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Winter tires, really important?

Since December, it is now mandatory in Quebec for equipping the vehicle with winter tires. That is certainly one of the best decisions of our government normally think much has his pockets in automotive safety. Moreover, other provinces and even our neighbors to the south will scrutinize the results. However, even if it is undeniable that winter tires are much safer than all-season tires, I'm not sure that the results will be significantly positive. Human nature being what it is, the greater of elements ensuring our security, the more risk you take to, ultimately, achieve almost the same result.

The tire manufacturer Continental has recently invites few Canadian journalists to not only put to the test their latest creation in the field of winter tires, but also to make people understand the importance of winter tires. If it seems we are all pretty evident in Canada, this is not the case elsewhere, particularly in the United States or have noted the use of winter tires by 2.3% of drivers, compared with an average 14% for Canada. In Quebec, it is now 100%. Not bad.

A new efficient tire

Less known than some other brands of tires, Continental, a German brand, is a little more focused on performance and therefore, it offers tires a little more upscale. Just as is the case in the automotive, German products are usually of excellent quality, but you have to put the price. Continental range therefore appears slightly higher than some competitors bill, but here's the price to pay for anything that is more upscale. One original on models from BMW, Audi and Mercedes-Benz also found many of their tires equipment. In opposition, the General Tire division handles more intended to ground, notably with the Altimax range, more affordable but also very effective products.

This event has allowed us to discover the merits of their latest creation in the field of winter tires or the Extreme Winter Contact tire. It is still difficult to assess the tires, especially the same range, but I must admit that the new tire has pleasantly surprised me with its performance.

Winter tires, really important?

Besides the presentation of the new winter tire, the event also had a mission to prove the superiority of winter tires compared to a season tire. First of all, I was there a few years of those who believed that all-season tires offered a good compromise, especially when new, throughout the year. However, some performance tests quickly made me discover the opposite and this event has only strengthened my position.

First, a winter tire does not offer advantages in the snow. The all-season tire is composed of a harder rubber, which ensures greater durability has higher temperatures. However, as the temperature drops below 7 degrees, gum hardens even more and the tire loses its adhesion already. It is therefore easy to understand that -25 degrees, you end up with four hockey pucks in your vehicle. Is not your tires that keep you on the road? So even without snow or ice, an all-season tire proves much less efficient.

As proof, we have to test two identical vehicles, one team of winter tires, the other all-season tires. On a course enneige is cornering, a slalom and an emergency brake was subtracted with winter tires over five seconds, on a course that is loop in about 35 seconds. This may seem pretty thin as difference, but it is mostly the feeling of control is maximized with winter tires. The most notable element is certainly the stopping distance increases with the third-season tires. That is enough to convince us of the importance of winter tires and that could make a difference in many cases.

Mismatched tires, avoid combo!

A third vehicle crew with a pair of winter tires in the back, or were located wheels and all-season tires on the front wheels. I know it was common there several years thing, but here is certainly the worst combo. You end up with a false sense of security because of good traction in acceleration, but handling mediocre cornering, which can trap you and cause you surprises. Better have a poor adherence to all four wheels, which will force more of precautions, that uneven adhesion!

In terms of economy of money, in addition to not having to pay for two sets of tires in no time, there is no economy has to rely on all-season tires. A set of winter tires and four seasons will be more sustainable and ultimately the use of two consecutive sets four seasons, while having better adapted tires each season.

In short, all-season tires represent a compromise and like any compromise, we find negative aspects. However, in matters of tire and automotive safety, we must avoid compromise and ensure the best in any season.

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