All about Winter Tires

What do you need to know about winter tires?


Ok – the weather is starting to change and so here at John Bear Chevrolet in New Hamburg, we are getting ready for winter tires. Many of our customers have questions about all season vs winter tires, so here is our breakdown about all things winter tires.

1 – Think temperature not necessarily snow

It’s all about temperature, not just the snow. Winter tires are more effective than all season tires when the temperature hits below 7 C. The key here is the temperature – not just the elements. The rubber composition of cold weather tires (makeup of the tire) contains rubber that stays more pliable at lower temperatures. Of course, when it comes to the ice, slush, and snow there is no comaparison.

All season or summer tires do the opposite. When it gets colder, the rubber compounds stiffen and become hard like a hockey puck. This means decreasing grip and stability and increased braking distances.


2 – Winter tires have more braking power

Winter tires have increased traction abilities that reduce braking abilities. This could make the difference of stopping at one side of the intersection compared to the other at in town driving speeds.


3 – Changing your habits isn’t enough

We hear from many customers that they don’t need winter tires because they “adjust” their driving habits and increase their distance from other drivers when bad weather hits. We agree that certain adjustments need to be made, but that isn’t enough. We never know for sure when someone may pull out or veer in front of us, or if a person or animal comes into our pathway. We need to be confident that our traction and braking systems will perform as intended.


4 – Tires are like shoes – you need more than 1 pair

Think of all season tires like running shoes. You can wear running shoes all year, but they aren’t ideal for all situations. In the Kitchener- Waterloo area, most of us want to wear boots for the cold, slush and snow.


5 – Your safety and peace of mind are worth the investment

The cost of winter tires can easily be offset from just a simple little slide into a curb at low speeds. We have seen damaged and bent wheels, wheel bearings, suspension components and tires which add up to many times the price of winter tires. Other factors to consider are the cost of a tow truck, or missing work or appointments from these mishaps.

Rotating between summer and winter tires can also decrease the cost of tires over the life of the vehicle. When an all-season tire’s tread wears down, it becomes even more hazardous to use in the winter season. If not rotating in winter tires in the fall, all season tires may need to be replaced prematurely for new ones.

We recommend removing your winter tires at the end of the winter season and putting all season tires back on your vehicle to make use of the remaining tread. It’s also more environmentally friendly.

Keep in mind – at John Bear New Hamburg, we offer tire storage so you don’t need to worry about storing your off season tires at home.


6 – How much should I spend on winter tires?

Just like summer/all season tires, a better winter tire will outperform a non-premium winter tire. You get what you pay for. Premium winter tires retain their abilities throughout the life of the tire, not just for the first season or two of tread and also typically have an increase life expectancy.


We are always here to answer your questions so feel free to give us call or stop by and we can talk about the best winter tires for your vehicle.