Temperatures are already dropping. Before you know it, we will be faced with stressful commutes through snow, ice and slush. Your tires are the boots of your vehicle, trucking through the vicious weather to get you to your destination safely. Before the weather goes from bad to worse, you might consider prepping your tires for the long winter ahead:
Consider Investing in Winter Tires
If you live in a region prone to snow, freezing rain and cold climates you should consider investing in a set of winter tires. Winter tires are made to maintain more efficient traction in extreme cold, and on icy, snowy or slushy roads. The rubber is crafted to be more flexible on winter tires, allowing for the tread to conform to the road better in extremely cold conditions. Their specialized tread designs along with a variety of other features warrant them ideal for inclement weather and extreme cold driving conditions.
*Our maintenance tips apply to both All-Season and Winter Tires alike.
What to Look For
A fast and easy way to determine the wear on tread is to refer to the tires tread wear indicators found inside the grooves. These indicators are the hard-rubbered bars lying sideways across the tread. The tire needs to be replaced when the tread is flush with the wear indicators. Once this occurs, the tires no longer provide effective traction in snow and ice. Experts at Goodyear gauge how to assess your tread depth:
Some tires wear out quicker than others, there are various qualities that determine how long your tires will last. It’s important to check your tires frequently to ensure your safety.
The Penny Test:
If you aren’t familiar with tread wear indicators, try using the good old-fashioned penny trick! Place a penny in one of the grooves with Lincoln’s head facing down. If you can see all of Lincoln’s head, your tread depth is less than 2/32 inch and you need to replace the tire.
Cold weather has a stronger impact on your tire pressure opposed to any other season. Keep an eye on this by gauging the pressure at least once a month; once a week if you drive through a lot of mileage.
Inflate the tire according to the PSI requirement for your vehicle. You can usually find your PSI level in your owner’s manual or on a specific label inside of the driver’s door frame.
Tire Rotation, Balancing and Alignment
Balance your tires every 6,000 mi to prevent uneven tread wear. Experts say directional tires must be rotated on the same side of the vehicle (front-rear), while non-directional tires must be rotated to form an X (ex.: front right to rear left). It is recommended to re-align your tires if your vehicle begins to pull to the left or the right.
Driving through snow and ice is often a dangerous venture, checking your tires before the weather gets worse is one of many ways to protect yourself from the dangerous driving conditions. Ask your local Rockford Mutual Agent about our Roadside Assistance Program to ensure you’ve always got someone to rely on when the weather gets rough!
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Amy joined Rockford Mutual in January of 2017 with an Associates Degree in Marketing. Amy has a great understanding of insurance in general as she is currently working towards an Associate in General Insurance designation.