When it comes to winter tires, myths abound, from how much and how often to inflate them, to whether or not they really offer better braking.
In Part 1: 3 Winter Tire Myths Deflated (or Yes, You Need Winter Tires), we offered expert advice about the need for winter tires in the first place. Here, in Part 2, we dispel common myths about how to maintain them once you’ve installed your winter tires, and what it means when you need to brake quickly.
MYTH 4: I DON’T NEED TO AIR UP ANY MORE OFTEN IN WINTER
TRUTH: You need to check the pressure in your winter tires more frequently because the outside temperature can have a dramatic affect on the pressure of your winter tires.
Every time the thermometer drops 5 C, your tires lose about 1 PSI of air pressure. Learn more about how that happens in our post 5 Things Your Winter Tires Want You to Know.
When your tires are inflated to the proper PSI, you’ll see better handling, tread life and fuel efficiency.
MYTH 5: I’LL GET BETTER TRACTION IF I UNDERINFLATE MY TIRES
TRUTH: In the mud-bogging world, this is a common tactic: ‘air down’ so the tires have a wider footprint on the ground. It’s not necessarily a safe tactic when you’re off-roading, or in the winter.
A ‘flatter’ tire may give you a wider contact patch and perhaps better traction, but only on compact snow. Now you’re driving around on tires that could be dangerously underinflated on any other type of surface—a dry highway or fresh snow. For most types of snow, you actually want winter tires that are narrow so they’ll bite through the snow and give you enough grip to move forward. Those wide tires? They’ll act like toboggans rather than skates in most winter conditions.
Since you never know what kind of snow or road conditions are ahead, it’s always best to follow the manufacturer’s recommended PSI.
MYTH 6: I’LL BRAKE JUST AS FAST IN WINTER WITH ALL-SEASON TIRES
TRUTH: We’ve been telling drivers for ages that winter tires are safer in winter than all-season tires, but this year we finally have real proof we can rely on.
Earlier this year, as part of Kal’s Tire Testing, an independent tire testing company tested 19 of our winter, all-weather and all-season tires (3-season tires). There were 10 tests, including braking and cornering on dry, wet and ice conditions. What did the braking tests reveal?
Winter tires, on average, stopped 14.68 metres sooner on ice compared to 3-seasons. So, if you think about the possibility of your vehicle on a slippery hill or slick intersection and needing to brake quickly, would you want to stop in 15 m or nearly 45 m?
Another interesting test result: All weather-tires, on average, stop 77 cm sooner on wet pavement (from 70 km/hr), and 33 cm sooner on dry pavement (from 90 km/hr) compared to 3-season tires.
Convinced winter tires offer superior safety and performance, but you’re not sure which model is for you? Visit one of our Kal Tire locations near you, or talk to Kal’s tire experts on the phone, or online!