Do You Really Need Winter Tires?
We tried to answer every question you might have about winter tires in this article and let you decide for yourself whether you need winter tires or not.
In order to understand the Importance of winter tires, a basic understanding of their safety features, as well as knowledge of case studies and vehicle accident statistics are required.
Quebec Vs. Germany Case Study
In 2008, Quebec and Germany both passed a law that mandates the use of winter tires during the colder months. Since that the new mandates, vehicle accidents in these areas have reduced greatly. In fact, Quebec, which already had 96% of its drivers using winter tires, saw a five percent decrease in automobile accidents after the law went into effect. The majority of German motorist, however, were not using winter tires during the colder months, but once they passed the mandate to use winter tires, they saw over a 50 perce
Even though there is no law in place that requires drivers in other parts of the country to use winter tires, over half of the Canadian population still equip their vehicles with a reliable set of winter tires every year. A study that was conducted in 2015 found that 66 percent of Canadians use winter tires.
The Winter Tire Association of Canada in 2015 found the percentage of residence that use winter tires in various provinces. The following is data from that study:
- Quebec: 100%
- Ontario: 59%
- B.C.: 60%
- Maritime: 83%
- Alberta: 57%
- Man/Sask: 48%
Any amount of snow can cause slick roadways. The following information shows the average temperature and snowfall in major Canadian cities. The amount listed is an average that was calculated by gathering information from the years 1981 through 2010.
Many areas in Canada have an extended period of winter-like weather. The following cities have an average temperature of below freezing for the Months of November, December, January, February, and March:
- Quebec City
In addition to having extreme cold temperatures for a long period of time, there are also many cities that have a large amount of snowfall at various times throughout the year. The following list popular Canadian cities with average snowfall:
- Calgary: 22.7cm in March
- Edmonton: 24.5cm in January
- Halifax: 43.1cm in January
- Moncton: 67.4cm in January
- Montreal: 49.5cm in January
- Ottawa: 44.3cm in January
- Quebec City: 72.4cm in December
- Regina: 19.5cm in December
- St. John: 64.3cm in December
- Saskatoon: 12.1cm in November
- St. John's: 88.7cm January
- Toronto: 37.2cm in January
- Vancouver: 16.4cm in December
- Winnipeg: 23.7cm in January
The average cost of tires can vary widely depending on the type of vehicle that they tires will go on, and if the tires will be bought new or if they will be slightly used. The following data shows the average cost of winter tires for each vehicle
New Winter Tires (no rims):
• Sedans - $700 - $900
• SUVs - $1,400
• Trucks - $1,600
• Rims - $80-$140 per rim
Used Winter Tires (no rims)
• Sedans - $400 - $500
• SUVs - $700 - $875
• Trucks - $800 - $1,000
• Rims - $40 - $60 per rim
When drivers choose to switch to winter tires during the colder months, they have the ability to save money by:
- Not having to file an insurance claim, which can save drivers a lot of money on insurance rates.
- Save hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars on repair and maintenance cost.
- Winter tires can help to ensure that the vehicle does not get stuck on the side of the road or in snow banks. This can save drivers not only a lot of time, but also money in fuel.
- Canadian government removed a 2015 mandate that prevented insurance companies from increasing rates. Now, instead of going through the FSCO to increase premiums, they can reduce discounts on things like winter tires.
Even though there many positives to owning winter tires, there are also negative aspects to having them as well.
- Upfront Costs. Because of their specially designed rubber, winter tires can have larger upfront cost, which includes installation costs. Some winter tire brands will offer a tread life warranty that covers up to 35,000km. However, for brands that don't offer a warranty, owners will have to repurchase a new set of tires every three to four seasons.
- Storage Costs. During the summer months, when winter tires are not in use, owners will have to find a storage facility to keep them in. Some storage facilities can cost around $60 to $80 to store the winter tires.
- Time-consuming to install. Winter tires can take longer to install than other types of tires. Dealerships can usually install winter tires that already have rims in about 20 minutes. The average person can usually install winter tires with rims by themselves in about 45 minutes to an hour. If the tire does not already have a rim it can take a dealership or service department around 30 to 45 minutes to install.