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1/4 Winter Tire Test Automobile Protection Association www.apa.ca

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Published on Oct 19, 2008

Automobile Protection Association Presents the:

Winter tire recommendations for 2008-2009

If you have to drive through winter, in most parts of the country, it is very unlikely that your all-season tires are adequate. On snowy and icy roads, all-season tires provide very limited grip when they are new and this reduced grip further diminishes as the tires age. Even on dry pavement, as the temperature drops, the rubber compound of an all-season tire hardens considerably and provides less grip than a winter tire, which is designed for colder temperatures.

If you wish to learn more about tires, take a look at the Technical Info in our Tire Info section.

The following tires are recommended by the APA based on their reliability and effectiveness on snow and ice. The tires listed here are among the best on the market. Tire evaluations involve many different factors some of which are not obvious, and even arcane. These factors, and the generally greater importance the APA accords to performance on uncleared roads over handling on dry payment account for differences between the APA's recommendations and published reports from other sources.

Passenger Cars

The evaluations that follow were prepared with the assistance of the APAĆ­s network of tire experts as well a team led by auto columnist and tire specialist Michel Poirier-Defoy.

These evaluations are primarily geared toward tires suitable for front-wheel compact and mid-size cars, the dominant vehicle categories in Canada.

The last big winter tire innovation took place at the beginning of the 1990s when the Japanese banned studded tires. Japanese tire makers took a fresh approach by creating rubber formulations that stick to ice and grip snow while maintaining good driving characteristics and quiet running on dry surfaces.

Approved winter tires bear a distinct snowflake and mountain symbol. Four-season M&S (mud and snow) marked tires are not necessarily suited to winter driving.

Finally, the tire industry has reduced the speed ratings of winter tires within the various speed categories. Speed codes are shown by a letter that establishes the maximum speed a tire can maintain without overheating.

Here is a table giving the maximum speeds for each category for non-winter tires.

V 240 km/h
H 210 km/h
T 190 km/h
S 180 km/h
Q 160 km/h

Tire Studs

Tire stud enthusiasts still exist, especially in mountainous regions. We recommend that studs be installed on less expensive tires as it is the studs themselves, not the tire composition, that deliver the desired grip. If you do mostly highway driving, the studs will be of little benefit, and can lead to a loss of grip when braking on wet concrete surfaces.

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