Winter’s here! Aside from holidays, gifts and family gatherings, winter also brings snow, ice and frigid temperatures. That’s a lot of wear and tear on your tires. Let’s look at a few ways to make sure your tires are ready for winter.
Switch to Winter Tires
With the increasing popularity of all-season tires, many drivers forgo winter tires altogether. However, that may not be such a good idea.
Truth is, your all-season tires simply may not be able to do as good a job in winter. Often times, they are too wide and low-profile to give you the handling you need when driving on snowy or icy roads.
There have been terrific advancements in the design and manufacture of winter tires. These days, they are no longer the bulky and aesthetically unappealing tires of years past. Your car may benefit greatly from making the switch.
Check Your Tire Pressure
Winter temperatures impact your tires in ways you may not realize. Did you know that tires can lose about a pound of pressure for every drop of 10 degrees Fahrenheit? Yup. Sometimes even more than that.
On top of that, many drivers do not even check their tire pressure regularly. You cannot underestimate the importance of checking your tire pressure – especially in winter. An underinflated tire simply will not handle driving through snow or on ice properly. If you want to avoid the very real risk of hydroplaning on snowy or icy terrain, then check your tire pressure regularly throughout the winter months.
Check Your Treads — Try the Coin Test
Many state laws say that tires are legally worn out when they have only 2/32″ of tread depth remaining. There is a simple and cost-free way to check your tire treads on your own. It only involves a penny.
Here’s how you do it:
- Grab a penny and hold it between your thumb and forefinger.
- Take a good look at your tire. Find the point where the tread appears to be at its lowest (i.e., where it is worn down the most).
- Place Lincoln’s head into the groove.
If your tire has the legal – and safe – amount of tread, Lincoln’s head will be at least partly covered. If Honest Abe’s head is sticking out entirely above the groove, then your tread is worn down and you are not at the appropriate level of tread for proper safety and handling. Simple as that.
There you have it! Three quick tips to test and maintain your tires this winter. Happy driving!