Auto123.com presents its winter tire buying guide for 2022-2023. Today, winter tires for cars and small and midsize SUVs.
Here we are again! At the time of writing, many motorists are beginning to address the need for new tires for the coming winter. This need is felt even more by drivers in places like Quebec, where winter tires are mandatory as of December 1, and in British Columbia, where they are required in certain parts of the province including highways in the north and interior and especially on the Sea-to-Sky highway, as well as on some portions of Vancouver Island.
Worth knowing: Demand for tires is particularly strong this year, as many motorists have had to hold onto their vehicles for longer periods of time due to the lack of inventory at dealerships. Many will have to upgrade to new winter tires. Add to this increased consumer awareness regarding tire quality and specifications. In other words, if you need new tires, you should think about buying them early on, because the good-quality tires that are reasonably priced are of course the first to sell out.
And if you're not familiar with the tire industry, you should know that once a tire type or size is sold out, a tire dealer can NOT have new tires made, because the manufacturers have already moved on to producing next year’s summer tires!
Trends and tendencies
Canadian consumers are increasingly cognizant of both the quality and performance capabilities of the winter tires available to them. Obviously, better-quality tires tend to sell for higher prices! If your budget limits you in your choices, try to at least choose tires from a major brand offering a serious warranty.
The choice of a winter tire must be made according to the driver's needs. If you’re a frequent traveler who drives a lot in winter, you should look for a tire that performs better on icy or wet pavement. If your travels are mostly in northern and mountainous regions, a tire with a more aggressive tread pattern is probably best for you.
Some more-cautious drivers may prefer studded tires (although you should bear in mind that in most areas, there are restrictions about allowing vehicles with studded tires into places like underground parking lots!).
Tires approved for both summer and winter
The big trend in recent years is towards tires specifically designed for use in both summer AND winter use. But we’re not talking about traditional ‘all-seasons’ tires here, but rather about those “homologued” tires that have the mountain silhouette with a snowflake in the centre on the sidewall.
Not having to change your tires twice a year is appealing, but not much is known about the effectiveness of these tires. That's why Auto 123 is putting some of these tires (of the highest quality) to the test. However, it would be best to consider them only if you don't use your car much in winter, avoid driving it during heavy snowstorms and/or don't do much driving outside urban situations.
Our initial testing has shown us that these tires are quiet and very effective on wet and dry pavement. But they don't perform as well in deep snow or wet conditions.