Time to switch?
Time for your all-season or summer tires? Why you SHOULD switch from your winters.
By most peoples’ definition we are well into spring here in Calgary and surrounding communities. There’s little to no snow on the ground and the temperatures are generally above zero, if not by much lately! Is it time for the switch from your winter tires to all seasons (or summers)?
When the temperatures are mostly above 7 degree C and there is no threat of heavy snow in the near future then the answer is YES. If you’re a couple of weeks ahead or behind don’t fret. As always, drive to the conditions that you are confronted with.
I think most winter tire fans are getting the plus 7 degree mark fixed in their heads. They know that is when their all-seasons begin to harden, and lose flexibility and subsequently adequate grip for braking and steering.
I have an acquaintance that mentioned that he leaves his winter tires on all year. He’s well educated and well-heeled so I must confess I was surprised to learn that. We know that the performance of all-seasons is compromised in the winter. Does the reverse actually hold true for winter tires?
Indeed it does. There a few things to consider. Sure, you want a reasonable amount of flexibility in your tires so that they grip the surface of the road rather than skate over it. So, isn’t more flexibility always a good thing? Nope. Winter tires get squirmier as the temperatures rise. This increased motion creates heat and heat accelerates the deterioration of the tire. Additionally, the opening and closing of the sipes in the winter tread that do such a stellar job of drawing and expelling moisture in the winter become an additional source of heat as they open and close during summer temperatures. Finally, the softer winter tire compound itself wears more quickly when it’s warmer out. There is even a chemical degradation that occurs creating a greasy film.
So it’s about more than just having to replace your tires more often due to accelerated wear. You can expect poorer performance from your winter tires in July. Stopping distances will be longer and handling compromised. There’s no getting around it – equipping your vehicle with the right tires for the conditions you drive in will be safer and probably save you money in the long run.
Do you have automotive questions that need answering? Or even just a driving related experience you’d like to share? Drop as a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to hearing from you!