A survey from the Tire and Rubber Association of Canada found that financial pressures are causing some drivers to have doubts about investing in winter tires.
About one in three (31 per cent) of respondents said they are now less likely to buy winter tires because of high living costs. At the same time, however, the study reported that 85 per cent of drivers believe winter tires are an important investment despite the rising cost of living.
TRAC’s 2023 Canadian Consumer Winter Tire Study found that winter tire usage now stands at 71 per cent outside of Quebec, where such tires are required by law.
It also found that more extreme weather resulting from climate change is pushing the need to get winter tires installed on vehicles.
“It seems Canadian drivers are recognizing the changing weather patterns brought about by climate change,” says Carol Hochu, president and CEO of TRAC. “The prospect of more extreme winter weather has clearly given drivers a deeper appreciation of the superior grip and stopping power offered by winter tires. While cost of living worries are concerning, they are not expected to reduce winter tire use. Belief in the safety benefits of winter tires is too deeply ingrained.”
Still, she noted, nearly three in 10 (28 per cent) of drivers are not using winter tires. “Consumer education must be an ongoing priority to bring about the higher level of winter tire adoption needed to make our wintertime roadways safer,” Hochu added.
The study reported that 83 per cent of drivers with winter tires cite protecting their family as their top reason for investing in winter tires. Meanwhile, 63 per cent think all-season tires are “good enough” as to why they choose to not change their tires. Cost is the reason for 26 per cent, while 24 per cent say they do not drive much in winter.