The Glengarry News - Glengarry Supplement
When you can see your breath, it is time to install the snow treads
When the thermometer drops to the point where you can see your breath, it is time to install winter tires.
And make sure you put on four snow grips. Ditch the idea that you can ensure good traction if you have two good winter tires on the driving wheels.
In fact, this arrangement can be dangerous. If you have snow grips on a front-wheel drive vehicle, and a different set on the back, the rear end will become unstable when cornering, or when encountering black ice.
All-season tires are not a solution when road surfaces are freezing.
Although they may have snow and mud ratings, four-season treads are not geared for the snow and ice we must contend with in this part of the world.
Winter tires are specifically made to handle snow and ice. For one thing, snow doesn’t stick in the grooves of a winter tire.
Snow grips are made of materials that adhere more tightly to the road surface during cold conditions than summer or allseason treads.
Many studies underline the effectiveness of snow grips.
On all vehicles, winter tires greatly decrease braking distances.
In fact, one study showed that winter tires can reduce your stopping distance by up to 25 per cent, or between two to three car lengths.
Vehicle handling will be improved when tires of the same type, size, speed rating and load index are installed on all four wheels.
View a demonstration video by visiting visit http://www.rubberassociation. ca/ wintertirevideos/wintertirevideos.html.
Tires marked with the pictograph of a peaked mountain with a snowflake meet specific snow traction performance requirements, and have been designed specifically for use in severe snow conditions.
Wide, high performance tires, other than those that are specifically designed as snow tires, are not suitable for use on snow covered roads.
As a tire wears, snow traction is reduced. Tires that are worn close to the tread-wear indicators have reduced traction and should not be used on snowcovered roads or in severe snow conditions.
Proper air pressure extends tread life, improves safety, and reduces fuel consumption.
Tire pressure decreases as temperatures drop, so be sure to check the pressures at least once a month when the tires are cold, preferably after the car has been out all night.
One big factor is “siping,” the process of cutting thin slits across a rubber surface to improve traction in wet or icy conditions. Siping was invented and patented in 1923 under the name of John F. Sipe.
One story has it that in the 1920s, Mr. Sipe worked in a slaughterhouse and grew tired of slipping on wet floors. He found that cutting slits in the tread on the bottoms of his shoes provided better traction than the uncut tread. Another story is that he was a deckhand and wanted to avoid slipping on a wet deck.
Today, sipes are grooves in a tire, allowing the rubber to “bite” into the road.
Siping can affect noise, traction, water-removal and overall driving feel.
Tires that are more suited for ice are made of silica, a compound which keeps the rubber flexible in colder climates. This results in better performance on ice, and it’s also likely that the tread on these tires will help keep noise down.
Tires are the way a car interacts with the road. Even the latest high-tech safety systems, from advanced all-wheel drive to stability control, will be rendered useless if your car has no grip. When the road is all icy, or covered with slippery snow, you need a tire that can deal with those situations.