Like it or not, it is Winter Tire time

I do not think that I was at a party over the holidays that a winter tire debate did not happen as it seemed to be as common as conversation about the upcoming election.

For some provinces, there is no debate as their motor vehicle laws make winter tires mandatory, but it goes without saying that most safety and tire experts on both sides of the border recommend the use of winter tires for your vehicle.

So, if you are thinking that you will just stick with your all-season radials because the weather has not been too bad, think again as winter has just started so, pull them out of the basement or the back of the garage and get them on your vehicle.   

However, before doing so take a few minutes to check them out and see what if any effects that storage has had on your tires as unless your winter tires are new, they have most likely spent from late April until now stored in your garage or basement where they may have deteriorated. Some electrical parts produce ozone which damages rubber, while warm spaces (like furnace rooms) can also affect tire traction and the rubber compound itself, then you have to think about other factors that can affect tires such as grease, humidity and various chemical products. 

When you have your winter tires installed, it is not just as simple as having your tires installed regardless if they are on their own rims or not.  Make sure that you ask your mechanic to do a detailed inspection to see if there are any dry patches or cracks.

Tread wear should also be checked. When tires are stored for so long, it’s easy to forget that the tread is too worn to make it through another season. If you have worn tires installed on your car, you may soon have to make a trip back to the mechanic shop to have them replaced if you are lucky to make it that far. Leaving any warn tires on your car can result in poor traction on corners or wet surfaces and longer braking distances.  Throw in some snow and the effects become even greater. 

In addition to verifying the tire’s casing and tread, it’s also important to make sure your tire pressure is right. Remember the harder you push your tires and the more often you load down your vehicle for travel, the more often you need to check and add air to the tires.  Always stay within manufacturer’s recommendations as this is very important to your car and tire performance and predictability in winter like conditions. 

Never forget that your tires are your only point of contact with the road and a very important part of keeping you on it in all conditions, so taking care of them is taking care of you and your family.

Happy motoring.

By Jamie Barrie