Choosing the Right Winter Tires
Choosing the right winter tires is really important, and something that everyone thinks about when heading into the winter season. However, many of us aren't familiar with how to chose the right set of winter tires for your vehicle. It’s not that simple unfortunately, and you can’t just go to the tire shop and pick out the first tires you see. There are a lot of things that you need to consider before buying your tires to make sure you are getting the right set.
First of all, how do you know if you are actually buying a snow tire? In Canada, you can know whether a tire is built for snowy roads if the tires’ side walls are printed with a logo that shows a snowflake surrounded by the outline of a mountain with three peaks. The middle peak should be the highest. Once you see this symbol, you will know whether it is a snow tire or not and you can move on to the next decision criteria.
The next thing to consider is how you choose between the given snow tires that are available to you. Think of how strong the winters are in your area. Thinking about whether they are wet or how often the snow usually falls. This should give you a better idea on which tires are better suited for your car. Each kind of tire brand or design comes with its own strengths and weakness, and it is up to you to decide the one that best fits your needs - by balancing performance and cost.
For example, the Michelin X-ice Xi2 provides excellent traction on ice and snow and has low rolling resistance. However, it doesn’t do very well on wet surfaces. This means it would be good for some areas and not so good for other areas. This is a cheaper tire which is a strong point for it, but it is decent at best and if you can afford it, there are many other options out there.
Another example is the Bridgestone Blizzak LM-60 which offers extremely good traction and durability, as shown in all the tests that were done to it. Actually, these qualities make this brand is very good candidate for Canadian winters. However, the price of these tires can be quite expensive, as some tire dealers charge up to $180 a pop.
The tires that we have talked about, as well as the others, are usually all quite safe. Just because you do not buy the most expensive tires, doesn’t mean you are not buying safe tires. You need to consider how much you actually drive the car as well. Buying the most expensive tires if you only drive 5 minutes a day may not be the smartest idea.
Once you have decided on the tires, it is recommended that you have them installed by a professional mechanic. This allows your tires to be inflated and balanced properly. Having your new tires professionally installed does not only ensure that your car will be as safe to drive as possible, but also allows your tire's treads to wear out more evenly, thus prolonging a tire's lifetime. Doing it yourself opens the door for many issues.
A good set of winter tires should be able to survive multiple winters, and not just one. Make sure you pick the right tires for your car and have them professionally installed!