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Is It Important to Change Your Winter Tires?

Is It Important to Change Your Winter Tires?

The warm weather is finally here. The cravings to get out and enjoy the sunshine are surging. The road trips are being planned. First you need to take your winter tires off and put summer or all season tires on. Every year, twice a year in Canada we do the tire swap, but do we really need to? Winter is the longest season, couldn’t we just keep our winter tires on all year and save ourselves time and money? At First Gear we get asked this questions a lot; do we have to change our winter tires? The answer is clear and simple, YES. You absolutely have to have your winter tires taken off and changed to summer or all season tires. It is significantly safer for you and your passengers AND actually ends up saving you money. These are First Gear’s top three reasons why it’s important to change your winter tires.



Winter tires are made specifically for winter weather. Made with a higher percentage of rubber that ensures the tires can gain traction on cold and wet surfaces staying supple in sub-zero temperatures. This rubber, degenerates much more quickly when the temperature rises. By driving winter tires in summer, they are exposed to the sizzling-hot road they are not built to withstand. Exposing the rubber in winter tires to heat increases the risk of a blowout, which can cause the driver to lose control of the vehicle. Since tire treads soften in hot conditions, cornering, acceleration and braking may be compromised. The vehicle will also tend to drift when the driver makes an abrupt move. The risks of aquaplaning also rise, since winter tire treads don’t shed water as effectively as those of summer or all-season tires. Basically it is significantly more dangerous to drive on winter tires in the summer.                                                                                                                                                     


By using your winter tires all year, the tread wears down a lot quicker. They will need to be replaced after less than 10,000km. Driving on winter tires in the summer reduces the lifespan of your tires by close to 60%. This means your tires will have less tread for the following winter and they won’t channel snow, or slush as well. This makes those beautiful winter tires that you invested in essentially useless, when they should last you five years. Buying new winter tires every year will get extremely expensive. Driving on winter tires in the summer will also cost you more in gas. Since the rubber compound is softer the tread changes shape more. This creates more rolling resistance, which means the vehicle uses more gas to move.



Since a winter tire has 2-3 times as many tread blocks as an all season or summer tire, it makes stopping distances significantly longer on warm, dry pavement. Using your winter tires in the summer increases the braking distance by at least 10% on dry pavement and 26% on wet pavement. So you will not be able to stop your car as quickly. If you are driving on worn winter tires during wet conditions in the summer this becomes even more dangerous as controlled driving on wet asphalt is nearly impossible. Vehicle sliding starts with almost no warning and regaining control of the car is very challenging.


Results are clear, having your winter tires swapped for summer or all seasons (check out how to choose the right summer tire here.) is important for your safety and your savings. First Gear Automotive is available to change your tires over and answer all of your questions. Book your appointment today.