For the vast majority of us in Canada, we use our winter tires for about half of the year, between October and April, so it’s important to know how to take care of them when they’re on your vehicle as well as when they’re in storage to be sure we’re keeping them in the best possible condition, helping keep us safe and save money. Read on to learn our Tirecraft expert’s best tips about winter tire maintenance!
Monitoring Air Pressure
Cold winter temperatures will reduce cause the pressure your tires will drop along with the falling mercury. Maintaining the correct air pressure in your winter tires might seem like something that will keep your snow tires in good condition for longer, but it’s one of the simplest and most important ways to avoid unnecessary wear. Driving with under-inflated tires prevents them from holding their shape, leading to possible failure, increased tread wear, higher rolling resistance, and less control in turns particularly during poor driving conditions.
Regular vehicle maintenance
Another easy way to keep your winter tires in excellent shape is to ensure you’re undertaking regular seasonal maintenance including tire rotations, alignments and balancing. Depending on the position where they’re installed on your vehicle, your tires wear differently. Rotating them regularly will have a real impact on how long they last. Similarly, ensuring they’re aligned and balanced can also prevent unnecessary damage as the weight of the vehicle is being evenly dispersed.
Always Install Four Identical Winter Tires
We get a lot of questions about whether certain vehicles only need two winter tires instead of four, since all wheel drive, front wheel drive, and rear wheel drive vehicles perform differently depending on the terrain or weather conditions.
If you use mismatched tires or two snow tires with two all season tires, each design of tire will handle differently. Installing a full set of winter tires will result in less wear on your tires because each tire is able to handle the conditions much more efficiently. You’ll also see noticeable safety benefits. It’s important that all four tires have the same traction and flexibility so that they handle as you need them to in cold, wet, slushy, icy and snowy conditions.
Safety in Cold Weather
All season tires are not ideal in temperatures below 7℃ when they become stiffer. The rolling resistance is increased, braking times are longer and you’ll feel a difference in traction. They’ll also wear more quickly because they’re working in conditions they weren’t optimized for. You’ll also see that your winter tires will have to work hard possibly causing premature wear.
In every situation, regardless of the layout of your vehicle, it will always be safer to install four tires instead of two.
Storing your Winter Tires
When it’s finally time to take off your winter tires and replace them with your all season or summer tires, there are a few simple ways to ensure they stay in great condition until you’re ready to use them next.
The Right Temperature
Always be sure that you’re storing your tires in a clean, dark and dry environment that’s away from direct sunlight. They should also be kept away from any hot areas, so don’t leave them next to heaters or air ducts. To prevent the special rubber compounds from breaking down before they should, be sure to keep them in an area away where they aren’t touching any grease or oil or sitting in any other substances. Typically, a garage is an ideal place, but if you are storing your tires outside, keep them on a raised platform so they don’t collect or rest in pools of water. Wherever possible wrap them in waterproof covers.
When it’s time to choose a new set or install your existing winter tires, head over to your nearest Tirecraft. Your knowledgeable local Tirecraft technicians will be able to help you choose the perfect set and offer advice on how to make them last as long as possible.