The Great Tire Debate: All Seasons vs. Snow

The Great Tire Debate: All Seasons vs. Snow

"Do I need winter tires?" is an age old question that customers here at the dealership ask us all the time. My answer usually goes something like this:

The Province of Ontario currently does not require you to install winter tires on your vehicle. So you don't NEED them. But for minimal expense, you can install snow tires and greatly improve the winter safety and performance of your vehicle.

Snow tires are made of a softer rubber compound than all season tires, which provides a greatly increased grip. This allows your vehicle to grip snow and ice, gives you better stopping performance, turning performance, and improved acceleration and traction through reduced wheel spin. In my opinion, those 3 items alone are enough to justify the cost of snow tires in my opinion.

But wait! Did I just say the word cost? The cost of snow tires is really not a true additional cost. Let's assume you buy a new Grand Caravan along with a set of snow tires on rims when you purchase the vehicle. You now have two sets of complete wheels and tires. Over the course of the next 4 years, for example, you won't be wearing out the snow tires during the summer or summer tires during the winter, effectively doubling the life span of your summer tires. If you would normally replace your summer tires after 2.5 years (depending on how many KMs you drive), those tires may last you as many as 5 years because you're using your winter tires for half the year. So while you'll have an increased up-front expense, in the long run it really isn't more expensive.

Transport Canada has produced a number of interesting videos that show the difference between snow tires and all season tires in stop testing. It's worth checking out to see the difference for yourself. //www.rubberassociation.ca/wintertirevideos/wintertirevideos.html

All Canadian-built Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, and Ram vehicles come from the factory with all season tires (with the exception of some SRT models). While you're not currently required to install snow tires in Ontario, adding them to your vehicle in the winter months is certainly a sensible, safe choice.