If they are lucky they already have some winter rubber stocked up somewhere. If not, now would be the time to search. One of the headaches of a driver, when the weather changes from the soft whispers of autumn to the cooler nights of almost-winter, is when to switch to winter tires. Some drivers tend to procrastinate and wait for the really icy winds of winter. You have to brace yourself and start getting those rubber wheels if you have not already started.
The dicey point in the decision is when exactly to make the change. Both sets of tires have been made and specially equipped to cater for the harsh conditions of each weather. Changing the car wheels either too early or too late can sometimes put you in a lot of jeopardies because you are forcing your car to face situations that it is just not ready for.
THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN SUMMER AND WINTER TIRES
The main difference between the wheels is the rubber used to make them. The compounds for the rubber of winter car wheels are made to stand for weathers that go lower than 7 degrees Celsius. Anything higher puts the tires at jeopardy in the sense that they make the tires wear out much quicker than necessary. This is because at higher temperatures the tire gets warm too soon and then the wear and tear begins. That is when to change winter tires.
Summer wheels actually are made to work best in temperatures higher than 7 degrees Celsius. If the temperature gets too cold, they begin to harden and then start wearing off. This then means that it is an absolute no-no to use one set of tires all through the year, and it’s also dangerous to leave either one on for too long past the time during which it is to be changed. You also definitely cannot use winter car wheels during the summer, and summer tires during the winter.
THINGS TO TAKE NOTE OF BEFORE CHOOSING TO FIT WINTER TIRES
T* he quality of the rubber. Winter wheels are generally more expensive so when getting them, people tend to opt for cheaper ones which may not necessarily be as good. The additional expense comes from the toughness of the rubber and the heaviness of the wheels. Pay attention to what can be termed the ‘tread depth’ of the tire when buying your winter set. The minimum depth in the UK is usually 1.6mm but for your own safety, you should aim for at least 3mm higher. This enforces certain valuable features of the rubber on the wheels like the grip and the braking distances. It also protects the car from aquaplaning. Getting a higher tread depth means that it takes a longer time for the rubber to wear down completely so you can use the set for longer.
- Check for cracks. If a car wheel is damaged in any way, it is best for you to put it aside and get a new set. This is because any little crack can end up causing much bigger damage on the road. Each tire should be thoroughly checked out before you fit them onto your car. Weakened or damaged car wheels should be put aside immediately.
- Balancing. Check for wheels, before deciding when to put on winter tires, that balance well to avoid undue pressure on the sides of the rubber. When the rubber wheels balance correctly there would be no problems with the suspension system of the car and then the car would not move sideways. Undue and uneven wear down of the sides of the car tires can cause more harm than good when a car is on the road. Best to avoid that altogether.
- Pressure. When taking out the wheels you stored last winter, be careful to check the pressure and if necessary pump it up a bit. It is a good way to check for leaks because any air pumped in will easily come out if there are leaks.
THE BEST TIME TO CHANGE YOUR CAR TIRES
Under normal circumstances, it is expedient to change your car wheels if the temperature has dropped below 7 degrees Celsius for a full day. There is no specific time or date that that happens. It can differ in different places so it is best to keep your thermometer handy to make that change when necessary. It has been noticed that in some areas, the autumn temperature can fluctuate and so changing the tires just at that moment may not be in your best interest. Consider waiting for a little bit until after the temperature has remained under 7 degrees Celsius for a little more than a couple of days in a row, then you change your tires. One day less than 7 degrees is no guarantee that you are entering winter yet. A consistent drop in the temperature is what you should aim for when choosing the best time to change the wheels.
Some motorists would question the need for getting winter rubber when there are all-weather wheels. This would be a cheaper option because there is no need for anyone to be changing car wheels twice a year and buying new sets almost every two years. While this is a worthy option, all weatall-weatherlack the specific adjustments that are made to suit the specific needs of each temperature extreme. You may realise that over time, when dealing with extremes in temperatures, your car’s wheels do not hold up. Instead of winging it, why not just go for the ultimate best and be assured of good tire quality all year round? The rule, however, is, if you are already thinking to yourself ‘when should I put on winter tires?’ then the time is actually near.
These observations are ones we have made and we would love to hear about yours too. Have you had any experiences with the different car wheels? What did you learn? Do take some time to share these experiences with us and others.