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Canadian Tire took three popular types of light truck tires to a renowned proving ground 160 kilometers south of the Arctic Circle and ran them through a series of tests to discover which tires performed best in wet, dry, snow, and ice conditions. We tested all terrain, winter rated all terrain, and dedicated winter tires. At first glance there is no large difference in the appearance of the tires. All have big deep treads and large tread blocks that look like they can tackle anything. So is there a difference? The answer is yes. The biggest variable is the chemistry of the rubber compound used in each tire. All terrain tires have a rubber compound that is designed for warmer weather use. Dedicated winter tires have a compound that grips better in colder temperatures and a tread pattern that is better suited for traction on snow and ice. Although winter rated all terrain tires can be used all year round, they offer only mediocre performance in winter and summer conditions. Our first test measured the braking performance of our three tires from 40 kilometers an hour to a dead stop on a snow packed course. The dedicated winter tires came to a full stop in 28 meters. The winter rated all terrain tires took 39 meters to come to a complete stop; a reasonable distance but not as short as winter tires. The all terrain tires took 56 meters to stop! That is an astonishing 50% stopping difference between our dedicated winter tire and our all terrain tire. Next we compared the tires traction in snow by running our SUV through a 90 degree radius turn at 40 kilometers an hour. The winter tires performed best, executing the corner cleanly. The winter rated all terrain tires did reasonably well on the turn with only a minor oversteer. The all terrain tires proved more problematic in the turn and experienced a dramatic understeer. Finally, we drove each set of tires to their limits on our customized road course. Our test driver provided his opinion on each tire’s traction, control, and stability. The results were conclusive. Dedicated winter tires provide superior traction and control in cold, snowy conditions. As we’ve shown, all terrain tires don’t provide the braking, cornering, or handling capabilities necessary for safe winter driving especially when compared to our dedicated winter tire. The conclusion? For typical snowy, icy, Canadian winters, when temperatures dip below seven degrees celsius, winter tires are the best and safest choice for driving and you’ll find the best selection of light truck tires for all types of conditions at Canadian Tire!