Are Your Tires Ready for Winter?
October 11th, 2016
Before you know it, winter’s going to be here…and in much of the country, that’s going to mean roads slick with snow and ice. Get a look at your tires. Are they ready for winter conditions?
Cold weather and winter driving are tough on your car’s battery, fuel system, starter and many other systems. At least by making sure your tires are ready, though, you can up your chances of coming through winter unscathed. Here are some basics to keep in mind regarding tires and winter driving:
- All four tires should be the same brand and close to the same age. At the very least, they should all be the same tread pattern, size and type of tires. We know that on older vehicles, this may not be a priority, but mismatched tires can result in jittery, unpredictable handling and traction issues that can be hard to cure.
- Don’t forget to check your tire inflation. Proper inflation is important year-round, but even moreso in winter months. Remember that as the temperatures drop, your tires’ inflation level also drops; every ten-degree drop in temperature means a 2 percent loss in air pressure. In most parts of the country, there’s about a 50-degree spread between average summer temperatures and winter temps, meaning a 5 psi fluctuation in tire pressure. 5 psi of tire pressure is enough to make a difference in handling, traction and durability! Poor inflation, of course, hurts your tires’ longevity and your fuel economy. Get in the habit of checking tire pressure at least every couple of weeks.
- What’s the tread depth like on your tires? By state law, the minimum depth is 2/32” – you can check for this minimum depth by inserting a penny into the tread grooves, with Lincoln’s head pointing down. If the tread is at 2/32”, your tread rubber should reach the top of Lincoln’s head. The truth is, though, that tires that are at 2/32” or even 4/32” tread depth are fairly worthless as far as traction and control in snow. If your tires are that worn, you really might consider replacing them before the snow comes.
- Have you considered winter tires? A good set of winter tires can give you a marked edge in traction and control, compared to all-season tires. That will mean improved handling and turning and shorter braking distances. Some winter tires also come pre-drilled for metal studs, and studded tires are about the only thing that can give you any traction on ice. Studded tires are legal in Indiana from October 1 to May 1. Just remember that your winter tires should be changed and put away when tires top 40 degrees. The soft rubber compounds of winter tires will start to wear quickly in warmer temperatures.
Some people love winter, snow and cold temperatures, while others can’t stand it. For your car, it’s no fun at all…and it can even be just plain dangerous. While you’re readying your trouble bag and getting your underhood systems ready for winter, don’t forget about your tires. Make an appointment and bring your car on in to Tire Central and Service so that we can help you prepare for another Indianapolis, IN winter with outstanding tires and tire repair!
|Are Your Tires Ready for Winter? was written by Mat Johnson of Tire Central and Service|
Posted in: Tire 101