Blog Ultimate Guide To Winter Tires In Canada

Nov 9, 2021

Best Winter Tires For The 2021-2022 Season

Winter tire tread on a snow packed road

If you live in Canada, you know how important it is to drive safely in snowy and wet conditions. The data shows that more Canadians are swapping their tires for the season – As of 2020, over 70% of motorists now use snow tires. They are a crucial component of safe driving in winter.

Once the temperature falls below +7°C, rubber on all-season tires can stiffen up, creating less traction and braking more difficult. Winter tires improve your ability to stop, prevent sliding, and help you be a safer and more predictable driver because they are made of unique compounds to handle harsh winter conditions.

Looking to buy winter tires? Use this guide to find the best winter tires for your vehicle.

How Many Canadians Use Winter Tires?

As soon as the cold weather begins to creep in and the threat of snow is imminent, it is time to start thinking about getting your snow tires installed. The use of winter tires in Canada is on the rise. A 2020 survey by the Tire and Rubber Association of Canada (TRAC) found that the numbers are up from 2017, where only 66% of Canadians had them installed. In 2020, numbers were showing that 72% of drivers have them.

Here is a regional breakdown of snow tire use in Canada :

  • Canada wide : 72%
  • Quebec : 100%
  • British Columbia : 60%
  • Ontario : 66%
  • Alberta : 59%
  • Manitoba / Saskatchewan : 60%
  • Maritimes: 84%

Why Don’t Canadians Use Snow Tires?

Although many Canadians are embracing the benefits of them, about 40% of drivers do not use snow tires. The survey identified several reasons why some drivers are resistant to using them :

  • 51% believe all-season tires are good enough
  • 22% said they do not drive enough to warrant buying them
  • 21% believe the cost is a barrier
  • 8% had other reasons for not using snow tires

Benefits Of Snow Tires

When you install four winter tires, it can greatly improve your ability to drive in snow, frost, slush, and icy conditions – they create a safer winter driving experience. Advantages include :

  • Better traction and control
  • Improved braking and handling
  • Increased driver confidence when behind the wheel
  • Prevention of accidents and related injuries and fatalities
  • Fewer insurance claims
  • Improved road safety

When Is The Best Time To Install Winter Tires?

Winter tires on a suv driving on snowy road

A guideline for putting on snow tires is once temperatures hit 7°C or less, it is time to schedule an appointment to make the swap. Generally, this means that you will install your winter tires near the beginning or middle of November in Ontario. However, driving conditions and temperature will vary by region and from year to year. Check the forecast and book your appointment early or you could get stuck waiting to get them installed.

Tips For Buying Winter Tires

When buying winter tires in Ontario, it is important to be diligent and purchase high-quality types. Therefore, it is important to shop based on price and the tire's rating and performance to ensure you get the traction you need for the driving you do.

  • Buy four winter tires and make sure they are the same make and model.
  • Ensure the tires are the correct size – tire size is embossed on the tire's side.
  • The cost varies, but on average, they range from $120-$200 per tire, based on the size and make.
  • Consider purchasing rims for your winter tires – this makes the transition easier and prolongs their life.
  • Have them installed by a professional, especially if your vehicle has ABS brakes, all-wheel drive and tire pressure sensors.

How Do I Know If A Tire Is A Winter Tire?

Drivers are reminded to look for tires marked with the peaked mountain and snowflake logo. Tires that have the Three Peak Mountain Snowflake symbol (3PMSF) have been vigorously tested for use in serve snow and ice conditions. They are approved to have met or exceeded industry snow traction requirements.

Note that M+S means mud and snow for all-season - they may not have been officially tested as winter tires.

What Are The Best Winter Tires In Canada?

Shopping for the best winter tires in Canada? The top type for you will depend on the road conditions in your area. In general, brand names with a good reputation are the best option. They are proven commodities and will deliver the results you expect and trust on the road.

Top Winter Tire Brands

Here are some of the best known and reputable brands to consider :

  • Hankook
  • Goodyear
  • Michelin
  • Toyo
  • Dunlop
  • Uniroyal
  • Pirelli
  • Nokian
  • Cooper
  • Continental
  • Yokohama
  • Kumho
  • Motomaster

Best Winter Tires For 2021-2022

We know that you want reliable and reputable winter tires. We have put together a list of the top-rated winter tires for autos, SUVs, and trucks.

