Winter tires are manufactured from a softer mix of rubber than summer or all season tires. The tire tread is designed to improve road handling in rain, snow, and slush.
||Winter tires can make a significant difference between maintaining control over your vehicle and skidding. Transport Canada recommends all vehicles being driven in winter conditions be equipped with four winter tires marked with the snowflake symbol (left). These tires meet specific snow traction performance requirements, and have been designed specifically for use in severe snow conditions.
All season tires do not have the same gripping characteristics as winter tires, and will not be as effective in helping you control your vehicle safely in slippery conditions. In colder temperatures, the rubber compound of an all-season tires hardens considerably, providing less grip than a winter tire.
Wide high performance tires, except those with the snowflake symbol, are not suitable for use on snow covered roads.
Avoid retread tires altogether - the thread can become separated from the belt.
Here are some other points to consider when choosing your winter tires.
Don't mix tires with different tread patterns, internal construction, and size. These degrade your vehicle's stability. In particular, avoid mixing cross-ply and radial tires.
Don't use worn tires, particularly on snow-covered roads.
Ensure your tires are properly inflated. Remember that tire pressure decreases as temperatures drop. Check your tire pressure at least once a month, after your car has been sitting overnight.
When choosing your tires, go to Transport Canada's Tire Recommendations page to learn more about how to make the best choice.
There are a number of videos which show the superior traction and braking of winter tires. Click here and here and here and here for examples.