Winter Tires in Ontario: The Ultimate Buying Guide

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No matter where in the province you live, you’re guaranteed to benefit from having winter tires in Ontario. Read on to explore our ultimate guide to buying winter tires in Ontario, and contact the experts at Hansma Automotive for all your tire needs.

Winter Tires in Ontario: The Ultimate Buying Guide

As another winter hits, what do you need to know about buying winter tires, Ontario residents? Allow us to fill you in.

Winter Tire Regulations in Ontario

As an Ontario resident, you are not required to install winter tires. Quebec is the only Canadian province requiring winter tires on all vehicles, with fines can ranging from $200-$300, plus fees for noncompliance, according to the Globe and Mail. Additionally, British Columbia requires either winter tires or all-seasons with the M+S (mud and snow) symbol on most highways from Oct. 1 to March 31. The fine there is $121.

The Ontario government lists winter tires as a way to get prepared for driving challenges and staying safe, with the following benefits:

  • improving traction and control in frost, snow, and icy conditions

  • shortening braking distances by as much as 25%.

Winter tires could also get you a discount on your auto insurance – ask your insurance provider for details.

Ensure safety by installing winter tires, Ontario.

Ensure safety by installing winter tires, Ontario.

When Should Your Winter Tires Be Installed?

“Don't wait until you hit that first patch of black ice or see an early winter fender-bender to install your winter tires,” according to the Tire and Rubber Association of Canada. “As soon as the temperature dips below 7°C you should consider changing to winter tires in order to benefit from the increased traction, braking and handling they provide.”

Today's winter tires are not only designed to perform in snowy or icy conditions, but also to perform better on cold, dry pavement as well. A good rule of thumb is to get your winter tires installed when you begin to see your breath outside.

Be sure to install all four winter tires at once to help maintain control and stability of your vehicle in icy conditions. Anything less than four winter tires compromises your vehicle’s safety and the overall effectiveness of winter tires. Any time you get new tires installed, they should also be balanced to prevent shaking of the steering wheel when driving.



Which Winter Tires Should You Be Using?

There’s no shortage of options for winter tires in Ontario, as a plethora of retailers would be more than happy to have you invest in their product. For the purpose of this guide, we will refer to a recent list published by Cansumer, urging us “it is important to remember that no specific tire brand or model is the absolute right choice for every vehicle and every situation.” Nevertheless, here’s a look at the top 5 brands of winter tires you should be using:

  1. Nokian Hakkapelitta R2 - “This is a non studded tire that offers superb traction, decent fuel saving, rolling resistance and top notch safety.”

  2. Bridgestone Blizzak WS 80 - “The Blizzak was introduced in Canada over 2 decades ago and remains one of the better winter tire options for icy roads and conditions. It was one of the first tires to be manufactured with a special rubber compound that offered superior handling especially on ice covered and hard packed surfaces.”

  3. Michelin X-Ice Xi3 - Listed as the “best value tire,” you will not have to break the bank for the Michelin X-Ice even though traction and acceleration stack up with the competition.

  4. Continental WinterContact SI - “The SI (Snow and Ice) has the added feature of Polar Plus Technology that uses special additives to provide enhanced grip on snow.”

  5. Gislaved Nord*Frost 100 - “Gislaved is the exclusive winter tire choice of Volvo and being manufactured in Sweden, it is a favored tire in the European market due to overall winter performance.”

For the bottom 5 options on their top 10 list, click here.

Good traction is the hallmark of an effective winter tire.

Good traction is the hallmark of an effective winter tire.

Where Can You Get Your Winter Tires Installed? Trust Hansma!

When it comes to getting your winter tires installed in Ontario, it’s possible to tackle this task on your own, but we recommend that you trust a nearby, reliable and trustworthy automotive service technician to make sure everything is tight and balanced. For tips on how to find one, read our previous article on “How Can An Automotive Service Technician Help You?

If you live anywhere in the Kitchener area, we recommend you trust the experts at Hansma Automotive to do the job for you. We can mount and balance the tires, dispose of your old summer tires if you won’t be reusing them, and provide a wheel alignment. Again, snow tires should only be installed in sets of four. For information about how to choose the correct tire size for your vehicle, read our post entitled, "What Do The Numbers On Tires Mean? - Tire Sizes Explained."

You may also be interested in reading our article Friendly Tire Change in Kitchener Waterloo which further talks about why you should change your tires for winter and summer driving and when is the best time to do that.

"A few months back I was in a tight spot...I needed to commute to Toronto for work the next day and we had just gotten a down pour of snow and ice and I had not had a chance to get my winter tires put on. I started calling everyplace I could think of to try and get my snow tires installed but no one would give me the time of day (it turns out lots of people had not gotten their tires on yet)...then I called Hansma. Hansma got me in, changed my tires and put me back on the road in time for work the next day. The service, the price, and the work was all top notch. Thanks, Guys." - Joshua

Read more testimonials here.

Posted on November 9, 2018 .