These days, most new vehicles come with a nice set of aluminum wheels. They’re not cheap, either. If you have to buy one from a dealership, a factory alloy wheel will cost from $300 for an economical one to over one thousand dollars for more expensive ones, depending on your car or truck. It’s a significant portion of the cost of your car and you want to protect that investment.
Winter is brutal on wheels. Consider all the punishment your wheels and tires are exposed to. They are plowing through snow, slush, gravel, sand and salt on slippery roads with potholes and hemmed in by concrete curbs. A lot can go wrong – slide into a curb in cold weather and an aluminum wheel will break. If your wheels are chrome, the sand, salt and cold will destroy that shiny finish by spring time. Factory alloy wheels will typically last five years before road salt and moisture corrode the bead so badly the tire will no longer seal, causing air leaks. Cold weather and snow conditions can occur in Canada anytime from October to April- that’s over half of the year.
Having two sets of wheels and tires is a popular option for Canadian motorists, and for good reason- they save more by spending more up front. Auto consumers do the math and quickly realize they save money over the long run by mounting their winter tires on a separate set of wheels. The payback is about two years in what you save through mounting and balancing costs. The added benefit is they don’t risk ruining their factory wheels through a winter accident or road chemicals. For the cost of one of those factory wheels from the dealer, you can buy a complete set of winter wheels- now that’s saving!
These days winter wheels don’t have to be the plain black steel ones, either. The price of alloy wheels is coming down and they are also a practical alternative. For winter, we normally stock inexpensive alloys with a durable finish that will stand up to harsh winter road conditions. Alternatively, hubcaps are a great way to dress up the old steel wheels and make them look like alloy wheels.
Remember the old joke – “In Canada, we have six months of winter and six months of poor sledding.” Just like you need winter boots and a warm jacket, so your car needs a good set of winter tires and wheels to serve you properly in those cold months.