As Winter nears it's important to make sure vehicles are prepared for the elements.

When it comes to winter tires, they're proven to offer better traction with smoother acceleration on slick road conditions compared to all seasons.

Bryce Heron, Owner of Fountain Tire Okotoks, says winter tires don't harden in the cold the way that all seasons do.

"Winter tires work better even if the pavement's dry but the temperature's cold. All season rubber gets quite hard when it gets cold, where as a winter tire the compounds in the rubber remain pliable," he explains. "So the old adage that a winter tire is softer is not necessarily the case, it just stays flexible during the cold weather."

Heron says studded tires offer a level of protection beyond winter tires but that they have a diminishing return.

"The first year they work fantastic, the second year a little bit less, by the third year the studs have worn to the point where they're not as effective for the average driver commuting back and forth to the city. Studs are something I recommend for extreme conditions, so if you're a skier heading back and forth to the mountains each weekend and you're noticing even with your winter tires you're hitting some really inclement roads, studs can afford you that traction."

Studded tires do come with a couple downsides as they are noisier from inside the vehicle and can damage surfaces such as certain driveways and more decorative garage floors.

Aside from swapping out tires, drivers should also check their vehicle's exterior lights, windshield wiper blades, fluids, and make sure they have an emergency kit and blankets.

 

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