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What is the difference between all season tires, all weather tires, and winter tires?

All-season tires are designed to provide traction in dry and wet road conditions. They are ideal for spring, summer and fall. But below +7C, they lose traction. 

Winter tires are designed with a specialized compound that allows the rubber to remain flexible in cold temperatures to improve traction and grip.

All weather tires are a hybrid of all season tires and winter tires. They provide more winter performance than all season tires, as well as great performance in mild winter conditions. All weather tires are well suited to regions where snowfall is minimal and temperatures approach 0°C. 

Note that only winter and all weather tires come with the Mountain Snowflake symbol on their sidewalls. This symbol indicates the tire has been designed for use in winter conditions.

For more information, see our video How to Choose Winter Tires.

How do I know if my winter tires are worn out and need replacing?

Use a tread depth gauge. If your tread is less than 4/32 of an inch, you should consider replacing your tires. If your tires have tread less than 2/32 of an inch, they are considered legally bald and must be replaced. 

Don’t have a tread depth gauge? Try the nickel test. Take a nickel, and place it in the deepest groove of the tire, with the year at the bottom. If you can see any of the year, consider having your tires inspected, as they are likely below 4/32 of an inch and will soon need to be replaced. If you can see the year completely, the tread is likely below 2/32 of an inch. These tires are considered legally bald and must be replaced. 

For more information, see our video How to Check for Aging Tires.

Do I need different wheels with my winter tires?

When installing winter tires, you can opt to have them mounted on your existing set of wheels. But purchasing a second set of wheels can help save money on installation costs and reduce stress on the tires from demounting.

For more information, see our video How to Choose Wheels.

Do I need a full set of 4 winter tires or can I just put on 2 winter tires?
You need to install a set of 4 winter tires at the same time. If you have winter tires only on the rear of your vehicle, the front tires can lose their grip, making it hard to turn. And if you have winter tires only the front of your vehicle, you can end up oversteering because the back tires don’t have enough grip. 

What is the mountain/snowflake symbol for?

The mountain/snowflake symbol shows that a tire is a dedicated winter tire suitable for Canada’s harsh winters.

Does all wheel drive (AWD) help you drive better in winter?

No. Because AWD vehicles typically weigh more, their stopping distance can actually be longer when compared to a two-wheel drive vehicle. AWD is meant to help in driving/handling, not stopping.

Why does Canadian Tire test tires?

We test our tires to evaluate how they perform on dry, wet, icy and snowy roads, as well as how fuel efficient they are and how comfortable the ride is. The test results help you decide which tires are best for your vehicle.

For more information, see our video Why we Test Tires.

What is comfort testing?

Comfort testing determines how much noise the tires generate over various types of terrain, and also how comfortable a ride they provide.

How do I know if my tires are underinflated?

If your vehicle was manufactured after 2007, it will likely have a Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS), which notifies you if the tire pressure drops below its optimum setting. If you don’t have a TPMS, you can use a tire pressure gauge to find out what the tire pressure is.

For more information, see our video How to Check your Tire Pressure.

What are run-flat tires?

Run-flat tires -- also known as self-supporting tires -- enable you to drive on them if they are punctured and go flat. They support the weight of the vehicle using reinforced inner sidewalls, and give you maximum control over your vehicle. This allows you to reach safety before replacing the damaged tire, and reduces the instances of tire blow-outs and vehicle flip-overs. 

How far can you drive on run-flat tires?

Most run-flat tires enable you to drive 90 km at a maximum speed of 90 kph.

How do I know whether my car has RTFs?

Look at the tire sidewalls for the acronym RTF.

What do the numbers and letters on the sidewall of my tires mean?

In the example P185/75R1482S the breakdown is as follows:

P = Service Type: Indicates this is a passenger vehicle tire, as opposed to a tire made for a light truck (LT) or other vehicle. 

185 = Section Width: The width of the tire in millimetres from sidewall to sidewall. 

75 = Aspect Ratio: The ratio of height of the sidewall to the width of the tire. This sidewall’s height is 75% of its width. 

R = Internal Construction: How the plies are constructed in the tire carcass. "R" means radial, "B" means the tire is belted bias construction and "D" means diagonal bias construction. 

14 = Rim Diameter: The diameter of the wheel (centre hole of the tire) in inches. 

82 = Load Index: This tire has an industry-standard maximum load of 475 kg (1,047 lbs).

S = Speed Rating: This tire has an industry-standard maximum service speed of 209 kph (130 mph). Different letters correspond to different maximum service speeds.

What is the difference between Euro-metric and P-metric tires?

P-metric and Euro-metric tire sizes are identical and interchangeable, with the possible exception of their load-carrying capacities.