Snow TIres

I wanted to ask about snow tires. I live in Etibicoke now and I Came across a blog on my car center’s website. Do they really make any difference. I am basically from Sri Lanka and I have been here in Canada for 2 years. I know the climate here and I have been hearing a lot about winter tyres recently. Even my service advisor told me to change my tires. I would like to know if they really help. If they do, which are the tires that can go along with my Corolla.

I’ve never used them myself in Minnesota, but depending on where you are in Canada, I suspect it is a very good idea. Especially for someone not used to driving in snow and ice. Best is to have them mounted on separate wheels to make changing easier. Have a look at and plug your car in to take a look at the winter tires that fit and you can look at the ratings. I think the Xice ones are very good but there are a couple recent threads here on tires you might want to take a look at.

They really work. You’re in Toronto, how much snow do you get? I’d use them.

Snow tires make a big difference, Toronto gets a lot of snow. Two good ones to consider are Blizzak and Michelin X Ice. It is nice to have them mounted on rims to make it easy for change over, but if your Corolla has tire pressure sensors it can be expensive to get 4 new sensors also. Compare the price of your shop doing a complete tire change each year vs you making the change with tires on the rims + the up front cost of rims and sensors.

They make a huge difference.

Put it this way: FWD (front wheel drive) with (4) snow tires is better in the snow than AWD (all wheel drive) with multi-season tires.

Yes, they are very effective, and what most people fail to focus on is the biggest advantage of winter tires, namely dramatically shortening your stopping distance on snowy/icy roads.

Yes, they do help to get you going, and they do help to keep you from sliding on turns, but the safety advantage of being able to stop in less than half the distance (as compared to so-called all-season tires) can often mean the difference between hitting or not hitting a person, or another vehicle, or a utility pole.

Being able to avoid an accident is the most important thing that one can do on the highway, and a good winter tire will greatly aid you in that goal. The best winter tires are the various Michelin X-Ice tires (there are 2 or 3 different models), and remember that the cost of winter tires is offset by eliminating wear on your regular tires during the months that they are not used.

I would heartily recommend using winter (snow ) tires, In addition to snow the area around Toronto gets lots of ice and freezing rain, and those winter tires are particularly good there.

It really depends on where you live that justifies shows. Obviously if you live in an area that doesn’t get snow you don’t need snow tires…but even the places that get snow…most of those places in the US…you don’t need dedicated snow tires. Very few places really justify snow tires for winter driving. Here in southern NH - average 30" a year…and 90%+ of the time you’re driving on dry pavement. Wife’s been driving with all-season tires on her FWD vehicles for decades…NEVER a problem.

Snow tires definitely work, but bear in mind that you will wreck them very quickly if you drive them in the summer. If you get snow tires, you should get a cheap set of wheels and mount the snow tires to them, and then swap between your summer and winter wheels every season change.

There is no place in Canada where you should go without winter tires in the winter.
One idea is to get a set of less expensive steel wheels for your winter tires and swap them off in the spring & fall. I always did that in the old days, before radials and FWD.

I think we have a consensus here. Snow tires are worth the cost and trouble. I put them on my wife’s FWD car in the winter, in Ohio, USA. Not a ton of snow each winter but regular ice storms. Made a huge difference.

Michelin X-Ice winter tires are the best. I am not fond of the Blizzaks because they are awesome when new but, once you wear them about 60%, the tread compound remaining is not much better than all-season tires. A good bargain winter tire is the General Altimax Arctic. It is very good in snow and ice and pretty quiet on dry pavement. It doesn’t have the low rolling resistance of the Michelin X-Ice but it is much cheaper. I live in snow country (western NY) and really love the Generals.

+1 to Bloody Knuckles’ comments.
Not only do Bridgestone Blizzaks lose traction rapidly as they wear, they also wear much faster than Michelin’s winter tires. They tend to cost about the same as the superior Michelins, thus making the Michelins a better value.

As was said, the General Altimax Arctic is a decent value winter tire if somebody can’t afford the Michelin X-Ice tires. Another good value in that category is the Cooper Weather-Master winter tire.

In another thread where winter tires were discussed, one of the forum members stated that the Firestone winter tires are “very good”, and I just have to correct that misinformation. Of the 21 different winter tires that Consumer Reports tested, the Firestone Winterforce was the bottom-rated (#21 in a field of 21). The Firestone does have good traction on snow, but it is absolutely awful when braking on an icy surface. It is also one of the noisiest winter tires, and it has fairly high rolling resistance, which means that it will cause gas mileage to drop more than with most winter tires.

Put it all together, and the Firestone’s price of just a few bucks less than the Altimax Arctic and the Weather-Master means that it really isn’t a bargain, and it certainly isn’t a good winter tire.

Allow me to suggest that any winter tire worn down 60% will be no better than a fairly unworn all season tire… if even that. The average new winter or all season tire starts with about 10/32" of tread. Wear 60% off, and you only have 4/32" left. 2/32" is where the wear bars are. 4/32" is very insufficient for winter driving… and even subject to hydroplaning in heavy rain.

I commuted for many years before retiring. I never started a winter season with tires 60% worn out. They’re not safe in winter weather.

@“the same mountainbike” - While one does not start the winter season with tires at 4/32 many of us start the season with less than 8/32 and our tires wear down through the season. It’s nice to know that, even at 60% wear, our snow tire compound is still soft and ready to try and bite on icy and snowy surfaces. The Michelins and Generals I mentioned have their winter tire compound all the way down to the wear bars. The Blizzaks do not. I don’t want a surprise in February or March when there is still plenty of snow up here and my tires suddenly stop gripping. I will never buy Blizzaks because of this.

8/32 or thereabouts (20% wear) I too would start the winter with. But, as the months pass I’d keep an eye on them… which is good practice anyway.

I agree, when the tire gets down to 4/32 (1/8 inch), they should be replaced. Possibly at 5/32 is you want to be cautious.

My Toyota, bought new is now nearly 9 years old and still on its original tires. Shortly after buying it I invested in a set of rims and winter tires. With 6 months on and 6 months off, both sets are going to last a very long time.

The only extra investment is the set of steel rims at $45 each.