Winterizing Your Wheels and Tires

When and Why Should It Be Done


If you live in a cold or snowy region, all-season tires may not be enough to handle the colder temperatures and harsh winter driving conditions.

Winter tires are an important safety measure.  They are designed with a unique tread pattern to have improved traction during the tough winter driving conditions.  The rubber used in winter tires can withstand lower temperatures, staying softer, and strengthening the grip on the road.  A stronger gripping tire on the road increases the chances of the anti-lock brakes and the all-wheel drive systems functioning properly on icy roads.

Do not be shy to downgrade your wheels for the winter. Depending on the kind of wheels you have on your car, you may want to switch out not just the tires but the wheels as well.  Expensive or chrome wheels are not be the best to drive on during the winter months. Winter roads are generally covered in salt and chemicals that deteriorate the finish on the wheels.  Unless you constantly clean your wheels, they will suffer. Also, winter roads are more hazardous with forming potholes; one good hit could damage your fancy wheels beyond repair. To preserve the life of your summer wheels, switch them out to a less expensive set with the winter tires already mounted on them. Initially, this may seem like an expansive investment but in the long run it will pay for itself. You will save money on dismounting, mounting and balancing the tires twice a year as you switch back and forth between your summer and winter wheels.  

Make the switch to winter tires as the weather begins to cool off at the end of autumn.  It is better to switch a little bit early to be on the safe side, plus you can beat the busy wheel-switching season at your local rim repair center.

Keep in mind that even though winter tires are great in the winter, they tend to wear out fast on summer roads.  Remember to switch back to summer or all season tires when spring approaches.  Come next winter; inspect the tread on the tires to make sure its still deep enough to provide proper traction in the deep snow and on the icy roads.

Winter is coming!  In addition to switching to winter tires, remember to keep an eye on your tire pressure.  As the temperature sinks, tire pressure drops (maybe as much as 4psi in a night!).  The right tire pressure will help you to improve traction on the rough winter roads.  Stay safe this winter by properly winterizing the wheels on your car.

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