Monday, June 17, 2024
NewsIt’s October. It’s Time to Think About Winter Tires

It’s October. It’s Time to Think About Winter Tires

If you drive a vehicle and live above the Snowbelt, don’t be lazy, get cracking on your winter tires now


  • Don’t wait until November to book an appointment or start shopping.

  • Good winter tires are without a doubt the best safety feature.

  • Some tire sizes are extremely hard to come by – best order now.


2020 was bad and 2021 wasn’t exactly any better. If anything, we learned that cars, SUVs, and trucks can be hard to come by, both new and used. The countless supply-chain issues, from chips to raw materials, along with the ongoing pandemic, have made getting what we want and need relatively complicated. This includes new tires.

Nitto SN3 Winter Tires | Photo: Olivier Delorme

Last spring, I was in line for new Hankook tires to review over the following summer. Discussions began in early spring however I only took delivery of the tires in mid-July. Even now, some tires brands and tire sizes are more difficult to come by than others. This could literally put a dent in your winter travel plans.

It’s the same story every fall. The weather’s still nice overall though mornings are getting chilly. We know we should get cracking on the winter tires, but actual winter is still weeks away… As stated, this time around, you may not be able to buy much-needed new tires as limited inventories will quickly drop to zero. And this is especially true if you drive a popular vehicle like a Honda Civic, Toyota RAV4, or a Ford F-150.

Although low inventories are a good reason to act now, the main reason to get your tires now rather than later is safety.

2020 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 | Photo: Chevrolet

As a reminder, here’s a golden rule when it comes to tires: Only a proper winter tire provides drivers across the country with the necessary traction, handling, and stopping abilities for all-around safer driving conditions. And this applies as soon as ambient temperatures dip below 7 degrees Celsius, or 45 degrees Fahrenheit.

Finally, here are a few final notes to consider before selecting your next set of winter tires: Keep in mind that there is a direct correlation between price, performance, longevity, and overall satisfaction with the product. A cheaper “bargain” tire may need to be replaced sooner and suffer diminished performance even though it still looks fine.

Using Winter Tires in Summer
Winter Tires

Here are some suggestions for the best-selling Toyota RAV4 (17-inch tires) listed in alphabetical order:

Bridgestone Blizzak DM-V2 – Quiet, soft compound, great all-round performance

Dunlop Winter Maxx SJ8 – Good bang for the $$, performs well in deep snow and slush

Michelin X-Ice Snow SUV – Very good road manners – feels like an all-season, good performer but with reduced thread depth

Nokian Hakkapeliitta R3 SUV – Aggressive tread pattern, improved snow traction over the previous

Pirelli Winter Ice Zero FR – Reasonably priced, compound resists temperature changes (gets more flexible in the cold, firms up when warmer), good overall traction (this is a crossover or 4-season tire

Toyo GSi-6 LS – Good durability, deep thread, very good in snow and slush

Yokohama Ice Guard G075 – Good all-round tire, softer compound, quiet


Here are some suggestions for the best-selling Honda Civic (16-inch tires) listed in alphabetical order (individual descriptions from above are nearly identical):

Bridgestone Blizzak WS90 – Quiet, soft compound, great all-round performance

Dunlop Winter Maxx 2 – Good bang for the $$, performs well in deep snow and slush

Michelin X-Ice Snow – Excellent overall winter traction, not the most affordable but worth the money 

Nokian Hakkapeliitta R3 – Aggressive tread pattern, improved snow traction, generally excellent performance

Pirelli Winter Ice Zero FR – Reasonably priced, compound resists temperature changes (gets more flexible in the cold, firms up when warmer), good overall traction (this is a crossover or 4-season tire)

Toyo GSi-6 HP – Good durability, deep thread, very good in snow and slush

Yokohama Ice Guard IG53 – Good all-round tire, softer compound, quiet

Nokian Hakkapeliitta R3 Winter Tire Test Wrap-up

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Matt St-Pierre
Matt St-Pierre
Trained as an Automotive Technician, Matt has two decades of automotive journalism under his belt. He’s done TV, radio, print and this thing called the internet. He’s an avid collector of many 4-wheeled things, all of them under 1,500 kg, holds a recently expired racing license and is a father of two. Life is beautiful. Send Matt an emai

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