Winters in Calgary are harsh and unpredictable – two things you definitely don’t want your tires to be.
You want tires that grip. You want traction and control. You don’t want to be worried about hard-packed snow and ice ruining your daily drive. You need winter tires.
We know how important safety – and a smooth ride – are to our customers. That’s why Calgarians trust Canada Custom Autoworks for all of their winter tire needs. From helping you pick the right set for your vehicle to installation, we do it all. We even have studded tires.
Stay safe this winter – get a set of high performance winter tires from our Calgary store.
How snow tires work
and the advantages of snow tires
Snow tires, winter tires – whatever you want to call them, they work the same way. And to understand how they work, we need to compare them to regular, or even all-season tires.
The main difference between regular tires, all-season tires, and winter tires is the composition of the rubber. For good traction, you want rubber that’s somewhat soft and flexible, so it can grip to surfaces. In the winter, regular and all-season tires become hard and rigid – it’s too cold for the rubber compound to retain its softness.
Winter tires stay soft at far lower temperatures than regular or all-season tires. While regular tires start to lose performance at about 7°C, and all-season tires lose performance around -10°C, our high performance winter tires retain their flexibility even in -40°C weather.
There are other advantages to winter tires, too. Our snow tires have grooves in them that are designed to divert water away from your wheels, helping you keep control of your vehicle even if you’re passing over ice. Ice isn’t slippery on its own – but when you pass over it, the top layer becomes water, and that’s what causes you to slip. That’s why the grooves in winter tires are so important.
Some drivers, especially very experienced drivers, don’t love winter tires. They think of them as noisy and bumpy. If that sounds like you, we highly recommend you try our modern winter tires – they offer a much smoother, more comfortable ride than the tires you might have tried 15 to 20 years ago.
Thinking about all-season tires? Don’t. Winter in Calgary is just too cold – those tires are only all-season if you live somewhere warm like Vancouver.
Want to stay safe on the road this winter? Studded winter tires are your best bet. The studs in our studded tires provide unparalleled control over your vehicle.
A lot of drivers think studded tires are illegal because of potential damage to roadways. We’ve got great news – studded tires are perfectly legal in Calgary and the rest of Alberta, all year round. And modern studded tires provide a much smoother ride than their older cousins.
How winter studs are installed
Winter studs can only be installed on studdable winter tires. Those tires are specially engineered with holes in which the studs can be installed using a stud gun.
Pros and cons of studs
Studded winter tires have a lot of advantages over regular winter tires. They grip to hard-packed snow and ice like nothing else. If you’re worried about black ice, studded tires are the way to go. The studs bite through the ice, giving you traction. You’ll improve your handling and braking speed on snow and ice with our studded winter tires.
The disadvantage of studded tires is that they perform worse on wet and dry surfaces – in other words, these are not springtime tires. Use them in the winter for best performance.
How much do winter tires cost?
There are a lot of different kinds of winter tires, from regular to premium to studded. There are a lot of different types of vehicles, too. That means that costs will vary, but you’re generally looking at $100 to over $200 per tire.
Those costs are for one tire, and they don’t include the new rims you’ll want to purchase with your winter tires. All in all, a new set of winter tires can cost from $1000 to over $2000, depending on the quality of tire you want – and how fancy you want to go with your new rims.
At Canada Custom Autoworks, we’re always working hard to provide value to our customers. If you’re looking for winter tires, give us a call – we’ll help you find the best tire/wheel combo for your vehicle, and we’ll let you know if there are any discounts available or coming up through the pipeline.
How many years do winter tires last?
How long winter tires will last depends on a few factors, including:
- The quality of your winter tires
- How often you drive
- Whether or not you use your winter tires exclusively in the winter
- How well you take care of your winter tires
Transport Canada says winter tires will last up to 10 seasons, while a lot of manufacturers say winter tires will last for 6 seasons. Our customers usually love to go driving, so we’ll often see them coming back for a new set every 3 to 4 seasons. It all depends on how often you use them, and how well you take care of them.
You can almost definitely use winter tires for more than a few seasons, but if you’re driving often, you might lose out on some of the performance benefits. Routine tire maintenance and visual inspections will help you decide when it’s time for a replacement.
How often should I check the air pressure during winter?
Here’s a quick physics lesson – when temperature drops, air molecules stop moving as much and get closer together. That means they exert less pressure on your tires, so your tire pressure drops. The drop is about 1.6 psi for every 10°C change, with pressure going up as heat increases and dropping down as heat decreases.
In Calgary, our daily temperature can easily change by 20°C or more in the winter – we’ve got Chinooks to thank for that. That’s why we recommend checking the air pressure on your winter tires at least twice a month – and you should check the pressure on any day where the temperature changes dramatically.
Driving on underinflated tires reduces performance by increasing braking distances and affecting steering and handling. Underinflated tires also have a much shorter lifespan – and they’re more likely to cause blowout. If you want your winter tires to last a good, long while, check the pressure regularly.
How fast can I drive with snow tires?
Winter tires, like all tires, have a speed rating – the fastest the tire can go without compromising performance. Winter tires tend to have lower speed ratings than regular tires, but we have some pretty incredible premium winter tires in stock. We even have snow tires with a speed rating of V, meaning you can go up to 240 km/h with the tires without compromising their integrity!
How fast you should drive with snow tires is a completely different question. While our high-quality winter tires may not lose their performance at higher speeds, you should still follow safe driving guidelines in the winter. Winter tires help improve handling, but they’re not a crutch or a miracle cure.
In other words, winter tires will keep you safer – but you should still drive cautiously in the winter.
Do snow tires help on black ice?
To understand if snow tires help on black ice, we need to understand what black ice is. In truth, it’s just a very thin sheet of ice – and like all other ice, the real problem is that when you drive on it, it melts, and water causes your wheels to lose their grip on the road.
Winter tires help with black ice because their grooves divert water away from your vehicle. They also help because they’ve got more traction to begin with, thanks to their softer rubber. For the best performance on black ice, we recommend our studded winter tires, which bite through the ice and give you the best traction possible.
Can I keep my winter tires on all year?
You should not keep your winter tires on all year. In the off-season, winter tires are too soft, and they’ll wear away extremely quickly. You’ll lose out on handling and general performance, as well as fuel economy. They’re called winter tires for a reason – you’re only supposed to use them when it’s cold out.
Now, here in Calgary, we’ll sometimes get temperatures in the teens in the middle of January. Fortunately (or unfortunately), those fluctuations are rarely around for long, so you can usually keep your winter tires on until at least late March or early April.
To improve vehicle performance, gas mileage, and safety, we highly recommend using winter tires all winter long. We have a wide selection of winter tires in stock, so come see us at Canada Custom Autoworks.