It’s unlikely that your all-season tires are adequate for winter driving in most parts of Canada. All-season tires provide modest traction on snow and ice when they are new, with grip diminishing as the tires age. The rubber compound of an all-season tire hardens as the temperature drops, providing poorer grip, even on dry surfaces. The compound of a winter tire is more pliable and retains its grip in cold temperatures.
In order to be considered a winter tire, the tire must meet specific performance based standards and maintain a traction index of 110 or more on lightly packed snow. This rating system was created in 1999, by the Rubber Manufacture Association (RMA), and it designed to assist customers when selecting a winter tire. Tires are tested by the American Society for Testing and Materials in a series of independently conducted trial. The final ratings are provided to the manufactures and are available from the tire retailers upon request.
When selecting a winter tire, you must first determine the size of your current tire rims. Winter tires can be installed on the standard rims, or specific winter rims can be purchased. Review the options and select a winter tire based on your driving habits, weather conditions in your area and your budget. Winter tires should be installed by a tire technician to ensure correct level of inflation and installation.
Don't wait until the first snowfall to install your winter tires. A good rule of thumb is to install them after five consecutive days of freezing temperatures. The first snowfall of the year usually results in a higher than average number of car accidents, due to the lack of snow tires.
Remove your snow tires in the spring when the temperature is above freezing for a minimum of three days in a row. Driving on your snow tires in warmer conditions will wear out the tread and reduce the useful life of the tires. When storing your winter tires, make sure to rinse any salt residue off first and let them dry first.
Winter tires can be stacked up to five tires high in your garage or basement. In some locations where winter tires are mandatory, tire storage firms are available to store your tires during the summer months for a flat, low fee. Winter tires are not inexpensive, but they are necessary for driving safely in the winter months. If all four tires are not winter tires, they don't work effectively and are essentially a waste of money.
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Nitrogen is all around us. When used to replace oxygen and other gases in tire inflation, it enhances handling, improves fuel efficiency, extends tire life, protects the Earth and, most importantly, keeps you safer on the road.