The Farmer’s Almanac predicted a cold and snowy winter. Whether you believe the prediction or not, it pays to start preparing now for all that comes with winter: icy sidewalks, cold winds, winter driving. Just as you prepare your home for winter, fall is the ideal time to get your car ready too—especially your tires.
Tires are your primary defense during winter driving. Your tire’s tread and compound can make the difference between a winter accident and safe drive home. So how do you know when you need new tires for winter? How can you tell when it’s time to put on new snow or all-season tires? (Find out the difference in our recent blog post.)
Though we often think of tires in need of replacement, the sign is not always so obvious. Even with minimal mileage, tires can harden over time, reducing your traction. If you want to find out if your tires are hard, ask your mechanic at your next oil change to check your tires.
Tires with a chronic leak are not always a lost cause. Sometimes tires with punctures can be fixed by a mechanic, but other times the problem can stem from a tire that is not sealing properly or other issue. If you feel like you’re always adding air to your tire or you have a constant flat, schedule an appointment to get your tires inspected and fixed so you’re not stranded with a flat in subzero weather.
No (or very little) tire tread
Use the old coin trick to check the tread of each tire. Place a penny in the tread of your tire because tires can wear differently, leaving some tires with uneven tread depth (which is why a regular tire rotation is important). If you can completely see Abraham Lincoln’s head, you need new tires.
Cracking & blistering
If you have cracks or blisters on the sidewall of your tire, you need to get your tires checked as soon as possible. Excessive cracking or blisters are tire injuries that can lead to a blow out, leaving you stranded by the side of the road in a winter storm.
Tread wear indicator bars
When you first buy new tires, you can’t see tread wear indicator bars. As the tread of your tire starts to wear, inevitably you start to notice bars in the bottom of the groove around your tire. As the name implies, tread wear indicator bars are a clear sign you need to get your tires to your mechanic to see if you need new tires before winter.
If you can’t tell if your tires need to be replaced before winter (they don’t always), or you’re looking for new tires, contact Tire-rifik or schedule an appointment to get your tires checked. A few minutes of preparation can save you time and funds once the snow arrives.