Winter Tire & Pressure FAQ

Originally Posted by kniterider09
3: also, those who drove on our stock alloys, how well did the TPMS sensor do in winter? i know i got by without it just fine in the winter but still just wanted to know.

TPMS is great to have, but it’s always a good idea to check the tire pressures every so often, at least once a month. It is even more important to do this in the winter months, as the colder temperature is more dense than warmer air. What does this mean? Well, it means, for example, that if you set your tire pressures at 30 PSI when it is 10 degrees Centigrade outside and then the next month it’s 0 degrees Centigrade outside, the tire pressures will be lower than before.

Why? Because, as I mentioned before, cold air is more dense than hot air and so now the colder air isn’t filling the tires up as much as before with the warmer air. As a general rule of thumb that I have found to be quite accurate, tire pressures drop by roughly one (1) PSI for every five (5) degrees Centigrade change (10 degrees Fahrenheight). So, if you set your tire pressures to 30 PSI when it was 10 degrees Centigrade outside, and now it is 0 degrees Centigrade outside, your tires will have dropped 2 PSI, with the end result being 28 PSI (underinflated). The opposite is true when the temperature starts rising.

Always check and set the tire pressures when they are cold. What does this mean? It means that, for example, do not check your tire pressures after having driven down the street or on the highway, as they will have generated heat and the pressures will be higher than what they actually are. The tire even says on the sidewall to set pressures when “cold.” That means to set check/set them before you’ve driven on them, that way the pressures haven’t been artificially raised from driving on them. NEVER adjust the tire pressures after having driven on them for any period of time. Never “bleed” pressure from the tires if they are hot, as they will be under-inflated if you set the pressures hot. Same goes with filling the tires with air.

The best time to check/set your tire pressure is in the morning before the sun has come up and warmed up the tires, especially if your car isn’t in the shade.

Also, if you park your car indoors and it is heated, you need to compensate for this when checking/setting your tire pressures. Remember my rule before of tire pressures drop by roughly one (1) PSI for every five (5) degrees Centigrade change (10 degrees Fahrenheight)? Use that rule of thumb for this. For example, if you park your car in a heated garage that is 15 degrees Centigrade and it is -5 degrees Centigrade outside, you must compensate for this, otherwise your tires will be underinflated. So, if you set your tire pressures at 30 PSI in your heated garage, then they will actually only be inflated to 26 PSI in the -5 degree Centigrade outside temperature. You would need to inflate the tires to 34 PSI indoors to compensate for the colder outside temperature, so that they stay at the recommended proper inflation of 30 PSI outdoors.

Originally Posted by ericgu22
Drove through the winter with stock tires. I think winter tires aren’t that important since snow on the streets are cleaned up really quick!! Just drive slowly and you’ll be fine!!!

This is a very dangerous common misconception that a lot of drivers make. They think that simply driving slower with all-season tires will be adequate in the winter. This is very wrong and not true at all. The very fact that you acknowledge the need to drive slower shows that you do realize to some degree that the tires are inferior to winter rubber. Winter tires’ rubber compound is significantly different to that of all-season rubber. It is much softer, thus allowing it to be plyable at lower temperatures. This is especially important even on dry, cold winter roads. It will allow you to brake quicker, turn quicker, and accelerate quicker. All-season tires begin to lose their elasticity below 7 degrees Centigrade.

Just because your vehicle has ABS, traction control and stability control doesn’t mean you have control. Those sophisticated computer systems can only work if the tires (the only contact to the road your car has) has adequate traction to allow those systems to function. If the tires can’t gain traction, those systems are as good as useless. They are no replacement for actual mechanical traction (ie. traction that winter tires can provide).

Originally Posted by joeylgarcia
true if it doesnt snow that much in your area and the streets are plowed or cleaned every now and then i dont think you need to buy winter tires. but if you use the highways most of your driving and it snows a lot most of the times it would be best to have winter tires.

See above.

Originally Posted by DELTA_CHEVY
I had no problems with the stock rubber!!!! The trac control is awesome!!!

See above.

Originally Posted by btk
bro, i drove on stock wheels and tires. lol u kno edmonton weather, edmonton’s icy roads.. it was fine actually. stopping was alright, not as great as winter tires, but it did an okay job. i didnt slip, thanks to trac and vsc, and acceleration was okay, minimal slippage.

im getting winter tires next winter.

