Last winter, many Canadians left their cars mostly parked because of the pandemic. In fact, a survey by Kal Tire found that 11 per cent of drivers even left their winter tires on all year long. Doing so wears tires out considerably faster and so, it may be time to buy a new set of winter tires in preparation for this coming winter. It’s important to winterize your car so that you and your family stay safe on wet, snowy and icy roads.
Winter driving needs winter tires
The key to safe winter driving is winter tires. Winter isn’t just about snow. There’s also ice, slush, rain and freezing temperatures. That’s why Nokian Tyres are designed specifically to provide optimal traction in winter driving conditions. In fact, Nokian invented the winter tire, which is why Nokian Tyres perform exceptionally well in tough Canadian winters.
When shopping for winter tires, look for the three-peak mountain snowflake symbol. That symbol tells you that the tire has passed a standard snow-traction test, and can handle snowy and slippery roads as well as low temperatures.
Consider whether a tire meets your specific winter driving needs. Do you get lots of slushy, wet snow where you live or do you regularly drive on frozen, icy roads? Winter tread design can help you manage the types of winter conditions you face the most. A tread that defines and optimizes the voids — or spaces in the tread — helps evacuate slush and rain more quickly from the tire. Doing so helps to avoid hydroplaning. If ice is a major concern, look for features like Nokian Tyres’s double-stud technology that offers maximum grip on snow and ice. Choosing tires that fit your vehicle and your requirements will ensure a safer winter driving experience.
Once you’ve bought new winter tires, install them before the snow starts flying. Swap out your summer tires as soon as the temperature consistently hits +7C or cooler. Cold air can make the pressure in your tires drop significantly, affecting your vehicle’s ability to maintain traction. Check the pressure on all tires including your spare, and double-check that your tire-changing kit is complete and stored in your vehicle.
Give your whole car a thorough inspection
With your tires ready to go, give your whole car a good onceover, including changing or topping up all fluids. Check that your wiper blades work well so they effectively wipe away blowing snow and rain. Change them out at least twice a year.
Inspect your battery or have it checked at your local Kal Tire store to see if it will get your car started and running through the winter. Finding out your car won’t start on a cold winter day is never a good way to start or end a day.
While tires play a big role in being able to stop, so, too, do your brakes. Kal Tire offers complete brake packages with the best warranty in the industry. Especially on slippery roads, you want your brakes in tip-top shape as well as engine belts and hoses.
In winter, keep your gas tank at least half full to prevent condensation and ice from building up in your fuel line. Plus, you never know whether you’ll get stuck in traffic or might need to leave the engine running to warm your vehicle.
Finally, keep a winter-survival kit in your vehicle stocked with:
- A first-aid kit
- Bottled water and snacks
- Boots, gloves and an extra winter coat
- Booster cables
- Extra oil and windshield washer fluid
- Lock de-icer, flashlight, flares, safety triangles
- Ice scraper, shovel, bag of salt or gravel
- Tire chains
When it comes to winter-proofing your car, it’s important to plan ahead to make sure you’re road ready, all winter long. For help with winter-proofing or to find which winter tire is best for your vehicle, visit kaltire.com.