When do you remove your winter tires?
Spring is slowly emerging and across the province thousands of drivers are contemplating when to take off their winter tires. Deciding when to book your appointment can be a bit tricky, especially in Manitoba where spring weather can stop and start or come very early or very late.
Assuming that your summer tires are 3-season tires (or all-season), a good rule of thumb in Manitoba is to use the 7x7 rule. The 7x7 rule is simple: once daytime highs reach 7 degrees Celsius for 7 days in a row it should be safe to remove your winter tires.
While you do still have the risk of a late storm 3-season tires can handle some mild winter conditions and should be sufficient if driving cautiously.
The reason temperature is the best measurement to look at is simple. The materials that each tire is made of is designed to perform best at specific temperatures with 7 degrees being the cold weather benchmark.
While the materials and design of a three-season tire provides optimal performance, in a variety of conditions, at 7 degrees Celsius and lower, they become stiffer and performance begins to drop. Winter tires on the other hand are designed to do the opposite and are ideal for cold, icy conditions, but begin to perform poorly and wear more quickly above 7 degrees Celsius.
Of course, with thousands of others waiting for the right conditions make sure you keep an eye on the long term forecast to make sure you book at the best possible time for the long term care of both your winter and summer season tires.
Tips to store your off-season tires if you choose not to use in-store storage.
- Plan out where your storage will be – your tires should be stored in a cool, dry place and always out of direct sunlight. Most garages, sheds and attics are not suitable due to fluctuations in temperature and humidity levels. a basement or other climate-controlled space is ideal.
- Check the condition of your tires each time you remove or install your tires. Check tire pressure, look for cracks, bulging, discoloration or other signs of wear and ensure the tread depth is sufficient and consistent all the way around the tire.
- Clean your tires before storage and, after ensuring they are fully dry, wrap them in durable tire bags which can help preserve the look and condition of your tires while in storage.
- Tires mounted on rims are preferably stacked on their sides in a pile but can also be stood upright, or hung from a rack or hook. Unmounted tires are best stored standing upright and should never be hung as this can distort the tire.
- Avoid chemical exposure, including tire dressing and shines. One of the harshest chemicals for your tires to be exposed to is ozone so ensure your tires are not stored near electric motors which can generate ozone (such as near a furnace, sump pump or central vacuum). You should also avoid storage in areas with solvents, fuels and lubricants.