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Winter Tires from the Owners Point of View


By: Kevin Zimic, Owner of Ridgehill Ford


So, I’m going to go ahead and say something that may not be popular with my colleagues: you don’t necessarily need a vehicle with all-wheel drive to conquer Cambridge winters.

Yep, I said it!

I know that front-wheel drive doesn’t sound as sexy as “super handling all-wheel drive” or “lifted four-by-four”. Maybe you’re somebody who actually needs an all-wheel drive or four-by-four truck or SUV. Perhaps you’re a rancher, or a lumberjack, or Bear Grylls but for the rest of us, save some money, use less fuel and get a thoroughly modern front-wheel drive vehicle.

Then buy yourself some good winter tires.

Here’s the thing: your tires are the one key element of your vehicle that will help you avoid sliding on ice to come to a stop quickly and safely in winter; they also facilitate some semblance of steering control—which is good! A summer performance tire is almost dangerous when the temperature dips below ten degrees and an “all-season” tire is much the same below minus five degrees.

Winter tires are engineered to perform best in temperatures below seven degrees celsius all the way down to minus 30 (if you find yourself often driving in conditions colder than that, perhaps you should be looking at something with tracks...or paws).

Winter tires are made with a rubber compound that remains pliant in the cold giving you the handling, braking efficacy and traction approaching what you experience with all-season tires at warmer temperatures. There are even winter performance tires that will add a dash of sportiness to your drive for those winter days when the sun’s out and the roads are dry! (bringing sexy back).

More importantly, winter tires also have the tread pattern that will move snow, slush and ice away from the tire, keeping more contact patch on the road. More contact patch means more friction, more friction means better stopping distance, better stopping distance means the difference between a panic stop and a call to the CAA. Safety first y’all!

So if you want an all-wheel drive or four-wheel drive vehicle, great! My team at Ridgehill Ford will be happy to sell you one (We would still recommend a winter tire package). However, with all the advances in traction control, vehicle stability control and active safety systems, why not consider a front-wheel drive with a good set of winter tires?

It just may be all you need.


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