SUDBURY -- Mechanics and members of the insurance industry say putting winter tires on your vehicle can save your life -- and money.

Winter is harsh in northern Ontario with lots of snow and ice.

The conditions are tough on people and your vehicle.

Mechanics at garages are seeing more drivers installing winter tires on their automobiles.

“People who put them on their vehicle tell me, ‘The tires have saved my life,’” said Lance Elliott, mechanic at Donovan Auto Service in Sudbury.

“Winter tires have a more aggressive tread and are constructed with compounds that flex under cold conditions.”

When the temperature reaches seven degrees Celsius or lower, the rubber on all-season tires hardens.

Sudbury driver Larry Murphy swears by winter tires.

“After a snowfall and after the plow’s gone by, on and off ramps can be kind of slick,” said Murphy.

“I drive on those ramps all the time and you see cars slipping and sliding. Lots of close calls. Winter tires just grip the road better.”

However, winter tires aren’t inexpensive.

The price of new tires and rims can add up fast, depending on the make and model of your car.

The cost can be daunting for some motorists.

However, members of the insurance industry say drivers can save a little money by putting winter tires on their vehicle.

“It does give you a credit on your insurance,” said Lisla Beaton, director of claims at Cambrian Insurance.

“Winter tires give you the ability to stop better and save you from being involved in crashes.”

You might not save a lot of money on your insurance for one vehicle but Beaton says when two or more vehicles have winter tires, the savings can add up.

A mechanic with decades of experience has some words of advice for northern motorists.

“If you’ve got to get to work every day, put snow tires on your car,” said Elliott.