Is your ride sporting its winter wheels? If not, you might soon be slip-sliding away!
“Even if there’s no snow on the ground, once the temperature drops to 7°C or lower, your all-season tires just don’t grip as well as you need them to,” explains Chad Therres, manager of Aldergrove’s Super Steve’s Tire and Mechanical.
So if you haven’t switched out your all-seasons yet, here’s what you need to know:
- It’s science: Once the temperature dips, the rubber on summer or all-season tires becomes harder, and doesn’t grip the road as well. That means that even when there’s no snow, regular wet roads will become slicker for vehicles with all-seasons. Winter tires have a specially formulated rubber that stays softer in colder weather, in addition to tread designs made specifically for ice, snow and other severe winter conditions.
- Dates matter: Regardless of current weather conditions, certain B.C. roads require approved tires between Oct. 1 and March 31. On those posted roads, two types of tires are acceptable: the three-peaked mountain and snowflake symbol or the M+S (mud and snow) symbol, with at least 3.5 mm tread.
- Look for the snowflake: While both types of tires are acceptable on winter roads, true winter tires – those sporting the mountain and snowflake symbol – offer the best traction for snow, ice and cold weather. “Here in the Lower Mainland and especially in the Fraser Valley, weather is unpredictable and can change from blowing rain to ice to snow in a very short time. A winter tire is simply the safest option,” he says.
- Tread tip: The type of rubber on your wheels isn’t the only factor for your road safety. For traction and handling, it’s important to have four of the same tires, ideally at a minimum tread depth of about four millimetres, Therres says.
- Pressure points: Beyond tread,“it’s also important to have tires inflated to the proper air pressure for your vehicle,” Therres says. Find the manufacturer’s recommended inflation level in the owner’s manual, on the driver’s door or inside the glove box. And because tire pressure decreases as temperatures drop, check the pressure at least monthly, when tires are cold.
While investing in winter tires does require a new purchase, the benefit is that it also extends the life of your summer or all-season tires, Therres notes.
“Even better, for those in the market for winter tires, we have a mail-in rebate for up to $120 off a set of four selected Goodyear tires, available through Dec. 31.”
Super Steve’s Tire and Mechanical is a family-owned and operated automotive shop in Aldergrove providing full mechanical services in addition to tire sales – including a lifetime of free flat repairs and rotations with four tires purchased.