With the arrival of spring and the warmer weather, it is time to switch the tires on your vehicle from winter to summer or all season tires.
It is a good idea to assess your personal driving habits before purchasing new tires. Look at the type of roads you will be driving on (paved, gravel, compact mud/sand) and where you will be driving (urban/rural). This will help you choose the best tire for your vehicle and driving environment.
For fleet vehicles, managers need to review what weight the vehicle will be carrying and the type of roads the vehicles will be driving on (paved, gravel, compact mud/sand). The fleet manager needs to determine the aggressiveness of the tread design, load capacity and the speed rating of the tire selection.
Different tire types are designed for specific tire performance including rain, ice, snow, heat, cold and more. It is important to conduct regular tire inspections to ensure that traction, stability, and anti-lock braking systems are functioning properly.
It is critical to check tire pressure at least twice a month during the summer months and more frequently during the winter months. If your tires are not correctly inflated your vehicle may not be able to handle hazardous road conditions (steering, braking, or accelerating). Always check the tire pressure before you enter the vehicle for the first drive of the day, when the tires are cold. The tire pressure monitoring system in your vehicle or the display at the air pump may not always be accurate. It is best to use a quality tire pressure gauge to confirm the actual pressure. Depending on the reading from the gauge, you may need to deflate or inflate your tire to the recommended pressure. The recommended tire pressure is found on the inside driver’s door jam of the vehicle or owner’s manual.
When changing your tires from winter to summer or summer to winter it is important to inspect your tires. Look for tread wear bars (balding), cuts or bulges in the sidewalls, and uneven wearing of the tread. If you notice something and are not sure how to proceed, consult a tire expert or a mechanic. If you are driving a fleet vehicle, consult your manager on the next steps as policies will vary from company to company.
Tires are one of the most important parts of your vehicle. They are what propels you forward, negotiates turns and bends, and most importantly brings your vehicle to a stop. Many drivers are more concerned about their cell phones and having the latest technology than the type of tires that will keep you safe on our roadways in all types of driving conditions (heat, cold, ice, rain, snow, etc.).
There are four types of tires.
- All-season tires are a blend of summer and winter tires; they are not the best but provide an average tire for summer and winter driving conditions.
- Summer tires are best when dealing with hot road surfaces and they will displace water/rain allowing the tires to grip the road surface. They are not recommended when temperatures dip under 7°C.
- Winter tires provide better grip in temperatures below 7°C but perform poorly in temperatures above 15°C. Some insurance companies may offer a discount if your vehicle is equipped with winter tires. These tires have a deeper wider tread to clear snow out of the tire treads.
- Studded winter tires can only be used in Northern Ontario from September to May due to the extreme winter road conditions in those areas. These tires are equipped with metal studs that are distributed on the surface tread of the tire to provide better grip on ice.
Stay informed about your tire conditions and take good care of them. They are the only thing between you and the road.