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Winter Tires, Still? Time to Switch!

It’s been a tough winter in Canada, but we’ve all gotten pretty used to that over the years…it does, after all, go with the territory. Chances are the only way that you safely got through the ice and snow was with winter tires on your vehicle.

Winter tires are, of course, pretty far removed from the heavy, noisy, clunky “snow tires” or “mud grips” that your dad might have had on his Buick wagon back in the 70s. Newer winter tire designs rival the best all-season or touring tires when it comes to noise level, ride quality, handling and overall road manners. The way that winter tires offer good traction, though, is in the tread formulation.

Normal all-season or summer tires will stiffen up and harden in extreme cold, and will skate like a hockey puck across icy or snowy surfaces. Winter tires are designed to stay pliable in the cold, conforming to the road better; between that and their enhanced, more aggressive tread pattern and sipes, they can dig into snow and ice far better than all-season tires.

There’s a down side to that softer tread compound, though.

Softer tread will wear much, more quickly at higher temperatures. That’s why every manufacturer of winter tires recommends that drivers switch them out when prevailing temperatures rise above 40-45 degrees F (or 4-7 degrees C). Failing to switch out winter tires can shorten their service life by 20,000 miles, and will negate the tires’ treadwear warranty.

Tips on Storing Winter Tires

    • Tires are vulnerable to heat and should be stored out of direct sunlight. Their black material makes them absorb heat and get even hotter, and the sun’s UV rays and atmospheric ozone are also very detrimental.
    • Tires should be stacked and not stored upright, which can lead to flat-spotting.
    • Clean the tires with a tire brush and soap and water to remove any road grime before storing them.
    • Each tire should be put in its own individual opaque, watertight bag; a garbage bag is ideal. Let the tires dry completely before sealing it up, and remove as much air from the bag as possible. Seal the bag tightly and tape it shut, so each tire has its own mini-atmosphere that can help head off oil evaporation from the rubber.
    • Once sealed up, the tires should be stored in a cool, dry place. A basement or shop is better than an attic, storage unit, garage or outdoors. Keep the tires away from any sources of ozone, like the brushes of an electric motor, blower or sump pump.

If you’re ready to make the switch, set up an appointment with us at The Tire Terminal in Mississauga, ON! We can get your all-season tires back on for the warmer months and give your vehicle a good thorough inspection as well. If you’re thinking it might be time for a new set of all-season tires, don’t forget that we carry a full line of Kelly, Dunlop and Goodyear tires for all kinds of vehicles.  It’s time to get out and enjoy the spring weather, just don’t do it with your winter tires still on your car!