Winter Tire Myths

September 29 2011

Winter Tire Myths

Some myths are simply amusing – like the one about giant crocodiles living in New York City sewers. Others, however, can cause potential harm – like those involving winter tires and winter driving:

Myth: All-season tires work perfectly fine in winter conditions because they are, after all, “all season.”

Reality: All-season tires are designed to perform adequately in all weather conditions, which may be perfectly fine in regions where winter conditions are moderate. But this is Canada where winter weather is typically harsh and unpredictable. Here, you need a set of purpose-built winter tires to get you through the winter season safe and sound. Winter tires have special compounds and tread designs to maintain your vehicle’s grip in snow, ice, slush or wet. This is why some Canadian provinces require motorists to use winter tires.

Your only decision should be: Do I go with studded winter tires or nonstudded? Studded tires (if they are allowed in your area) like the GT Radial Champiro IcePro are especially adept at digging into ice and helping you power through severe winter conditions. If you live in an urban area where the roads are regularly plowed and de-iced, then a studless winter tire like the GT Radial Champiro Winterpro provides a good balance for driving on snowy, wet or dry roads.

Myth: If you only buy two winter tires, you should put them on the axle that generates the power (on the front wheels for instance on a front-wheel-drive car).

Reality: Wrong! Winter tires provide so much better traction than all-season or summer tires, one end of your car will be sticking to the curve while the other one is sliding. Only installing two winter tires will have you going in circles this winter!

Myth: You should always pump your brakes to help your car stop on snow or ice.

Reality: First, if you don’t know if you have an anti-lock braking system (ABS), check your car’s manual. Used correctly, anti-lock braking systems (ABS) offer significant advantages on slick roads. To effectively operate ABS, apply steady pressure to the brake pedal during the entire stop. ABS will automatically pump the brakes, if necessary, to keep the wheels from locking. Do not manually pump ABS brakes!

If you don’t have ABS, do just the opposite — gently pump your brakes in slippery situations. Do not apply steady pressure to your brakes. Standing on your brakes will only cause wheel lock.

“Driving safely in wintry conditions requires the right equipment, technique and attitude – slow down, even below the posted speed limit,” says Lou Monico, Canadian Sales Director for GITI Tire.