Do You Really Need Winter Tires?

November 27, 2018 5 min read
Winter Tires

Winter is here, whether we like it or not. With that comes getting your vehicle winter-ready for those -40 degree days. It’s at this time of the year where drivers debate whether they will invest in a set of winter tires or stick with all-weather tires. Milder winters in parts of Canada in addition to advancements in all-weather tires have contributed to factors to be considered in the decision-making process. Whether you change to your winter tires the moment snow falls or are on the fence unsure of what to do, it’s good to be informed on the differences in seasonal tires.

First thing first, let’s look at the three types of tires.

1. Winter Tires

  • Designed with a rubber compound that is flexible in snow and ice condition
  • Traction is optimized with deeper grooves and sharp, irregular edges
  • Tread stays flexible in freezing conditions
  • Designed to grip snow, slush, and ice
  • Rated 4.7/5 on stability tests performed in slush conditions
  • Rated 4.3/5 on cornering tests in slush conditions

2. All-Weather Tires

  • Think of these as the hybrid that combines the best of both worlds
  • A portion of the tread is straight, while some have blocky and rigid edges
  • All-weather tires perform well in both summer and winter which saves the hassle of changing tires over each season
  • Don’t last as long as winter or all-season tires due to the material having to be able to withstand a wide range of temperatures
  • Rated 4.3/5 on stability tests performed in slush conditions
  • Rated 3.7/5 on cornering tests in slush conditions

3. All-Season (Summer)

  • Normal traction for a variety of weather conditions
  • Tread will stiffen up more as the temperatures decrease
  • Designed to operate in wet and dry conditions (spring, summer, fall)
  • Rated 2.4/5 on stability tests performed in slush conditions
  • Rated 2.4/5 on cornering tests in slush conditions

So how well do winter tires perform compared to all-weather tires?

Winter Tires


Braking on Ice 30m 36m
Snow Traction (accelerating from 8-32km/h) 20m 26m
Cost $65 to $120 + tax (per tire) $60 to $125 + tax (per tire)
Maintenance Changed twice a year (costs an average $75 per time) Tire rotation after 10,000 km (costs about $20 + tax)
Replacement 6 years 3 years
Hassle More Less
Performance Superior Inferior

It’s clear to see that winter tires provide the best element of safety when driving in snow and ice conditions. Ultimately, it is up to you whether you think winter tires are necessary depending on how often you drive during the winter, whether it is highway or city driving, road conditions, type of vehicle and cost which are all important factors that should be considered before making an investment in winter tires. MPI has a great program that provides financing options for approved winter tires. The program provides low-interest financing to eligible Manitobans with finance rates of prime plus 2% (up to $2,000 per vehicle). This provides drivers with accessibility to purchasing winter tires if paying in full isn’t a viable option.

In order to be eligible for the program you must:

  • Be an MPI customer (as an individual)
  • Purchase qualifying tires for a passenger vehicle or light truck which is registered under your name
  • Have no financing restrictions or owed funds on your account
  • Test your eligibility

Look for this symbol

Tires that are eligible for the financing program will display this symbol as verification that the tires meet performance requirements and are designed for snow conditions.

  • Financing options are also extended to winter tire accessories and additional costs
  • For a full list of eligible items check out the Winter Tire Program

Once you’ve determined which tires you are purchasing, you’ll visit an authorized retailer. From there, you will be asked to provide your registration certificate and drivers licence, provide payment information, confirm contact information and sign the loan document. The authorized retailer will send all completed information directly to our office. One of our dedicated brokers will process the paperwork into your file, so there is no need to visit our offices to complete the process. Once the application has been processed, everything will be mailed out to you, including a payment schedule for your records which outlines the withdrawal dates and amounts. Payments can be made via credit card (Visa & MasterCard) or through your bank account.

MPI provides a chart that outlines what you can expect to pay based on the amount financed that can help you better understand what your payments could look like. Further information can be found on MPI’s website as well as FAQ’s on the program.

Winter tires can mean the difference between a close call and a call to submit a claim. Based on your vehicle use and driving behaviours winter tires may be worth the investment. Having tires that are appropriate for all weather conditions is part of driving in our climate. With our cold, snowy Canadian winters it is a good idea to look into winter tires to keep you safer on the roads. You wouldn’t wear your flip-flops in a snowstorm so why would you keep your all-season tires on during winter? Talk with your MIG broker today!

Written by

Alex Harms is part of our marketing team at MIG Insurance and she specializes in writing content to make insurance easier to understand for our clients. She obtained her Bachelors in Commerce (Hons.) at the Asper School of Business and worked with MIG as a broker during her studies and now fulltime in a Marketing & Operations role. She has taken on many tasks her at MIG but enjoys the challenge. Outside of work she enjoys spending time with her family as well as her dog Murphy, out at the lake which is their favourite spot!