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Why you need winter tires when you’re driving to Florida

Driving on winter tires is the practical route to arrive at your destination safely.

By | Repair Tips

Should you drive to Florida with winter tires, then drive around in warm weather on softer rubber, or drive south with all-season tires to suit the warmer climate?

Winter tires are the way to go. No matter how new and innovative your car model is, none of those modern electronics can create traction. They can only maximize whatever traction you have, and all traction is done by the tires. When it comes to those four small patches of rubber holding the car on the road safely, you should make sure you’ve got winter tires on your car when it’s still cold and snowy at your departing location.

The softer rubber and specially-designed treads on winter tires give them better grip and performance on slippery surfaces, and better traction to maneuver and brake at shorter distances. You don’t want to drive over ice without them, trust us.

Tip: Major tire manufacturers recommend that you switch to winter tires once your local temperature is consistently at or less than 7 degrees Celsius or 45 degrees Fahrenheit.

Why winter tires can still work in the heat (but all-seasons don’t in the cold)

Today’s winter tires are designed to stay flexible when the temperature drops below the freezing mark, but they are also more resistant to wear at higher temperatures than the old “snow” tire of days past. Tires wear very little on the open road – the turnpikes you’ll use heading south. Other than aggressive driving in corners at higher speeds, most tire wear occurs when turning at slow speeds in suburban areas and during parking manoeuvres and when drivers use the power steering to turn the wheels when the tire is standing still, literally scrubbing off rubber.

Most consumers have been oversold about how quickly winter tires will wear when run on hot pavement. Yes, winter tires do wear faster in the heat than all-season tires, but they do not melt off the car. You can help the treads last longer by showing the tire some respect and don’t let them run too hot by braking or accelerating quickly. Extra heat is also caused by under-inflation, so be sure to check your tire pressure regularly.

Are winter tires necessary for an extended stay in Florida?

You’re still making the trip down in wintery conditions. It would be rare for a driver to make it all the way down the interstate to Florida without some form of cold precipitation, whether it be freezing rain or snow. It’s not worth risking the safety of yourself and those along for the ride. Winter tires are a must for the trip down and back.

So, can you drive on winter tires year round? It’s an idea that occurs to many drivers who experience winter weather: “If I have to mount snow tires every year, why don’t I just keep them on my vehicle all the time?” In Quebec where snow tires are mandatory in winter, some people leave them on their car year-round because it’s not required to remove them. If those people knew how to change their own tires, they could easily switch back to all-seasons and wouldn’t have to replace those winter tires as often!

Why not use winter tires all the time?

The softer tread of a winter tire will wear out faster in warmer temperatures. If you keep winter tires on your vehicle after winter has come and gone, you will have to replace them sooner than if you removed them for springtime. However, driving on winter tires in Florida for a number of weeks is still fine when you’re there for shorter period of time than an entire summer. We don’t advise using winter tires year-round. The specialized compounds and tread designs of winter tires are not designed to perform in warm climates.

If it’s the hassle of tire changing that you’re dreading, we have a suggestion for simplifying that process: change them yourself. With the right tools and know-how, it’s absolutely safe to change passenger vehicle tires on your own. Learn how to change a tire with our step-by-step illustrated guide.

Keep your loved ones safe on your journey

You may not think of tires as a safety feature, but they’re one of the most important aspects of driving that help you stay out of harm’s way – even more than experience behind the wheel. If you care about the safety of yourself, your family, and other people on the road, you should make sure you’ve got the right tires on your car. So go ahead and equip your car with a good set of winter tires – store your all-seasons at home and enjoy your vacation.

Q&A: Is it safe to change my own tires?

Changing tires doesn’t have to mean a trip to the garage. It's easier than you think.

By | Repair Tips

Changing your own tires is a job you can handle yourself if you already have rims attached to your tires. Anyone can do it, it just takes knowledge, practice and confidence to build the skill.

You can join the many people who have embraced the freedom of not paying mechanics to do the job – and all the booking, travel time to the garage, waiting around, delays, and headaches that go along with it.

Plus, if you’re comfortable changing a flat tire, you’ve got the skills to do the seasonal changeovers yourself (and we believe every driver should be comfortable changing a tire.) It really comes down to jacking up the car and changing the tires on your own, just like if you had a flat and were putting the spare on.

