Many high-end car owners put their rides away for the winter season. But more and more people are, after swapping summer tires for winter tires, driving their luxury cars during a time of year when snow, slush, and ice sometimes cover the roadways and highways.
Usman Mir, Kal Tire’s zone manager in Ontario, says he’s definitely seen more Canadians, particularly those in the Greater Toronto Area, choose to drive their luxury cars in the winter.
“We’re seeing an influx of people who are driving sports cars in the winter that you wouldn’t generally see in the past,” he says. “And a lot of that is because of our milder winters. Really, we’re not experiencing the harsh winters that we used to. It’s more a really cold season now — there’s less of that hard snow on the road.”
Drivers who equip their luxury cars with winter tires can expect that the ride will be more comfortable, according to Mir. He says snow tires are naturally a lot softer than performance tires so drivers will notice a difference in, among other things, braking and driving comfort.
Mir, who recommends brands such as Michelin Pilot Alpin and Nokian Hakkapeliitta spoke to us about how to find the right tires, and the difference between summer driving and winter driving.
How can GTA drivers find the right tires for their luxury cars?
A couple of things you’d want to look at would be the load index of the tires — basically having the right tire for the vehicle. You want to ensure you have a tire that can support the performance and the weight needs of your vehicle.
With that being said, some questions you want to ask yourself are, ‘Do I keep the same wheels or do I want to purchase a separate set and keep my summer set in pristine condition?’ Naturally, winter’s a bit hard on rims. There are more potholes and ice and salt, and you can get more sand on the road in the winter.
Those things will be a bit harsh on your wheels than summer driving would be. So a lot of our customers get a set for winter and a set for summer.
What else do drivers need to consider as they look for the best tires?
You also need to consider how you drive. We have some customers who have very high-end luxury vehicles that they drive every single day. That’s their daily driver. They probably want to focus on a more robust tire.
And then there will be customers who have a luxury car that they really just use for weekend driving. It’s still a performance-based car for them. You want to make sure you put yourself into a performance-based snow tire.
What types of winter tires should drivers consider for their luxury vehicles?
The Nokians are definitely number one. It has the most proven background. They actually invented the snow tire. It’s a European company so they’re very familiar with the European luxury vehicles. Nokian has put a lot of focus on having a very low rolling resistance in their tires.
Outside of that, they focus on things like slush control, which is something you don’t see many manufacturers focusing on. When we look at driving in southwest Ontario and the GTA area, slush is a real concern. You rarely get these huge snowfalls, so normally we’re up against ice and slush. So Nokian has done a great job focusing on that.
One last word of advice…
One last word of advice that Mir has for drivers is that they shouldn’t try to cut costs when it comes to getting tires for their luxury cars. There are, after all, only four small patches of rubber that make contact with the road. So it doesn’t make sense to compromise on road safety.