When Should You Put on Winter Tires?

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In Canada, our weather can be just a bit unpredictable.

Due to that unpredictable weather and temperatures, drivers aren’t sure when they should switch from summer to winter tires.

We’ve got good news for you: there’s an actual temperature that will tell you when it’s time to make that change - no matter how odd Mother Nature gets.

You Should Put on Your Winter Tires When It’s Below 7°C

When the temperature dips below 7°C (approximately 44.5°F), it’s time to put on your winter tires. Based on average temperatures in Ottawa, this occurs between late September and early October.

When you see that temperature reading, it’s time to make your appointment.

The Rubber in Summer/All-Season Tires Starts to Harden in the Cold

Winter tires are specifically designed with a rubber composition that performs best at temperatures below 7°C and will help improve your traction, braking, and overall vehicle handling.

This is the opposite of summer or all-season tires. When the temperature reaches below 7°C, the rubber will actually start to harden. The easiest way to think of it is water that’s beginning to freeze.

The hardening rubber makes your tires ways less effective on the road - you’ll lose traction and control when you drive, putting your safety and the safety of other drivers at risk.

Along with changing your tire, it’s important to practice safe winter driving techniques >

Myth: Winter Tires Are Just for Snow

Many people think that you don’t really need your winter tires until snow flies - they’ll even call them snow tires.

In reality, winter tires increase your traction and mobility on ice and slush as well as snow. That’s why you need them earlier in the fall. If it rains in the evening and the temperature drops below freezing, you’ll find yourself in an icy situation with your summer tires.

In addition, if you do wait until the first snowfall to make an appointment, it’ll most likely take a few days to get an appointment - meaning your car and tires won’t be safe in the meantime.

We Have Tire Storage to Make Changing with the Seasons Convenient

At Bemac, we have a tire storage facility that eliminates the need to haul your tires around and find a place to store them.

All you’ll have to do each fall and spring is make your appointment with us. We’ll swap your tires, and make sure you’re fully prepared for Ottawa’s driving conditions.

Do you need new winter tires? We’ve got a fantastic selection of tires we trust for Ottawa winters, and we can walk you through all your options.

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