Are Studded Tires Worth It?

Haven’t bought your winter tires yet? The clock is ticking! Sure, the deadline in Quebec is only December 1st, but if you like to have some choice and want to have them installed quickly at your favourite shop, you shouldn’t wait too long.  

One of the things you might be wondering about is this: are studded tires worth it? There’s no universal answer; it all depends on your lifestyle.

But before going further, let’s clarify a few things. First, studded tires obviously cost more than equivalent traditional tires. On dry surfaces, they’ll be significantly noisier, and the additional friction will increase your vehicle’s fuel consumption.

Photo: Jean-François Guay

Besides, since the metal studs damage the road surface in warmer weather, they are only allowed for a limited period, that is, from October 15th to May 1st in Quebec and in New-Brunswick. In northern Ontario, you can use them from September 1st to May 31st, but they are forbidden in the south part of the province. In addition, they are banned in many inerior parking garages.   

Some winter tire models come out of the plant with studs in them, while others are stud compatible, which means that it’s possible for the dealer to install studs in the small holes designed to receive them all around the tread.

Now let’s talk about performance. Studs do allow safer braking and cornering on both icy and snowy surfaces. So, if your daily commute includes country roads or highways that are constantly covered in ice, this type of tire could help. Otherwise, good studless winter tires will do the trick.

Photo: Jean-François Guay

Thanks to new technologies, some manufacturers even say their new winter tire models are so advanced, they almost eliminate the studded tire’s advantage in terms of grip. Impressive!

Finally, we can see that the downsides outnumber the advantages: studded tires are great on sheer ice, but not better than a traditional tire on dry or snowy roads. And remember that they can’t replace the driver’s skills and caution behind the wheel.  

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