We recently paid a visit to Kal Tire to find out what would be the best tires for a Winnipeg winter! Our current all-season tires just didn’t have quite enough grip on the snow and slick icy roads here. We had heard that Nokian Tyres from Finland is widely considered one of the best brands of winter tires you can get and they are exclusive to Kal Tire. Just as a little background info, did you know that the good folks at Nokian were the first to invent a winter tire? A couple of things we like about Kal Tire, aside from being a family-run Canadian business, is they offer a price match guarantee so you can be completely satisfied that you got the best price and they also have a very impressive FREE customer care plan(check it out!).@NokianTyres are exclusive to @KalTire. Safety and with it comes high technology, scientific achievements, experience and testing for you and your family. #WinterTires #KalTire #SafeTires Click To Tweet
What is the difference between all-season, all-weather and winter tires?
It really does depend on where you live when you are considering how to equip your vehicle with the best tires. An all-weather is a hybrid tire that combines the best features of an all-season tire and a premium winter tire. It can offer you year-round traction in any weather condition except for extremely cold winter conditions with lots of snow and ice and where the temperature can regularly drop below minus 10 degrees Celsius, like say in Winnipeg. Don’t get me wrong though, the all-weather tire is designed to handle slushy water with excellent hydroplaning tread features and can also have the Transport Canada Severe Service Symbol (the snowflake logo pictured below) which is a must for anyone looking for winter driving peace of mind. Whereas all-season tires(see below) might not be enough when temperatures drop below +7 Celsius and when it comes to braking and turning corners.
All-Season tires are truly suited for spring, summer and autumn. They meet the minimum for 3 season driving but the tire compound in the tread of these tires is less effective and becomes hard once the temperature dips below +7 Celsius. Need I say more? I don’t think you really want to drive in the prairie winter with “all-season” tires.
Winter tires are built for December through to March. The Nokian Hakkapeliitta R3 is the first non-studded tires made by Nokian. They are true winter tires that have a special rubber compound that allows them to aggressively grip snow and ice (Arctic Sense Grip Concept) while still allowing the rubber to stay flexible. They are built to be specifically used in the winter with safety in mind and have the single best tread design and traction you will find. As I mentioned already, they also have the Severe Service Symbol from Transport Canada. In Manitoba severe cold coupled with heavy snow and ice is an everyday occurrence and winter tires should not be an afterthought. Kal Tires can provide excellent financing options to go along with the payment assistance plan from MPI that can make any set of great tires affordable.@NokianTyresNA found only at @KalTire, the Nokian Hakkapeliitta R3 is the perfect choice for drivers who value first-class safety, unique driving comfort and greener driving(it saves on fuel costs!). #SafeTires #WinterReady #KalTire Click To Tweet
Who would benefit from an all-weather tire? If you drive in an urban centre and don’t do a lot of rural driving in tough winter conditions, like all my friends back in Toronto for instance, then all-weather tires may suit you. But here in Winterpeg we definitely would benefit more from the safety of a winter tire, even if you are just putting around in the city. Here in the true north you need improved performance in braking and cornering in snowy and icy conditions. Winter tires come with deeper tread depths and more detailed tread patterns than all-weather tires. The deeper treads on our new Nokian Hakkapeliitta R3 for our SUV grip the roads so much better than our all-weather tires and with their unique tire tread patterns, they make it far safer to push snow and slush away from the tire and out of your path. The unique rubber compound is made for these cold conditions. The non-studded Nokian Hakkapeliitta R3 winter tire offers the driver tremendous confidence in case of a sudden snowstorm or rapidly freezing road surfaces. Engineered with multi-faceted snow claws found between the treads blocks and shoulder areas that create a balance between ice and snow grip, these tires provide especially good grip when you are accelerating or braking. Another amazing feature about these tires, aside from how amazingly quiet they are, is that their unique rubber compound, specifically formulated for our kind of cold, has Biobased Cryo Crystal 3 grip particles added to it that improve grip on ice by actually grabbing onto the road surface.
