At the risk of being called optimistic, spring is coming. No, not because the groundhog said so so. Rather, because the calendar says so. The warm weather is coming – with a couple blizzards sprinkled in. With it, comes time to change your winter tires. For most of us, the rush to put winter tires on when the snow hits is more pressing than the rush to take them off after it melts. After all, sliding on ice is an obvious danger. But many underestimate the danger of keeping winter tires on when temperatures rise.
A recent CAA study tested the effectiveness of winter tires on summer road conditions.
Summer conditions were simulated at 20 degrees Celsius. Dry winter tires at that temperature exhibited 9.8% longer stopping distances on average. Meanwhile, wet winter tires took an average 26.2% longer to stop. That may not seem like a huge difference, but there are a few things to consider. First, those number are average. At higher speeds, the percentage gap between winter and all-season tires grows. Secondly, a 25% longer stopping distance is more than enough to cause an accident.
Winter tires are naturally more pliable than all-seasons. Heat and friction from summer driving opens their tread, expose more surface area to the pavement. The increased surface area increases overall friction, and so on until your tires are totally worn down.
Summer tires, however, are made of a harder rubber compound. That means the tread doesn’t open up during the hottest summer days. Less contact with the ground results in less rotational resistance on the road. In turn, this gives you better fuel economy and reduces the emissions generated by driving. You’ll save money and both sets of tires will last longer. Clearly, it’s important to remove your winter tires at the end of the season.
When to Remove Winter Tires
You’re probably thinking, “this is Saskatchewan: winter never ends!” Instead of going by the calendar (or the groundhog), you should go by the temperature. Experts recommend removing winter tires when the temperature is consistently above seven degrees Celsius. For Regina, that means the beginning of April. If you follow that schedule, you’ll experience shorter braking distances and improved handling. You’ll also notice better fuel economy and tire durability.
Of course, April isn’t here yet. Until then, ensure that your winter tires are properly inflated and have healthy treads. And, even if you do get in an accident, you don’t need to worry. Universal Collision Centre will have your vehicle back in pre-accident condition in no time. You can book a visit from our Mobile Estimate Centre, or book your claim online.