Now if that seems like a daunting task, we’re here to make it doable. This Q&A will help put your doubts to rest.

Doesn’t the job require a professional?

Knowing how to change your own tires doesn’t mean you can avoid getting your car serviced regularly. That being said, doing the tire change yourself will save you from paying the mechanics to do that particular job when you do need to visit the auto shop. You’ll only need them to take care of the jobs that are best left to a professional, like balancing and aligning your wheels. If you buy brand new tires then it would be best to get an alignment. Or if you notice your current tires wearing unevenly, it could be due to poor alignment.

But is it safe to do the actual tire change?

With the right tools, it’s absolutely safe to change passenger vehicle tires on your own. The job really isn’t that tough or inherently dangerous. But it does involve getting your car up in the air. And that’s where a little forethought goes a long way.

Can the jacked car fall on top of you?

When your car is jacked, you should never go under the vehicle – it isn’t necessary to do when you’re changing tires. You can jack your car safely if you follow the instructions for jack placement in your vehicle owner’s manual. Many vehicle frames have molded plastic on the bottom with a cleared area of exposed metal specifically for the jack. If you have a jack stand, place it under a secure point of the vehicle frame before you remove the wheel.

Your jack will also work correctly if you choose the appropriate place to do your tire change – on pavement. That means concrete, not softer asphalt. A jack stand can actually sink into thin asphalt, especially on a hot day when it gets softer.

Is it safe to drive afterwards? Will the wheels be tight enough?

Don’t worry, a wheel can’t just fall off spontaneously! If it really is loose, you will hear loud knocking sounds while driving before anything more serious happens. You’ll have time to pull over immediately to check the wheel nuts and re-tighten them, and see if that solves the problem.

Tip: Ensure that the wheel bolts are always tightened in a criss-cross pattern (our guide will show you how)

Whether you change your own tires or not, knowing how to tighten your wheels is an important skill to have. Even if you had your tires changed at a garage, the wheel bolts will still loosen over time, meaning the wheel is no longer as tight as it should be. You can prevent this by tightening the wheel nuts using a torque wrench whenever necessary. We advise checking the torque specifications in your car’s owner’s manual when tightening to make sure the nuts are tight enough.

Why go to the trouble having winter tires mounted on rims?

Winter tires should be mounted on a dedicated set of wheels, whether its relatively inexpensive steel or fancy alloy rims. Many shops will charge $60 more to change unmounted tires versus swapping tires on wheels, so it only takes a couple of seasonal changes to effectively pay for the rims, and it pays even quicker if you change your tires yourself.

Besides the cost of mounting/dismounting your tires twice per year, and making it possible to change over your tires yourself, having winter tires on rims actually helps them last longer because each on/off cycle risks damaging the tires or even the rims themselves.

“Having tires mounted and demounted semi-annually is quite a strain on the tire itself,” explained automotive professor David Weatherhead to the Globe and Mail. “Especially with lower-profile tires, it stresses the rubber around the bead of the tire and can lead to damaging the rubber, which in turn can lead to tire degradation and, therefore, leaks.”

Ready to take the wheel?

Once you get past the fear and actually do it, all the questions will evaporate. Changing tires is easier than assembling Swedish bookshelves – just follow the steps. Try it once and you can do it for life!

It’s a mystery at first, but not unsolvable. The right tools make all the difference. Find out more from our Tools You Need guide.

6 Steps to Getting Your Car Unstuck in the Winter

Slipped on an ice patch? Trapped in a snowbank? Follow our step-by-step guide to get back on the road.

By | Repair Tips

Whether your car veered off the road or it snowed while your car was parked, it can seem impossible to free yourself without putting a tow truck on speed dial.

TIP: If you’re reading this while stuck on the road, skip ahead to our instructions below!

But there are easy steps anyone can follow to increase your chances for getting out: removing snow from around your car, helping your car gain traction, then carefully driving your car out. Prepare yourself for all kind of wintery driving hazards and you’ll be a DIY snow hero in no time at all!

TIP: When accelerating, try not to spin your tires – this digs deeper holes in the snow and creates ice and slush under the tires, reducing traction and making it harder to move.

