All About Winter Tires

Everything you need to know

All About Winter Tires

Take the winter out of winter driving

Winter tires are built to outperform any other tire in wet, cold driving conditions and will give you extra peace of mind on the road. Looking for proof? See for yourself.

There’s no better tire for winter.

Still looking for a reason to believe? Below are answers to some of the most common questions about winter tires.

What’s so special about winter tires?

They outperform below 7°C:

High quality winter tires use specialized compounds that perform best as temperatures fall between 7 degrees to -30 degrees Celsius. Where other tires freeze up, these softer compounds help winter tires grip the road and increase traction on ice, snow and slush.

They’re better for snowy and slushy roads:

Winter tires have an open V-shaped design in the tread. This helps because it pushes slush and water out of the way better than any other tread design. Winter tires that have larger tread blocks with lots of tiny slits also make a big difference in winter – they’ll further increase your vehicle’s steering and handling performance on wet roads.

Although all-season and all-weather tires provide safe year-round performance, they’re no match for the grip a winter tire provides in cold, wet conditions.

Can I keep them on all year?

We don’t recommend it. The rubber compounds that prevent winter tires from freezing in winter will wear out more quickly in warmer weather. To prolong their lifespan, it’s best to replace them as temperatures rise.

What if it doesn’t really snow this winter?

Winter tires are still the way to go.

They’re actually built with special rubber compounds that perform best in cold weather, wet or dry. Where other tires may freeze up below 7°C, the softer compounds in winter tires grip the road better as the weather cools down, giving you better traction and handling all winter.

Is it true I can change two tires at a time?

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

Having four identical tires improves handling, so you can better maintain control and stability of your vehicle on wet, slippery roads. But identical doesn’t just mean they have the same tread patterns, materials and size, it means they also have the same amount of tread wear.

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.

How important is the snowflake symbol on my tire?

It’s the true mark of a tire that’s made for winter roads.

This symbol, found on the sidewall of your tire, tells you that your tire has passed winter safety standards set by the Tire and Rubber Association of Canada. They’ve been tested on medium-packed snow and outperformed all-season tires, giving up to 50% more traction and stopping 30% sooner on winter roads.

What’s the best reason to switch to winter tires?

You asked for one, but we’ve got five.

  1. They save lives
    This was proven in Quebec, where a new law requires four winter tires on all passenger vehicles. They saw a 3% decrease in death and serious injury, and a 5% decrease in accident victims.

  2. They improve your reaction time
    Compared with all-season tires, winter tires help you brake up to 30% sooner on winter roads.

  3. They increase your traction and handling
    Because they’re engineered for cold weather, winter tires will enhance your grip on the road below 7°C.

  4. They save you money
    Switching to winter tires in colder months can reduce fuel consumption by up to 5% and extend the life of all your tires.

  5. They could be government subsidized
    Some provincial governments have started sponsoring winter tire purchases.
    - Manitoba Public Insurance offers low interest financing on winter tires
    - The Ontario Government offers insurance-premium discounts to winter tire drivers

Where can I get more answers?

Our tire experts are always available to give you the information you need at a store near you.


The Traffic Injury Research Foundation. (2012). Winter Tires: A Review of Research on Effectiveness and Use.
The Tire and Rubber Association of Canada.