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Time to think about winter tires...

Have you noticed that the leaves have begun falling? This inadvertently means that the winter season is fast approaching. Believe it or not, it is already time to seriously start thinking about getting some winter tires.

Every tire manufacturer claims to have a great product but the fact of the matter is that you always get what you pay for, regardless. When shopping for a winter tire, consider the following tips: look for good tread depth; the deeper it is, the better it will perform in snow. Also, look for a good amount of space between the tread blocks for the same reason. Another hint is the two speed ratings for winter tire; Q and H. Q is rated at 160 km/h and H, 210 km/h. H rated tires will generally have a stiffer sidewall to ensure high-speed stability so ice traction may suffer. In either case, it is highly recommended to remain well within the rating limits.

A reminder on how to select your winter tires
There are a number of different types of tires that are appropriate for the winter season. The type of driving you do and the type of car you drive should have serious influence on the purchased tire. The environment in which you find yourself driving is also an important factor for tire selection. Basically, your choices reside between passenger car, compact SUVs and minivans, performance and truck winter tires. Then, we move on to whether more grip is needed in snow and ice or on a dry surface.

Passenger car tire

The best overall winter tire is the Bridgestone Blizzak WS-60. Now available in a wide range of popular sizes, the Blizzak remains the best all-round winter tire providing excellent grip on icy surfaces, traction on snow covered roads and decent stability on dry pavement. Old stories about premature wear are all but in the past; the latest Blizzak's will last just as long as any tire that provides similar performance in winter conditions thanks to its 11/32 of tread depth.

The Yokohama IG-20 and Toyo G02 + are the next best bets. The IG-20 has between 11 and 12/32 of tread depth and uses microcell technology. This technology uses tiny air bubbles in the compound to keep it flexible at very low temperatures. This tire represents one of the best winter tire compromises as far as durability, performance and price are concerned. The G02 + has a tread depth of 13/32, has large gaps between the blocks, uses crushed walnut shells in its makeup and is a little more aggressive than the Yokohama. This tire's compound is a little harder and will therefore be slightly more durable in the long run. This tire is also a good choice for a more assertive driver that is harder on the gas and brake pedals.

Bridgestone Blizzak WS-60