Step 1. Dig out your car

If you don’t keep a shovel in your car, now’s the time to go buy one! Our car safety kit includes a compact shovel, along with all the tools and gear you need to stay safe on the road in the event of a car crash or flat tire.

When you find yourself stuck in the snow, get out of the car and use your shovel to dig out all the snow around the tires until you can see them entirely, and you’ve made room in front, behind, and alongside the car so you can get the momentum you need to make your escape. Remove any snow buildup around your car where the weight of the car isn’t on all four tires. Also remove buildup around your tailpipe to ensure it doesn’t get clogged and you don’t risk exhaust buildup in your car.

Step 2. Help your car gain traction

Next, put your car in the lowest gear. The lower gearing ratio will allow your tires to spin slower under the load of the engine and keep you from spinning your tires, so you don’t lose traction and dig yourself deeper into the snow.

Step 3. Straighten your wheels

To make it easier to get your car out of the snow, straighten your wheels as much as possible. You may have to adjust for anything directly in your car’s way, like road signs or fire hydrants, but you want to avoid pointing at too much of an angle since it will be harder to drive out.

Step 4. Drive your car out in a back-and-forth motion

This maneuver should help your car gain traction. Think of it like a rocking chair – back up slowly, stop, move forward slowly, repeat. This is a gentle motion that requires finesse and takes time to build momentum, so be patient and don’t gun your engine! As long as you’re still moving back and forth, you’re making headway. If this technique isn’t working after 10 attempts, stop and proceed to the next step.

Step 5. Still stuck?

If rocking your car was unsuccessful, the ground under your tires is likely still slippery and you’ll need to rough up the surfaces in front, behind, and next to your tires. You can try any of the following rough or gritty substances:

  • Salt helps tires gain traction while melting the ice and snow underneath them.
  • Sand or even kitty litter can provide grip for your tires to get moving.
  • Car mats, doormats, or even carpet squares will cover up snow nicely. Turn them upside down so you don’t leave black tire marks on the surface.

Step 6. STILL stuck?

Sorry, but it’s probably time to call in a tow truck. Even though following the above steps are your best bet for getting unstuck, the snow conditions, tires and driving techniques can vary widely. If your tires are worn down to the end of their treads, or your car is still equipped with all-season tires, all bets are off for getting you unstuck. They simply don’t function well on snow or ice.

There’s no better way to maintain your car’s performance in winter conditions than swapping out your all-season tires for winter tires. According to tests run by Transport Canada and the Rubber Association of Canada, In deep snow, winter tires provide 25% improved traction over all-season tires, which could significantly lower your risk for an accident.

Winter tires in good condition keep your car moving forward in ice, slush, sleet – you name it (that being said, those tires should be in good condition, too.) The increased safety of using the proper tires for the season far outweighs the extra effort involved in owning two sets. Much of the extra spending comes from the service costs associated with switching your tires twice a year, which is why you should change them yourself.

Why New Drivers Should Know How to Change a Flat Tire

The learning isn't over when they have their license in hand.

By | Repair Tips

New driver in the family? Parents, You’re in for a whole new ride.

When my eldest daughter Devan got her driver’s license, I learned a major parenting lesson. Even though she may have completed her formal driving education, I still had a major role to play in the learning process. It wasn’t about teaching her to become an auto mechanic or anything like that, but educating her on how to maintain a car was essential to her gaining confidence as she became a better driver.

I believe 100% that changing a flat should always be included on a parent’s list of things to consider when handing the keys over. At some point, new drivers will make a mistake that ends up in a flat tire – they should know how to change it themselves. If you’re doubtful, trust me when I say that it’s absolutely safe to change a flat on your own with the right tools – that’s why they’re included with your car! (link to Tools You Need)

Let’s ensure your new driver is on track to a lifetime of safe driving. Read on to learn four reasons why it’s so important for new (and experienced) drivers to know how to change a tire:

1. You’re teaching independence

Getting a driver’s license is a rite of passage in our society, a clear sign that a young adult is growing toward independence. Raising your new driver’s confidence level is one of the best things you can do for them. I taught Devan how to pump gas, refill windshield wiper fluid, know what each dashboard warning light means, check tire pressure, and how to change a flat tire.

