Winter vs. All Season Tires: Pros and Cons

Tuesday January 2, 2018

Snow has been falling across Ontario and this means a return of winter driving conditions. Snow, slush, freezing rain, ice and road salt is all part of winter driving in Ontario. With slippery winter conditions, have the right tire can make a world of difference in staying safe on the road and keeping your insurance rates low. In this article, we discuss pros and cons of Winter vs. All Season Tires.

All-season tires are low-maintenance and you can keep them on year-round, for a few good years. On the other hand, winter tires offer the best grip (and extra safety) when the road is filled with ice and snow. But how can you tell which ones your car needs?

Benefits of Winter vs. All Season Tires

1. All-Season are Cost-Effective on Short Term

All-season tires are a cost-effective method to maintain your car. Because Canada is not one of the countries to impose mandatory winter tires (except for Quebec), you can use the same tires year-round, without having to pay installation fees when the seasons change.

The prices you pay for each tire vary between $60 and $125, and they last three years, on average. Once every 10,000 km, there is a $20 fee to rotate the tires (front to back, and vice versa). And the hassle ends there.

2. All-Season are Easy to Drive

Because they are meant for various weather conditions, they can offer better handling compared to winter tires when the weather is not extreme. They are also fuel-efficient, but they can become dangerous at high-speeds.

3. All-Season are Ideal in Medium Climate

In areas where there’s little to no difference between summer and winter, all-season tires are the best fit. Moreover, if it’s more likely to have rain than snow in the cold months, you’ll want to choose all-performance tires. They are designed to perform on both wet and dry conditions, and they will offer about the same protection against aquaplaning or hydroplaning.

4. Winter Tires Have the Best Grip on Ice and Snow

The main advantage for winter tires is that they are specially designed for harsh weather and low temperatures, and they offer better traction than all-season. This means that they are flexible enough to give you the snow and ice grip you need on a winter road. Conversely, all-season tires stiffen and harden when the temperatures lower, making it harder to handle your car on icy roads.

The Ministry of Transportation of Ontario allows the use of studded tires in Northern Ontario where road conditions can be especially slippery. However, studded tires are banned in southern Ontario.

5. Winter Tires Last Longer, if Properly Maintained

Another advantage of Winter Tires is that you only use them for a few months instead of year-round, which allows you to re-use them from 4 to 5 seasons. If you go for seasonal change, remember that you need to store the spare set in a cool and dry place. Each tire should be kept in an individual air tight bag and stored vertically.

6. Winter Tires provide Extra Safety

They provide extra safety, which minimizes the risk of getting involved in at-fault accidents. Due to their enhanced grip, they are designed to brake effectively and react better than all-seasons tires in emergency situations.

7. Winter Tires Can Lower Your Insurance Premium

Just by using winter tires, you can save on your insurance premium. When you add winter tires to your vehicle, call your broker to get your policy updated. And, with better handling in winter road conditions, you’re more likely to stay accident-free and prevent increases in your monthly premiums.

Disadvantages of All-Season and Winter Tires

1. All-Season Have a Poor Performance

When it comes to limits, the all-season tires fall between the performance of good winter and good summer tires, which means you don’t have the ideal fitting tires in the warm season nor the cold one.

2. Winter Tires Need a Replacement Set for Other Seasons (and Changing Fee)

On the other hand, winter tires need replacement when the roads clear up, which double your acquisition costs. Adding $75 twice a year for the actual changing of tires, and it may seem expensive to fine-tune your vehicle every season. Nonetheless, depending on their life span, it might prove that keeping separate sets of tires isn’t more expensive.

3. Winter Tires Are More Flexible, But More Fragile Too

The rubber used to create the winter tires is softer, but it also wears out faster than the one used for all-season tires, if it’s used in the improper weather conditions. When the winter is gone, have them removed and replaced with all-season/ summer tires.

Where to Get Winter Tires in Canada

If you consider winter tires a good investment in your car and your safety, you can think about ordering them online from authorized representatives. If you want to buy them from an offline store, so you can check their quality, shops like Costco and Walmart can be the perfect place.

Hit the Highway

In the end, make your choice according to the road conditions. If the roads you typically travel don’t get too much snow or ice and the weather conditions are light, you might not need winter tires. But, if the difference between Winter vs. All Season Tires is noticeable, you want to be safe on the road. So, consider switching the tires seasonally, even if it’s more expensive in the long run.

Pro Tip: Have you added Winter Tires to your vehicle? Call your Easyway Insurance broker today to update your policy information and find out how much you can save.

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