3 Reasons Winter Tires are a Smart Investment

If you’ve ever owned a vehicle, you know how expensive it can be. In fact, according to a
Global News Article, the average yearly cost of owning a vehicle in Canada is between $8,600 and $13,000. This cost depends on several factors like the vehicle’s type, year, insurance, gas mileage, etc. Purchasing, storing and switching out winter tires each year does add slightly to this cost upfront.

With winter on our doorstep, many of us are flocking to have winter tires put on our cars. If you were considering skipping out on winter tires, we don’t recommend it, especially for long Canadian winters. Purchasing winter tires does have an additional upfront cost, but is it worth it? Ultimately, there are several benefits of owning winter tires that outweigh the costs.

For example, The Tire and Rubber Association of Canada reports that winter tires:
  • Prevent collisions and fatalities.
  • Reduce hospital emergency costs.
  • Reduce emergency responses during winter.
  • Lower insurance payouts (both size and frequency).
  • Reduce traffic congestion.

We’ll go into more detail on some of the main benefits below.

Improved Safety

Safety should be priority number one for everyone on the road. New all-season tires can provide decent traction during the winter. Still, generally, their performance is only equivalent to half-worn snow tires. On the other hand, Half-worn all-season tires are unsuitable for winter driving in snow and on icy roads. Using them puts yourself and others at risk every time you drive in poor conditions.

Winter tires have superior tread patterns and are made of softer rubber compounds designed for traction on ice and snow. These two factors dramatically reduce your vehicle’s braking distance when you desperately need to stomp on your brakes. As you know, this can make all the difference in avoiding a severe collision. 

Consider two vehicles that are on a collision course for each other. The difference in braking distance if they have winter tires compared to if they didn’t is significant enough to determine if an accident will occur. Having this extra peace of mind makes winter tires worth the investment.

Winter Tires Help Keep you on the Road

If you’ve never used winter tires on your vehicle, you probably know what it’s like to be stuck on the side of the road waiting for help to arrive. You may have even gotten stuck at home when trying to leave for work in the morning. This could’ve been due to manoeuvrability or hydroplaning.

Time is everyone’s most valuable resource, and a lot of it can be saved with winter tires. Due to improved traction, they significantly reduce your vehicle’s risk of becoming stuck in snow and slush. You won’t always have a friend or family member around to help at a moment’s notice. When you can’t liberate your vehicle from being stuck alone, you may need to pay for roadside assistance.

Additionally, think about how much you make in a day of working. If you miss just one or two days of work each winter, it can add up. Suddenly, $500+ for a new set of winter tires doesn’t seem too expensive. What if you became stuck on the way to a family event like a wedding? Special occasions like these can’t even be measured in dollars.

Help Avoid Accidents and Minimize Insurance Payments

Another great benefit of having winter tires is the savings from insurance claims and policy costs. A $500 accident deductible represents approximately half of what you could have spent on winter tires. What’s more, insurance premiums can be affected (depending on fault). Other costs may arise in connection with time lost from work, personal injury and recovery. In the end, you could pay as much as you would have for winter tires – and still be in a position of needing them.

Even if you manage to avoid accidents, you can still save a lot on your insurance policy. Insurance companies in Ontario are obligated by law to offer a winter tire discount of around 5% to all drivers. The average cost of car insurance in Ontario is $1505 per year. This rate varies on a wide variety of factors, and one of them is winter tires.

For example, suppose you were paying the provincial average of $1505 and decided to invest in winter tires. In that case, you could save $75 with the 5% discount. Multiply this by the minimum of six seasons manufacturers promise you’ll get from them, and you get $450 in total savings. Keep in mind that winter tires can last up to ten seasons.

The numbers don’t lie. Through this 5% discount alone, you can make back a large portion of the cost on a set of winter tires.

Honourable Mentions – More Benefits

This article would become a short novel if we listed all the benefits of winter tires. Some additional benefits that didn’t make our top 3 are:

  • They extend the life of all-season tires
  • They provide you and your passengers extra peace of mind
  • Allows you to drive in Quebec and parts of British Columbia where winter tires are mandatory by law

A surprising stat from The Tire and Rubber Association of Canada’s 2017 report states that only 59% of Ontario’s drivers use winter tires. With all of the above benefits in mind, consider the vast amount of time, money, and risk to save if we improved this number.

After factoring in safety, time, insurance costs and savings, it’s clear that winter tires are a smart investment for your vehicle.