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Should You Slash Your Tires?


Looking to improve your traction on snow, ice or in wet weather? Consider tire siping - a process that cuts tiny slits across the tread of tires.

• Siping can be performed on new tires or on used tires with at least 50% of the original tread left.
• Our Saf-Tee siping machine cuts thousands of slits across the face of the tire tread.
• These slits create thousands of sharp edges to provide extra traction in poor weather conditions.
• The slits are very thin. Resulting in no loss of rubber on the tread face.
• The results are similar in performance to studding your tires.
• Siping improves the traction of all-season or multipurpose tires.

With siping, you will also enjoy improved braking and acceleration, extended tire life and a softer ride. www.kaltire.ca (click on Retail, Tires, Services then Siping)

Here in Vernon, only the new Kal Tire store at the north end has the machine to perform this operation. I did the all season tires on my VW that have 4000KM on them and the cost was $20 per tire. I believe 15” tires are $25. It’s hard to determine increased traction but I do think the ride on my Jetta is softer and has a bit less tire noise. A recent question on CBC radio was answered by a guy from the City of Kelowna works yard. The City does the tires on all their vehicles. They actually purchased their own machine to sipe tires and he claimed that not only did they get better traction in wet and snow, but the tires lasted up to 20% longer because they run cooler. Most new winter tires are being produced with thousands of smaller treads to improve winter traction so they are essentially siped by the factory.

This article was taken from the November issue of Consumer Reports.

The practice of siping or cutting extra slits into the treads, is supposed to improve a tire’s snow and ice-biting ability. Tire dealerships typically charge around $15 or more to sipe tires.

To see whether siping makes any difference, we tested two performance all season models, an H-rated Michelin Energy MXV4 Plus and a V-rated Michelin Pilot Exalto A/S, with and without siping.

The siped version of both models showed modest but measurable improvement in snow traction and ice braking performance. But braking distances on wet and dry pavement were a few feet longer. Besides costing $60 or so for a set of four, having your tires siped potentially voids and tread-wear warranty. We don’t think the modest gains are worth the extra costs.


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Okanagan British Car Club