Preparing your car for winter with winter tires


Every fall season, drivers all over Canada prepare for the switch to winter. Depending on what part of the country you live in, this could mean anything from icy roads and snowy windshields to highly treacherous driving conditions. This kind of threatening weather can really compromise the grip of your tires. And without grip, some of your car's critical safety functions like all-wheel drive and anti-lock brakes may not perform correctly.

Approaching the winter season, it's not only a wise decision to change over to a set of winter tires, but it's also a responsible one. If you attempt to face the unpredictable conditions of winter without the proper tires to handle the job, you could be putting your safety and the safety of others around you in jeopardy. This is why many auto insurance companies will give you a break on your premiums if you use winter tires.

What's in there exactly?

Winter tires are easy to spot because they are all marked with a snowflake symbol. These tires are specially made with a low-temperature resilient rubber compound, and have deep treads to grip unplowed snow, ice and other inclement conditions under your wheels. All-season tires, regardless of being labeled with M+S for Mud and Snow, are not really suitable to handle serious conditions such as heavy amounts of snow.

When should you change them?

It is recommended that you do not keep your winter tires on all year round. Summer driving conditions will cause them to wear out very quickly, compromising their effectiveness come wintertime.

Different areas of the country are hit by inclement weather at different times and different severities. So it's difficult to say if there is any one specific time of year you should change them. Generally, you should begin thinking about it as the weather starts to get colder. But you don't want to wait too long or you could risk the arrival of an earlier-than-usual snowstorm, which could have you stranded in your summer tires.

How should you change them?

It is recommended that you do not keep your winter tires on all year round. Summer driving conditions will cause them to wear out very quickly, compromising their effectiveness come wintertime.

Mixing different brands of tires is not recommended. In order to ensure the most improved vehicle handling is to install four tires of the same type, size, speed rating and load index.

How can you maintain them?

As a tire wears over time, snow traction is reduced. Tires that are worn close to the tread-wear indicators have reduced traction, and should not be used.

Proper air pressure can help extend tread life, improve safety, and reduce fuel consumption. Tire pressure decreases as temperatures drop, so be sure to check the pressures at least once a month when the tires are cold, preferably after the car has been outside all night.

How to make a claim

Call 1-877-251-8656 to speak with a Claims Advisor.

Renewing your policy

Call 1-877-251-8652 for information regarding policy renewal.

Buying a new policy

Call 1-866-660-9035 for information on obtaining a quote.

Need help?

Take a look at the top 5 FAQs:

  • What are my choices in terms of auto coverage?

    What are my choices in terms of auto coverage?

    If you own or drive a vehicle in Canada, you must be insured. Different provinces have different requirements, but the four mandatory elements of auto insurance are:

    1. Liability - if you cause an accident and someone sues you
    2. Accident benefits - if you or someone in your vehicle is hurt in an accident
    3. Direct compensation – property damage (Ontario only)- if your vehicle gets damaged (and it's determined you're not at-fault or only partly at-fault)
    4. Uninsured motorist - if you're in an accident with an uninsured or hit-and-run driver
  • How do I reduce my insurance costs?

    How do I reduce my insurance costs?

    There are several things you can do to reduce your insurance premium costs:

    1. Work on your driving record
      Here's an easy, yet effective way to bring down your insurance costs: build a consistent accident and conviction-free track record with an insurance company.
    2. Choose your automobile wisely
      Do your research before you invest in a new car. Read consumer reports, and check with your insurance company to find out which cars tend to be targets for theft and vandalism. Remember, if you buy a car with a high theft rate, your premium will be higher.
    3. Adjust how you use your car
      By adjusting the way you use your vehicle, you can also bring down the cost of your insurance rates. If you live in a metropolitan area:
      • can you take the subway, train or bus to work?
      • has your job changed, or have you moved recently?
      • do you use your automobile to drive a short distance to work?
      • does your vehicle get used for low annual kilometers?
        If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may be entitled to lower insurance costs. Another consideration is whether you let others use your car. It is sometimes possible to exclude certain high-risk drivers from your policy so that good drivers are not penalized with a higher premium.
    4. Choose a higher deductible
      If you choose a higher deductible up front, your premiums will be lower.
    5. Review your coverage
      Take a closer look at your coverage to make sure you're not paying for things you don't need.
  • How can I earn PC Optimum points?

    How can I earn PC Optimum points?

    When you use your President's Choice Financial Mastercard to pay your PC auto insurance premium, you'll get 20 PC Optimum points per dollar of your premium.

  • Are other drivers insured to drive my car?

    Are other drivers insured to drive my car?

    Yes, as long as he/she has your permission to drive the vehicle, has a valid driver's licence and has not been specifically excluded from driving the vehicle. However, all licensed drivers in your household must be listed on your policy—regardless of how often they use your vehicle.

  • What is a deductible?

    What is a deductible?

    A deductible is the amount that you agree to pay towards the repair or replacement of your vehicle before your insurance pays the rest. You choose your deductible amount when you purchase your auto insurance. The higher your deductible, the lower your premium.

See all Auto Insurance FAQs


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