- Helping you drive happy

Worn winter tires: how safe are they?

Are your winter tires a few seasons old? Their level of wear directly affects your safety on the road, as evidenced by the latest tests conducted by Kal Tire, Canada’s largest independent tire dealer.

They evaluated the performance of various tires at five different stages of tread wear—from brand new to zero tread depth.

One of the key findings shows even a worn premium winter tire can outperform a new all-season tire in certain conditions. For example, on an icy road at 30 km/h, the 75% worn 5-star premium winter tire stopped in 29.7 metres, or 2.6 metres sooner than the new all-season.

Kal Tire also found that no two winter tires are created equal. The premium winter tire outperformed the 3-star economy winter tire in all tests over all stages of wear.

Furthermore, braking performance declines significantly between 50%-75% wear.

“Drivers are always asking when they should replace their tires. We wanted to be able to give them proof about how tire wear impacts performance. Now drivers can see when it’s best to replace their tires, and which types of tires provide safer winter driving through the life of that tire,” says Carey Hull, director of retail products at Kal Tire. “We also thought it was important to test worn tires because most Canadians pull out of the driveway each morning in tires that aren’t brand new.”

Watch the video to see the results of the tests: