Winter driving can be a challenging, and sometimes dangerous, prospect. Snow, slush, and poor visibility increase the chances of accidents and collisions. Winter can be stressful for any driver, even if you’re just making your daily commute to the school or market. One way to stay safe while driving is to ensure your vehicle is prepared for the winter commute. It’s essential to prepare the tires as they are prone to slipping and sliding. Read on to know how to prepare your tires for the winter.
Always Use Winter Tires
The most common yet often forgotten tip on how to prepare your tires for winter is using winter tires. These tires are designed for the treacherous, icy winter roads and offer at least a 25-50 percent increase in traction. The tread rubber compounds and extra traction edges keep you steady on the road. Furthermore, summer or all-season tires can get stiff in the cold while the winter tires are made with a softer rubber that keeps it pliable.
Invest in Tire Socks
Tire socks, also sometimes called snow socks, are protective fabric coverings that wrap themselves around the tires to improve their grip on icy roads. They are made of fibers that make snow and sleet stick to them while you are driving.
Check the Air Pressure
Another well-known tip on how to prepare your tires for the winter is to maintain optimum tire pressure. It is well-advised to recheck tire pressures as they tend to drop during the cold season. Sometimes, the air pressure inside the tire drops by one pound with every ten-degree fall in temperature. Always keep a tire air gauge inside your car to ensure that the tire pressure meets the manufacturer’s recommended levels.
Install Snow Chains
Just like snow socks, snow chains help increase traction and provide a better grip to your tires. It’s important to note that on a front-wheel-drive vehicle, the snow chains need to be installed on the front tires and on all four tires in case of all-wheel-drive cars. Snow chains may not be necessary if you already have winter tires. However, this will further depend on the severity of the weather conditions.
Add Weights to the Rear Wheels
If you own a rear-wheel-drive front-engine vehicle, one of the ways to ensure it gets proper traction on snowy roads is to add rear weights. This extra weight helps increase the power of the vehicle as well. You can add weight to the rear simply by loading the trunk of your car or the bed of your truck. And it is always better to keep useful materials like sand or kitty litter in there. Sand and kitty litter can be thrown near the tires to get more traction in case you are stuck. They also help absorb any oil spills in the garage.
Regularly Checks Tread
Another tip on how to prepare your tires for the winter is to check their tire tread. The tire tread is important as it is what makes the tires grip the road firmly. Worn out tires with less tread lead to shorter stopping distances. It is very easy to check the tire tread with either a tire tread gauge or a penny. Place the penny between the grooves of the tires, upside down. If President Lincoln’s head is visible entirely, the tires need to be replaced.