2. Consider the alternatives

You could pay for roadside assistance, or you could be on-call as “parent-side assistance” – but realistically, you can’t always be there to change a flat for your new driver. For me, it really hit home when Devan went off to university. I pictured her stuck on her commute, late at night, unable to do anything until someone else arrived. Once I taught her how to change a tire, I felt confident that she can jump straight into action when she gets a flat, and arrive home safe – instead of worrying that something might happen while she was waiting for help.

3. Be ready for anything

Help won’t always be there – if you got a flat in an area without cell signal, you wouldn’t even be able to call for assistance. At some point, your new driver might go on a road trip and travel through remote areas. The likelihood of getting stuck somewhere isn’t as far-fetched as you’d think – navigation apps have led to drivers getting stuck in the strangest places!

It’s always a good idea to be prepared. Before you head out, especially on a long trip, pack an emergency kit in your trunk. Items such as a flashlight, jumper cables, and first-aid kit are helpful to have just in case. We created our own safety kit with essential products you need to stay safe on the road in the event of a car crash or flat tire.

4. Stop others from being stranded

Teaching your daughter or son how to change a flat doesn’t just help them when they’re driving – it empowers them to help their friends if they’re a passenger on their ride, or even help others they encounter on their travels. This story of a good samaritan helping an 80-year-old father with a flat tire is a heart-warming example.

As with driving, practice makes perfect

Be confident that your new driver can tackle a flat tire, by practicing how to change a tire at home – before they get into a situation when they’re on their own. Run them through the process a few times until they get the hang of it.

The truth is, changing a flat is a necessary skill for all drivers – are you setting a good example? If you don’t know how to change tires yourself, now’s the perfect time to learn! Follow our our step-by-step illustrated guide on how to change a tire. Try it once, and you can do it for life!

How to Tell When Your Tires Need Replacing

All tires need replacing eventually. These signs of age, wear, and tear will help you know when it’s time to buy a new set.

By | Repair Tips

The lifespan of a tire depends on a number of factors: its design, the climate, your driving habits, the road conditions you’re driving on, and how well you care for your tires. While there’s no way to tell exactly how long a tire will last when you buy it, here are three questions you can ask yourself that will help you determine if they need replacing.

1. How old are your tires?

Some tires actually come with a recommended “best before” date from their manufacturers. Even if the treads appear to be in good condition, the rubber components can still break down. This rule also applies to spare tires. If you’re missing your owner’s manual, or you feel you put a lot more wear on your tires than the average driver, here are some guidelines to consider:

Are your tires over five years old? Once your tires have been in use on the road for five years or more, they may be in fine shape, but they may need replacing. You should have them inspected by a professional at least once per year.

Are your tires over (or approaching) ten years old? As a precaution, most tire manufacturers recommend that you replace tires ten years after the manufacture date. At this point, it’s better to replace your tires so you aren’t compromising your safety on the road.

2. How hard are you working your tires?

If something seems “off” while you’re driving – If you’re sliding while breaking on a rainy day, if you lose traction when accelerating if you hear strange noises or feel a pull on the wheel, if you feel a shake – it could be your ball joints or tie-rod ends, or it could just be that your tires are worn or out of balance.

By checking your tires for signs of damage, you’ll have a better idea if they need replacing, before you end up with a flat and find yourself changing tires on the side of the road. If your ride feels rough, and if you notice vibrations in your car, you should reduce your speed, drive extra carefully, and pull over in a safe spot to stop and inspect your tires.

Once a month and before you go on long road trips, check your tires for these signs of damage:

  • Cracks
  • Bulges
  • Small stones, nails, and other troublesome objects
  • Damaged valve caps
  • Uneven tread wear
  • Shallow tread

Your tires’ treads are the points of contact between your car and the road. You don’t want to drive on worn tire treads because the shallow grooves reduce your car’s grip on the road, which affects your car’s responsiveness in poor weather conditions.

