When to Install Winter Tires

Installing Winter Tires

Don't wait until you hit that first patch of black ice or see an early winter fender-bender to install your winter tires. As soon as the tempertature dips below 7°C you should consider changing to winter tires in order to benefit from the increased traction, braking and handling they provide.

Today's winter tires are not only designed to perform in snowy conditions, but perform better on cold, dry pavement, too. And remember, once you can see your breath, it's already time to put on those winter tires. 

Installing All Four Winter Tires

When equipping your vehicle with winter tires, it is important that winter tires are installed in sets of four to help maintain control and stability of your vehicle in icy conditions. Anything less than four winter tires compromises your vehicle’s safety and the overall effectiveness of winter tires.

Installing Two Winter Tires on the Front Only

Never install only two winter tires on the front axle of a vehicle. This is particularly dangerous and could result in a complete loss of control. Installing two winter tires on the front axle only will increase the grip in the front, leading to a false sense of confidence and a decrease grip in the rear, causing oversteer.

Installing Two Winter Tires on the Rear Only

Installing two winter tires on the rear axle only will increase grip in the rear, but may surprise a driver with decreased grip in the front, causing understeer.

When the rear of the vehicle loses traction in a cornering situation, you go off the road backward. When the front of the vehicle loses traction in a cornering situation, you go off the road forward.

Winter Tire Buyer's Checklist

For your own safety and the safety of your passengers, install tires on your vehicle which correspond to the winter driving conditions that are relevant to you. Whether you live in the city or country or whether you drive a large or a small vehicle, winter driving conditions will impact your vehicle's performance.

When choosing a winter tire, consider your driving needs:

  • Do you live where cold temperatures are common?
  • Do you drive on icy or snowy roads?
  • Do you have to use your vehicle every day, regardless of the weather?
  • Do you drive off main streets and roads in winter?
  • Do you drive early in the morning or late at night in winter?
  • Do you drive nearly the same speed regardless of temperature?

Take into consideration how much winter driving you will do, your driving habits, local driving conditions, and the level or safety and performance you expect from your vehicle and its tires.

Talk to your dealer about your driving habits and the winter road conditions you drive in to determine what kind of winter tires are best for you.