Best Winter Tires in Canada For Cars in 2021-2022

Here is a look at the best snow tires for the season :

  • Nokian Hakkapeliitta 9, R3 and Nordman 7
  • Bridgestone Blizzak WS90
  • Michelin X-Ice Snow
  • Goodyear Winter Command Ultra
  • Dunlop Winter Maxx
  • Continental IceContact XTRM
  • Pirelli Ice Zero Friction
  • Toyo GSI-6
  • Yokohama IG52 and 53
  • Cooper Evolution Winter
  • GT Radial Ice Pro 3

Best Winter Tires For SUVs And Trucks in 2021-2022

  • Michelin Latitude X-Ice
  • Bridgestone Blizzak LT
  • Goodyear Ultra Grip Ice
  • Firestone Winterforce
  • Dunlop Winter Maxx SJ8
  • Nokian Hakkapeliitta 3
  • Cooper Hercules Avalanche Xtreme LT
  • Pirelli Scorpion Ice & Snow
  • Toyo Observe GSI-6
  • Nexxen Winguard WT1
  • Hankook Dynapro I*cept

Each of these snow tire options have pros and cons and are available at multiple price points.

How Do I Get The Best Winter Tire Prices?

Much like other products, drivers want to save money when buying winter tires. We all want affordable winter tires. Winter tire prices can vary greatly (starting as low as $120 per tire). If you are looking to invest in winter tires to have a safer drive this winter, here are some tips.

  • Shop around : Comparing winter tire prices is the best way for you to find the cheapest rates in your area.
  • Be on the lookout for deals and sales : Winter tires go on sale just like anything else. Be on the lookout for special sales and deals from local tires shops.
  • Shop off-season : You can often find last year's models on special or clearance sales during the spring and summer.
  • Check the tire rating : While price is important, do not forget to check reviews and ratings.
  • Shop based on value : Shopping based on value is important. You want a good value, but you also want a good quality product.
  • Consider used winter tires : Buying used can greatly reduce winter tire costs.

Where Is The Best Place To Buy Winter Tires?

When it comes to purchasing winter tires, you have lots of options. In addition to local tire shops in your city, here are some of the larger tire retailers to consider :

  • Canadian Tire
  • Kal Tire
  • OK Tire
  • Fountain Tire
  • Costco
  • Walmart

You can buy steel rims for winter tires in the same locations that sell winter tiretires, or check online marketplaces.

What Are Winter Tire Ratings?

Once you have narrowed down your snow tire choices, it is a good idea to look at how they were tested and rated during tests. Winter tires should be tested for dry and wet handling, ice and snow, comfort, and mileage. These tests are performed on closed tracks with unbiased experts. The tire rating will help you compare tires based on the weather conditions you will be driving in that will work best for your vehicle.

Winter Tire Safety Tips

If you have not yet put on winter tires this year, it is not too late. Winter storms can have a habit of hitting when you least expect it. When you do put winter tires on your vehicle, remember these four basic tips :

  1. Always install four winter tires to maintain the control and stability of your vehicle.
  2. Do not mix brands, sizes, or styles.
  3. Check for worn treads and damages.
  4. Check and maintain proper tire pressure , especially in cold weather.

Installing winter tires provides Ontario drivers with many benefits – safety, more control, and cost savings on your car insurance.

Winter Tire FAQs

Learn more by checking out these commonly asked questions :

Winter tires costs vary widely. It depends on many factors such as the size of tire, makes and brand of the tire, date of purchase, and many other factors. You can get winter tires for as little as $50 per tire up to $300 or more per tire. Choose tires that are ideal for winter driving conditions in your area.

It depends on how much winter driving you do. Most manufactures say tires will last six years or more. If you drive more frequently, expect them to last about four years. Using winter tires in summer will cause them to wear much quicker.

It is recommended to change winter tires to summer tires once the temperature is consistently above 7 degrees Celsius in your area.

Yes. Winter tires typically use more gas because of the increased grip and traction. Under inflated tires also use more gas. Make sure your tires are properly inflated.

Depending on where you live, studded winter tires may not be permitted; you cannot use them in southern Ontario. There are no regulations in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Nunavut, Northwest Territories, and the Yukon. Check with your province to see if they are allowed.

Yes. Many Canadians change their own winter tires. If you know how to change a flat tire, you can change winter tires. You'll need a jack, lug wrench, and breaker bar.

No, winter tire designs and features can vary. They have different tread patterns, use different materials, and are available in a variety of sizes.

Yes. There are many online retailers and tire dealers that sell winter tires online.

Get The Best Winter Tires And Drive With Peace Of Mind This Winter

Installing winters tires will give you the peace of mind you deserve when handling winter weather conditions. Plus, you’ll qualify for a car insurance discount. Drive safe!

Here Are Some Other Helpful Insurance Articles

Car Accident Reporting And What Do After You've Been In An Accident
A Guide to the Ontario Graduated Driver's Licensing System
The Total Cost To Own And Drive A New Car
Average Car Insurance In Ontario By Month, Age And Gender