Get a Grip, Winter is Back -- Start Preparing for Slipper Roads with a New Set of Winter Tires

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Test your winter tire knowledge and find out why All Season tires and four wheel drive are not the answer for safe winter driving.

Some parts of Canada can count on winter lasting only a few short months but not here in Calgary. Winter can show up in October and not make its final departure until May. That is eight possible months of cold temperatures and the threat of snow. That is why you should be read for winter today. The best place to start is with winter tires from an automotive specialist. The staff of Northland Kia, in Calgary, put together a fun fact or fiction quiz to test your knowledge of winter tires.

Winter tires improve winter traction even when there is no snow on the ground.

TRUE. Winter tires are designed to improve braking and traction at lower temperatures as well as plough through the white stuff. Their superior cold weather performance is achieved by using rubber especially designed to stay compliant in cold temperatures. In fact, they start to outperform their all season cousins at temperatures around 7 degrees Celsius.

AWD is a must for Calgary winters.

FALSE. AWD and other four wheel drive systems do provide superior acceleration in winter conditions when compared to similar equipped two wheel drive vehicles. The problem is they do not offer any advantage when it comes to cornering grip or braking. In fact, these vehicles are often seen in the ditch after a big snow storm because the four wheel drive system has allowed the driver to reach dangerous speeds much quicker. Winter tires can achieve up to 40% better acceleration than the same two wheel drive vehicle with all season tires. Plus with winter tires you also get improved traction for breaking and cornering which is sure to keep you and your family safer.

Winter tires can improve braking.

TRUE. With advanced tread design and modern composite materials some winter tires can improve stopping distance by as much as 30 feet or two full car lengths.

Winter tires are expensive.

FALSE. There are two options when deciding how to mount winter tires on your vehicle. The first is to have winter tires installed on your existing rims. The advantage of this method is a second set of wheels does not need to be purchased. The price of this option starts at only $86 per tire. The second option is to purchase a second set of rims to mount winter tires on. There are several advantages to this approach. These include ease of making the tire change as the seasons change, wheel size can be tailored for the best winter tires and in the unfortunate event you manage to damage a wheel in winter driving conditions it will be a less expensive steal wheel. The price of this option starts at $499 for a set of four. Both these options are very economical for your increased safety even if you do not consider the savings they offer. Winter tires will save you money by allowing you to purchase all season tires much less frequently. Since you will only be using your all seasons six months a year, they will last nearly twice as long.

We all hate to think about the arrival of winter conditions, but they are coming. Now is the time to get prepared.

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Robert Wills
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