Tip: how to check for shallow tread

You don’t need fancy equipment to check if your tires’ treads are in working condition – a quarter will do the trick. Follow this simple test from Michelin to see how (using a Canadian quarter as an example):

3. Are you making these mistakes?

All these mistakes will wear down your tires, meaning you’ll need to replace them sooner:

Don’t: Use your summer or “all-season” tires on snow and ice
Don’t: Mix summer or all-season tire types on your car
Don’t: Use tires on damaged rims
Don’t: Use tire and rim sizes that are not compatible
Don’t: Use tires that have a speed capability and load index lower than recommended by your car manufacturer (check your car’s owner’s manual)
Don’t: Re-inflate a tire that has been run flat or seriously under inflated for an extended period of time
Don’t: Use a spare tire of a different size at speeds higher than 80 km/hour

Do: Check out our 6 upkeep tips for longer-lasting tires here!

Extend the life of your new set of tires

If you enjoyed this article, check out our introductory guide to tire maintenance and learn about all the things you can do increase the lifespan of your tires, so you won’t need to replace them as often.

How to Extend the Lifespan of Your Tires

Here are 6 upkeep tips for longer-lasting tires (and more money in your pocket)

By | Repair Tips

As a new driver, proper tire maintenance is something you should absolutely know about – your tires are the four points of contact between your car and the road, so it’s crucial that they’re always in good working condition.

While regular inspection plays a big role in maintaining your tires, so does safer driving. Going over the speed limit, jerky steering, hitting curbs, and hard acceleration and braking all put stress on your tires, making them wear down faster.

The following six tips are all things you can do regularly so you won’t need to replace your tires as often. Not only will you save money, but you’ll improve your driving performance and fuel efficiency too – which helps you save on gas and insurance!

1. Rotate your tires regularly.
Tires experience different amounts of stress when in contact with the ground. Left, right, front and rear tires all wear down differently (even on all-wheel-drive cars). Tire rotation means changing where the individual tire is mounted on the car. It’s recommended you rotate your tires once every 10,000 to 12,000 km or 6 months.

2. Get a wheel alignment.
Another way to avoid uneven tread wear on your tires is to align your wheels every year or
20,000 km (15,000 miles). Any form of impact to your wheels, such as road accidents or even driving over uneven surfaces (like hitting curbs or potholes) can displace your tires. You’ll know it’s definitely time to get your wheels aligned if your steering wheel isn’t centered, you feel vibration when steering, or your car drifts to one side while driving.

3. Make sure your tires are balanced.
Every time you change or rotate your tires, you should make sure your tires are balanced to prevent premature tread wear. This is a task you’ll need a mechanic’s help with, as it involves using a balancing machine to equalize the weight of the combined tire and wheel assembly so that it spins smoothly at high speed.

4. Check your tire pressure.
Keeping your tires properly inflated ensures that your car is steering, accelerating, and braking as it should be. As a general rule, tires can lose up to 1 PSI (pounds per square inch) every month, so it’s important to check all tires (including the spare) regularly.

Tip: When the temperature drops, so does tire pressure, so your winter tires should be 3-5 PSI higher than the pressure recommended for all-season tires.

This is a task you can easily learn yourself. Purchase a tire pressure gauge, and check when tires are “cold” (before you head out for a drive). Follow the directions in your gauge’s owner’s manual, and compare the measured PSI to the PSI in your car’s owner’s manual. If your PSI is above the recommended number, let some air out of your tire until it matches. If your PSI is too low, then drive to your local gas station to add air, then check if you’ve reached the proper number.

5. Change your tires according to the season.
As discussed in our previous blog post on using the right tires for the season, the increased safety far outweighs the extra effort involved in owning two sets. The benefit to owning two sets of tires will mean they should last twice as long as one set of all-season tires.

6. Store your tires properly.
So you changed your tires, now what? Proper storage keeps your off-season tires in working condition when they aren’t being used. Follow our step-by-step guide to learn how to store your tires at home and save yourself some cash.

When is it time to replace your tires?

It depends on a number of factors, some of which are completely out of your control (such as weather conditions). Check with your tire manufacturer if they have a recommended “best before” date.

Your tires will need replacing eventually, so once a month and before you go on long road trips, check your tires for these signs of damage:

  • Cracks
  • Bulges
  • Small stones, nails, and other troublesome objects
  • Damaged valve caps
  • Uneven tread wear
  • Shallow tread

Tip: Don’t mix and match tires. While it may seem more cost effective to replace one or two tires at a time, having mismatched tires can lead to rapid and uneven tread wear, or even mechanical issues.

