Monthly Archives: November 2015

Quality Control: Don’t Accept Inferior Stud Installation

Terrible Stud Job

The best studded tires on the market today utilize advanced stud designs that are proprietary to their particular manufacturer, and are installed at the factory by machines to ensure perfect installation.  While there are many options for these advanced winter tires on the European market, the North American market is very limited, with only the Nokian Hakkapeliita, Gislaved Nord Frost, and Pirelli Ice Zero available; in a limited range of sizes.

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Studded Tires and Road Wear

Studded Tire Ruts

Studded tires dramatically increase road surface wear relative to studless tires.  So why are they allowed, and why would anyone promote their usage?

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British Columbia’s New Winter Tire Law: Why are All-Season Tires Allowed?

Starting October 1, 2015 drivers in British Columbia are required by law to use tires with a M+S (mud and snow) symbol or a Mountain-Snowflake symbol, with at least 3.5 mm tread depth, on most major highways across the province.  While I applaud this move as a positive step in the right direction for road safety, I question why the province decided to allow a less effective minimum M+S rating rather than going with only the Mountain-Snowflake rating.

Tires with the M+S symbol are more commonly known as all-season tires and the rating is based not on winter traction capabilities or performance testing but rather on tread void area.  As long as a tire tread has at least 25% of its tread area open as channels and some lateral grooves, it qualifies for the rating.  Because overall tread design and rubber compound are not factors, the M+S rating is more an indicator of resistance to hydroplaning than winter capability.  Some all-season tires are competent in winter conditions, while others perform very poorly.  But all carry the same M+S rating. Continue reading

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