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Maaco Saskatoon: How To Purchase Winter Tires

posted by My Saskatoon    |   January 4, 2016 12:50

A message from locally owned, Maaco Collision Repair & Auto Painting.

 

Buying your winter tires is an important choice which should be made with careful consideration.  Upon buying them, you must also maintain them, which is another important consideration.  During this segment, we want to offer you some collected wisdom that we’ve gathered from all over the place that we personally swear by, if you’re ever in need of purchasing or maintenance advice.  Also in our tips are some common sense strategies that will hopefully have an effect on winter driving in general, and getting used to your winter tires.

                                                    


1.  All-season tires are a bad compromise. On snow, ice or cold pavement, the stopping distance of a car that has winter tires can be up to 30 to 40 per cent shorter than one with all-seasons.  The force of a crash increases as a result of the square impact of speed, and this could mean the difference between life and death.

2. Although it’s the treads that a customer buying tires usually notices, the most important part of a winter tire is actually the rubber compound that it is made up of.  This rubber compound is designed to stay soft in freezing temperatures. Similar to a gecko climbing a sheet of glass, a winter tire sticks to the road by conforming to tiny imperfections.  The weather transforms a summer tire’s consistency into that of a hockey puck.  The soft rubber treads of a winter tire are able to splay and wrap themselves around miniscule protrusions on cold pavement, or even on what appears to be ice that is perfectly smooth. Summer tires, which have been designed to operate in warm temperatures, harden as the temperature falls. Although all-season tires must be designed for year-round use, they cannot match winter tires in low temperatures.  They still hold a bit of rigidity in frigid weather, though not as much as summer tires, and cannot beat the snow tires’ elasticity, as well as the studs that snow tires can come with.

3. Premium winter tires perform better than basic models. What you’re paying for is the latest in rubber technology and tread design. What you get is traction that may be up to 15 per cent better than economy-model winter tires. (If you want to see the difference between different grades of winter tires, go to an ice race. Ian Law, an Ontario racer and winter driving instructor says, “The drivers with the premium tires are all out in front.  There’s no comparison.”)

4. It’s about temperature, not snow. Winter tires must be installed when the customer expects temperatures to fall to 7 C (that’s plus 7!) or below. As the temperature falls, the rubber in summer and all-season tires becomes inflexible, killing traction. Watch the thermometer and use common sense, because no one will tell you exactly when to put on snow tires (except in Quebec, where the law dictates that your car should be equipped with winter tires between Dec. 15 and March 15).

5. Winter tires should be narrower than summer models. Customers have expressed the thought that proper winter tires can look a little like spare tires.  Experts recommend going down one or two sizes when installing winter tires – if you car came with 215-millimetre wide summer or all-season tires, for example, your winter tires should be 205 mm or 195 mm. Reducing the width of a tire increases the pressure it exerts on the surface beneath it – this will help the tire slice through snow, and reduces hydroplaning.

6. Winter tires are designed to move water. When a tire presses down on snow or ice, it melts the top layer, which creates a thin film of water.  This is the same phenomenon that occurs as a skate glides across a rink, because of the friction created by movement. If the water isn’t moved away from the area in front of the tire, the car will hydroplane. This is why winter tires are covered with grooves (including tiny channels known as “sipes”) that move water away to the sides, allowing the tire to stay in contact with the surface.

 

                                                       

 

7.  In the old days, winter tires came with deep, aggressive treads designed to paddle through deep snow. This made for a noisy ride and compromised stability, since the treads deflected under acceleration, braking and cornering loads. Current winter tire technology now focuses on shallower treads with closely spaced grooves that carry away the water film created when the tire presses down on ice or snow.

8. All-wheel drive helps you accelerate, not stop. On slippery surfaces, vehicles with four driving wheels can accelerate better than those with two-wheel drive. But their cornering and braking capabilities are little different than a two-wheel-drive model. When you’re trying to stop or turn, the limits are determined by the traction capabilities of your tires, not the number of driven wheels.

9. Black ice is not a death sentence. In the case of black ice, good winter tires will stick, but only if they are within their traction limits. If your car begins to slide, look straight down the road to where you need to go, and maintain a light grip on the wheel. As the car decelerates, you will gradually regain control as the tire’s rubber begins gripping surface imperfections on the ice. Slow speed and gentle control inputs will maintain traction.

10. The performance of winter tires has been significantly improved over the past decade by advanced rubber compounds that allow designers to make tires softer without sacrificing other critical properties, including wear and heat buildup as temperatures climb. Major manufacturers spend a lot of money on R&D. Jaap Leendertse, winter tire platform manager for Pirelli in Milan, Italy, has said that his company has developed more than 300 compounds in the ongoing quest for the ideal winter tire.

11. Although testing makes it easy to see the performance advantages of a winter tire, the technology behind it is deceptively complex. Tire designers must consider a long list of factors, including tread stability and hysteresis.  This is a process which generates heat as a tire repeatedly deforms and recovers as it rotates under the weight of a car.

 12.  Although they offer an advantage on glare ice, studded tires are far less effective than non-studded models on cold, bare pavement (where most drivers spend the majority of their time during the winter months).

13.  Some manufacturers offer winter tires that use rubber mixed with hard materials (like crushed walnut shells and chopped nylon strands) to give increased bite. Although these can offer improved traction in some conditions, the most important factors in a winter tire’s all-round grip are the quality of its rubber compound and its tread design.

14.  Although it’s not recommended for everyday driving, reducing the air pressure in your tires can help you gain in an emergency. Reducing tire pressure increases the tire’s contact patch, and may help you make it up an otherwise impassable icy grade, for example. Bear in mind that this is an emergency technique only, and will reduce overall control of your car by making the tire carcass less stable. Unless you’re stuck at the bottom of an icy hill with no other option, the inflation pressures recommended by your car manufacturer should be used. If lowering the tire pressure in a winter tire is needed to make it out of an emergency situation, be sure to drive slowly and re-inflate the tires back to the recommended pressure as soon as possible.  Driving with lowered tire pressure than is normal can be hazardous if maintained for too long of a period.

 

                                                                   

 

 

We hope you are never involved in a collision, but if you are, we are here to help, during and after your car has been fixed, with our Customer for Life program.  Please call us at 306-653-5655, or come down to the shop at 659 51st St E, so that we can help you out and get you back on the road.  Remember, we can’t prevent an accident, but we can make it like it never happened.     

 




MAACO SASKATOON




Visit Maaco Collision & Repair's Spotlight Profile for more information on location, hours and social media platforms. 

 

 

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