Changing your tires as the seasons change is an important aspect of vehicle maintenance that ensures optimal safety and performance on the road. 

In this article, we’ll explain when and why you should remove your winter tires in Ontario, Canada. We’ll also address these important questions that you may have as a driver:  

Why it’s important to change your tires as the seasons change 

Different weather conditions demand different types of tires, and using the wrong ones can compromise your ability to control your vehicle and damage your tires. Winter tires, for instance, are designed to offer better traction and stability on icy and snowy roads, while summer tires provide better grip and handling on dry and warm roads. By switching to the appropriate tires for the season, you not only enhance your safety but also prolong the life of your tires and improve fuel efficiency. So, it's crucial to pay attention to the weather in Ontario and change your tires accordingly. 

What happens if I drive on winter tires in the summer? 

Driving on winter tires in the summer is not recommended due to their design and composition, which are meant for colder weather. Winter tires are constructed with softer rubber compounds and deeper treads to provide better traction on snow and ice. These features can cause the tires to wear out quickly and overheat on hot summer roads.  

The softer rubber compounds also make winter tires less stable and less responsive to steering, braking, and acceleration, which can lead to longer stopping distances, reduced fuel efficiency, and compromised handling. Therefore, using winter tires in the summer not only increases the risk of accidents but also reduces their lifespan, making them less effective in the winter. To ensure your safety and get the best performance from your tires, it's highly recommended to switch to summer tires in warm weather. 

What happens if I drive on summer tires in the winter? 

Driving on summer tires in the winter in Ontario, Canada, is not recommended due to the harsh weather conditions prevalent during this season. Summer tires are designed to provide better grip and handling on dry and warm roads, with a harder rubber compound and shallower treads that offer less traction on snow and ice. Driving on summer tires in the winter can lead to reduced control and longer stopping distances, increasing the risk of accidents, particularly in slippery conditions.  

Read more: Why it’s important to regularly replace your car tires: A comprehensive guide

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What’s the difference between winter tires, summer tires, and all-season tires?  

Winter tires, summer tires, and all-season tires are designed to perform differently depending on the weather conditions they will encounter. Here are some of the key differences: 

Winter tires are designed for use in colder weather, typically below 7°C, and are optimized for snow, ice, and slush. They have a softer rubber compound that stays pliable in low temperatures, allowing them to grip the road better. Winter tires also have a tread design with larger blocks and deeper grooves, which provide better traction and evacuate snow and slush. The downside is that winter tires wear out faster on dry roads, and their soft rubber can make them less stable on warmer roads. 

Read more about winter tires: Using Winter Tires in Ontario: Your Questions Answered 

Summer tires are designed for use in warmer weather, typically above 7°C, and are optimized for dry and wet roads. They have a harder rubber compound that offers better durability and a tread design with shallower grooves, which provides better handling and stability on dry roads. Summer tires are less effective in snow, ice, and slush due to their limited traction, and they also wear out faster on colder roads. 

Read more about summer tires: Summer tires 101: Everything you need to know as a driver 

All-season tires are designed to provide a compromise between winter and summer tires, offering decent performance in a wide range of weather conditions. They have a rubber compound that is neither too soft nor too hard and a tread design with intermediate grooves that balance traction in dry and wet conditions. However, all-season tires are not optimized for extreme winter or summer conditions and may not provide the same level of performance as specialized tires. 

When exactly should you take off your winter tires and switch to summer tires in Ontario, Canada?   

In Ontario, Canada, it's recommended to take off winter tires when the temperature consistently stays above 7°C, usually around late March or early April. As the weather warms up, winter tires become less effective and wear out faster on dry and warmer roads, reducing their lifespan and performance. Switching to summer or all-season tires at the right time ensures optimal safety and performance, providing better handling and stability on dry and warmer roads. In addition, leaving winter tires on for too long can also negatively affect fuel efficiency and cause unnecessary wear and tear on the tires 

It's also essential to check the manufacturer's recommended lifespan and tread depth of your tires regularly and replace them when they are worn out or damaged. Taking care of your tires and switching them out seasonally can prolong their lifespan, save you money in the long run, and enhance your safety on the road. 

While winter tires are not legally required in Ontario like they are in some other Canadian provinces, they are very highly recommended for the safety of everyone on the road. 

Should you replace all your car tires at once?   

