I didn’t know until recently that winter tires aren’t just about better control in snowy conditions. I had no clue that it was as much about temperature as it is about Mother Nature’s winter gift.
We’ve considered getting winter tires for at least the last six years, coinciding with my first pregnancy when mama-bear instincts kicked into high gear. But we never did it, and last year we found that our all-weather Sailun Tires did a really solid job throughout what was actually a pretty winter-y winter.
But when PTPA offered a few of its Blogaholics the opportunity to try out a set of IceBlazers winter tires from Sailun — the only tire brand that’s PTPA-approved — we decided it would be ideal for Big B’s truck. He commutes about 75 kilometres each way to work up to six days a week, and trucks are notorious for sliding around in the back-end when the snow, ice and slush is out in full force.
Let’s just say that when he’s taken the kids out in crappy weather with the tires that came with his used GMC Sierra, my heart raced until they all returned home in one piece.
I’m a worry wart. That’s just who I became the second a human came out of my body. So safety is about the only thing I care about when it comes to our vehicles. I count on good brakes, working airbags and the right tires to keep my precious cargo safe.
It’s impossible to tell you much about how our new Sailun Tires perform in the snow. It’s November 22 and we haven’t seen a spec of the white stuff. But it’s been darn cold some days and we’ve had our fair share of rain in the six weeks we’ve had these tires installed. I made it a point to drive Big B’s truck several times during the last month and a half, and I notice a huge difference in wet conditions.
These Ice Blazers grip the road much better than whatever brand he had on before these. I might even finally be moved to give in to winter tires on my CUV, too. I feel really confident braking quickly in the truck now, and even in heavy rain I didn’t find any fish-tailing, which has been a real problem in the past when I’ve driven the Sierra.
Look, I know about as much about tires as I did the last time I wrote about our Sailun experience: zilch. I’ve read all about the zig-zag sipes, angled grooves, specially blended Silica-Reinforced Formula and variable pitch sequence, but even as I type those things it sounds in my brain like Charlie Brown’s teachers.
I know tires like I know red wine. I know what I like. And I like these tires. They should give me fewer heart palpitations when Big B takes the kids out for a drive. That’s good for all of us.
Here’s what I’ve learned about winter tires preparing for this post:
- Tread design is important; you want wider treads to push snow and slush as far away from the tire as possible
- The rubber on winter tires is actually softer than on all-season tires, which makes sense because rubber gets harder as temps drop. In fact, below 7-degrees Celsius the rubber on your all-weather tires can be far too hard to work optimally
- Not all winter tires are created equally; some don’t perform as well in rain as they do on snow and ice; depending on where you live, you may need to look for one that can handle both well like the Ice Blazers. We live in Ontario, which is unpredictable at best. You can use something like Sailun’s performance grid under each winter tire’s description (see WST1, WSL2 and WST2LT)
If you’re concerned about the additional cost associated with winter tires, I love Gail Vaz-Oxlade’s logic: “Winter tires are nowhere near as expensive as an accident.” And I’d take that one step farther and ask, what your family’s safety is worth?
If I do the math and give up two grande lattés a week, over the course of a year I would be close to paying for a new set of winter tires. I’d probably lose 15 pounds, too.
From where I’m sitting, I’d call that a win-win.
Here’s another WIN: win a set of Ice Blazers from Sailun Tires! Enter here until Dec. 6, 2013:
DISCLAIMER: This post is sponsored by PTPA Media and Sailun Tires, but all opinions expressed are completely my own. I wouldn’t have it any other way. Please note that PTPA is co-ordinating this giveaway.