The colder season is quickly approaching Edmonton! Get your jackets out, get your home ready, and make sure your Fords are ready too. Equip your Fords with winter tires so that you can be sure your vehicle is ready for the harsh Albertan climate. Let’s discuss below how winter tires can help your car, truck, or SUV.
How do they work?
Winter tires deliver superior braking and cornering in winter temperatures and conditions: ice, snow, slush, and even cold, dry asphalt. Winter tires aren’t just better in the snow; they are made to work better in Alberta’s cold climate. When the thermometer dips to 7°C or lower, all-season tires begin to lose their road-holding ability, even on dry pavement. However, winter tires are specifically made to endure the cold.
What is the difference between winter tires and summer tires?
At first glance, an all-season tire might not look that different from a winter tire, but everything about a winter tire—from the materials it’s made from to its design details—is backed by science. Every winter tire has features engineered to work to keep you safe on winter roads.
Let’s start with the material these tires are made of. Winter tires are made with a different kind of rubber compound than that of regular or all-season tires. This helps them grip the road and plow through the snow with ease. Winter tires need to stay soft and flexible so that they can grip the road in cold temperatures. When the temperature hits 7° C, all-season tires become hard, like a hockey puck sliding on ice, which greatly decreases their functionality. Winter tires however bend and grip snow like the soles of a winter boot. They contain silica, which gives them friction and gives the rubber an edge to hold on to during the season of frosty roads. In some instances, winter tires can be studdable to give your vehicle an extra push to conquer the winter roads of Edmonton, but many studless tires have a compound that contains crystal-like particles that act as built-in studs to perform the same purpose.
Now let’s move on to the design features that set winter tires apart from their summer counterparts. Hairline cuts in the tread of your tire displace water and grip snow. Winter tires have thousands of these tiny crevices cut into the rubber of your winter tire, called siping, so that you have the traction needed on ice and snow. On a summer tire, snow clogs the channels and creates a slippery surface for winter roads. This not only decreases its efficiency, but it makes your drive much more unsafe. A winter tire’s siping will sometimes also contain teeth so that even as the tread wears, the siping remains effective.
Tread patterns are also what make your winter tires. Winter tires have a huskier look in part because of tread design. Winter tire manufacturers have a range of tread designs, from asymmetrical and arrowhead to v-shaped and staggered shoulders. Each is meant to give you more traction by pushing away slush and snow so that you can brake and corner safely. All-season tires or summer tires have a closed tread pattern for pushing away water and gripping roads through spring and summer. When faced with winter conditions, closed tread patterns can quickly clump with ice and snow, preventing the tire from properly gripping the road.
How much do winter tires cost?
Winter tires cost from $100 up to $450 per tire. It, of course, depends on vehicle type, tire material, and size. Although the price may seem intimidating at first, winter tires are a sound investment when it comes to road safety. Driving with your all-season tires year round wear them out significantly, making them less efficient.