Skip to main content

The Globe and Mail

Is an M/S-rated tire good for winter driving?

Are cheap winter tires still better than an okay M/S-rated tire? The M/S tires I have don't seem to be any good in the snow. I can't afford expensive tires though I see winter tires starting at $60. Mine maybe just don't have the right rubber. – Susan

Is it possible you are expecting more out the M/S rating of your tires than you should? For the record, an M/S rated tire is an all-season tire that has been approved for use in mud and snow by the Rubber Association of Canada. They provide traction in light snow, but aren't great in a big winter blast. To answer your question, yes, a cheap set of winter tires will positively affect your winter driving confidence. However, most no-name tires mitigate long-term value, as they deteriorate quicker and are more susceptible to road hazards, leading to shifted belts and odd wear. Economy winter tires are better suited for taxi cabs and courier cars that suffer tire damage almost daily. Many business owners consider it a superior strategy to have cheap winter tires destroyed by their curb-dancing drivers, rather than expensive ones.

Given your tight budget and the lack of severe winter weather across many parts of Canada, an option is to hold off temporarily and live with what you have. Have your service provider verify your current tire condition and save up over the summer. Wait for manufacturer rebates next fall and get yourself a decent set of tires. Don't limit yourself to just winter tires, perhaps a better-quality all-season product or even an all-weather tire is the answer.

Story continues below advertisement

Lou Trottier is owner-operator of All About Imports in Mississauga. Have a question about maintenance and repair? E-mail globedrive@globeandmail.com, placing "Lou's Garage" in the subject area.

Video: What makes a car safe in a crash
Report an error
Comments

The Globe invites you to share your views. Please stay on topic and be respectful to everyone. For more information on our commenting policies and how our community-based moderation works, please read our Community Guidelines and our Terms and Conditions.

We’ve made some technical updates to our commenting software. If you are experiencing any issues posting comments, simply log out and log back in.

Discussion loading… ✨

Combined Shape Created with Sketch.

Combined Shape Created with Sketch.

Thank you!

You are now subscribed to the newsletter at

You can unsubscribe from this newsletter or Globe promotions at any time by clicking the link at the bottom of the newsletter, or by emailing us at privacy@globeandmail.com.