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November 07, 2008

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Jon Azzopardi

While I agree that the use of winter tires isn't a bad idea in Ontario, I am glad that it hasn't been made a law like in Quebec. There are many variables with today's cars, and I honestly feel that not ALL cars need snow tires. I have used both types of tires in the winter: knobby "No Seasons" and a set of snow tires on my personal car (that takes skinny 185mm wide tires). I am the type of person that learns the limits of my tires, and I find that the snow tires just allow me to drive faster in snow, while maintaining the feeling of being locked in. Ultimately all tires have a point at which they will break loose, and if you drive more aggressively because you have snows, you are pretty well in the same boat (if not worse) as driving calmly with a good set of all seasons.

An important thing to mention is the popularity of snow tires has increased due to the fact that new cars are equipped with wider than ever tires. Manufacturers are concerned with marketing a car that rolls quietly and smoothly while providing loads of dry/warm road grip. To achieve this, snow traction is sacrificed. In these cases you are pretty well forced to get a set of dedicated snow tires for use in the winter months.

But what about your old aunt that drives an older car that doesn't require super wide sport tires. Let's say she drives a total of 6,000 kms a year. If she were to buy snow tires it would take 20 years for them to wear out. Both winter and summer sets would dry out before they wear out. Should she be forced to dish out the $800 or so for snow tires/wheels?... I think she will more than get by with what has worked well for her in the last 40 years of driving.

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