When it comes to Canadian winters, winter tires a must for navigating snowy and icy roads. As Canadians, we are no strangers to the semi-annual tire swap performed on our vehicles.
Most of us tend to switch between our all season and winter tires on the same set of rims. In most cases, it’s the high cost that prevents motorists from considering an additional set of rims.
If you share the same set of rims between both sets of tires, you may want to consider acquiring an extra 4 rims specifically for your winter tires. Even though it may carry a large up front cost, having an extra set of rims for your winter tires is beneficial for your vehicle, your tires and, ultimately, your bank account.
The Advantages of Winter Rims
First and foremost, the upfront costs of additional rims will save you money in the long run. Most auto shops charge an additional fee to remove tires from the rim and place a different tire on the rim. When you have your winter tires placed on their own rims, you are only paying for the balancing and installation of the tires.
You will also save money on having to replace your rims in the future. When you use the same set of rims throughout the year, you run the risk of damage caused by snow, ice and salt. Also, having tired removed and placed onto the rim over and over will cause unnecessary wear and tear to the rims.
Alloy Versus Steel Rims
When it comes to choosing a set of rims for your winter tires, you have a choice between steel and alloy rims. Cost-wise, steel rims are less expensive but alloy rims are available in a wide price range. Before you get caught up on sticker prices, consider which rim is more appropriate for your needs.
Do keep in mind that steel rims are the recommended choice for winter tires and winter driving.
They contract in size far less than alloy rims in cold temperatures. The more a rim contracts, the more inconsistent tire pressure becomes.
Uneven tire pressure can lead to uneven traction and tire wear issues. Since the tires can wear to differing degrees, your vehicle may experience instability issues including bad traction and brake problems.
Style and Appearance
Alloy rims are more stylized than the functional appearance of a steel rim. However, many chrome finishes on alloy rims are not warrantied in the wintertime.
Alloy rims without fancy finishes do have the advantage of being more resistant to rust and corrosion caused by road salt.
Rust and Dents
Even though steel rims are prone to rust, they can be easily repaired and repainted. They are also easier to repair than alloy wheels when it comes to dents – which are more likely to happen during the winter season due to road conditions and potholes.
Alloy rims are lightweight whereas steel rims are heavier and can cause decreased acceleration and poorer fuel efficiency.
For every Canadian vehicle owner, winter tires are an important investment – not only financially, but for safety as well. Winter tires are only as good as their condition, so taking care of them should be a priority.