When it comes to replacing your car's tires, it's generally recommended to replace all four tires at once, rather than just replacing one or two. This is because tires can wear down at different rates, and replacing just one or two tires can cause an imbalance in the vehicle's handling and stability. Uneven tire wear can also lead to issues with alignment, suspension, and braking, which can compromise your safety on the road. Additionally, using tires with different tread depths or designs can affect the performance and longevity of your tires, reducing fuel efficiency and increasing the risk of tire failure.  

By replacing all four tires at once, you ensure that your vehicle has consistent handling, stability, and performance, and you maximize the lifespan of your tires. Of course, there may be exceptions to this rule, such as if you recently replaced one tire and the others are still relatively new, or if your car uses different sized tires on the front and rear axles. In these cases, it's best to consult with a tire professional to determine the best course of action. 

Do new tires need to be broken in?  

When purchasing new summer tires, it is important to remember that they require some time to be worn in properly in order to achieve optimal performance and ensure safe driving on the road. When tires are manufactured, they are coated with a release agent to prevent them from sticking to the molds. This coating can cause the tires to become slippery and affect their handling and braking abilities, particularly in slippery or wet conditions. Breaking in your new tires involves driving them for the first few hundred miles at moderate speeds and avoiding abrupt maneuvers such as hard braking or accelerating. This process helps to remove the release agent and allows the tire's natural grip to take effect. It is also crucial to monitor the tire pressure regularly during the break-in period and adjust it as necessary to ensure even wear and optimal performance. By properly breaking in your new tires, you can maximize their lifespan, enhance their performance, and improve your safety on the road. 

Read more about how to break in your new tires here: Why It's Important to Regularly Replace Your Car Tires: A Comprehensive Guide 

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Where can you go to get your tires changed in Ontario? 

There are many places in Ontario, Canada, where you can get your tires changed, depending on your needs and preferences. One option is to visit a licensed tire shop or dealership that specializes in selling and servicing tires. These establishments often have a wide selection of tires to choose from, and their staff can help you select the best tires for your vehicle and driving needs.  

Another option is to visit a licensed auto repair shop or service center that offers tire change services. These facilities can change your tires and perform other maintenance tasks, such as tire rotations, balancing, and alignments.  

Additionally, many tire retailers and service providers offer mobile tire installation services, where they come to your home or workplace to install your new tires, saving you time and hassle.  

Wherever you go to replace your car tires, it's essential to choose a reputable service provider that uses high-quality equipment and follows safety protocols to ensure that your tires are installed correctly and safely. To compare tire options available to you in Ontario and request a quote, we recommend using this tool from Tire Discounter Group 

What other car maintenance tasks need to be done in the springtime?  

Spring is a great time to perform some important car maintenance tasks to ensure that your vehicle is running smoothly and safely. Here are some important maintenance tasks you should consider performing in springtime:  

  • Have your tires checked and rotated. This can help ensure even wear and extend their lifespan. 
  • Have your brakes and suspension system inspected. Winter conditions can be harsh on these components, and any issues should be addressed before they become a safety hazard.  
  • Have your car's battery, belts, and hoses checked. Winter weather can be tough on these components as well.  
  • Have your car's fluids topped up or changed, including your engine oil, transmission fluid, and brake fluid. This can help keep your car's engine running smoothly and reduce the risk of breakdowns.  

By performing these essential maintenance tasks in the spring, you can help ensure that your car is in top condition and ready for the warmer months ahead. Learn more about the regular car maintenance tasks that you should be doing every season: Car Maintenance Checklist: Routine car maintenance every driver should do  

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While spring is an excellent time to change your tires and perform other essential car maintenance tasks, it's also an excellent time to consider protecting your wallet and your vehicle with an extended car warranty.  

An extended car warranty can provide you with added peace of mind and protection against unexpected repairs and breakdowns, helping you save money and avoid the hassle of dealing with unexpected car repairs.  

GuardTree’s extended used car warranty covers all powertrain parts as well as most mechanical and electric parts (includes parts and labour) and provides Ontario subcribers with additional benefits like roadside assistance, car rental, and trip interruption costs. 

While you’re changing your tires this spring, consider protecting yourself from car breakdown and repair costs with GuardTree. 

Check out what we cover and use our price calculator to decide if an extended car warranty is right for you. 

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Disclaimer: This post is to be used for informational purposes only and does not constitute mechanical or other professional advice as it relates to your vehicle. Each person must consult a qualified professional with respect to matters referenced in this post. GuardTree Inc. assumes no liability whatsoever for actions taken (or not taken) in reliance upon the information contained herein.