Best Winter Tires for Canadians

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What are the best winter tires in Canada?

It is getting to be that time of the year; snow, cold, slush, ice.  Although you can drive all winter on all-season tires, it is best if you switch to winter, or snow, tires.  This is especially true if you live in an area where there is a lot of ice and snow.  Driving in snow and ice can sometimes be tricky and dangerous so you want to make sure that you have the best tires on your vehicle to deal with these situations. 

In the winter, no matter how great a driver you are, there are still hazards such as black ice, slush, and more that could cause even the most experienced driver to maintain a grip on the road or even lose control.  The reason that it is important to change to the best winter tires before this nasty weather hits is that these tires have a special design.  This design will allow great performance in the snow with a better gripping force to allow vehicles to power through the snow and ice. Here is a list of the top 10 winter tires in Canada:

  1. Bridgestone Blizzak WS80
  2. Yokohama IceGuard iG52c
  3. Dunlop Winter Maxx
  4. Cooper Discoverer True North
  5. Pirelli Winter Sottozero 3
  6. Michelin X-Ice Xi3
  7. Continental Viking Contact 7
  8. Nokian Hakkapeliitta R3
  9. Goodyear Ultra Grip
  10. Michelin LTX 

Bridgestone Blizzak WS80

This tire is one of the most effective and popular snow tires that you can buy on the market today.  This brand can be used on coupes, minivans, compact cars, and sedans but if you have other vehicles, such as an SUV, you will need to check out the other Blizzak tire versions. 

Key Features

  • These best winter tires have a combination of lateral and circumferential grooves. These grooves are designed to direct snow, slush, and water away from the contact area.
  • 3D Zig-Zag sipes. They give this tire extra biting edges.
  • A next-generation compound that features microscopic bite particles and water-loving hydrophilic coating.

Pros

Cons

Yokohama iceGuard iG52c

This is an ecologically friendly winter tire.  This tire has a lot of unique materials that will allow the tire to handle a variety of weather situations easily.  These are not tires that are large enough for SUV buyers.

Key Features

  • Locking sips to help improve cornering stability
  • It is perfect for roads that are snow and ice-covered
  • Slush grooves in the tires to help spit out the muck in the road as you drive.

Pros

Cons

Dunlop Winter Maxx

This the companies first set of winter tires.  They are a great buy for those that are looking for high-performance and affordability.  It is one of the best inexpensive winter tires on the market that can handle heavy snow.

Key Features

  • The tires have an aggressive tread pattern that is perfectly suited for ice, snow, and slush.
  • The Miura-Ori shaped sipes help to give traction on ice and snow. It also helps to improve tread-wear.
  • Has an asymmetric block design to help out in cold, dry conditions.

Pros

Cons

Cooper Discoverer True North

This is a great winter-option tire for both SUV and cars.  It has the highest silica content of any tire made by this company.  This best winter tire was able to traverse Donner Pass in California without chaining the tires with very little effort during the dead of winter.

Key Features

  • Has the ability to dig into icy surfaces
  • The tires are designed for clean roads and roads that are covered in ice and slush.
  • The tire is like two tread designs on one tire.

Pros

Cons

Pirelli Winter Sottozero 3

This is a tire that comes from Pirelli, an Italian tire maker. 

Key Features

  • They come in two styles; run-flat or standard.
  • They have high-density sipes. They help to improve braking distances.  These tires are great for those that live in an area with limited snow but have cold weather.
  • Made of a special winter compound that is arranged in a directional pattern. It has an enlarged contact patch.
  • To evacuate slush and water, the tires have rounded shoulders with arrow-shaped center blocks.

Pros

Cons

Michelin X-Ice Xi3

This best winter tire is one of the more capable winter tires in Michelin’s winter tire lineup.  This is the third generation of Michelin’s winter tires.  It is a great fit for family vans, coupes, small crossovers, and sedans.

Key Features

  • It has a low-rolling-resistance construction. This can help to improve the fuel economy.
  • Cross Z-sipes can help to deliver improved wet weather capability
  • For high-speed performance, it has a spirally wound nylon and twin steel belts.
  • Provides winter performance for up to 60,000 kilometers.

