The air is warmer, and the trees are budding. Ah, it’s beginning to feel like spring. You are about to take your vehicle for a spin downtown or out in the countryside, and suddenly the question crosses your mind: Is it time to swap out my winter tires?
Many drivers struggle to figure out the right time to swap out their winter tires. Some would switch them over to all-season tires as soon as March Break is over. Some would wait well into April to avoid the month’s unpredictable weather.
Most experts agree to using the 7-for-7 rule when it comes to switching your tires. When the weather stays above seven degrees consistently for seven consecutive days, it’s time to make the swap!
Leaving your winter tires on longer than necessary is not only damaging to the tires but is also a driving hazard. Winter tires have tread that is designed specifically to provide an effective grip on cold and icy roads. Heat prevents this grip and wears the winter tires out faster. Driving with winter tires in hotter months causes them to be more flexible, increasing the braking distance and compromising your vehicle’s handling.
At the same time, you don’t want to switch out your winter tires to all-season ones too soon. You want to ensure that the temperature is well above seven degrees consistently for your all-season tires to work effectively. Seven degrees is crucial for all-season tires because above this temperature, the rubber compound in all-season tires flexes to allow for shorter braking distances and better vehicle control. Below seven degrees, the tires become stiff and do not grip or brake well.
Switching tires according to the seasons can be a hassle, but it’s worth it for your wallet and for your safety. Knowing the right time to change them will increase the tires’ life expectancy and save you money.