Now that you know who I am (Alan Balinsky) and a bit about my background, I thought this month's blog should be about winter driving and tires.

When we teach advanced winter driving, the first question is always "Do we really need winter tires?". The short answer: yes, you do.

But here’s the long answer. When we’re on the race track going over 200km/hr, the only thing keeping us out of a concrete wall are four round black things called tires. Tires are made with a special rubber compound designed to get stickier as it heats up.

So what does that have to do with winter tires? Great question. Winter tires are also made with a specific rubber compound that does not get harder and less grippy as the temperature drops. A tire that has maximum grip in both the heat and cold simply does not exist. In cooler weather, an all weather or all season tire is always going to compromise something.

The answer I like to give when asked if you need winter tires? I usually reply with "Not if you have an extra 30 meters or so to stop or turn."(Which in most situations, you definitely do not.)

The fact is that winter tires are much safer for you, everyone in your car and those around you. Winter tires provide you with the most grip available— from when the temperature outside is constantly below 7ºC to when it once again rises above a steady 7ºC.

The reason you can't leave winter tires on all year round is because the softness of their tread compound makes them wear out 50x faster when exposed to warm dry roads.

If you have questions about winter tires, vehicles in general or this blog, please email me directly at

Winter Tire Blog Post