The importance of changing out of winter tires

studded tires

It is important to change out of winter tires after the winter season. Not only because of the damage that they can do to the roads but also due to the damage that the increased temperature can do to the winter tires. The disadvantages therefore of winter tires are the fact that they are made only for the winter season and as such their use is limited to winter alone. If using studded tires their dates when they can be used becomes even more limited and in some States their use is even forbidden. In addition, it is complicated to know when to change into winter tires as well as out of them as winter does not come on a certain date and varies quite a bit from State to State. In general, it is recommended to switch out of winter tires (studded or non-studded) when temperatures stay consistently above 45 degrees Fahrenheit and the same for changing into winter tires in the fall once the temperature stays consistently below 45 degrees Fahrenheit.

The reason for changing out of winter tires when the temperature rises and stays consistently above 45 degrees Fahrenheit is because with the specific rubber compound in winter tires which are made to stay flexible in cold weather (below 45 degrees Fahrenheit) they don’t fare well in temperatures above 45 degrees Fahrenheit. This is because they start to run hotter and hotter and eventually start to chemically degrade. This chemical degradation can actually cause the outside of the tire to become somewhat greasy and even decrease the gripping of the road, making it difficult to brake and increasing stopping distance.  The rubber on all-season tires or all-weather tires on the other hand are made to withstand heat. All-season tires as well as all-weather tires both have special rubber compounds that stays flexible yet firm to handle warmer temperatures so not to wear down as fast while providing proper traction in a variety of driving conditions throughout the year.

If living in an area with severe winter weather your choice would be to either switch to all-season tires after the winter season or to maintain one set of tires throughout the year which would be possible with all-weather tires as they are approved for winter use. This is because the all-weather tires hold the “Three Peak Mountain Snowflake” emblem signifying their approved use in severe winter conditions. This is the same emblem held by dedicated winter tires. If you own a SUV then you have the advantage that the 4-wheel drive allows for better traction.

When changing out of winter tires it is also important to keep in mind the manufacturer’s recommended tire dimensions for your make and model car when buying a new set of tires. This means that if you are switching out of a 275/65R18 winter tires then you should change into 275/75R18 all-season tires or 275/65R18 all-weather tires.

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