Winter Tires: With or Without Studs?

10 November 2023 BY Jean-Sébastien Poudrier

Here's a question I'm regularly asked, and that's why I've decided to address it here to enlighten those who are still hesitating. However, before we delve further, I want to remind you that you have until December 1st to have your winter tires installed this year. In short, don't wait too long before making your choice.


There are winter tires to suit all tastes and budgets. Some tires perform better on ice, while others boast their effectiveness in snow. A tire suitable for someone living in the city may not be suitable for someone residing in the countryside. In short, it's best not to leave things to chance when selecting winter tires for your vehicle. Now, what we want to know is when should one opt for studded tires?


Many restrictions and few advantages


In winter, road conditions are generally less favorable than in summer. If you live in the city, it's likely that you'll be driving on asphalt or nearly all the time. On the other hand, conditions are generally worse in rural areas, and it's even worse when heading north.


What you need to know above all is that studded tires provide better traction on slippery surfaces, such as ice. However, it's quite rare for roads to be icy, especially in southern Quebec. Moreover, you should be aware that several indoor parking lots will deny you access if your vehicle is equipped with studded winter tires. So, it's not necessarily a good solution for everyone. Not to mention that this type of tire is literally prohibited in Ontario, except in the northernmost regions of the province. Unfortunately, studies have shown that studs can damage road surfaces.


There are also other disadvantages to using studded tires, notably a longer emergency braking distance. Additionally, this type of tire is generally noisier and more expensive than an equivalent regular tire.


Some people swear by studded tires, and with good reason. If you live in a mountainous region where roads are particularly steep and winding, the additional traction will undoubtedly be beneficial.


In conclusion, unless your home or second residence is in an area where roads are rarely maintained, and not flat, studded winter tires will bring you little to no advantage.


Jean-Sébastien Poudrier