Pros

Cons

Continental Viking Contact 7

This best winter tire is a new offering from Continental and could be one of their best winter tires.  It is manufactured by a company founded in 1871 that was originally a rubber manufacturer.  This company was the first to introduce tubeless tires and patterned grooved tires. 

Key Features

  • Has a specialized rubber compound that contains canola oil. It helps the tires to stay more flexible in extreme cold weather
  • The tread pattern has sipes for maximum snow tractions and is composed of innumerable biting edges.
Continental VikingContact 7

Pros

Cons

Nokian Hakkapeliitta R3

Nokian has been a pioneer in the winter tire market since 1932.  The winter tire was invented by the Finnish manufacturer.  This tire is their top-of-the-line winter tire. It is a winter tire that is recommended for hybrid and electric cars.

Key Features

  • Has highly aggressive tread pattern
  • The tire has a silica compound that enables it to find grip in ice and deep snow.
  • Studless winter tire with directional tread
  • They are designed for passenger cars

Pros

Cons

Goodyear Ultra Grip

This is a very popular best winter snow tire.  The reason is that they come in a variety of tires for different vehicles and sizes of tires.  They have two different types of sipes that work well in ice and snow.  They provide additional biting edges that give good traction.

Key Features

  • One sype is a 3-D type that will lock together to improve grip and stability.
  • Another sype is a 2-D surface type that will help to improve braking distances
  • Directional tread pattern to help enhance winter traction in the snow.
  • Has wide tread grooves to help keep slush and snow away.

Pros

Cons

Michelin LTX

This is a winter tire that is designed for commercial light trucks and SUVs.

Key Features

  • For an optimized contact patch, the tire has over 1,000 biting edges.
  • For strength and endurance, the tire has three steel belts but it is stud-less.

Pros

Cons

Benefits of winter tires

Maintains traction

When you have just all-season tires on your car in the winter, the tires can become stiff and frozen so they can lose their grip on ice.  Winter tires are made from a different compound.  This compound will keep your tires flexible and soft so they can maintain a comfortable grip on ice.

Increased safety

The treads on winter tires are designed to ‘bite’ into the snow.  This will give you exceptional handling and maximum traction.  These tires will also provide you with outstanding cornering.  This will keep you stable and safe on the road during the winter.

Insurance discounts

Some insurance companies will reward their clients with discounts on their car insurance if they switch to winter tires. 

FAQs

When is the best time to put on winter tires?

If you live in Canada or Northern USA, you will want to put your winter tires on by the end of October at the latest. It’s important not to put this off too long, as a snowstorm could suddenly sneak up on you.

Is there a speed limit when driving with winter tires?

The maximum safe speed limit of your winter tires should be on the tires themselves. When you go faster than this speed, you increase the risk of an accident while driving. The faster you go in excess of the speed limit, the less traction your tires will offer.

How long will my winter tires last?

There are multiple factors that can affect how long your winter tires remain effective, including the overall condition of the roads you travel on. A standard set of winter tires should last at least four seasons.

Are winter tires loud?

It is true that winter tires produce more noise than all-season tires. This is a result of the high-performance design, which is necessary to handle road conditions in winter.

Why can't I use my all-season tires in the winter?

The fact is that all-season tires are not specifically made for the rigors of the winter season. They are therefore not as reliable or effective when it comes to driving safely this time of year.

Can I keep my winter tires on all year long?

You should only use winter tires in winter, as they are not designed for the mild conditions of the other seasons. If you choose to keep them on past winter, the tread will wear out much faster than normal.

Should I get winter tires for my SUV?

Despite the rugged design of most modern SUVs, they still require winter tires in order to maintain proper traction in slippery conditions. As we mentioned above, all-season tires are not adequate in regions that experience harsh winters.

Conclusion

When looking for the best winter tires one of the main things you need to check is the traction they will give you in snow, ice, and slush.  The right tractions will help to promote your safety on winter roads.  Check to see if the winter tires that you are considering purchasing are designed and have been tested for enhanced tractions, even in the harshest winter condition.  You also want to check the construction of the tire in regards to tread design and material.  Most winter tires will have a lifespan of 30,000 miles.  If you want a long tread life, you need to consider winter tires that are of high quality.