Winter Tires

Can you see your breath?

If so, then it’s time to consider winter tires for your vehicle. When the temperature outside is 7 or below, your tires and your driving are affected. While not every Canadian region experiences lots of snow, the entire country has to endure winter temperatures. Winter tires are specifically designed to help keep you safe in colder weather conditions. This page is your Winter Tires 101 so you've got all the information you need to know when choosing snow tires for your vehicle.

What makes Winter Tires different?

  • Performance in cool and cold temperatures
  • Superior accelerating in winter conditions
  • Superior braking in winter conditions
  • Superior handling in winter conditions
  • Reduced fuel consumption by 5% during winter months

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the driving difference at 7 ℃

Winter Tires  

  • PERFORMANCE IN COOL AND COLD TEMPERATURES
  • SUPERIOR ACCELERATING IN WINTER CONDITIONS
  • SUPERIOR BRAKING IN WINTER CONDITIONS
  • SUPERIOR HANDLING IN WINTER CONDITIONS
  • REDUCED FUEL CONSUMPTION BY 5% DURING WINTER MONTHS

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ALL SEASON TIRES  

  • SIGNIFICANTLY LESS TRACTION IN WINTER CONDITIONS
  • STOPPING IS DELAYED BY 30% AT 7-DEGREES OR LOWER
  • SUPERIOR HANDLING IN HOT TEMPERATURES

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ALL WEATHER TIRES  

  • FAIR IN SPRING, SUMMER AND FALL
  • LESS CONTROL THAN WINTER TIRES IN WINTER CONDITIONS
  • SUPERIOR TO ALL-SEASON TIRES IN WINTER CONDITIONS
  • ALL-YEAR ROUND TIRES
  • BEST FOR GEOGRAPHIC REGIONS WHERE WINTER SNOW AND
    ICE ARE NOT A BIG ISSUE

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WINTER TIRE FAQS

Find out what’s legal, what the badges mean, and which winter tires are best for your vehicle.

How do winter tires work?

All-season and all-weather tires harden in colder temperatures which lead to a reduction in traction. Winter tires work because their rubber composition is softer, which is why they stay flexible in the colder temperatures. They also have grooves that provide a better grip and handling in conditions like snow and ice. With winter tires, it’s about the temperature not the snow.

When should you install winter tires?

You should install your winter tires when you can see your breath, which is 7℃ and below. All-season and all-weather tires harden at this temperature which reduces their traction and handling. For more on all-season vs all-weather tires, click here.

For more information on seasonal tire changeover, click here.

Click here to book an appointment at your nearest Fountain Tire store.

What do the symbols on your winter tires mean?

This has a 3-peaked mountain and snowflake symbol on the tire. It is also the best winter tires for traction on snow and ice, and in cold weather.

M+S: This is the mud and snow symbol on the side of the tire. These tires offer better performance in snow than summer or all-season tires.

What can you do to look after my new winter tires?

1. Regularily inspect tire pressure (or PSI) and adjust to meet the pressure recommendation stated in your owner's manual or on the inside of the driver's door jam. With regular tire maintenance, you can lower your fuel costs and help protect the environment.

2. Annual wheel alignment service. Every time you run over a bump, hit a pothole, etc. your wheel alignment is thrown off, bit by bit. Once severe enough, your tires will be contacting the road surface at an off-angle, increasing rolling resistance, and ultimately causing your tires to wear excessively. This is why we recommend getting a wheel alignment service once a year or whenever the vehicle shows signs of tire damage or steering pull.

3. To make sure you're getting the most out of your winter tires, be sure to switch between summer or all-season tires and winter tires at the correct time. By using the handy 7℃ rule: always try to change your winter tires when the average temperature begins to rise above 7℃.

Is the tread different on winter tires?

Yup! Winter tires have a single-directional tread that pushes away snow and ice. This includes grooves or sipes that provide a better grip and handling in conditions like snow and ice. They also have a deeper tread. Tires must have 3.5mm of tread remaining to be considered winter tires.

Will having two sets of tires cost more?

A lot of people don’t change their tires because of how expensive they are. However, according to Traffic Injury Research Foundation, ‘research suggests that using winter tires is, in the long-term, less expensive than using all-season tires.’ When you switch between two sets of tires, you prolong the life of each set. Find out which winter tires are best suited for your vehicle by filling out the form below.

Are winter tires required by law?

Quebec and British Columbia are the only provinces that mandate winter tires in the winter months due to their mountain roads.

BRITISH COLUMBIA:

From October 1 to March 31 drivers must obey winter tire and chain signs throughout BC. It is recommended that drivers install mountain/snowflake tires for cold weather driving and, for extreme conditions, carry chains.

For more information please visit The Province of British Columbia.

QUEBEC:

In Quebec winter tires are mandatory by law from December 15 to March 15.

For more information please visit Société de l’assurance automobile Quebec.

Can you replace just two tires?

If you’re replacing your tires, you should replace them all.

Having four tires with the same tread patterns, materials, size, and tread wear will improve handling. This will give you better control of your vehicle on wet, slippery roads.

Mixing tires can compromise your vehicle’s stability and can easily lead to oversteering and understeering, compromising road safety. That’s why Transport Canada recommends that snow tires be installed in sets of four. And why we’ve made it our policy at Fountain Tire.

For more information, view our Winter Tire Policy.

Tire Storage

Many of our store locations will store your second set of tires for you. If you're interested in storing your tires with us, please click here.

GET YOUR WINTER GROOVES

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SOURCES

Tire and Rubber Association of Canada
ICBC
Traffic Injury Research Foundation