VP Auto Snow Tires
Van Nyguen knows it’s a tough economy for Canadians. Money is tight and extra expenses can make a difficult month even harder for people trying to stay within a budget. Nyguen and his VP Auto partner Paul Le keep that in mind when dealing with their loyal customers at this important time of year. It may have been unseasonably hot in Guelph at the start of October, but one thing’s for sure – winter is coming.
VP Auto is gearing up for the inevitable rush of customers calling to get new snow tires or have their existing ones swapped in for seasonals. Nyguen knows how important it is to have that extra layer of safety. And it shouldn’t come at a steep price.
“People hesitate to spend more money on things given this economy and inflation,” says Nyguen. “But winter tires are a must where we live. We try to keep that in mind for our customers and don’t make much of a profit margin on new tires, because we’re more concerned with their safety. We feel every driver should have winter tires here in Ontario for peace of mind.
“I tell our customers that if you’re going to play soccer, you need cleats. You’ll just slip on the grass with regular running shoes. It’s the same with winter tires.”
There are obvious reasons to choose snow tires in a cold climate like Southern Ontario. Traction is one. The deeper grooves in a snow tire allow your vehicle to handle better in inclement conditions. That just makes sense.
The tires also improve stopping distance. You have a better window to stop in time before contacting the car (or obstacle) ahead of you. Nyguen has a good tip about coming to a stop in snowy conditions.
“Some people automatically just want to slam on the brakes when driving in the snow,” he says. “But you’ll just slide doing that. It’s important to keep tapping the brakes when you have to come to a stop. That’s the safe way to do it. And winter tires help.”
Another benefit is having a less likely chance of getting your car stuck in the snow. Winter tires give you a big boost, meaning it’ll be rare you’ll have to call on those passing by to help with a push.
The Time is Now
Nyguen suggests getting your winter tire appointment booked approximately one month before the first snowfall, though it doesn’t hurt to get in a bit early for various reasons. One, it’s tough to judge when that snow will come. Also, it’s not going to hurt your tires to have them on early and get some extra mileage out of them without actual snow on the ground.
Most importantly, when the bad weather hits, there’s a crazy rush to book service appointments and far fewer openings.
“We prefer our customers to come early,” says Nyguen. “If you come too late and the snow has fallen, you’re at a greater risk of getting in an accident.
“It’s better to be prepared, especially if you have kids.”
Expected cost, longevity, and service times
Nyguen and Le are more concerned about their customers than they are making big profits on snow tires. They tell clients to expect a cost of about $120-$280 per tire, depending on the brand. VP Auto only uses brands they trust so whatever price range you fall in, feel secure that the tire is a good, reliable product.
“Tires are like clothing – some people prefer the big name,” says Nyguen. “But many of them are made by the same manufacturer and they come with the same warranty. So it’s a matter of choosing what is right for you.”
Regular-mileage drivers should get about three winters out of their snow tires. Expect two if you drive a lot or up to five if you drive very little.
At the moment, VP Auto can get you in for a winter tire appointment within about a week. And once you’re in for the service, it only takes about an hour or slightly more to swap out the seasonals. There are storage options available at the location, so you don’t have to take your tires with you.
A Final Tip
You’ve made the commitment to get winter tires, and with that comes security. When the snowy season is winding down, what is the best time to have them removed? Pro tip – keep an eye out for the street sweepers.
“That’s the time to change your winter tires for the seasonals again,” he says. “The street sweepers are cleaning the salt off of the road and that’s an indication you can take the winter tires off and go back to seasonals.”