The Great Canadian Winter Tire Guide

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Article Contents
Picture of By <span>Aren Mirzaian</span>
By Aren Mirzaian

Updated on July 18, 2023

Visit author page
Picture of By <span>Aren Mirzaian</span>
By Aren Mirzaian

Updated July 18, 2023

Visit author page

8 minute read

Article Contents

Canada is home to intense winters with even the most southern parts of the country experiencing intense winters with the snow and ice that comes with them. This means that drivers need to take extra steps in order to drive safely during the winter months.

One of the best ways to stay safe while driving, in the winter months, is to use snow tires. Snow tires help your car grip the ground while driving on snow and ice, and they greatly reduce the chance of you sliding out of control. In addition, many car insurers will offer you a discount for purchasing as set of snow tires.

There are even laws that demonstrate the importance of using winter tires. Quebec requires drivers to use winter tires from the middle of December to the middle of March. This law was passed in 2008, and it actually resulted in the brief phenomenon of people stealing winter tires. This demonstrates the importance of knowing how to shop for winter tires.

What Type Of Winter Tire Is Right For You?

Finding the right winter tires is the first step towards keeping you safe during Canada’s cold winters. It is important to know that not all winter tires are the same, and you will need to find a set of winter tires that are right for you.

Some things you should consider when buying winter tires are your budget, and how much value you plan to get from your winter tires. You also need to consider a number of other factors when purchasing winter tires, such as:

Our Picks For The Best Winter Tires In 2022

A set of high-quality snow tires will save you money and keep you safe. You should do some research on snow tires, and comparing reviews from multiple sites is a good way to find right set of snow tires for you.

Here is a list of five of the best snow tires on the market.

1. Nokian Hakkapeliitta R2

This is a non-studded tire designed to handle winter conditions while offering the benefits of all-season tires. The tires are made out of a harder kind of silicone rubber. This offers excellent handling and gas mileage for a winter tire.

The tires feature an aggressive V-pattern that is designed to funnel slush away from the tire. The Nokian Hakkapeliitta R2 features a raised rim of rubber around the walls of the tire. This is designed to prevent snow from building up on the walls of the tire.

The Nokian Hakkapeliitta R2 has a pocket shaped profile. This ensures that the entire tread surface is in contact with the road. This increases grip while offering excellent handling.

2. Michelin X-Ice Xi3

The Michelin X-Ice Xi3v is one of the most durable winter tires on the market with it coming with a 40,000-mile warranty. The tires feature a V-shaped design that funnels slush away from the tire. This V-shaped design comes with channels that are designed to promote even wear on the tire. This means that drivers can increase the time between rotating the tire.

The Michelin X-Ice Xi3 is a performance tire that is designed to offer the handling and gas mileage benefit that many winter tires are not capable of offering.

3. Continental WinterContact SI

The Continental WinterContact SI is designed to grip your car to the road. The tire features a reversed pattern on each side of the tire. This means that it will offer grip while the car sliding. The Continental WinterContact SI features a unique silicone rubber mixture that is designed to offer extra grip in cold conditions.

The Continental WinterContact SI comes with a mail-in rebate. This can offset the gas mile reductions that come with a tire designed for harsh winter conditions.

4. Dunlop Winter Maxx

The Dunlop Winter Maxx features an aggressive tread that is designed to grip the road. The tread is deep with channels designed to move snow away from the tire. The grip features an asymmetrical design with aggressive teeth that can dig into hard-packed snow.

The Dunlop Winter Maxx is made out of a flexible yet rigid rubber that allows the tire to lay flat against the road surface. This means that the tire can offer grip while maintaining handling. The Dunlop Winter Maxx is designed for light trucks with a focus on allowing for travel over the unplowed road.

5. Nokian Hakkapeliitta 8

The Nokian Hakkapeliitta 8 is one of the best studded winter tires on the market. This tire is designed for drivers who want the most grip from their tires. The Nokian Hakkapeliitta 8 comes with an eco-friendly flange design. This allows the studs to fit tightly in the tire while reducing fuel economy over traditional winter tires.

The tire comes with slush channels that are designed to move snow and ice away from the tire as quickly as possible. This allows the tire to offer amazing handling on unpaved roads. The Nokian Hakkapeliitta 8 is an excellent option for those who live up north, and for people who have an interest in maintaining control while driving on unpaved roads.

Studded Vs Snow Winter Tires

It is common for drivers to not know if they need snow tires or studded tires. The vast majority of drivers will want to purchase winter tires without studs. This is because snow tires should be able to handle winter conditions without the negative features of studded tires.

Studded tires are great for driving on ice, and they are a good option for people who frequently drive on unmaintained roads. However, studded tires literally dig into the road, and this has caused some places to completely ban the use of studded tires. Indoor parking garages generally ban studded tires. In addition, Southern Ontario has banned the use of studded tires.

