In these exceptional times, tires may seem like a small concern. It may feel like using non-studded winter tires this spring and summer is less of a hassle than changing into all-season tires -- especially as many of us are not driving as much as usual right now. However, tires are as important a part of road safety as ever. Even during a global pandemic, all-season or all-weather tires in good condition will increase your safety considerably on spring and summer roads. Here’s why you should not forget to take a look at what’s rolling under your car.
1. All-season tires stop quicker on wet roads
Modern winter tires are designed to work well on snow, ice, slush and moderate rain, but when it comes to rain-soaked streets, all-season and all-weather tires are far superior. The difference in braking distance between a worn-out non-studded winter tire and an all-season tire in good condition on a wet road surface is approximately 40 feet from the speed of 50 miles per hour. That is more than two car lengths, and it makes a big difference when you need to stop abruptly to avoid hitting an obstacle on the road.
2. All-season tires prevent hydroplaning
Hydroplaning is a dangerous phenomenon where the tire loses contact with the road when too much water comes between its surface and the tire tread. The result is an uncontrollable skid, where the driver can do nothing but hope for the best. Winter tires may be excellent when it comes to slushplaning, but they are no match for all-season or all-weather tires when driving into a mass of deep water. Whereas an all-season tire can endure a speed of over 50 miles per hour on a wet road before hydroplaning, a worn-out non-studded winter tire can skid out of control at 37 km/h.*
3. All-season tires make driving more comfortable and precise
Although they may look like similar black circles, all-season and winter tires are fundamentally different. In winter tires, everything from the tread design to the softer rubber compound has been created to make driving safe in colder conditions. Not only will they not work well in summer, but hot road surfaces will also make them wear out quicker and lose their winter safety properties for the next season. All-season tires, on the other hand, are designed to bring safety and comfort to spring and summer driving. Warm city streets and hot highways that are detrimental to winter tires are the natural habitat for all-season tires. They will provide an easy ride with precise handling and quick response at the turn of the steering wheel. This makes driving not only more comfortable, but also safer in situations where you have to maneuver sharply to dodge something on the road.
4. Tires’ condition and quality are important safety factors
When it comes to changing tires, throwing just anything under the car does not guarantee safer driving. Before swapping to all-season tires, it’s important to check their condition. If they have a tread depth of less than 4/32 of an inch, it’s wise to consider buying new ones, as the tires are likely not safe anymore on wet surfaces. Checking the tires for uneven wear and for cuts or tears is also important before driving – don’t use anything that looks damaged. Also, tires should not be used when they are over 10 years old or been used for more than six years. When you buy quality all-season tires for spring and summer and premium winter tires for the winter months, you will receive optimum safety for a long time.
5. Tire dealers are well-prepared to serve customers even during the pandemic
Many tire dealers are taking measures to make sure customers can visit their shops safely. Many chains have extensive plans on how to disinfect their shops and provide appropriate safety distances between the staff and customers. Some chains have announced that their services can be used totally without human contact. Also, remember that many tire dealers have online shops where you can book and even pay for products and services and contact the staff for questions and support.
* Tekniikan Maailma 05/2019