Learn why winter tires give you increased traction - and improved safety - even when the road surface is dry.
The winter season in Edmonton extends from November to March, but it is not unusual to get a snow storm in October. In some years, the first storm of the year can come in September and on rare occasions there have been storms in August. The last storm of the year usually comes in April or May and in some years snow has fallen in June. For about 130 days, Edmonton has at least a centimetre of snow on the ground. In mid-winter, the snowpack averages 19 to 21 cm deep.
For about one-third of the year, you can expect to encounter winter driving conditions. There is no way to avoid it. You are going to be driving on roads covered with ice and snow and the only way to do that safely is with snow tires that are correctly installed on your car or truck by an expert tire technician – which is exactly what you will find at Fastech.
What you need to know about winter tires
Winter tires are designed to stay pliable and soft in cold conditions, which is necessary to maintain good traction. In general, a winter tire will perform 110% better than an all-season tire and the best winter tires will be 130-150% better than an all-season tire. This is important because better performance means you can stop faster and will have better control of your vehicle.
There are many myths and misunderstandings when it comes to winter snow tires. For example, some people think it is only necessary to have two winter snow tires. That is a big mistake because the whole purpose of snow tires is to give you traction on snow covered roads and you need four, not two, identical winter tires to achieve the best possible traction.
Here are a few more snow tire myths and facts:
Myth: Vehicles with 4WD don't need snow tires.
Fact: While 4WD provides some additional traction, a 4WD with all-season tires will have much less traction than a 4WD vehicle with winter snow tires. A 4WD can help you get going from a stop, but a 4WD can't help you stop, another important reason why a 4WD needs winter tires. Bottom line: A winter tire can make all the difference between stopping in time or crashing into the person in front of you.
Myth: At winter temperatures (+7 celsius or lower), an all-season tire provides better traction on dry pavement than winter snow tires.
Fact: Winter tires are softer at winter temperatures and therefore provide better traction than all season tires. Even on bare pavement (before it snows) winter tires will remain soft and pliable to -40 C
Myth: There is no need to change tire pressure during the winter.
Fact: Tire pressure should be raised slightly as cold temperatures cause a loss of tire pressure. Your Fastech tire expert knows how to make the adjustment.
Myth: Original equipment provides optimum performance.
Fact: Many vehicles will perform better with tires and rims that are different than what was installed originally on the vehicle. For example, a BMW comes with 18” rims/tires, but it will perform better in snow with 16” or 17” tires and rims with the same tire height. Better still, the smaller set up, known technically as minus sizing, will save you money.
Myth: In the long run, you save money by leaving all-season tires on all year.
Fact: Running all season tires in the winter will not only compromise safety, but also shorten the life of the all season tire. That means you will have to buy a second set sooner than if you switched to snow tires in the winter. So if you are going to need two sets of tires, doesn't it make sense to have one set for summer and one set for winter?
Myth: Nothing comes close to the performance of studded tires.
Fact: A non-studded, top-performance snow tire will outperform a studded tire and it can be purchased for about the same price. You also need to take into account that studded tires are noisy and their performance declines as the studs are worn down.
Now you are educated about snow tires and rims. Make sure you ask about our Winter Snow Tire Installation Alerts, available exclusively from Fastech and offering three great customer benefits:
- Take the guess work out of when to install your ice and snow tires for winter driving
- Ensure you don't get caught in the rush to install snow tires after the first winter storm
- Get special Early Bird pricing by bringing your tires in before October 1, 2013.