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Here we are: Winter in Montreal | Woods Racing

Décembre dix. 5 days away from Québec’s winter tire law mandatory installation date. Yup, by law we need em. No getting away with all season’s no way, it’s gotta have the proper markings on em.

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There’s lotsa discussion about winter tires. Are they for real? Needed? Worth the money and hassle? My answer is simply, yes, yes and yes.
Us here at WoodsRacing don’t simply shut down in the winter, we’re quite active racing on frozen lakes around here, so ill say trust us, cause we know a bit about driving on ice.
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Winter tires do help, it’s proven and beyond me why anyone still questions it. The compound and tread is designed for ice and snow specifically. This let’s us stop shorter, swerve less and of course, avoid a hefty fine from our boys and girls in the MUC/SQ outfits.

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As much as I personally have trouble with “musts” and laws and such, as per Québec’s driving record, accident rate and well, our own driving habits I can understand why it’s in place here. Anyone who has driven here knows that we’re a bit on the…..how you say……touchy side of the driving spectrum, and that coupled with our icy winters we shouldn’t be surprised about this.

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It’s the 2nd year its been in place and although I haven’t myself looked up many stats, I’m certain it has saved lives. Accidents resulting in death have decreased 19.5% from 2009-2010. Although it’s an early stat and we are early in this game of mandatory winter tires, it’s a hopeful start.

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For the sales side of the business, its good for some and bad for others. Good as in, good for walmart, bad as in bad for the little guy…AKA, me. These big companies buy up thousands of tires at virtually nothing starving other provinces and killing our sales margins. I’m telling ya, its hard to compete.
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We are a proud www.FastWheels.ca retailer and take pride in offering the line up, Falken, Nexen, Nankang and Yokohama, but from strictly a business/profit point of view, it would be tough if at all possible to survive on tires + installation alone. Of course, that doesn’t mean we don’t enjoy doing it, we are happy to install any tire on any car anytime of the year, its just an overall point I’m making.
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Back to the fun part though, we wait patiently for the lake to freeze over and we plow out a circuit. Now, although we stud the tires with 1/4″ bolts, we run a winter radial. The spikes are good on ice, but useless in snow. We need the winter compound to keep us out of the icy snow banks saving us costly tie-rod and bumper reparations.
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Near the end of the season, or even in the middle when budgets get tight, we, as you should if you’re in this situation, keep the better two of the four on the back. A common mis-conception is that the good tires should be at the front. This is wrong. And before the comments start like “well I’d rather steer than go into a snowbank head on”, if you look at any video of a car out of control on an icy road, you’ll see its the rear of the car out of control. Most accidents are with the back of the car sliding out, not the front going head first. Think about it this way, if you’ve ever been in a spin, its not because the front suddenly changed directions, its because the back lost grip and came out of the straight line you we’re once so happy to be on.
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Winter tires come in all sizes, and there are of course, all prices to go along with them. I hear ya if you say you don’t wanna drop a G on a set of winters, its perfectly understandable. Talk to your rep, they, as we do will find a quality tire within your budget. And hey, purchasing a set of winter rims can keep those shiny wheels you have for the summer away from the salt and the other tortures of winter. Plus, and I say this selfishly, it makes it a lot easier on the installer!
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One of the biggest points I want to make however, is don’t wait till the last minute. For the last 2 years, we’ve had a good snowfall before the Dec 15th deadline and always get a ton of calls asking to get em on prior to the date. Now, provided you’ve read all this and are now convinced to get yourself some winters, its gonna be tough in the next 5 days for you to get em on. Shops all around Quebec are swamped right now with last minute calls for tires. The chance you get your car in for a tire change is growing slimmer. And of course you’ll notice the price of installing these fridged ready rubbers will sky rocket as some shops choose to gouge this time of year.
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And for those shops that do, shame on you for giving all of us a bad name. I place you in the same category as gasoline companies that jack their rates due to unusually cold weather, or a bomb that exploded in Nigeria. Right down there at the bottom. That’s where I put you.
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So getting in early will not only help save lives, it’ll also be lighter on the wallet.
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So get out there and have fun this winter safely. And be sure to check back and see our updates with our ice racing fiasco’s. We make the most of winter and hope you do too!
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The Woods Racing winter beater, 1998 Subaru Legacy L AWD wagon outfitted with FastWheels and Nankang winter tires.

Dec 11th by Bannon



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