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How to find the right set of winter tires

How to find the right set of winter tires

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The right set of winter tires are the ones that fit your car, the conditions, the temperature and offer safe levels of grip. There is no ‘perfect’ set of winter tyres as different manufacturers have different strengths and weaknesses depending on vehicle type, temperature and all sorts of other variables.

Instead, what we will do is show you how to find the right set of winter tires for your car and your situation.

Do you really need winter tires?
If you live in Canada you will need winter tires. If you regularly drive somewhere where temperatures go below 45F or 7C you should definitely invest in a set of winter tires. The key word there is investment. Winter tire provide better grip, better dispersion and a much safer platform to drive. Essentially when you invest in snow tires, you are investing in increased safety.

It’s important to note that while snow tires are definitely safer in colder conditions, there doesn’t have to have snow on the ground to get benefit from them. As mentioned, when it gets cold, regardless of whether it snows or not, snow tires offer better grip.

How many winter tires do I need?
Whether you buy tires on their own or wheels for a quick swap is up to you but always buy four of them. The myth that you only need them on drive axles is just that, a myth. You need grip in each corner regardless of where the power is put down. Always have a full set of winter tires on your car.

Tire requirements
A tire should be rated to the weight of your vehicle, have legal tread depth and carry the snowflake logo. This ensures they have been tested for cold conditions. They should ideally be the same size as your all weather tires to ensure your odometer remains accurate. You can go thinner if you like but try and keep the diameter within 3-5% of your standard tires.

Tire types
There are two main types of winter tire, studded and studless. Studded winter tires are for extreme conditions and will quickly wear out if used a lot on well cleared roads. If you drive off road or backroads a lot in the snow, studded tires may be of value. For most of us living in built-up areas, studless winter tires are enough to keep up safely on the road.

Buying winter tires
Our general advice here is to buy a recognized brand of winter tire of a similar diameter to your standard tires. Make sure the tires are rated to the weight of your vehicle, carry the snowflake logo and are suitable for the temperatures and conditions you usually drive in.

If in doubt, contact the service centre at your nearest Car Nation Canada location and we can help you make the right choice. It’s all part of the service!

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