Before putting on a winter tire, it is a good idea to check it. There are several aspects that you should pay attention to. Only then can you be sure that the tires are suitable for winter driving.
Let’s start with the question: why replace winter tires at all? It is primarily about the composition of winter tires, hardness and type of tread. They differ significantly from those for summer. The one used in the summer is harder, in cold temperatures it can crack. Blocks on the summer tire are larger and smooth, the tread has a fairly simple structure, completely fails on snow or muddy roads. This is why soft tires are chosen in winter, the projections (blocks) literally stick to the road. A winter tire has curved sipes, which better penetrate the snow. The channels in a winter tire have greater depth, which also contributes to better grip on a snow-covered road
It doesn’t matter whether you decide to mount the entire wheel yourself or only change the tires (here you need the help of specialists in the workshop). It doesn’t matter if you decide to fit the whole wheel yourself or only change the tyres (here it’s essential to have the help of a professional repairer), you must always make sure they are roadworthy before fitting them.
Tire storage: store your tires a season ahead!
Winter tires should be properly stored. Only then will we be sure that when the day comes to replace them, they will be in perfect condition! Start by washing the tires after removal, then remember to properly dry them, preferably leave them in the sun all day. At the end, it is worth applying a preparation to protect the rubber – it usually costs a few dozen zloty, and can work wonders. Winter tires are in constant contact with chemicals, such as salt spilled on the road. It is not good for them, so it is worth taking care of the complete removal of any unnecessary chemicals from the rubber, which will help to wash it thoroughly, preferably with a pressure washer, and apply the preparation already mentioned.
When we have prepared the winter tire for its “seasoning” (it is dry, cleaned and impregnated), let’s put it in a place where the temperature during the summer period will not exceed 20 degrees Celsius. A good solution would be a basement or a brick garage. This way the tires will last a season or two longer!
Checking the condition of your tires before fitting them
It’s been over six months since you put your winter tires away. Now it’s October or November, the temperatures are low, and it’s often time to put them back on. Before we do that, let’s check what condition the tires are in.
- The first step is obviously the mechanical damage. Carefully check each of the four tires for embedded metal, small nails or driven sharp stones. If there is such damage, let’s not put on the tires, but immediately go to the vulcanization workshop. When we decide to pull out these elements on our own, we will probably damage the tires even more.
- Let’s also check if there are no cavities in the rubber. These may be even small tears, cuts, or even delamination of the tire; the latter case, unfortunately, means the need to replace the rubber with a new one.
The damage listed above occurred during use, but we didn’t notice it when we washed the tires. Why did they occur? Probably because the tire pressure was too low, the tires were mounted incorrectly, we drove over a sharp edge or we chose wrong rims. These things happen
What can go wrong with a used tire?
If you bought used tires, you must take into account that the tread on each of them may not be the same. It is best to have them checked by a vulcanizer. Half bad, if two tires have a smaller and two have a larger tread. Then the tires with the larger tread are put on the rear for better traction. Worse, if only one has cut tread, which also happens with used tires. How to control it? It is worth going to the vulcanizer. What else can we check before putting on winter tires? We can balance them, here too we need the help of a specialist. It happens that errors (factory) in the construction of tires are detected only when they are balanced.
We have already mounted the tires, everything looks fine, but this is not the end of checking them. We get in the car and start driving; we wait for any signal, it may be a beating on the steering wheel or turning the vehicle from its assumed path. Unfortunately, some tire defects or their wrong installation can be detected only while driving the car, which carries a certain risk.
To sum up:
Remember to store your tires properly. After removing the winter tires, wash them thoroughly, dry them and waterproof the rubber. When the time comes to replace them, always check for mechanical damage to the tire surface. Remember that they should be balanced, and the tread should be checked by a specialist. Let’s put a pair with more tread on the back, and a pair with less tread on the front. After changing the tyres, look for signs of trouble while driving. Step by step, let’s follow these recommendations, thanks to which we will thoroughly check the tires. You will be sure that your tyres are in good working order and that your driving is safe!