In the end, it doesn’t cost any more to equip yourself with the right tires, and the right tools will help get more life out of your tires and performance out of your car. When it’s time to change your tires, learn how to do it yourself with our step-by-step illustrated guide.

All-Season vs. Winter Tires: What’s the Difference?

Equipping your car with the right tires for the season ensures your safety on the road all year long.

By | Repair Tips

Why tires have different temperature “comfort zones” and when to use them.

Sharing facts about tire safety can be one of the simplest, yet most powerful lessons to prevent people you care about from getting into a road accident. Today we’re going to talk about the importance of driving on the right tires in the right weather conditions. Because all-season tires and winter tires are made with different rubber compounds, they allow cars to perform as they should in a wider range of temperatures.

You may not think of tires as a safety feature, but they’re one of the most important aspects of driving that help you stay out of harm’s way – even more than experience behind the wheel. You can’t always be there to keep your loved ones out of danger, but you can help them understand why it’s so important to drive on the right tires.

Why winter tires are so much safer to drive on.

According to tests run by Transport Canada and the Rubber Association of Canada, cars driving at speeds of 40-50 km/hour veered off the track wearing all-season tires, and consistently stayed on course using winter tires. In deep snow, winter tires provide 25% improved traction over all-season tires, which could significantly lower your risk for an accident.

These stats ring true if you mount winter tires of the same size and type on all 4 wheels of your car. Front wheel drive cars benefit the most, since the rear wheels equipped with all-season tires are most likely to end up spinning helplessly in deep snow.

When temperatures drop below 7°C/45°F, all-season tires start losing their grip on the road, and lose traction completely below -10°C/14°F. Meanwhile, winter tires are performing at their best. Winter tires in good condition keep your car moving forward in ice, slush, sleet – you name it. With tread patterns designed to stay flexible in the cold, winter tires not only prevent snow buildup in the grooves, but they also stop a car from slipping on ice like a hockey puck – improving a driver’s ability to maneuver properly while turning and breaking, with much longer stopping distances.

Can you drive on winter tires all year?

Now, you might be wondering if you could save money by using winter tires all year, even when temperatures are higher than 7°C/45°F. Sorry friend, but this is not a good idea. In parts of the world that experience temperature swings, tires are not a “one size fits all” proposition.

Winter tires on hot pavement are just as risky to drive on as all-season tires in the cold. They’re just not designed to perform in the warmer months of the year – not only are they less safe to use, they will wear out a whole lot quicker than all-season tires if you’re driving on them all the time.

Tests run by CAA showed that drivers using winter tires in temperatures above 7°C had less control of their vehicles and needed more time and distance to stop safely. Even in dry conditions, car performance was affected at speeds over 50 km/hour, and at 85 km/hour, drivers could not even control their vehicles. On wet roads, the impact was felt at even lower speeds.

Here’s why you shouldn’t wait to switch your tires.

Equipping your car with the right tires is your responsibility to ensure your car is performing as it should be. Whether you drive a small or large vehicle, think about all the work it is doing to accelerate, brake, maintain stability, and take turns – all this relies on the contact your tires are making with the road. If you care about the safety of yourself, your family, and other people on the road, you should make sure you’ve got the right tires on your car.

The increased safety of using the proper tires for the season far outweighs the extra effort involved in owning two sets. Much of the extra spending comes from the service costs associated with switching your tires twice a year, which is why you should change them yourself.

Help them arrive safe.

With the right tools and know-how, it’s absolutely safe to change passenger vehicle tires on your own. So don’t leave your loved ones waiting for a service appointment and compromising their safety in the meantime. Help them change their own tires this year, and they’ll have the right tires on their cars exactly when they need them.

How to Store Tires for the Winter: Frequently Asked Questions

Free yourself from yearly tire storage fees.

By | Repair Tips

Follow these tips to store your tires at home and save yourself some cash.

Whether you have a basement, garage, or storage locker, if you have the space to store your tires at home, it’s an easy way to avoid extra costs from your dealership, service centre, or mechanic.

Storing tires yourself is a fairly simple job that involves keeping them clean, covered, and out of harm’s way. Not unlike people, tires wear down over time, and perform their best at comfortable temperatures. We put together some Q&As that will help you understand how NOT to store your tires, and keep them functioning properly.

