal studs give you optimum grip on ice and freezing water.

Driver Type #2 – Drivers Who Need All-weather Tires

  • Where you live – Urban centres, suburbs
  • Where you drive – City, highways
  • Conditions you face – Milder winter conditions with heavy rain, light snow and slush.
  • Why you need all-weather tires – Unlike all-season tires, all-weather tires bear the mountain snowflake designated winter tire symbol so you know they’ve passed requirements for safe driving through winter in Canada.

That’s because all-weather tires use a unique rubber compound that keeps them soft at temperatures above and below 7 C (the point at which all-season tires get cold, hard and slippery). They have a great slush evacuation system to prevent hydroplaning and slushplaning, which is both dangerous and common in areas with milder winters. All-weather tires also have thick tread blocks for biting grip on snow and slush when you’re heading up to the ski hill.

All-weather tires do a great job of doubling as superior summer tires, offering the same sensitive handling on wet roads and bare asphalt.

City drivers love all-weathers because they get the winter safety and performance they need without the hassle or expense of buying and storing a second set of tires.

To find the best all-weather tires Canada has to offer and find the one that suits your budget and needs, check out our infographic Kal Tire’s Lineup of All-weather Tires.

Photo credit: istock/Thinkstock.com