Tips on Choosing Your Tires

Winter Tire PictogramTires can be confusing and if you have recently moved to Vancouver Island you need to know that tires that may be good for Prince George or Kelowna winters aren’t necessarily good for Island winters.

There are basically 3 types of tires to choose from, All Weather, All Season & Winter.
Here is a VERY simple explanation of the differences.

–All Weather tires are considered the tire that truly performs well in all weather conditions. They are used for severe winter conditions including ice, slush or snow. The open tread pattern pushes away ice & snow to maintain contact with the road. The rubber compound stays soft below 7 degrees to maintain grip but doesn’t wear prematurely in warm summer temperatures. High resistance to tearing makes the All Weather tire a long-lasting, multi-purpose tire that can be left on your car all year. All-weather tires carry the Transport Canada pictogram of a snowflake inside a mountain peak on the sidewall of the tire. This indicates that they have met specific snow traction performance requirements.

–All Season tires satisfy the needs of most road conditions but are now considered more of a three season tire because of how they perform in cold weather. They have deep water channels for wet traction and harder rubber compound for greater tire life in WARM weather. However this compound becomes very hard in temperatures below 7 degrees, resulting in poorer traction in freezing weather. These tires do not carry the Transport Canada pictogram of a snowflake inside a mountain peak on the sidewall of the tire.

–Winter tires are designed to perform in cold, icy, wet & snowy weather. They are optimized for handling and traction under wet conditions but can be used in dry conditions as well. The rubber compound is the softest of all the tires which gives them flexible tread, great for hugging an icy, snowy road but they wear down in warm temperatures. No problem if you swap them out in the spring. Winter tires are by far are the best tire for severe winter conditions. They have a pictogram of a snowflake inside a mountain peak on the sidewall of the tire.

So how do you know what tire is best for a Campbell River winter? Since winters can range from mild and wet, to cold, wet and icy, to snowy and icy for a while, then wet again, the All Weather tire seems to be your best bet for this unpredictable climate. If you make a lot of trips to the interior or to Mt. Washington for skiing then Winter tires may be the ones for you, just swap them out for All Season or All Weather tires in the spring and you’re good to go for several seasons.

The technicians at Ironwood Auto Technicians in Campbell River will be happy to go over your tire options with you and help you select tires that work best for you.

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