So, if you’ve ever wondered whether you can store tires outside, keep them in the trunk of your car, or leave them uncovered on your garage floor, these answers will help you choose the right storage spot to protect your investment and driving safely when you put those tires back on your car. Here’s how to store your tires so they last as long as possible.

Tire Storage Q&As

Q: Is it safe to store tires in your house?

A: It is absolutely safe to store tires at home, as long as you keep them away from heat sources and appliances that emit carbon monoxide, such as a furnace or central vacuum. Your tires should also not be kept near any kind of harsh substances, such as chemicals, fuels, solvents, lubricants, or other dangerous liquids. Choose a spot that is cool and dry with little to no changes in temperature and humidity – this means that an attic or a shed is not an appropriate place.

Q: Can tires be stored outside?

A: If you read the previous answer, you can guess that the answer is no. Tires are best kept in a climate-controlled environment. Tires not only suffer damage from swings in temperature and humidity, but also direct sunlight, which is harmful to the rubber.

Q: How do you inspect tires before storing them?

A: Check your tires’ valve stems for leaks, then, check tire pressure and adjust to the recommended PSI. Then check the treads of your tires. Often, they will have small stones and gravel from the road jammed into the grooves. Remove them using a screwdriver to stop the tread from getting stretched out while your tires are being stored.

Q: How much cleaning do tires need before storage?

A: Tires should definitely have dust, dirt, and grime from the road removed before storage, since all that gunk buildup contains harsh chemicals that will cause damage to your tires over time. Clean your tires using a tire brush, soap and water. If you’re keeping them mounted on rims, use a wheel brush to clean them with a special cleaner. Check your car’s ownership manual to see if your manufacturer has approved specific cleaning products for your wheels. Once your tires are clean, dry them off with a towel and let them air out before covering.

Q: How should tires be covered up for storage?

A: Tires don’t need anything fancy to store well, as long as they are sealed in airtight plastic bags, which protect them from changes in humidity. You can store your tires inside regular lawn and garden bags, as long as you remove as much air as possible from them before placing the tires inside (you can even do this with a vacuum cleaner!) Once the air is out of the bag, seal it up with tape, so that the tire doesn’t dry out.

Q: Should tires be stored flat or upright?

A: Manufacturers recommend that tires should be stored upright on their treads – as they would be positioned on a car – to reduce stress and prevent distortion. If your only option is to store them horizontally, then stack them flat so that the bottom tire doesn’t lose its shape – you should use a piece of clean wood instead of placing them directly on an uneven surface. Don’t stack too many tires on top of each other. If your tires are still mounted on rims, you also have the option of storing them on tire hooks that can handle the weight.

Q: How long can you keep tires in storage?

A: When tires are properly stored as recommended above, they can have a very long shelf life. Proper storage and care can do wonders for increasing a tire’s lifespan. If you’re planning to store them for more than a year, check your with your tires’ manufacturer if there is a “best before” date for their expected total lifespan.

If you store your own tires, you should change them yourself too.

By following the above steps, your tires will last longer and you’ll be better prepared for the change of season when it comes time to switch your tires in the spring and fall.

Storing tires yourself not only gets rid the cost of keeping them at your dealership or service centre, it also means you can switch providers, because no one’s holding them hostage to keep you coming back for service when it’s time to get your tires changed.

Of course, you could avoid that hassle as well by changing your tires yourself, which saves you even more money! Here’s our step-by-step illustrated guide on how to change a tire.

This is When You Should Switch Over to Winter Tires

Here's how to avoid the mad rush for service centre appointments.

By | Repair Tips

What time of year should you change your tires over?

Clearly the answer isn’t the same every year, as the seasons feel very different from one winter to the next. It’s also not the same for everyone, since every area is hit by cold temperatures at different times.

In this way, tires are like footwear. In some parts of the world, people can wear the same shoes year-round because temperatures don’t swing up or down that much. But in areas where people experience distinct changes in weather, the idea of calling tires “all-season” is as strange as wearing sandals in a blizzard or snow boots in the summertime. We need the right footwear to do activities outside in both +20°C and -20°C. While luckily we don’t have to swap out tires as often as we switch out our shoes, it’s still incredibly important that your car is properly “dressed” for the season so it can perform correctly.