Very wise decision. Even if it doesn’t snow significantly, the added traction that winter tires’ softer rubber provide will be much safer.

Also, I must mention, only install winter tires in sets of four (4). DO NOT mount only two winter tires on your vehicle. This will cause the car to have a split personality handling-wise. One half of the car will have traction and the other won’t. This is very dangerous. Just imagine if you onlly put two winter tires on the front axle of your car and you went around a snowy corner: The front will have traction, whereas the rear tires will not (being all-seasons). This will cause snap-oversteer and is almost impossible to correct, especially when it catches you by surprise. It could be the difference between making it around a snowy bend or ending up down the side of a tree-strewn hill.

I should have mentioned this before (not sure why I didn’t). For those people who feel they can’t afford winter tires, think of this. If you have two sets of tires (all-season and winter), then you are only using your all-seasons for half the amount of time you would be if you didn’t have winter tires. That means that your all-seasons will last twice as long as normal, since the other 6 months of the year will be spent on the winter tires. You will be spending the same amount of money in the long-run, but you will be safer on those winter tires, which can maybe allow you to avoid getting in a costly accident.

I would just like to clarify something to any potential naysayers. I do not sell tires. I do not have any affiliation with tire companies. I do not receive any kick-backs if someone on here is convinced to buy winter tires.

The reason I took the decision to register is because I have seen lives lost on the roads in winter which could have been avoided if winter tires had been on the vehicle. That is all. I have no hidden agenda other than that. I’m just trying to help those who have never been told otherwise.

Originally Posted by cutipie19
To sum it up, regardless of if you get 2 snow storms a year or 100, snow tires are a given. I have ridden in a 08 civic with snow tires on and it is smooth and came in handy. The ones he has are 15’s and he puts 17’s on in the summer. A very good combination and because I have an S chances are I will be getting 15’s. I do too much driving and live in a snowbelt, i’m not going to risk my life over a $500 (about) purchase that I can use for several years.

That is a very wise choice indeed (going with 15″ wheels and winter tires). Just so you know, you can go with the same 15″ tire size as the base Corolla and even use their steel wheels. The brake diameter on all models of Corolla, even the XRS are the same, so you don’t have to worry about 15″ wheels clearing the brake calipers. Ideally, in the winter you actually want to go with the smallest size wheel possible that still safely clears the brake caliper. The reason is two-fold. One; going with a smaller diameter wheel means that the tire has a larger sidewall, which will allow more compliance in the sidewall and make the suspension a little softer (which you want in snow). Also, typically when you go down in wheel sizes, the tire is going to be slightly narrower (while still maintaining the same overall diameter). What this does is it allows the tire to cut through the snow/slush more effectively than a wider tire would. A wider tire is going to have to work harder to expel that snow/slush/rain than a narrower tire is. Typically the winter produces more potholes/ruts in the road, so a smaller tire allows for a larger sidewall and less chances of damaging a wheel. The second reason is quite simple; cost. A smaller wheel (15″ vs. 16″) is going to cost less to have a winter tire equipped to it.

Originally Posted by kniterider09
Thanks everyone for ur comments and info. yes i totally agree with Svrajam above about winter tires, thats why i got them last winter. i just wasant comfortable with the ride at all on those 16’s. i think what i might end up doing is sell my 16’s and get 17″ rims and winter rubber. i think that’s gooing be the best solution. but yes for sure winter tires are quite important.

That is actually quite normal for a winter tire to ride more harshly than your all-seasons, and it has nothing to do with what size wheel you have. Winter tires are made from softer rubber compounds than all-season tires, and the treads are cut deeper to bite into snow. This is great on snowy days, but when you have a dry, cold road beneath you that will produce a more harsh/noisy/rough ride than you are used to, regardless of what size they are. Refer to my post above and stick with your 16″ wheels and winter tires. Going up to 17″ will not only cost you more, but it will not solve the problem you experience. That is merely a by-product of winter tires that we have to learn to live with.

Originally Posted by DELTA_CHEVY
I’m glad that Svrajam above thinks snow tires are necessary, but I DON’T!! I had control of my car at all times. I didn’t have to drive slower or anything. It’s not the tires that get people into accidents, it’s the driver!!!!!!! How come rigs don’t put snow tires on??????

