Mike from Sicamous Thanks Kelowna Kal Tire

One of our customers, ‘Mike from Sicamous,’ wrote us recently to tell us about his experience getting his winter tires changed over at a Kal Tire store in Westbank, BC.


It was exactly 7:30 a.m. when Mike’s headlights shone on the glass bays outside the store on Industrial Road. Even at such an early hour, all the team members inside were at the desk, smiling and ready to help, including Keith Harley and Cam Currie. The day before Cam had returned Mike’s call and said if he could drop off his truck first thing and leave it there, it would be ready the following morning.


But it was only two hours later, at 9:30 a.m., that Mike’s phone rang. It was Keith from Kal. His truck was already ready.


Mike was impressed, not just because of the speedy turnaround, but because of the care that had been taken along the way. He wasn’t just having any old tires and wheels changed over, he was having his winter tires mounted on newly powder-coated rims. The winter rims shiny and clean. The new wheels had been balanced and the TPMS reprogrammed.


All of that in less than two hours, when Mike was expecting it to take 24 hours.


And Mike was pleased to see his summer tires nicely bagged as well as the printed quote for additional mechanical work.


Mike regularly travels to Kal Tire stores in the Okanagan, telling friends and acquaintances along the way about his experience before heading back to Sicamous, where he wishes they had a Kal Tire.


Did you get to experience outstanding customer service at Kal Tire during winter rush this year? Tell us about it!


Tire Chains: Types and Tips for Ultimate Traction

Tire chains offer traction in conditions when almost nothing else will. If you’re heading into mountain passes or you want to take extra precautions against ice and snow this winter, having a set of tire chains can help you avoid getting stuck or sliding off the road.


Here’s what you need to know about tire chains.


Benefits of using tire chains


  • Tire chains offer incredible traction. In a storm when all of the other vehicles are spinning out, sliding off the road and stuck in ditches, you’ll be moving along to your destination. Chains dig into ice and snow to give your winter tires the kind of traction and grip used by professional truckers in the most treacherous winter passes. In fact, chains are mandatory in certain mountainous areas.


  • Tire chains are affordable. The price of a set of tire chains is less than a tow, and probably far less the cost of repairing your vehicle if it goes off the road.


  • Tire chains are temporary. Tire chains are for emergency use only. If you’re heading into steep mountains, unplowed roads or there’s a snowstorm ahead, tire chains give you the extra grip and traction you need to battle the elements.


Are there any downsides to using chains on your tires? Installing them can be a bit of a chore, especially if you’re already in the middle of a blizzard and it’s –39 C, but that might be a minor inconvenience when you consider how they’ll work to help keep you on the road and in one piece.


Types of tire chains


Kal Tire carries a wide range of tire chains, including:


Cable chains. Cable chains are effective and easy to use, making them ideal for emergency and passenger vehicles. These are designed for use only on highways.


Regular link. Link chains are suited for SUV and light truck use on highways and in off-road conditions.


Whitestar alloy steel link. Whitestar alloy tire chains are designed for use on SUV’s on highways, perfect for heading to the ski hill on the weekend.


V-bar light duty. V-bar tire chains can be used on SUV’s and light trucks on the highway and in off-road conditions.


V-bar heavy duty. Built to perform in more aggressive 4 x 4 conditions, the heavy duty V-bar tire chains are for SUV and light truck use on off-road surfaces only.



Tips for installing and driving with tire chains


  1. Tire chains need to be pre-fit to your vehicle before you use them, so be sure to fit them in your garage before you head out on a winter road trip. This is also a good way for you to practice putting them on so you’ll know what to do when you need to put them on at the side of the road.


  1. When you’re putting on tire chains along the side of the road, be sure to pull over to a safe spot with lots of room. Turn on your emergency lights and put out safety cones if you have them.


  1. Always drive less than 50 kilometres per hour while using tire chains, and never use your tire chains on bare pavement. Using your tire chains on dry roads or at high speeds can cause chain breakage, which will result in severe damage to your vehicle.


Do you have any tips for taking off or putting on tire chains?

Photo credit: ©istock.com/rclassenlayouts

No Excuses: The Kal Tire All-weather Tires Campaign

In October, along with Motoring TV contributor and ‘Canada’s car doctor’ Bill Gardiner, Kal Tire set out on a cross-Canada tour with a message: All-weather tires are much safer in the winter than all-season tires, and now that we’ve got six all-weather models for every vehicle and budget, there’s no excuse for driving all-season tires in the winter.


Bill Gardiner appeared on Global BC Morning Live to demonstrate the differences between all-season, all-weather and winter tires for hosts Steve Darling and Sophie Lui.

