Common Winter Tire Myths: What You Need to Know

Winter tires are probably the single most important part of car maintenance to consider before the winter starts.

Even though there is no uniform legislation for all of Canada regarding winter tires and their mandatory use, they are required from October until May in most parts of the country; winter tires with studs (for icy roads) are also permitted over the same period. 

Even if there weren’t laws requiring winter tires, they are an absolute necessity if you want to stay safe as you drive during the winter months. At Westminster Motors, you can find a wide range of brand-name winter tires for your Jaguar, Land Rover, and Bentley. Read on to learn how you can cover all essential aspects of this crucial part of winter gear.

Winter Tires vs. All-Season Tires

The most common dilemma most drivers face when it’s time to prepare for the winter is the question of: should I get winter car tires, or can I use my default all-season rubber tires? The answer is simple – always put a set of winter tires on your vehicle, since they provide you with the most protection, grip and dependability during the winter. Even cheaper winter tires are better than all-season tires when temperatures fall below zero degrees. 

Tread patterns and the rubber compounds are the main differences between winter car tires and all-season tires. All-season tires are designed to perform in normal weather, and provide you with a decent grip on wet surfaces. However, due to the type of rubber used, they can sometimes lose their softness and flexibility in low temperatures, which results in a lack of grip, and prolonged braking distance. 

On the other hand, winter car tires are designed especially for winter conditions, with a tread pattern engineered for maximum grip on snow and ice, and a rubber compound that maintains its flexibility even at extremely low temperatures. This means that winter car tires can perform much better than all-season tires, and why it is imperative you install the set on your vehicle as soon as possible. 

Winter Tires: Myths vs. Facts

There are several misconceptions about winter car tires that are often heard amongst drivers. Some of them can be pretty dangerous – here are the facts to keep you safe on your winter commute. 

You Don’t Need Winter Tires If You Have a 4x4 or AWD-equipped Vehicle

Despite having been debunked time and time again, this dangerous myth still circles its way between drivers. 4x4 trucks and all-wheel-drive vehicles do in fact provide you with more grip and traction, due to their mechanical layout – however, in the winter, this advantage means very little if the tires are incapable of producing any grip. Even with the all-season tires, this setup for your vehicle is less capable than regular FWD or RWD cars that are equipped with proper winter rubber. 

As many of the models we sell at Westminster Motors come equipped with all-wheel-drive and extraordinary traction, installing a set of proper winter tires for maximum safety is a guaranteed seamless process.

Under-Inflating Your Tires Will Result in Better Traction

This myth is based on off-road and sand driving techniques, where drivers deflate their tires in order to create wider tire tracks and generate more grip on loose surfaces. However, it simply doesn’t work in winter. You should never under-inflate your winter tires, since it won’t make any difference in grip and stability, but it will damage your tire. In fact, always check tire pressure and ensure that it is up to manufacturers’ specifications for optimal grip, longevity, and safety before driving in the winter.

You Don’t Need Winter Tires if the Road Is Clear

This myth is also a common one, and has also been disproved. Some people think that winter tires are only needed when the road is covered with snow or ice, but forget that winter tires are effective when the temperature is low and road surfaces are dry. Winter tires are far superior to all-season tires in critical categories such as breaking and road holding, but their excellent ability to perform in easier driving conditions is often overlooked. Winter tires are designed for low temperatures, not just for snow and ice. 

Two Winter Tires Are All I Need

It is critical to have all four tires be winter tires to stay safe on winter roads. In order to save on winter tires, some drivers decide to install just two tires on the front or rear axle (FWD or RWD-powered cars), thinking it’s enough to get them through the winter. However, such a setup is very dangerous, since it provides insufficient grip and upsets the vehicle geometry and stopping power. You need all four winter tires in order to be safe and for your vehicle to maintain its performance. 

Winter Tires Are Too Noisy

While this might be the case with aggressive, off-road rubber with special threads, it is not the case with standard winter car tires for your car or SUV. With advancements in modern technologies and improvements in tread design and rubber compound, winter tires are only slightly louder than all-season or summer tires.

Which Type of Winter Tire Is Best for Your Car?

In order to decide which winter tire is best for your vehicle, there are a few simple directions to follow: first of all, you need to know the exact dimensions of your car so that you can search for the right tire. Be advised that winter tires are sometimes not available for some uncommon wheel dimensions (such 24-inches), but for most standard sizes, you will have no problem finding the right tire for your car at Westminster Motors.

When buying a winter car tire, the second most important thing is to be clear on how much you will be driving, and on what kind of roads you will be driving. If your commute includes urban driving, highways, and well-paved streets, you will be safe with a standard winter tire. However, if you find yourself driving on icy mountain roads or gravel, you should consider winter tires with studs - small metal pins or rivets mounted on the tire treads - which provide your tires with an extra layer of grip on the ice. 

Overall, winter car tires are an essential part of any winter setup, and all vehicles, regardless of drive train layout, benefit from their installation in a multitude of ways. 

At Westminster Motors, we are dedicated to providing our customers with high-quality rubber, as well as advice, fitment, and repair. Hence, if you have any questions or concerns about the wheel/tire combo for your Jaguar, Land Rover, or Bentley, we are here to help.