You could not be more wrong, I’m afraid. Just because you think you had control of your car at all times, doesn’t mean you did. You got lucky, that is all. You say it isn’t the tires, it’s the driver? You are again very wrong. It is the tires and the driver that make you safe, not one or the other. You could be the best driver in the world and still crash in the snow because you have all-seasons on and they simply had no traction at all. And the reason that big rigs don’t put winter tires on is because they don’t exist for big rigs. If they did, I’m sure they would use them.

Originally Posted by DELTA_CHEVY

You think you were in control because you haven’t been in an accident, that doesn’t mean you were in control. That means you were lucky. Cars don’t drive themselves, no, but tires are the only thing that come in contact with the road and your car. It’s not rocket science to figure out they are important. Unfortunately, there are a lot of misinformed, uneducated drivers out there like yourself who feel that, just because they’ve never been in an accident in the winter that they don’t need winter tires. This is a huge, huge mistake to think you will never need them in the future. You are quite true that you can have your own opinion, but the sign of intelligence is when people are presented facts and rational thought contrary to their own, they re-analyze their initial position and adjust it.

Answer me this: You don’t think they are necessary. Why not?

Consider this: You may think you are the greatest driver on Earth; you drive carefully in the snow on your all-season tires, and to this point, have never been in an accident. You may have had some situations in the past where the car started to slide, but you managed to save it because you’re such a good driver. What happens when, one day, you encounter treacherous road conditions on your all-season tires, and your careful driving isn’t enough. No matter what you do, your tires simply can’t gain any traction because they are all-seasons and cannot bite into the snow. You try everything, but you continue sliding into oncoming traffic. Where does your awesome driving skills get you there? If your tires can’t grip, they can’t grip. Simple as that. Game over. End of discussion. No amount of driver input can correct a car skidding out of control if the tires simply can’t grip the road. Wouldn’t you want to maximize your chances of remaining in control of your vehicle with tires that are made for those conditions? You wouldn’t drive on winter tires in the blazing hot summer, so why would you drive on all-seasons in the winter? The fact that they are called “all-seasons” is part of the problem. A common joke I hear is people referring to them as “no-seasons.”

Once the Temp outside reaches 7′C and will consistently stay above 7′C, YOU NEED TO TAKE YOUR SNOW TIRES OFF!!

I’ve seen so many people on the roads still with their winter rubber on. It will drastically shorten the lifespan of your tires if you do not take them off in time. I took my tires off in mid-March. Mid-May is asking for bald snow tires sooner rather than later.

Don’t use winter tires in summer: CAA-Quebec

Quebec City, Quebec – As warm weather returns, CAA-Quebec is warning drivers not to use winter tires from June to August, as their performance during the hotter summer months could compromise safety.

“Tests conducted by CAA-Quebec last summer show beyond any doubt that all-season tires are safer than winter tires in warm weather,” said Sophie Gagnon, CAA-Quebec senior director. “In these tests, we observed that braking distances in emergencies could increase by up to 30 per cent with winter tires. Moreover, for evasive action to be successful, speeds had to be much lower than for the same manoeuvres with all-season tires. The test car was less stable with winter tires.”

CAA-Quebec said that the introduction last fall of new rules making winter tires mandatory is tempting a growing number of motorists to keep their winter tires on, in the hope of saving money. However, leaving them on might increase fuel consumption, and they will wear out more quickly in warm weather, reducing the anticipated savings.

The association is urging the Quebec Transport Department to implement awareness actions to reduce the risks caused by the use of tires that are inadequate for road conditions at certain times of the year.

It is just as important to remember to NOT use winter tires during the hot summer months! This can be very dangerous, as the rubber compound is meant to operate in much, much colder conditions, thus it will cause a lot more “tread squirm.” What does this mean? It means that the soft, large tread blocks of the winter tire will move around or “squirm” during cornering, braking and acceleration. This will drastically reduce the responsiveness of your vehicle and will lead to longer braking distances and an inability to turn as quickly in an emergency. Also, your tires will wear out much faster than in the colder months. You’ll be wasting money and ruining your winter tires!