Temperatures are dropping, snow is coming and experts are heralding safe winter driving, specifically installing a proper set of winter tires.
Transport Canada recommends winter tires over all-season tires for driving in cold, snowy or icy conditions, and local repair shops agree.
“Once it gets down to seven degrees and less, your rubber compound changes drastically from an all-season to a snow tire, which is a softer rubber compound,” said Mitch Warden at an Ottawa Frisby Tire location.
In Québec, drivers are required by law to have winter tires installed on their vehicles between Dec. 15 and March 15 every year.
Five tips for installing winter tires
1. Look for tires marked with a picture of a peaked mountain with a snowflake.
The symbol ensures winter tires meet industry standards for snow traction performance and have been designed specifically for use in severe snow conditions.
2. Install tires in a set of four.
That’s to help maintain control and stability, which will help your car brake more efficiently in icy and snowy conditions. Also, avoid mixing different tread patterns, internal construction and size.
3. Make sure your tires are mounted on the correct side.
They’re designed to only spin in one direction. An arrow printed on the sidewall should help.
4. Put grippier tires at the rear, even on a front-wheel drive car.
Warden said to always put the grippier tire on the back for stability purpose so you don't spin out on the road.
5. Remember to keep an eye on proper air pressure.
As temperatures drop, tire pressure decreases. Transport Canada recommends checking the tire air pressure at least once a month when the tires are cold, preferably after the car has been out all night.