When is the Right Time to Switch to Winter Tires?

Although most Canadians switch their car tires each winter, a new study suggests we’re doing it at the wrong time.

The frigid outdoor temperatures and icy road conditions are a telling sign that it’s time to switch to winter tires . However, while the majority of Canadians know it is important to change their tires, 42 per cent of us are doing so at the wrong time, according to a new winter safety poll from Hankook Tire. The good news is that the majority do indeed switch to winter tires (64 per cent).

Jeff Bullock, tire expert and Hankook Tire spokesman, says winter tires are critical to road safety. “Winter tires are made from a high tech rubber material that is designed to perform in cold temperatures,” he explains. “The correct time to change to winter tires is when the temperature drops below seven degrees Celsius. This is the point where your summer tires will begin to lose their grip, may fail to brake and will decline in performance and overall safety. They are not designed to sustain the fierce cold of winter.”

When choosing winter tires, Bullock suggests looking for the snowflake: Winter tires are identifiable as such because they feature a snowflake icon on the side wall. For proper safety, put four winter tires on your vehicle. Trying to save money by just switching out the two front tires is ineffective. Your car needs four of the same tires in order to drive safely in winter conditions.

Not all winter tires are created equal. It’s a category defined by innovation. Every year manufacturers like Hankook come out with new materials that further enhance tire performance and driving safety.

“When it comes to tires, a lot can change in a year from the technology standpoint,” says Bullock. “For example, the winter i*Cept iZ from Hankook is developed with the latest design technology and features interlocking 3D tread with unique features that channel water away from the tire to reduce slipping and hydroplaning. Which means you will have better control over your vehicle no matter how cold and stormy it gets.”

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