Just like the name for “all-season tires” is inaccurate, so is the idea of “snow tires” – and even “winter tires” doesn’t actually make sense, because these tires are actually designed for many different weather conditions (basically whenever it’s cold outside).

Here’s the rule you should know: major tire manufacturers recommend that you switch to winter tires once your local temperature is consistently at or less than 7 degrees Celsius or 45 degrees Fahrenheit.

If you care about the safety of yourself, your family, and other people on the road, you should make sure you’ve got the right tires on your car. So when should you make the switch? You’ll have to check your local long-term weather forecast to get an idea of when to get ready for colder weather. This year, in many parts of Canada and the United States, people are anticipating plenty of snow and some wild temperature swings thanks to the Winter 2018-19 prediction from the Farmer’s Almanac.

Why switch your tires at 7°C/45°F?

7 degrees Celsius or 45 degrees Fahrenheit is the standard temperature that winter tires are designed for improved handling, traction, and braking distances, across all major tire brands.

In any weather conditions where the temperature dips below this number, all-season tires can’t perform effectively and become risky to drive on. The rubber hardens to the point where, like a hockey puck on ice, the friction point is reduced and the tires will lose traction or require more stopping distance.

When the cold weather worsens from snow and ice, the softer rubber and specially-designed treads on winter tires give them better grip and performance on slippery surfaces, and better traction to maneuver and brake at shorter distances.

Are winter tires required in Canada?

Tires are one of the most important safety features in your car. Most of us don’t give our tires much thought, aside from the times in the year we need to change them, or when we get a flat. But tires do the vitally important job of keeping our cars driving on the road and maneuvering as they should be.

That being said, in most places switching your tires isn’t written in law. In the United States, there are no states that require putting on winter tires. In Canada, it’s required by law in two provinces:

  • Quebec requires all cars to be equipped with winter tires between December 15 and March 15.
  • British Columbia requires all cars driving on designated highways in the province to be equipped with winter tires between October 1 and April 30.

However, regardless of where you live and drive in the northern half of North America, winter tires are essential to safe driving in colder temperatures. The use of winter tires is strongly encouraged by all provinces and Transport Canada in the months between October and May.

Here are 5 reasons to change your tires on time.

Just a little extra motivation to change your tires now.

  • There’s no better way to maintain your car’s performance in winter conditions than swapping out your all-season tires for winter tires.
  • As temperatures drop, not only do your all-season tires become less effective, it becomes more difficult to drive on them – so you may find yourself losing control on the road.
  • Some insurance companies offer discounts to drivers who install winter tires. If you live in Ontario, the rate reduction is guaranteed, so make sure you get it by changing your tires!
  • You never know when the weather will take a turn for the worse. Instead of being caught off guard by a sudden dumping of snow, it makes life much easier to get your tire change out of the way earlier in the fall. You don’t want to end up stuck in your driveway!
  • If you wait for the first frost or snowfall to swap your tires, don’t expect to get a service appointment any time soon. Most drivers wait until this time to book, meaning it could be days or even weeks before your tires are changed at the shop. The wait can be so long that many drivers start booking appointments before Thanksgiving!

Don’t find yourself stuck waiting for an appointment and compromising your safety in the meantime. Change your tires yourself, and you can get the job done on your own schedule. Try changing your own tires this year, and you’ll have them on your car exactly when you need them.

 

Follow these 3 winter tire installation tips to stay safe on the road.

Tip 1: Winter tires should absolutely be installed as a complete set of four. Otherwise, your wheels won’t all have the same amount of traction and stability.

Tip 2: Keeping your winter tires on their own set of rims will save you a lot time and hassle every time you swap them. They don’t have to be brand-new or the same as your all-season rims, but they must all be the same size as each other, with the same bolt pattern. Doing this also saves your regular rims from the wear-and-tear of driving in wintry weather conditions.

Tip 3: Try changing your tires yourself, instead of waiting a week or longer for the service centre appointment and hours for mechanics to get the job done.

Everyone should put on their own winter tires, and it’s easier than you think.

With the right tools and know-how, it’s absolutely safe to change passenger vehicle tires on your own. So stop living by someone else’s appointment schedule and learn how to change a tire with our step-by-step illustrated guide.

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