Car Medics has the winter tires you need and the expert advice to answer all your questions. Below are the questions we get every fall regarding winter tires, and the answers to go with them.
1. Are Winter Tires Really Necessary?
Simple Answer: YES!!! There have been many, many studies on the effectiveness of winter tires. Experts, and drivers that use them, all agree that they are a must for winter driving. All season radials, which most new cars come equipped with, start to get stiff and begin losing their grip (traction) at 7 degrees Celcius!!! This means that when it’s cold out, whether there is snow on the ground or not, all seasons will not grip as effectively as winter tires. Even some light frost on the road surface on a cold November morning can prove to be treacherous with all seasons. This is why Winter Tires are no longer called “snow” tires. They are designed for WINTER temperatures and conditions, not just snow! The rubber in winter tires has improved flexibility in cold weather that make them way more effective than all seasons, even on dry pavement.
The cost of winter tires can be prohibitive for some people, but when you consider that your all seasons (which you will now use only during the summer months) will last twice as long because they will be sharing the mileage with the new winter tires, you begin to understand that you are simply buying your next set of tires early and focusing on safety for the winter months. A good winter tire with average driving should last 4 to 5 winters. It is also important to consider that by preventing even the smallest accident from happening, you will not have to spend the $500 to $1000 your insurance deductible demands, not to mention protecting you and your family from injury when your car slips off of the road or into someone else!
Watch this video series and decide for yourself!
2. Should I Buy Winter Rims?
Simple Answer: MAYBE!!! There are a lot of factors to consider when deciding on whether you should buy winter rims for your winter tires. It’s always better to have winter rims but, depending on the type of car and your actual tire size, they may cost more money than they are worth. In some cases, we can downsize (install a smaller size of rim and corresponding tire that is compatible with your car) and sometimes save enough money to offset part of the cost for rims because smaller winter tires are generally less expensive.
The advantages to having winter rims include:
- Keeping your original rims in perfect condition by saving them from the salt and hidden potholes/curbs in winter
- Saving money over time since it’s less expensive to change your tires spring and fall
- There is less wear and tear on both sets of tires when they don’t have to be stretched on/off the rims in spring and fall
- You will save time during the tire changeover because it takes about half the time to swap your tires out when they’re already on rims.
3. Which Winter Tires Should I Buy?
Simple Answer: THAT DEPENDS!!! Generally, the more expensive the tire, the better the winter performance, but not always! Let our expert Service Advisors at Car Medics narrow down your choices by taking into account all of the important factors:
- Your budget. Not all winter tires are created equal and we have the experience to help you choose the right one for your safety concerns and your budget.
- The tires that best suit your vehicle
- How much you drive and where you drive are very important factors to consider.
- How long you plan on keeping the car. Winter tires and rims are an investment that pays back over time. Sometimes, tires and rims can also be used on your next new or newer car.
- Style may be important to you as well. Car Medics has many rim options available. From black rims with hubcaps to sharp-looking, cost-effective alloy wheels, we can help keep your car looking great this winter!
- Car Medics not only sells all the major tire brands, but we also know which brands are offering the best rebates too! So, we can find you the right tire at the right price!
4. Do I Need TPMS Sensors?
Simple answer: MAYBE!!! Does your vehicle have a tire pressure monitoring system? Not all cars come with tire pressure monitoring, but many that do have TPMS require the use of a tire pressure sensor installed INSIDE each wheel rim. This means that when you purchase new winter rims, you may also need to purchase a set of 4 TPMS sensors to go along with them. And, once installed, those new TPMS sensors will have to be programmed to your vehicle. To know for sure, simply ask us and we’ll tell you what you need.
5. I Have TPMS Now, Can I Go Without Sensors In My Winter Tires?
Simple Answer: YES, BUT IT’S NOT RECOMMENDED!!! In our view, the worst time of year to get a flat tire or be broken down somewhere is during the winter. The most common breakdown is caused by a flat tire and this can often be prevented by having your tire pressure monitoring system working correctly, warning you before it’s too late. And, if you have TPMS now and decide not to have them in your winter rims, the TPMS warning light will be illuminated on your dash all winter long!
6. When Should I Have My Winter Tires Put On?
Simple Answer: OCTOBER!!! A general rule of thumb is to have your winter tires installed when the temperatures fall below 7 degress Celcius as a daily high. Winter tires, due to the softer rubber compound, will wear a little faster than all season radials, but it’s not dramatically different. On average, a set of all season radials will last between 60,000 km and 80,000 km whereas a set of winter tires generally will last 40,000 km to 60,000 km. Winter tires do wear a little faster, but not so fast that you can’t afford to have them installed BEFORE you really need them. This means that, unless you drive more than 800 km per week, they should be installed before November and well before you ever see the white stuff falling! It’s better to be safe than sorry since it only takes one slide off the road to change everything. Plus, you don’t want to be one of those 5,000+ Kingston, ON car owners desperately calling around to see who can put their winter tires on TODAY, while a bad snow storm quickly approaches! By then it will be too late.