Three Ways To Protect Your Tires During Winter

Posted on: 24 November 2018

You're probably familiar with standard tire maintenance like checking treads and having them rotated, but when winter hits, there are some season-specific steps you should add to your maintenance cycle. Treating your tires right when the rain and snow arrives can keep them in good shape longer and keep you and drivers around you safer.

Keep Your Car Clean and Dry

One way to combat ice on the roads is by using salt, which lowers the freezing point of water. This has the handy benefit of reducing dangerous ice on the roads, but also has the downside of getting salt in your tires and your car's other components. Salt is corrosive, and can cause much of the metal on your car's frame to rust. Because water splashed from your tires can get just about everywhere, this means the salt can get just about everywhere, too.

One good way to protect your car from the damaging effects of road salt is to rinse your car down thoroughly after you've been driving. This is more beneficial if you aren't going to be driving for a while, as salt does take time to corrode metal, and it might be a waste of time to rinse off your car only to drive it again hours later. When you do rinse it off, make sure you reach behind the tires and into the undercarriage; don't just clean the outside. This is especially important if you store your car in a garage, because warmer conditions can accelerate the corrosion.

Check Your Tire Pressure Frequently

Diligence about your tire pressure is even more important in winter, when dropping temperatures can cause your tire pressure to drop as well. The more extreme the drop or temperature variations, the more important it is that you check your tire pressure on a regular basis. During the height of winter, taking a moment to check your tire pressure about once a week is a good idea. If left unchecked, the cold weather can cause your tire pressure to drop and subsequently put a lot more strain on your tires.

While you're at it, you can further protect your tires by making sure that you have a nozzle cap on each one. Caps can easily get lost, but having caps on your tires' nozzles helps prevent air from escaping, and has the added benefit or protecting the nozzle itself from damage from water, salt, and dirt.

Don't Mix and Match Tires

If the winter is bad enough that you need to change to a set of winter tires, make sure that you switch all four tires to your winter variety regardless of what type of wheel drive you have. This is because every tire is made to be handled differently, and having different types of tires on the same car can not only damage your tires and car, it can make your car less safe by making your tires less effective individually. Tires made for the wet and snow will be less effective when paired with tires made for smooth and dry roads.

Before switching tires, inspect your winter set thoroughly to check for any damage. As a bonus, when storing your other set for the winter, try to store them in a dry place out of direct exposure to the elements. If you have no room to store them in a garage, cover them with tarp or plastic to protect them.

Contact a service, like King George Truck & Tire Center, for more help.