Lifestyles 55 Articles

You’re returning home from Sunday errands. As you drive over a familiar overpass, a car up ahead hits black ice and spins out, forcing you and five other cars to instantly react. If you could freeze this moment and choose whether or not to have winter tires on your vehicle, the decision would be easy. Unfortunately, outside of that moment, the decision to purchase winter tires is clouded by myths and misleading tires names. Let’s cut through the clutter so you can make the most important decision in preparing your vehicle for Winnipeg winter driving.

Winter driving myth #1: All-Season and all-weather tires are for all conditions.

These tires are designed to use all year, but they’re also a year-round compromise. They offer less grip than winter tires in the winter and less performance than summer tires in the summer. The two factors to consider are “rubber compound” and “tread design”. The rubber and tread in summer and all-season tires are designed for fuel efficiency and longevity. Once the temperature falls below seven degrees, the rubber hardens and makes it more difficult to stop. Many people refer to this as “The Hockey Puck” effect.

The rubber in winter tires is designed to stay soft and grip the road in the cold. The tread is designed to clear the slush and snow that can get between you and the road. All-weather tires have rubber and tread that is closer to winter tires than all-seasons, but they still fall short of even the most cost-effective tires designed specifically for Winter.

Winter driving myth #2: My all wheel drive vehicle is good enough.

Many people are convinced that their SUV or crossover, with four driving wheels instead of two, is already equipped for winter driving. All wheel drive will improve traction when you accelerate. That’s it. You should still get winter tires to improve your braking and cornering. Not many winter accidents are avoided with improved acceleration.

Winter driving myth #3: Winter tires are an added expense.

When you consider long-term vehicle maintenance, the expense of winter tires will be partially offset by the money you save by not using your summer or all-season tires for as much as six months of the year. Plus, taking them off and on will automatically remind you to rotate them annually which is proven to extend product life. That still leaves you with the upfront cost but, fortunately, Manitoba Public Insurance offers low-interest financing. You can get a winter tire installation now and choose monthly payments that become very manageable when amortized over four years.

Now let’s go back to that icy overpass. Whether you bet on breaking or decide to navigate through the danger, winter tires will provide you with your best chance to avoid paying for expensive repairs or even the ultimate price. We both know that you won’t be given a tire choice at that moment, so decide now to make the right call and get winter tires.

Jim Brousseau is the owner of Super Tire Express.

Author: Lifestyles55
Lifestyles 55 is a Winnipeg paper that provides readers in their 50s and older with information on matters affecting their daily lives.
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