CHOOSING YOUR WINTER TIRES
This is a topic that is near and dear to my heart, and I have wanted to cover it for some time. The reason is simple: your choice will have a direct impact on your safety and the safety of your family.
Choosing winter tires has become increasingly difficult with the growing range of products available on the market. Your budget will certainly guide your decision, but it will not be the only deciding factor.
As in many other areas, you must first assess your needs. I always say that if a business offers you a product without asking what your needs are and how you will use it, you should shop somewhere else as soon as possible – without this information, a salesperson will not be able to properly guide you towards products that suit your needs.
Tires are made for specific needs which will determine the type of rubber and studs as well as the design. Will the tires be used on the road only? Do they have to be effective on ice or heavy snow? The family that goes to the cottage every weekend will not have the same needs as the person who only commutes on a perfectly cleared road.
Once your needs have been identified, you will have different options, and this is when other factors will come into play, like the price. It is important to determine your budget to reduce the options to certain models.
At this stage, many consumers will make the mistake of relying on pseudo-experts on the internet. An example that I see far too often is about those winter-approved all-season tires recommended by people who have no expertise. When a dad asks for recommendations for winter tires safe on icy roads, but the first answer recommends a winter-approved all-season tire brand without supporting facts or road test results, it is difficult to take this recommendation seriously.
Winter-approved all-season tires can be effective in winter, indeed, with an adaptation of the driving. They are not designed exclusively for winter, but they can work. Keep in mind that a product that tries to be very effective in all areas will always end up being average in all of them. It does not mean that these tires should be avoided at all costs; they are simply not suitable for all needs and all driving conditions.
You can ask for advice, of course, but seek several opinions. Normally, tire experts will be more able to guide you towards the product that best suits your specific needs while respecting your budget.
The safety of your family is important. Take the time to do your research. Our next column will present our Top 5 tires for Quebec winter.
Dave Daneault 4x4setupMagazine
Translation by Marie-Claude Villemure