Bill Gardiner appeared on Global BC Morning Live to demonstrate the differences between all-season, all-weather and winter tires for hosts Steve Darling and Sophie Lui.



No Excuses Message 1: All-season tires are dangerous in winter; all-weathers are safe


Perhaps like you, many of the media and audiences we met along the campaign trail said, “I thought all-weather tires were the same as all-seasons.”


One of the big reasons Kal Tire set out on this campaign was to make that difference clear. All-season tires and all-weather tires aren’t the same, and if you’re driving all-seasons in the winter, anywhere in Canada, you could be compromising your safety and the safety of others.


How dangerous are all-season tires in winter?


  • All-season tires can take 30 metres longer to stop on smooth ice at just -1 C
  • All-season tires have a rubber compound that gets cold and hard at 7 C (yes, above), compromising grip significantly
  • The thin grooves and tread blocks of all-season tires get clogged with snow and slush, creating a slippery surface that doesn’t resist hydroplaning or slush-planing very well
  • All-season tires don’t bear the mountain snowflake symbol because they aren’t approved for use in severe conditions.

 Braking Distance

We’ve also got a great infographic that illustrates some of the surprising safety differences between winter, all-weather and all-season tires.


Bill Gardiner demonstrates for CTV Edmonton how the wider grooves of all-weather tires push away water, snow and slush away from the tread area for better road contact and grip.

Bill Gardiner demonstrates for CTV Edmonton how the wider grooves of all-weather tires push away water, snow and slush away from the tread area for better road contact and grip.


No Excuses Message 2: If you need the convenience and affordability of an all-season tire, opt for an all-weather tire instead


So, it’s clear that all-seasons aren’t a safe choice in the winter, but for many drivers, winter tires aren’t an option. Maybe the cost of two sets of tires is a turn-off, never mind the changeover costs, semi-annual appointments and needing storage.


The second message we wanted to convey was that while winter tires offer the best traction, if a second set of winter tires isn’t an option for you, choose all-weather tires instead of all-seasons. That way you can enjoy the convenience, savings and safety of a year-round tire that’s designated safe for winter use and doubles as a superior summer tire.


In this news story Do You Need Winter Tires?, CTV Edmonton consumer reporter Kim Taylor demonstrates what makes all-weather tires different from all-seasons, and how they’re also similar.


No Excuses Message 3: Now that we’ve got six all-weather tires to suit every vehicle, use and budget, there is no excuse to be driving all-seasons in the winter anymore


CTV Toronto reporter Pat Foran shows viewers there are now all-weather tires for light trucks and commercial vehicles.

CTV Toronto reporter Pat Foran shows viewers there are now all-weather tires for light trucks and commercial vehicles.


Kal Tire brought the first all-weather tire to Canada almost a decade ago, and for a long time, drivers only had one option. The Nokian WR, pioneered by the winter tire experts in Finland at Nokian, outshone many winter tires in tests and the third generation WR G3 was lauded by Consumer Reports as a “rare winter tire that provides performance for all seasons.” But it wasn’t cheap.


To get more ‘winter tires’ on vehicles across Canada and give all drivers the chance to choose all-weather tires, Kal Tire approach a handful of tire manufacturers and asked them to redesign select models to make them all-weather.


Enter Kal Tire’s 2014 lineup of all-weather tires, featuring everything from a budget-friendly model for passenger tires to a farm-tough all-terrain all-weather tire for light trucks. Whatever your budget, whatever you drive, now there’s an all-weather tire for you.

 Kal's Tire Lineup






















In this story, CTV Toronto reporter Pat Foran explains how all-weather tires are one of the fastest growing segments because drivers now have a range of sizes and price points to choose from. Now there really are no excuses.



Find out if you’d be better off with winter tires or all-weather tires by reading our post Do You Need Winter Tires or All-Weather Tires?


Did you happen to catch a ‘No Excuses’ story or interview with Bill Gardiner about the all-weather tire? What were you surprised to learn?

What’s the Difference Between Directional, Asymmetrical and Symmetrical Tread Patterns?

When you’re on the hunt for new tires, you might notice the manufacturer highlighting that the tire features one of three tread patterns: directional, asymmetrical or symmetrical. These tire tread designs incorporate specific features for optimum performance in different conditions.


All tire tread patterns use these parts of a tire:

  • Continuous ribs
  • Independent tread blocks
  • Circumferential and lateral grooves
  • Sipes


It’s how tread designs use each of these features to deliver certain functions—hydroplaning resistance, for example, or long wear and a smooth, quiet ride.


