Chad Therres, left, and Steve Nicholson, from Super Steve’s Tire in Aldergrove.

Drive smart, drive safe: Local pros answer key winter tire questions

When rubber hits the road this season, make sure it’s the right kind

With the temperature dropping, drivers still sporting their all-season tires are in for a slippery ride.

“Even if there’s no snow, the cold weather means your all-season tires don’t grip as well,” explains Chad Therres, manager of Super Steve’s Tire and Mechanical in Aldergrove.

So I need winter tires, even if there’s no snow?

When the temperature drops to 7°C or lower, the rubber on summer or all-season tires becomes harder, and they don’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, Therres explains.

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.

What should I look for in a winter tire?

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 as winter tires.

However, true winter tires – those showing the mountain and snowflake symbol – offer the best traction for snow, ice and cold weather, Therres notes.

“Our weather in the Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley is unpredictable and can change from blowing rain to ice to snow in a very short time. A winter tire is by far your best bet for the safest winter driving,” he says.

What else should I know about winter driving?

For traction and handling, it’s important to have four of the same tires at a minimum tread depth of about four millimetres and inflated to the proper air pressure for your vehicle. Find the inflation level recommended by your vehicle manufacture in the owner’s manual, on the driver’s door or inside the glove box. Because tire pressure decreases as temperatures drop, check the pressure at least monthly, when tires are cold.

“The other benefit to switching to winter tires for half the year is it extends the life of your all-seasons,” Therres notes. “Even better, for those in the market for winter tires, we have a $100 mail-in rebate for 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.

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