Things To Consider When Buying Winter Tires

There are some major differences between winter tires. Three features of the most important features are ride quality, longevity, and the warranty. This will keep you safe while ensuring that you get the most value for your money.

Ride Quality

The ride quality for snow tires has long been considered to be less good than traditional all-season tires. However, modern snow tires have greatly improved with the best winter tires offering the same level of ride quality as traditional tires. It is important to look at reviews of snow tires to see if they offer a good ride.

It is also important to consider high performance snow tires. Many performance vehicles are sold with performance tires. These tires tend to be softer than traditional tires. This allows the tires to stick to the road during normal conditions. High performance snow tires will be even softer than traditional tires. This will help to prevent you from sliding when you drive on your snow tires in the same way you are used to driving with your normal tires.


The longevity of snow tires is one of the best ways to save money on your snow tires. This is because it will allow you to avoid purchasing a new set of snow tires. In addition, it will allow you to have snow tires in good condition for longer.

Manufacturers will rate their snow tires for the number of years and miles they should be good for. You should look at the mileage rating to determine how long your snow tires will truly last. You can divide the mileage rating by how much you drive per winter season to determine their longevity.

It is a good idea to start saving for your next set of snow tires. This will allow you to avoid a sudden expense.


Most snow tires will come with a warranty. This warranty is for the number of miles the tires will last. You can generally get a rebate if your snow tires run out before the warranty. This means that a warranty is a reflection of the value you will get from your snow tires.

Look For A Snowflake Inside A Mountain (On The Tire)

You should look for a specific symbol to see if your winter tires are rated for Canadian winters. This symbol is a pictograph of a snowflake inside of a mountain, and it should be located on the sidewall of the tire. This shows that the tire has passed a snow test by “Transport Canada” to see if it can handle medium snow pack conditions.

A tire with this symbol should be able to handle normal Canadian winter driving conditions. It is important to look for this symbol as some manufacturers may simply imply that their tires are good for winter driving. In addition, it is common for people to confuse “all-season” tires for “winter” tires.

When Should I Change Over To Winter Tires?

You should change over to winter tires in anticipation of winter. This will allow you to be ready for the first snowfall or cold temperatures. You should use winter tires whenever the temperature gets below seven degrees Fahrenheit. This is because the soft tread on winter tires will help your car grip to the road.

It is important to start using winter tires when it first starts to get cold. This is because it takes time to put four tires on your vehicle. This results in many drivers procrastinating until it is deep into winter. You should put winter tires on right away as it will allow you to drive safely, and so you can navigate on roads where other drivers may not have winter tires yet.

You should not use your winter tires during the summer months. This is because the soft rubber on winter tires will break down quicker when driving on warm roads. This will result in you wearing down your valuable tires quickly. In addition, winter tires will not offer the same performance features as all-weather tires during hot weather.

Purchase Your Winter Tires Early

You should purchase your winter tires early. This is because many drivers think that they will be able to purchase them anytime. However, many tire shops run out of winter tires early in the season. In addition, manufacturers switch over to producing all-season tires in anticipation of springtime. This means that you may not be able to get the tires you want, have to pay higher prices, and you might simply not be able to get winter tires if you delay purchasing your tires.

In addition, many mechanics will have trouble keeping up with the demand to change tires. This will usually require you to go on a waiting list. You can get your tires changed quicker, and more conveniently if you schedule a tire change early.

Use A Complete Set Of Snow Tires

In the past, drivers use to only put a set of snow tires on either the front or back wheels of the vehicle. This was because drivers assumed that they would only need traction on the wheels that propelled the vehicle. This practice resulted in many vehicles losing control while driving, and it is heavily recommended that drivers do not follow this practice.

A full set of winter tires will allow your car to operate safely. In addition, a full set allows a car’s traction control system to better operate.

How Long Do Winter Tires Last With Proper Care?

It is important to make sure that your winter tires are not worn out. This is because you will not get the benefits from their aggressive tread during weather conditions when you will need your car to stick to the road.

However, there is some debate over how long winter tires will last. There is a difference in the longevity of different kinds of winter tires. Most manufactures will rate their tires as being good for six seasons. However, Transport Canada says that the tires should be good for ten seasons. You should inspect your tires regularly to see if they show signs of damage or wear.

You can check to see how old your winter tires are by reading the ID number on the wall of the tire. The last four digits of the ID number is the year it was manufactured.

How To Maintain Winter Tires

Winter tires are softer than traditional tires with their tread being important to allowing them to function as winter tires. This means that winter tires can wear out quickly, and so it it is important to know how to properly maintain winter tires.

It is important to make sure that your tires are properly inflated. This will help to stop the walls of the tires from touching the road. This is especially important in the winter months as the pressure in tires can change by one pound per square inch for every ten degrees (F) in temperature change.

You should also rotate your winter tires frequently. This is because winter tires are soft, and because driving on snow results in the tires sliding more frequently. Regularly changing your tires will help to change the wear pattern on each individual tire. This will allow your tires to retain their tread for longer.

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