Winter Tire Maintenance Tips

Posted on: 20 October 2015

Studded snow tires may be a good idea if you live somewhere with heavy snow and icy winters. The studs in the tread give you extra traction, which can help ensure that your car can traverse the ice without a slide-off. The following tips can help keep you safe on the road while also ensuring the snow tires are properly maintained.

Tip #1: Go for Professional Installation

It may be tempting to switch out your snow tires on your own, especially if they are mounted on their own rims. The problem is that the tires may not be properly balanced or aligned. Take the tires into a tire shop and let them do the dirty work. They will inspect the tires to make sure they are in good condition, and then they will mount them properly.

Tip #2: Store Them Correctly

Whether it's your regular tires in winter or the snow tires in summer, proper storage is a must. The best way to store the tires is to lay them flat on their sides, preferably on a pallet so they aren't in contact with the ground. This protects the tires from moisture, which can compromise the integrity of the rubber. You don't want to store them standing up because this can result in distorted flat spots on the tire if they loose air during storage. Store tires inside – sunlight and exposure can also cause damage over time.

Tip #3: Slow Down

Snow tires don't help with your stopping power, but they do give you increased traction. This prevents the tires from slipping, so you can make it up a steep hill or navigate an icy curve more safely. You still need to slow down on the ice, though, since it can still take longer for your car to come to a full stop in the slick conditions. Slips and slides also increase your chances of putting wear on the tires, such as from skids or hitting curbs. This will shorten the tires' life.

Tip #4: Inflate Properly

The proper tire pressure is typically printed on the sidewall of the tire. This can be difficult to see if the tires are crusted with snow and ice. Take a few minutes to write the recommended PSI (pounds per square inch) in your owner's manual. Then, check the pressure each time you put gas in your car. Frequent temperature fluctuations in winter can cause the tires to lose pressure, so you may need to add more air. Keeping the tires properly inflated will help extend their life. Visit a tire shop for more information.