Canadians deal with some of the worst winter driving conditions so investing in a quality set of winter tires is prudent for winter driving safety and confidence. All-season tires work well in most weather conditions but when the ambient temperature drops below 7 C, the rubber hardens and looses its ability to grip the contact surface. All-weather tires do an adequate job in most conditions except in severe winter weather, they do not perform as well as a dedicated winter tires.
Winter tires are made of rubber compounds that remain flexible in cold temperatures to enable better traction on snow, ice and slush. Look for the mountain/snowflake symbol on the sidewall to indicate that the tire meets the Severe Winter Traction Standard. All-season tires are marked with M + S which means mud and snow, however they provide inadequate traction in deep snow and on ice.
Many road tests have been done to score how winter tires perform in various conditions. These tests measure the tires’ ability to stop on snow, ice, wet and dry pavement. They also measure acceleration grip, fuel consumption and take into account subjective attributes like control/handling, ride comfort and road noise.
Top winter tire recommendations for passenger cars/mini vans:
Michelin X-Ice Xi3
Michelin X-Ice Xi3 achieved the best overall score in tests of studless ice and snow tires conducted by Canadian Tire. Michelin’s Flex-Ice full-silica compound maintains flexibility at low temperatures for incredible winter performance. It also maintains firmness at moderate temperatures, improving wear, grip and fuel efficiency. It is recommended for passenger cars and mini vans.
Barum Polaris 3
Barum Polaris 3 is a well-rounded winter tire and has best value for budget conscious drivers since its’ special rubber compound ensures long life performance and low rolling resistance for reduced fuel consumption. Snow catchers in the tread keep the snow in the groove, making it possible for the Polaris 3 to transfer the power of the engine to the snowy slopes when accelerating and providing excellent braking performance.
Glislaved Nord Frost 100
Glislaved Nord Frost 100 provides phenomenal traction in deep snow. Glislaved is the exclusive winter tire of Volvo vehicles and a popular choice in European regions that receive heavy snow. Made in Sweden, Glislaved Nord Frost 100 is a studdable tire that combines excellent performance in all winter conditions and smooth quiet ride.
Bridgestone Blizzak WS80
Blizzak WS80 scored the best results for acceleration traction and stopping distance on snow and ice plus excellent road manners in tests of studless ice and snow tires, conducted by Tire Rack. Blizzak WS80 is best for city commuters and features an optimized contact patch with the road, helping to distribute forces evenly and effectively for better stability and control in dry, icy and snowy conditions.
Pirelli Ice Zero FR
Ice Zero FR is an excellent choice for highway travel because of its’ high level of stability and control and superior driving comfort. The directional tread pattern design enhances grip on all surfaces. High sipe density in the central area increases snow retention and the grip level plus 3D sipe technology keeps the tread blocks stable at higher speeds.
LEARN HOW TO SAVE UP TO 10% ON YOUR AUTO INSURANCE WITH WINTER TIRE DISCOUNTS FROM
*Thank you to Wheels.ca for compiling this comprehensive list