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Winter Tires in Alberta

Winter Tires in Alberta

Investing in a set of quality winter tires is a great decision if you live in the province of Alberta.


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Investing in a set of quality winter tires is a great decision if you live in the province of Alberta. Although winter tires are not legally required by the provincial government, Alberta Transportation does recommend that drivers use winter tires for the superior capabilities they offer. As you may or may not know, all-season and summer tires are only designed to perform in mild wet and dry conditions. Specifically, all-season tires perform well in temperatures of 7 degrees Celsius and above but lose efficacy in colder temperatures. In contrast, winter tires are specifically engineered to handle extreme winter conditions. This means sub-zero temperatures, ice, slush, and snowfall. Most would agree that the province of Alberta, including the major cities of Calgary and Edmonton, experience winter weather that falls more on the harsh end of the spectrum than the mild end. Thus, if you plan on driving regularly through the colder months, winter tires are highly recommended.

What is the difference between All-Season Tires and Winter Tires?

There are several key differences between all-season tires and winter tires. First, when it comes to tread design, the two types of tires have different features. All-season tires usually have a finer tread pattern that is smooth and straight, as well as a hard tread compound. Oppositely, winter tires are made of soft tread rubber and feature a wide, blocky tread with lots of sipes and biting edges. Due to the unique tread features of all-season and winter tires, they offer different capabilities. All-season tires offer a quiet, comfortable ride with excellent traction and steering in a range of mild weather. They will perform well on a hot summer’s day in July and on a rainy day in October. This is because the smooth, straight tread pattern on the tire can cling to dry asphalt, as well as excavate water from rainfall. However, the features that make all-season tires the tire of choice for spring, summer, and fall driving become a liability in the winter. Some manufacturers have even started rebranding their all-season tires as three-season tires because the simple fact of the matter is that they don’t perform well in the winter conditions that most Canadian cities face. All-season tires might be an adequate year-round option for somewhere with mild weather like Vancouver, but for cities like Calgary or Edmonton that see negative temperatures in the double digits for months on end, they simply do not provide the necessary traction. In contrast, winter tires provide drivers with superior cornering, steering, and handling, as well as grip and traction, no matter the severity of the weather. Even on fresh snow that has yet to be plowed, the unique tread design of winter tires will ensure they can still grip the road. Winter tires perform best in sub-zero temperatures. That is why they are created out of a soft rubber because such a rubber will maintain its flexibility even in colder temperatures. Ultimately, all-season tires are a reliable option from April to October in most parts of Alberta, but it’s a good idea to swap them out in the colder months for your safety and the safety of others.

When Should I Change to Winter Tires?

The answer to this question changes from year to year. This is because the decision to swap out your all-season or summer tires for winter tires comes down to the temperature, not a specific month or date each year. Winter tires should be installed when temperatures are consistently below 7 degrees Celsius. As all Albertans know, fall is a particularly unpredictable month. Going by temperature ensures you don’t swap out your tires too early or too late. Generally speaking, you can expect to install your winter tires in October or November and to remove them sometime in March or April.

Why You Shouldn’t Use All-Season Tires in Winter

The number one reason you shouldn’t use all-season tires during an Alberta winter is safety. All-season tires are simply not built to perform in extreme winter weather. This means that every time you drive in snowy or icy conditions with all-season tires on your vehicle, you’re taking a risk. The hard tread compound of all-season tires is not suited for sub-zero temperatures and ignoring this will not only cause the tire to wear down faster but will make your vehicle less stable to drive. Cornering, braking, and accelerating are all more difficult in winter when using all-season tires. In addition, the fine tread of all-season tires is designed to excavate water only, not slush or snow. This will make you more prone to skidding or hydroplaning should you find yourself driving over a patch of black ice or on a snowy road that has yet to be plowed. To keep yourself and other drivers safe, and to extend the life of your all-season tires, we highly recommend that all Alberta drivers invest in winter tires during the colder months.

Choose Winter Tires at Tire Warehouse

Make all your winter tire dreams come true at Tire Warehouse. Headquartered right here in Edmonton, Alberta, we are the #1 online tire provider in Canada and have been serving Albertans for over 40 years. Tire Warehouse carries a wide range of winter tires to suit all vehicles, from compact cars to pick-up trucks. We have also partnered with many of the leading tire brands in the world, which means customers can have their choice of Bridgestone, Toyo, Dick Cepek, Firestone, GT Radial, Radar, and more. To make your shopping experience even better, Tire Warehouse offers fast delivery and $5 shipping per tire to anywhere in Alberta. Tires can be delivered directly to your home or the preferred installer of your choice. We even offer a mobile installation service, where a professional installer will install and balance your new tires on the spot. Contact Tire Warehouse today to speak to an expert and learn more about our winter tire offerings in Alberta. If you want to know more about pressure tires click here

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