Winter Tires: What's Best to use in Winter?

With winter settling in with its typical trappings of road-bound treachery, you might want to start thinking about the tires you're running this season (if you haven't already). You've probably heard of some of the different styles of tire available too, but which is best for winter driving? All-weather? All-season? All the options! It can be overwhelming without a point of reference. At Kentwood Ford, we know that too much choice all at once can be off-putting. Luckily we've got the friendly, helpful expertise to take the pain out of selecting the right winter tires. This post is meant to give drivers a little context with regards to what style of tire might work best for the type of driving they'll be doing this winter.

Exterior shot of a pair of all season tires on a vehicle treading through the snow

All-weather tires

All-weather tires are Canada's year-round tire. They're a bit different from other available options insofar as they're versatile enough to cope with a fairly wide swath of road conditions. Of course, as with most tires, the dry road conditions of spring, summer and fall are not so much a concern as are the unpredictable psychotic episodes of winter roads in Alberta. All-weather tires are able to compensate for mild winter driving conditions and perform best between 7 degrees Celsius and 0. Hazards that can occur in this temperature bracket might include heavy rain, fast-melting snow, and slush.

Designed to stay flexible the aggressive tread design of all-weather tires provides stability by biting snow, pushing away water and slush. They also deliver sensitive handling in warmer conditions too,

Pair of all season tires treading through the snow in the winter

3-season tires

Former known to the automotive world as "all-season" tires, 3-season tires work best in conditions when the road is warm and dry, essentially, every season except winter. If you're destined to be out and about this cold season, these are decidedly not the tires that you want to be using. Suited only to dry and wild-wet conditions, 3-season tires are designed to handle temperatures of 7 degrees and above only. Their generally harder material is designed to extend the life of the tire itself (keep in mind, these tires are what Albertans typically drive on 75 per-cent of the year) and loses traction at temperatures close to zero. Snow and sleet will clog tread channels on these tires and make for a perilously unglued ride on winter roads. If your travels take you through blizzard besotted prairies or mangy mountain passes this winter, you won't get very far on tires like these. Put them away and save them for the other three quarters of the year!

Vehicle with winter tires on treading through the snow during the winter

Winter tires

Winter tires are obviously the best choice for driving in extreme seasonal conditions; they're literally built to chew through the snow, ice, sleet and whatever other crud makes its home on the highways this winter. Featuring a fierce tread available with or without metal studs, winter tires are designed to grip the road like no other tires. They're designed to remain flexible at temperatures well blow zero with aggressive siping (small grooves) in the tire tread, are able to push slush out from under the tire. Winter tires are exactly what you want and need when it comes to heavy snow and black ice.

Tires at Kentwood Ford

Hopefully this post has provided you with a slightly better understanding the different types of tires on offer, and which will be most capable of neutralizing treacherous winter roads, this driving season. Our Tires Centre carries a wide selection of brands and our expert team of service and maintenance professionals are more than happy to answer questions and give advice that'll help you make the right choice when it comes to surviving Alberta's winter driving season. Stay safe!

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