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Ready for winter | Winter tires: beyond shape and color



A winter tire can be recognized by its pictogram illustrating a mountain with a snowflake tattooed on its side. For many motorists, this is enough. Therefore, the brand, the model or the advances that characterize it have little influence in the purchasing decision, laments Éric Dedoyard, president of Yokohama Canada. “Price remains the determining factor for consumers. »

For the most part, the latter attach very relative importance to expertise, investments in research and development, manufacturing processes or the longevity of tires.

Although it is still round and black, winter tires are constantly evolving to meet increasingly diverse needs. “Take the SUV segment, for example, which continues to multiply subcategories [tourisme, sport, tout-terrain] and the dimensions of the erasers which frequently reach 22 in. in diameter. And that’s just SUVs. The growing proportion of electric vehicles represents another axis of development for manufacturers. “These must correspond to the specific characteristics of these heavier vehicles [NDLR : flancs plus rigides], while ensuring that the tires do not impede their fuel efficiency. »


Faced with the sharp segmentation of car manufacturers and the criteria sought by consumers, the tire will always remain a compromise. In the case of winter tires, some excel on ice, others on snow. But a good winter tire will above all allow you to make the most of your vehicle’s multiple driving aids (traction control, stability corrector, all-wheel drive, etc.).

How to distinguish the good winter tire from the chaff?

To help you, a call to the dealer is not ugly. Car manufacturers approve tires for each of their vehicles. Here is a first track to follow. Internet forums are another.

A winter tire may offer excellent performance on vehicle A, but not necessarily on model B.

You can never ask too many questions, but in an ideal world, show up at a retailer (better to visit two or three) with a full list of criteria. All the details matter. The laxity of the municipality to clear snow from “your” street at the ski resort you frequent. Another piece of advice: don’t be instinctively seduced by promotions.

another expense

Given the design (and sometimes the fragility) of the rims of modern vehicles, it is better to budget for steel wheels. Not very aesthetic, no doubt, but more robust. These make it possible to eliminate a recurring expense (tyre changes).

Another expense to consider: the purchase of hubcaps. Their importance is not so much aesthetics, but their ability to protect the bolts from the weather, if only to facilitate their loosening in the event of a puncture, a problem generally more frequent during the winter season.

Here’s another differentiating factor: what warranty comes with your winter tires?

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