When Should I Put Winter Tires on my Vehicle?

December 12, 2014

When Should I Switch to Winter Tires?

As the weather gets colder and the snow threatens to fall, many people start wondering if it’s time to switch to winter tires. It’s important that you put winter tires on at the right time. Why? Because winter tires provide additional traction in cold weather. However, the longer you drive on warm roads with winter tires, the faster your tires will wear out. This means timing is important.

Rubber hardens when the weather is cold. When standard all-season or summer tires harden, they lose traction and make driving more difficult. Winter tires are made from rubber that is designed to stay softer in the cold, making it easier and safer to drive, turn and brake.

So when should you put winter tires on your car?

In general, many people put winter tires on their cars two weeks before the first snowfall, in order to be ready for the snow and colder weather. But how do you know when the first snowfall will be? Obviously there’s no way to know for sure. This means that the best guideline to follow is to switch to winter tires when the weather drops to about 7 degrees Celsius. Winter tires are not just designed for snow. They’re designed to work more effectively in cold driving conditions. This means that, even if it hasn’t snowed yet, you will still experience several benefits by driving on winter tires as opposed to all-season or summer tires.

When you put winter tires on your car, make sure that you put them on all four wheels, even if you have a front-wheel drive or rear-wheel drive vehicle. It can be tempting to only put winter tires on two tires, but this can lead to serious problems.

For example, if you have a front-wheel drive vehicle and you only put winter tires on the front two wheels, you’ll find that the front tires will stick to the road better while the rear tires will slide. This can make it difficult – and dangerous – to drive and turn. You could find yourself sliding and even fishtailing. This situation could result in your vehicle spinning off of the road or into another car. As you can see, only placing winter tires on two wheels can be incredibly dangerous.

The Benefits of Winter Tires

As mentioned, winter tires help your car grip the road better. In tests braking on ice at 16 km/h, winter tires were able to stop an average of 2 metres shorter than all-season tires. Winter tires were also able to accelerate better on packed snow. It took an average of 6 metres less for winter tires to accelerate from 16 to 32 km/h when compared to all-season tires.

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