When To Change For Winter Tires?
Why should we equip our vehicles with tires specifically designed for winter?
To fully understand the importance of not keeping summer tires or all-season tires during the winter season, it is important to know that the materials of a winter tire are specifically designed to adapt to the harsh winter climate. At a temperature of 7 degrees Celsius or less, the performance of summer or all-season tire is considerably reduced, compromising handling, stability, braking capacity and grip, characteristics essential for a safe driving experience.
The effect of temperature on the tread composition of a tire is as follows: when the weather is hot and the road surface reaches high temperatures, the rubber in the tire will tend to soften, whereas when the temperature drops and the road surface becomes cold, the tire will harden. When the tread hardens, the tire becomes less adherent to the road, which greatly reduces traction and grip and increases the risk of skidding.
For this reason, the type of rubber used in the manufacture of the tread of a winter tire is different from that used for summer or all-season tires. Today's advanced technologies have made it possible to develop a rubber compound that resists cold and remains flexible at low temperatures, thanks to special oils and other compounds, ensuring safe driving in winter conditions.
When should summer and all-season tires be changed for winter tires?
Because the tread of summer or all-season tire hardens at low temperatures, the 7 degree Celsius mark is established as a reference point for winter tire installation. Even if the maximum temperature during the day reaches a higher threshold, it is the minimum temperature that should be taken into consideration since it is at this temperature that you will be driving in the morning and evening.
Moreover, even if the temperatures turned out to be exceptionally mild, Law 42 of the Ministère des Transports du Québec stipulates that all drivers must equip their vehicles with winter tires from December 15 to March 15.