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Winter tire selection

Tips for selection and installation


December 9, 2012
by Fleet Management staff

If your fleet’s not already equipped with winter tires, the CAA in Quebec has some tips to help with selection
and installation.

  • All four tires on a vehicle must be the same (manufacturer, tread pattern, size). Ideally, they should all have about the same degree of wear. If they don’t—and this is contrary to a popular misconception regarding front-wheel-drive vehicles—the two tires with the least wear should be in the rear to ensure stability.
  • Install winter tires as soon as overnight temperatures dip below freezing. At this point in autumn, even if the temperature during the day rises above 0°C, there is no need to worry about premature wear. What’s more, winter tires are a better choice than all-season models in “black ice” conditions: all-seasons gradually lose their elasticity, and therefore don’t grip as well, once the temperature drops to 7°C or lower. The legal requirement to equip a vehicle with winter tires in Quebec is effective December 15. However, CAA-Quebec stresses the importance of making an appointment right away, to be sure of running on the right tires for the right season.
  • Many motorists choose winter tires of a smaller diameter than the factory-installed ones, so that they’ll have more choice and, in some cases, pay less. While that decision isn’t completely inadvisable, they should at least check with an expert to make sure there are no unpleasant surprises in store—especially if it is a late-model vehicle. For example, smaller tires could affect the parameters of a vehicle’s onboard computer, and in turn interfere with proper operation of the brakes. Speedometer/odometer accuracy can also be affected.
  • As part of purchasing or leasing a new car, it’s possible to negotiate a set of winter tires included in the sale price. If you do this, however, be sure that the tires the dealer is offering are a match for the road conditions most often encountered in your or your fleet’s travels.