So, what’s the difference between directional and asymmetrical tread patterns? How does an asymmetrical tread pattern use these features to give all-weather tires year-round grip? Here’s a breakdown of the four types of tire tread designs.


Directional tread patterns (aka unidirectional tread patterns)


A directional tread pattern is designed to roll only in one direction. That’s why you’ll see arrows on the sidewalls pointing in the direction that tire needs to be mounted. They can only be rotated front to back.


Lateral grooves on both sides of the tire point toward the centre, creating a ‘v’ shape. These grooves pump water through the tread so the tire can maintain contact with the road to help resist hydroplaning.


Type of tirePerformance tires


The benefits

  • Excellent wet traction and hydroplaning resistance at high speeds
  • Superior dry performance because tread dissipates heat while a solid centre rib keeps the tire rigid for high-speed stability.


Symmetric tread patterns


A symmetric tread pattern is the most common. It uses continuous ribs or independent tread blocks across the entire tread face, that often create a wavy design. The pattern on each side of the centre is the same.


Type of tireAll-season tires, winter tires


The benefits

  • Even wear and long tread life
  • Smooth, quiet driving
  • Spring to summer performance
  • Multiple front to back, side to side or diagonal rotation positions are possible


Asymmetric tread patterns


Asymmetric tread patterns combine the features of other tread designs for equally strong dry and wet performance.


On an asymmetric tread pattern, you’ll usually find larger tread blocks on the outside to create a bigger contact patch for cornering grip. This also helps reduce tread squirm for better stability, and breaks up heat build up.


The outside also features large lateral grooves designed to pump water out the side of the tire.


The inside features smaller, independent tread blocks and smaller grooves to increase contact area and improve grip. On an asymmetric tread pattern, the sidewall will have ‘inside’ and ‘outside’ markings so you know which way they need to be mounted.


Type of tireAll-weather tires, performance tires



  • Year-round grip
  • Hydroplaning and slushplaning resistance
  • High speed stability
  • Multiple tire rotation patterns


When you’re looking for new winter tires, year-round all-weather tires or off-road tires and performance tires, be sure to ask the tire experts at Kal Tire to help you find the tire that fits your budget, your driving needs and your vehicle. Visit a Kal Tire location near you, or chat online with one of our team members today.


What is Traction Control? How Traction Control Works to Keep Your Winter Tires Stable

 You’ve probably been there: You’re stopped at an intersection, the light turns green, and your tires spin and spin and spin on the snow until you finally fish-tail forward. That’s the very scenario traction control aims to eliminate, but how?


What is traction control?


Traction control, sometimes referred to as ‘electronic traction control’ uses your anti-lock brakes (ABS) system to help your tires get the traction they need to move forward on slippery and snowy roads. The goal is to prevent wheelspin and help your tires maintain optimum traction.


How does traction control work?


1. Measuring wheel speeds

If your vehicle has traction control, and many modern vehicles do, it uses the sensors in your ABS system to measure the speed of your wheels.


If your traction control system detects the front wheel, for example, is spinning faster than your rear wheels (front wheel drive vehicle) during acceleration or cornering, the traction control system is initiated. That’s when you’ll see your traction control light illuminated on the dashboard


When your traction control system kicks in, you should see this symbol light up on your dashboard.

When your traction control system kicks in, you should see this symbol light up on your dashboard.

2. Reducing power and applying the brakes

Early traction control systems reduced engine power to slow the spinning wheels down until they reached the same speed as the other three wheels. Engine power to the tire drops until it detects the tires can grab traction.


By slowing down the spinning tire, it gives the tire the driving force it needs to move the vehicle forward with stability.


Today, most traction control systems control engine output and braking force to prevent wheel spin and deliver traction. Together, these traction control features makes it much safer and easier to drive on slippery roads


Modern traction control systems control engine output and braking force to give a spinning tire the traction it needs to move forward on a slippery surface.

Modern traction control systems control engine output and braking force to give a spinning tire the traction it needs to move forward on a slippery surface.


What else do you need to know about traction control?


  • Having traction control on your vehicle isn’t a substitute for having quality tires with enough tread to bite into snow and ice, and drain slush and water. Having quality winter tires on a vehicle with traction control is a great combination to help you navigate slippery roads this winter. Check out our winter tire rebates page for some great deals.
  • Your traction control system can be disabled by using the button on your dashboard, but there is no need to turn it off.
  • While traction control might at first make you feel like you’re driving slower and taking longer to get going at intersections in the winter, you’ll actually move faster and with more control because you won’t be spinning out.


What have been some of your experiences and thoughts on traction control?

Photo Credit: ©iStock.com/cipango27