Subaru all-wheel drive delivers four corners of fun. It’s power and performance along with the confidence that comes with knowing you’ve got added control when the weather turns. And I know it’s still lovely out, but the kids are back in school now, which means Halloween is just around the corner and winter is on its way. It is. I’m sorry, but it is.

And that means it’s time to start thinking about winter tires. If you have them, go ahead and book that service appointment. If you don’t, read on.

You likely purchased your car with “all-season” tires. But whoever made up that name did not live in Toronto. Here, “all seasons” are actually *three* season tires. From November through April, Toronto’s average temperatures are below their ideal operating range. And while people sometimes think of winter tires as unnecessary when you have all-wheel drive, the opposite is true. Being able to put power down at all four corners helps move you forward faster, but it’s the rubber that brings you to a stop. And for better handling and safer stops once the mercury drops below about 7 degrees, it’s winter tires for the win.

Ask my neighbours.

I lived for many years on a narrow, one-way downtown Toronto street. All winter long, my neighbours watched me ease out of (and back into) parking spots while they spun wheels on ice. So much so that every couple of weeks one of those neighbours would come knocking on my door asking for help because they were stuck. They figured I had a secret and wanted in. Granted, I *was* a rally driver for a few of those years so I do have a few expert level driving techniques in my repertoire, but at the very top of my tip sheet is knowing how important it is to have the right equipment. The secret was a simple combo: all-wheel drive and winter tires.

We sometimes call winter tires “snow” tires but that isn’t accurate. While there are specially designed deep snow tires designed to dig in and grip on the white stuff like cleats on a soccer shoe, you don’t see those on regular roads all that often (although be sure to check out World Rally Championship action on snow at Monaco in January and especially in Sweden a month later). Consumer winter tires are made of a softer compound that is designed to spread out and maximize surface grip, as well as a tread pattern that sheds snow, ice and slushy water. And this makes a huge difference in performance whether you’re parking up at the curb, enjoying some rural winter wonderland views, or battling slip and slide traffic on a stormy 401.

I usually look forward to putting my winter tires on around Thanksgiving and swapping them out sometime around the Easter holiday. Winter is coming – enjoy that all-wheel drive to the max!