Yes, Alberta winters are tough. But the plus side is that numerous options are available for you to make your drive easier. One of those options comes in the form of studded tires. What are they? They’re winter tires with actual metal studs embedded within the tire’s tread. These tiny pieces of metal are designed to dig into the ice, providing traction when you’re driving on the road.
Some provinces actually have restrictions on when you can drive with studded tires on your vehicle. However, most provinces and North-west territories in the prairies don’t! So is it worth having them for the conditions we have here in Alberta? Windsor Ford is about to weight the pros and cons to see if they’re worth using for the winter season.
Ice traction: Everyone here in Alberta knows how difficult it is to drive in these roads when it reaches -20 degrees. It gets slippery and the anxiety level to stop at a red light gets very high. One of the biggest advantages of studded tires are how incredibly well they handle the ice. That’s because the metal studs were specifically designed to dig into the ice for better traction.
Packed down snow: Much like how studded tires help with traction on the tice, it also helps with packed-down snow. This is when the snow on the road have been driven over countless of times, becoming smooth and slippery just like ice.
Braking time: for added reference, normal non-studded winter tires have a braking distance of 27.2 metres. However, with studded tires, you brake earlier with a distance of 22.6 metres. The extra 5 metres makes the biggest difference when safety is concerned.
Long winters: One of the most important things to keep in mind is that Alberta winters are usually very long. Equipping your vehicle with studded tires throughout the season gives you added peace of mind. You’ll drive knowing you’ll have the best traction possible for the next 5–6 months of the year.
Noisy drives: For the rest of the time without ice on the road, it’s a bit of an inconvenience to drive with them. Mostly because the metal studs make a nosey sound when you’re driving around and the vibrating sensation because of it feels weird.
Damages roads: Since studded tires were designed to dig into the ice, it does the same to the pavement, too. The metal studs are strong enough to damage the roads with prolonged driving, which is why most provinces restrict their use for a specific amount of time, usually during the summer months.
Higher costs: Studded tires typically costs more to purchase (and in some cases, to install and remove, as well). A typical studded tire will typically run you $15 additional, so you would be spending $60 more in total for a set.
If you tend to drive in an area with icy and slippery road conditions, then studded tires are for you! But for every other time, such wet and slushy roads or roads with heavy snow, then it’s probably best to stick with regular non-studded winter tires. But no matter which option you choose, you can always count on Windsor Ford to give you all the information you need to make an informed decision.