Why tires have different temperature “comfort zones” and when to use them.
Sharing facts about tire safety can be one of the simplest, yet most powerful lessons to prevent people you care about from getting into a road accident. Today we’re going to talk about the importance of driving on the right tires in the right weather conditions. Because all-season tires and winter tires are made with different rubber compounds, they allow cars to perform as they should in a wider range of temperatures.
You may not think of tires as a safety feature, but they’re one of the most important aspects of driving that help you stay out of harm’s way – even more than experience behind the wheel. You can’t always be there to keep your loved ones out of danger, but you can help them understand why it’s so important to drive on the right tires.
Why winter tires are so much safer to drive on.
According to tests run by Transport Canada and the Rubber Association of Canada, cars driving at speeds of 40-50 km/hour veered off the track wearing all-season tires, and consistently stayed on course using winter tires. In deep snow, winter tires provide 25% improved traction over all-season tires, which could significantly lower your risk for an accident.
These stats ring true if you mount winter tires of the same size and type on all 4 wheels of your car. Front wheel drive cars benefit the most, since the rear wheels equipped with all-season tires are most likely to end up spinning helplessly in deep snow.
When temperatures drop below 7°C/45°F, all-season tires start losing their grip on the road, and lose traction completely below -10°C/14°F. Meanwhile, winter tires are performing at their best. Winter tires in good condition keep your car moving forward in ice, slush, sleet – you name it. With tread patterns designed to stay flexible in the cold, winter tires not only prevent snow buildup in the grooves, but they also stop a car from slipping on ice like a hockey puck – improving a driver’s ability to maneuver properly while turning and breaking, with much longer stopping distances.
Can you drive on winter tires all year?
Now, you might be wondering if you could save money by using winter tires all year, even when temperatures are higher than 7°C/45°F. Sorry friend, but this is not a good idea. In parts of the world that experience temperature swings, tires are not a “one size fits all” proposition.
Winter tires on hot pavement are just as risky to drive on as all-season tires in the cold. They’re just not designed to perform in the warmer months of the year – not only are they less safe to use, they will wear out a whole lot quicker than all-season tires if you’re driving on them all the time.
Tests run by CAA showed that drivers using winter tires in temperatures above 7°C had less control of their vehicles and needed more time and distance to stop safely. Even in dry conditions, car performance was affected at speeds over 50 km/hour, and at 85 km/hour, drivers could not even control their vehicles. On wet roads, the impact was felt at even lower speeds.
Here’s why you shouldn’t wait to switch your tires.
Equipping your car with the right tires is your responsibility to ensure your car is performing as it should be. Whether you drive a small or large vehicle, think about all the work it is doing to accelerate, brake, maintain stability, and take turns – all this relies on the contact your tires are making with the road. If you care about the safety of yourself, your family, and other people on the road, you should make sure you’ve got the right tires on your car.
The increased safety of using the proper tires for the season far outweighs the extra effort involved in owning two sets. Much of the extra spending comes from the service costs associated with switching your tires twice a year, which is why you should change them yourself.
Help them arrive safe.
With the right tools and know-how, it’s absolutely safe to change passenger vehicle tires on your own. So don’t leave your loved ones waiting for a service appointment and compromising their safety in the meantime. Help them change their own tires this year, and they’ll have the right tires on their cars exactly when they need them.