It may seem to you that once the temperatures have dropped, you have every right to mount your winter tires. And there is logic in your idea because winter driving indeed involves many risks. I hope that before mounting them, you have maintained your winter tires the right way. Now that you have decided to mount them, you just have to take into account some crucial aspects. I want you to know that you can screw it up if you don't do things right.
Learn all you have to know about the right moment to put your winter tires on. Also, discover all the secrets on how to have a safe ride with your winter tires regardless of the harshest conditions.
When It's The Right Time To Change Tires?
When do you mount winter tires? Are you sure it's the right time? Each region has its temperature specifications. So, there is no fixed rule for everyone. However, the rule that directly applies to your winter tires is that they are intended for temperatures no higher than 45 Fahrenheit or 7 Celsius. So, if you feel cold at 10 degrees Celsius, this does not mean that your car is also "cold".
Keep an eye on the mobile applications that inform you about the weather. Do not rush to change them only if you are sure that a constant cool period will follow. Otherwise, you may need another type of tires instead of winter ones.
Why do I insist on the temperature so much? The idea is that winter tires have a structure and architecture that perform in the most ideal way, namely at low temperatures and in snowy conditions. If tires are not given the environment for which they were designed, they perform poorer than they should. The worst of all is that tires unsuitable for the season provide longer stopping distances and poorer traction.
Once you are sure of the cold temperatures, go ahead and mount the winter tires to benefit from a high-performance driving experience. According to the manufacturers' data, winter tires provide about 15% improved traction and around 35% shorter stopping distance than other types of tires in the context in which they are used for their purpose.
Why Early Tire Change Is Not a Good Idea
You probably know that the difference between all-season and winter tires lies in their treads. Winter treads tend to be slightly more aggressive to cope with snowy roads. However, this is not the only difference between the 2 types of tires.
The idea is that manufacturers have different production techniques for winter and all-season tires. This means that the all-season tires' rubber is prone to get rigid if it is subjected to extreme temperatures. On the other hand, winter tires have a slightly different structure, which makes them much more resistant and preserves their elasticity, especially at low temperatures.
Wearing winter tires at inappropriately high temperatures makes them wear out much sooner because their rubber is not designed for high temperatures. So, you run the risk of using them much faster than you should and having a not-so-pleasant driving experience. Their treads are not designed to ensure a stable grip on clean and dry roads. Consequently, they lose traction on the road, making the vehicle unstable on the road.
The bottom line? Wear the right tires exclusively in the conditions for which they are predestined.
Cold Weather Compromises Tires From The Inside Out
Winter tires are different from other types not only by their treads and by their increased elasticity. They have a different pressure compared to the other types as a consequence of the temperature impact on them. The more the temperature drops, the more the pressure in them reduces. This is a physical phenomenon as natural as possible.
Winter tires are resistant to low to extreme temperatures. If the temperatures of the region where you live do not reach extremes, you might need all-season tires instead. Either way, it is good to know that low temperatures influence the pressure in the tires and during the winter you have to be even more cautious about the pressure level in your wheels. Find out more on how to improve safety in extreme winter conditions.
What Is The Role of Tire Pressure in Cold Weather?
If you think that tire tread is all that matters for a stable ride during the winter, you are sorely mistaken. The pressure in the tires directly impacts the way your vehicle behaves on a difficult winter road. The inappropriate level is the factor that influences the handling and breaking properties of the vehicle, bringing about risky situations during difficult weather conditions.
Unfortunately, many drivers still believe the myth that lower tire pressure is beneficial in winter, leading to better performance. There is a dose of truth in that the contact patch with the road is bigger with slight tire under-inflation. And this is supposed to provide more stability on the road.
However, the manufacturers give assurances that maintaining an optimal level of pressure is still the most correct approach you can have. The right pressure leads to a higher safety rate while driving. At the same time, the manufacturers take into account that the tires perform as well as possible, namely with optimal inflation. For this reason, they encourage the RECOMMENDED tire pressure which is the safest from all points of view.
Regular Pressure Checkup During Winter Is a Must
I hope you understand how important the right tire pressure is during the winter. In fact, it is crucial not only in winter but all year round. Either way, it's imperative to make sure the pressure is right in your tires to avoid potential risks in bad weather conditions. Taking into account that any temperature can play tricks on tires, experts see it as necessary to check the pressure more often in winter than in summer. If the general rule suggests a pressure checkup once a month, drivers should check it once every 2 weeks in cold seasons. Each set of tires has individual pressure recommendations. For this reason, it would be good to remember what the standards of your vehicle are to supply the necessary level.
How Can You Check The Pressure In Your Tires During Winter?
You have to expect your TPMS sensors to mislead you a bit during the winter. They can illuminate when you start the ride, then they can turn off after a certain period. So, the index can confuse you a little bit.
The cause of these deviations lies in the temperature that affects your tires. Initially, the tires have low pressure because of the low temperature. Once you start the engine, the internal system starts to heat up. After some time, you will notice that the TPMS sensors will no longer appear on the dashboard. This is because the air in the car's system, including the tires, has heated up, causing the pressure to increase slightly.
Taking into account the tricks of the TPMS system, you must know how to guide yourself correctly during the winter. To be able to estimate the real pressure, you have to leave the car parked for around 3 hours. In these circumstances, the TPMS will indicate the accurate pressure. Based on this data, you can adjust the level you need to provide the necessary pressure level.
Do not rely too much on the pressure monitoring system in winter conditions. It generates fluctuations or inaccuracies that will mislead you. In this case, it is best to check the pressure individually for better clarity. Ideally, it would be perfect to have a pressure gauge. This is affordable and takes up very little space. With its help, you will be aware of the exact level of pressure to avoid potential hazards.
Make sure that the pressure coincides with the necessary norms whenever you change the winter tires and always before a long trip. Keep in mind that winter roads are the most challenging and you never know in what weather conditions you will reach your destination. For this reason, make sure your tires are ready for this season.