Everyone needs a helping hand here and there, even a car as big on performance as the MINI. While MINI’s ALL4 All-Wheel Drive system provides otherworldly traction on top of MINI’s already substantial agility, without winter tires you’re putting yourself and others at risk every time you hit the road. Read on while we explain the importance of winter tires, and why you shouldn’t hit the road without them.
There’s no reason you can’t drive your MINI year round—even the MINI convertible! Ensuring that your vehicle is prepped for winter has one major step that you can’t avoid, and that’s winter tires. Just as important to performance as switching to summer tires, your winter tires are what provide you grip and stopping power on Edmonton’s wet, snowy, and outright ugly roads. The tread patterns on winter tires are different than those found on all seasons, and the deeper grooves provide substantially better grip on roads that are anything but even. In fact, most summer or all-season tires start to lose their grip when the weather dips below 7℃, meaning that you’re probably safe to swap to your winter tires even earlier than you think (given Edmonton’s unpredictable seasons). Another benefit of swapping to your winter tires early—you’ll get to skip the inevitable queue of people that show up to change their tires once the first snowflake hits the ground.
Perhaps the most important aspect of changing to winter tires, and one that is also tied to that magic temperature of 7℃, is that tires are made up of different rubber compounds depending on their intended use. This means that winter tires are especially suited to lower, sub-zero temperatures. You’ve almost certainly heard someone pass along the (poor) advice of under-inflating your tires for winter, so that they retain some of their flexibility; in reality, if the tire is the wrong rubber compound —i.e. the type found in summer or all-season tires— the cold temperature will harden the tire and make it less effective. Winter tires will stay soft but firm, retaining their buoyancy and flexibility and (by extension) their performance.
Thankfully, winter driving has come a long way since the days of wrapping chains around your tires and saying a prayer before you leave the house—in fact, many municipalities across the country have bylaws and regulations against using chains or studded tires due to the damage they can inflict on the roads. There are currently no such laws in Alberta, but given the constant upkeep our roads require, and the cost associated, it wouldn’t be a surprise to hear about a law being passed in the future. In 2008, Quebec made winter tires mandatory (for a portion of the year) and their winter collision rates dropped 17%. So if you aren’t sold on changing to winter tires for the performance aspect, think about what your insurance premium will look like should you slide on some ice and rear end someone.
Of course, here at MINI Edmonton we want to make this choice even easier for you by providing not only a parts department that is well stocked with everything your MINI needs, including winter tires designed just for your MINI. We also have an excellent service department that can swap your tires for you, as well as perform any other services your MINI might need to get prepped for winter. Book an appointment online today, and we’ll make sure that driving your MINI is an enjoyable experience year round.