Winter Tire Care and Tips Winter presents a unique time in the maintenance and care of your tires. Weather is unpredictable and at times hazardous. It is of the utmost importance to know the condition of your tires to keep you and other drivers safe on the road. With these must know tips you’ll be equipped and confident while you ride out the rest of the season.
There are several important factors to know about your vehicle and its tires, and the first thing you should be aware of is your tire pressure. This should be checked once a month on each tire while it is cold. Knowing your tire pressure is important because tires can lose up to 1psi (pound per square inch) a month. Having low air pressure can cause further stress and wear your tires out faster. The final thing point is to measure your tire pressure against the ideal pressure found in your car manual.
So you have made sure your tires are adequately aired up. What now? Check your tread. You can do this by taking a penny and measuring the depth of the tire groove against the head of Abe. Hold Abe’s body between your thumb and forefinger and find the most shallow tread groove. Place the top of the penny into the groove and if it doesn’t cover the President’s head then its time to rotate or change your tires.
Whether or not your vehicle is 4WD or not does not exclude you from considering placing winterized tires on your vehicle. These tires are specifically designed to handle wet, slippery, slushy and snow packed surfaces. They are built to provide optimal traction capability and are best used for vehicles that see consistent below freezing temperatures. Not meant to be used year round, therefore when storing hang or stack your cleaned tires in a cool, dry and dark place. You’ll know if your tires are “winter tires” if they have a logo looking similar to this:
• Rotate your tires approximately every 6,000-8,000 miles
• Balance your tires anytime your replace or purchase new tires
• Check alignment if any noticeable patterns show up in the way your vehicle drives or if you have hit a large pothole.
Driving safely in winter conditions requires knowledge, skill and four winter tires with proper tread.
• Drive with two hands. Always.
• Before turning, slow down while traveling in a straight line.
• While turning, maintain a slow and regular speed. If you accelerate suddenly, your tires could lose traction.
• While turning, don’t make any sudden steering wheel movements.
• Only brake in a straight line before the turn, and do so gradually. Do not brake during the turn.
• Increase your following distance from other cars significantly.
• If your wheels lock and slide, release the brake pedal to recover traction, then slowly brake again.
• Try to avoid changing lanes in slush. It’s safer to change lanes when slush is not on the road.
• If using chains, check for proper clearance between the tire and the vehicle, as well as the clearance between dual tires.
With these tire maintenance tips and tricks you can feel confident when you head out the door this winter.