Winter vs. All-Season Tires

That chill in the air means it’s time to think about preparing for Fall and Winter driving. But knowing which tires to choose can be confusing. So, we’ve put together some things to consider…

All-season tires (marked M+S for Mud + Snow)

All season tires can be safe for low speeds in mild winter conditions. However, in our heavy snow and slippery road conditions, snow tires (marked with a three-peaked mountain and snowflake symbol) are by far the safer bet.

Winter tires offer up to 50% more traction than all-seasons.

Winter tires are specially designed with greater elasticity to prevent them from hardening and causing a slide in temperatures as low as -30 °C. All season tires start to lose their elasticity at +7 °C, and it’s completely gone at -15 °C. And according to the Tire and Rubber Association (TRAC), winter tires offer up to 50% more traction than all-seasons. More than being just better snow tires, they actually function as superior cold-weather tires, regardless of the snow.

Tires Should Match

It’s important to note, as well, that all tires should match. Tests show that installing mismatched tires – even if two are snow tires – does little to nothing to enhance road traction.

To Stud or not to Stud?

Then there’s the question: To stud or not to stud? Studded tires help increase traction on ice- covered roads by digging into the ice. If you do a lot of winter driving, particularly near the coast where icy roads are common, they can be a good choice for you. However, keep in mind that since they can cause road damage when the road is dry, their use is regulated by law. As of last Friday October 21 you can put studded tires on your vehicle, which is earlier than previous years. You can keep your studded tires on until April 30.

If you’d like to see for yourself the difference a tire can make, there’s an excellent resource available. TRAC, together with Transport Canada and the Automobile Protection Agency (APA) have created a series of eye-opening videos that can be viewed at

Steers Insurance is committed to your safety. So, if you have any questions or concerns about this or any other matter, give us a call. We’re here to help you transition safely into the seasons ahead.