Winter is here, which means that the snow is beginning to come down, the roads are becoming icy, and driving is starting to become increasingly difficult.
Winter driving is inherently risky, so we recommend taking all of the necessary precautions to ensure the highest level of vehicle safety possible.
Winter vehicle maintenance is just as important as Spring maintenance. Before the first snow fall arrives, we suggest examining the basic features on your car closely. This includes checking your tire pressure, lighting, defroster, battery, gas levels, and washer fluid. Creating an emergency kit is also a great step. A full vehicle winter maintenance checklist can be found here in our previous blog. For more advanced car concerns, such as issues relating to your vehicle’s brakes or steering, consider booking an appointment at the nearest Mufflerman.
Perhaps the biggest thing that you can do to ensure your safety, as well as the safety of the passengers riding in your vehicle, is to purchase winter tires.
At The Mufflerman, we often have customers ask us if we believe Winter tires are worth the cost. Our simple answer? Yes.
Winter tires provide a lengthy list of benefits, including improved traction, reduced insurance rates, and less build-up of snow on your tires. When the weather reaches 7 degrees Celsius or below, the rubber that all-season or summer tires are made of begins to harden. This significantly reduces the tire’s ability to grip and obtain traction on the road. Winter tires, however, are designed to provide flexibility in negative zero environments that reach temperatures as low as -30 degrees celsius. In many instances, winter tires can be the difference between braking safely or sliding uncontrollably. For a comprehensive list of the benefits of winter tires, check out our previous blog here.
In the last five years, the number of drivers using winter tires has risen substantially — and this isn’t a coincidence. Drivers are beginning to understand the benefits of winter tires, as well as the added safety advantages that they provide.
According to The Tire and Rubber Association of Canada’s 2019 Consumer Winter Tire Study, nearly 69 percent of Ontarians use winter tires on their vehicles. Moreover, 75 percent of Canadian drivers, outside of Quebec where Winter tires are required by law, now ride on Winter tires. This number has increased significantly over the last few years, increasing by more than 51 percent from 2014.
Of these drivers opting for Winter tires, 80 percent say that winter tires have saved them from a dangerous driving situation, such as loss of vehicle control or a collison.
Contrarily, among those not using winter tires, the study found that 51 percent believe that all-season tires are ‘good enough’, 18 percent stated that they don’t drive often in the winter, and 17 percent responded that winter tires are too expensive to purchase.
On a regional level, the study also found that usage is 59 percent in Manitoba and Saskatchewan, 91 percent in Atlantic Canada, and 63 percent in Alberta.
Ultimately, the benefits that winter tires provide are undeniable. Unlike all-season tires, winter tires are not produced year round. This means that retailers can run out during peak times. We recommend purchasing your winter tires sooner rather than later. If you purchase Winter tires, do not install them on your own unless you are an experienced auto specialist. Winter tires must be placed on a vehicle properly or serious damage can occur. When removing the wheels from a vehicle, you need to ensure that the wheel hubs are properly cleaned before putting them back on, and that the wheels are properly torqued to manufacturers specifications.
To ensure that your vehicle is Winter driving ready, contact The Mufflerman today. You can also visit one of our 12 Mufflerman locations across Ontario. We proudly serve London, Chatham, Sarnia, St.Thomas, Strathroy, Woodstock, Stratford, Brantford, Kitchener and Cambridge.