” The Nokian Hakkapeliitta R3 SUV delivers a smooth, quiet ride, along with superior grip and handling in a variety of conditions. Whether it was on dry or wet surfaces, or in slushy, snowy or icy conditions, this tire performed well above average, earning either ‘very good’ or ‘excellent’ ratings in each of the categories of our independent testing program.”
The Kal Tire Difference
When my husband and I arrived at Kal Tire we immediately found them warm and friendly and very happy to share their extensive knowledge with us. Even during this stressful time we felt safe and in good hands as all the pandemic protocols were firmly adhered to. Please don’t feel that something as necessary as your family’s safety on the road should be put off because you are hesitant to visit Kal Tires, I do believe these tires are essential items. The welcoming staff even took us through the steps of how they clean and install the winter tires, seal the hubcaps and ensure the alignment is perfect. You can even have your old tires stored at Kal Tire for $90 for the season so you don’t have to schlep ’em back home.
After comparing several different tire shops I found the Kal Tire website by far the easiest to navigate. They have their own independent tire testing team, a great 30-day no-hassle customer care plan and what I found to be the most extensive selection in tires.
So what do you need to know when shopping for winter tires? (These points are highlighted above)
1) Your budget and expect to buy four. Do not mismatch your tires.
2) Tread Depth
3) Tread Pattern
4) Tread Compound
5) Look for the Snowflake Symbol- it tells you that the tires are approved for severe winter conditions
6) Know your tire size
7) Research and ask the experts at Kal Tire
“The compound used in the Hakkapeliitta R3 SUV contains diamond-tough Cryo Crystal 3 particles, which improve grip on icy surfaces. That, combined with Nokian’s Snow Claw technology, ensures this tire maintains control in all winter driving conditions. The tire’s sidewalls are built using aramid fibres, which add durability and puncture resistance from external forces. “
I grew up in Winnipeg but never had winter tires. My father always had all-season radials and he figured that was good enough, so that’s what I thought- Wrong. I drive much more than he did, especially with the whole family. When I was a kid we never went anywhere, but that’s for another blog post.
I was driving along Fermor Ave late one-night last week with the snow flying and the wind whistling and the road was icy. Whoopsie.
I wasn’t going fast but when I tried to stop I ended up skidding across two lanes to avoid going into the intersection and having a guaranteed collision.
My mind was made up in that instant. Winter tires, please.
Thankfully I was by myself, but there was no way I was going to put my family in that position.
So we did our research. Kal Tire stood out to us for several reasons. A family run business that started in the interior mountains of BC.
Nokian Tyres (love the European spelling), from Finland. Hmmmm, does a nordic country that almost kisses the arctic circle know winter?
I think so. They’re not bad with hockey players either.
I’m not a car guy and I can’t even fake it that well. The staff at Kal Tire, thanks to Karl and Carlos, were not in the least bit condescending and happily explained everything we needed to know about winter tires in an unhurried and inclusive manner. We appreciated that.
The very next day we got a big dumping of snow and the temperature dropped making sure that the roads were slippery as heck. Where just last week I would have dreaded my lengthy drive to work, because of my new tires I was as excited as a kid at Christmas!
I could actually feel the difference from the driver’s seat. The tires felt like they were clinging to the road! I had supreme confidence as I went into turns and came to stops. Beautiful!
Thanks to Kal Tire and their exclusive brand Nokian Tyres winter driving will, for the first time in my young life (not that young), be a pleasure.
And I can’t say enough good things about Kal Tire. They even bagged and put our old tires in our car for us as we schlepped them back to store in our garage shed. I think it’s fair to say, Kal Tires is the way to go for all your tire needs.
Disclosure: This post was written in partnership with Kal Tire. All opinions are always my own and never influenced in any way.
We visited Kal Tire on 1038 St.James Street, Winnipeg, Manitoba. Reach them at+1 204 774 2822