When to Switch Over to Winter Tires

The weather in the Pacific Northwest is somewhat unpredictable, leaving you at risk for driving hazards every time you head to work or go on an errand. However, winter tires give you the traction you need, even if there isn’t any snow or ice on the road. The key is knowing when to start using them. If you’re unsure of when to transition, follow this guide to help you.

Don’t Wait Too Long

One of the biggest mistakes drivers make is waiting too long to put on their winter tires. It doesn’t matter whether you choose snow tires, ice tires, or winter performance tires. Put them on as soon as the temperatures start to dip below 50 degrees. The reason that you want to make the switch is that all-season tires will start to harden in temperatures that drop below this threshold, limiting the grip and traction on the road. Before the first snowfall or freezing weather, make the change.

Why Should I Make the Change to Winter Tires?

Even though a huge portion of the country has freezing temperatures for a few months a year, not everyone understands the importance of winter tires. According to Consumer Reports, only 21 percent of Americans put winter tires on their vehicles. While the study didn’t dive into the reasons for not putting on winter tires, it’s safe to say that many people don’t understand the difference between winter tires and all-season tires.

The reason you need to make the change to winter tires is that they become more pliable, which is essential for maintaining control on the road. In addition, these tires have deep treads that can overcome a few inches of ice and snow.

How Long Should I Keep Winter Tires on My Vehicle?

In the Northwest, the weather doesn’t always follow the same patterns. However, there’s a trick to keep you on track: Thanksgiving to tax day. If you live in areas with long winters, you may have to put the tires on closer to Halloween, but places like the Pacific Northwest don’t often start to feel the freeze and snow until Thanksgiving or even later. Keeping the tires on until April 15 is more of a precaution, but you wouldn’t want to switch back to all-season tires in March only to find you need them in April.

How to Pick Winter Tires

If it’s your first time buying winter tires, the task can seem daunting. However, you only need to consider a few things. If you want to keep the same rims on your car, buy the same-sized tire as your all-seasons. In addition, you can choose from different lifespans, as well as studded or non-studded. If you venture into the snow, opt for the studded. Otherwise, non-studded tires will suffice.

Now that you know when to change to winter tires and the importance of doing so, you can make an informed decision on when to make the switch. If you don’t own winter tires, you’re putting your family and property at risk, so pick up a set before winter’s in full swing.

Posted in Travel Safety Tips