Published on January 13th, 2020 | by Bibhuranjan0
What You Need to Know About Winter Tires
With winter just around the corner, it is opportune that you get familiar with winter tires. Is it important to use snow tires? When should you use them? And how much would it cost you? These are some of the things that this article will shed light on.
The sad reality is that only a few drivers use winter tires. According to a survey commissioned by tire manufacturer Michelin, just 40% of motorists in the United States use winter tires. The number of vehicle owners who utilize winter tires is higher in Canada at nearly 67%, but this can be attributed to laws requiring the use of such in some Canadian provinces.
The low number of motorists using winter tires may be attributed partly to the lack of education about the importance of this type of tire.
Why use winter tires?
Winter driving is dangerous, and the numbers back it up.
In one study by the U.S. Federal Highway Administration, an average of 1,300 people is killed on snow-covered roads per year. Meanwhile, around 100,000 individuals are injured annually.
Driving during times of precipitation is equally dangerous. The same study showed that nearly 900 people are killed while 76,000 persons figure in injuries during such conditions.
Using snow tires can help you lower the risks of getting into an accident and keep yourself and your loved ones safe. This type of tire improves driving control and performance during the winter because it remains soft even when the mercury drops to sub-zero levels.
When to put on winter tires?
Experts recommend using winter tires if your place regularly experiences temperatures below 45 degrees Fahrenheit. And you should choose winter tires that fit your vehicle. Assuming you are driving a Subaru Forester, what is the best winter tire for the Subaru Forester? The use of winter tires can improve vehicle traction, handling, and braking in cold weather. They’re far from regular tires that tend to slide on frosty surfaces.
Switching to winter tires is also recommended if you have summer tires on your cars and the temperature dips to 50 degrees F. Summer tires have a higher freezing point as their rubber is intended to handle high temperatures.
Your lifestyle may also determine if you need to put winter tires on your vehicle. You would benefit from the peace of mind of having winter tires on your 4×4 if you frequently go to the mountains to participate in winter sports.
How long do winter tires last?
On average, winter tires can last between five to seven years. The lifespan of winter tires, though, would depend on various factors such as mileage per month and the type of terrain your vehicle goes through.
The tread of winter tires will wear out faster if you often drive on freezing road surfaces than on snow. Naturally, you can get much more mileage out of winter tires if you don’t drive regularly during the season.
Now, how would you know that you need a new set of winter tires? The first thing you should do is to check the tread depth. If the snow tires have a tread depth of at least 5/32, then there won’t be enough tread remaining for you to get through the season.
Unlike summer or all-season tires, winter tires require a much deeper tread in order to be safe and effective. Hence, if the tread depth dips to 5/32, it means you must start shopping for replacement tires.
Most modern winter tires today come with integrated wear indicators, meaning you won’t have to use a tire tread gauge. These are usually molded into the bottom of the tread grooves. When the indicator is flat with adjacent ribs, then it means you have to replace the tire.
It also pays to constantly check the tires for any signs of damage such as cracks in the rubber as well as sidewall damage. It is recommended, too, that you replace all four winter tires in case you find any substantial damage to them. The last thing you want to happen is to be caught with a flat tire on a cold winter night.
How much do winter tires cost?
You’d likely consider cost first before using winter tires. Just like all-season tires, the prices of winter tires may come at different price points.
To give you a better idea of how much you’d spend for winter tires, a premium set of four should cost you around $500. This does not even cover the cost of installation.
Keep in mind, though, that you will not be using snow tires year-round. Hence, you can get more out of its estimated lifespan of 40,000 miles over several winters.
Don’t even think of using winter tires during the summer to get more mileage out of them. Keeping winter tires on your car year-round is not recommended because they can get damaged from the heat during summer driving.
One way to lower the costs of winter tires is to purchase dedicated rims for them. It may cost you more now, but it can save you more in the future as it means no more mounting fees.
How to store winter tires?
Since winter tires can be a costly investment, it is only reasonable that you store them properly.
Before storing winter tires, make sure that they are clean. Allowing grime and gunk to sit on winter tires can easily cause damage.
Winter tires should be stored in a cool and dry place. Never store them outside, even if the tires have protective covering.
It is recommended that winter tires are stored in a dark place. Tires may get damaged by exposure to direct sunlight.
Ensure that winter tires won’t get in contact with liquids such as fuel, solvents, chemicals, and lubricants.
As much as possible, cover the tires with storage bags. This should protect them from ozone that can dry out the rubber and cause cracks.
In short, winter tires can give you the confidence to take your car on harsh winters. It can give you the peace of mind, too. Consider getting this type of tire for your vehicle now that winter is just around the corner.