With clocks springing ahead and winter fading toward warmer weather, the annual migration of drivers into auto shops for the seasonal tire switch-out is at hand. According to local tire experts, there are a few things you should know about the process including the ideal time to make the switch.
“It really depends on your insurance coverage,” says Josh Adams, Office Manager at Dettmer Tire and Auto Centre in downtown Guelph. “A lot of policies state they can’t be taken off until after April 1st if you’ve got the winter tire discount. Other than that, we start switch-overs on the 15th of March.”
While many garages offer storage options for your winter tires, Adams has a few suggestions for anyone bringing their winter tires back home for the summer.
“The best thing to do is to stack them on top of each other, but not on their sides,” he says. “Store them somewhere out of direct sunlight. And try not to store them in bags, because the moisture is not necessarily the best for your rims.”
If you discover you need new tires when it comes time to switch out your winter wheels, there are many different tire options to choose from. Adams suggests the type of vehicle you’re driving and the kind of driving you do should be major factors in your decision.
“Typically, I would recommend an all-season tire,” said Adams. “With a summer tire you get a little bit better brake performance, but if you’re driving a performance vehicle you’re not likely going to see the benefit. On a standard commuting vehicle, an all-season is the best option when you balance price and performance.”
Additionally, Adams said there will be some noticeable difference in the way your vehicle handles when you switch from softer winter tires.
“It will be quieter, as summer tires are definitely quieter than the winter tires. As long as the temperature is above seven degrees the braking distance will be a little shorter because the winter tires can get a little squirmy when it’s over seven.”
For the motivated DIY mechanic who may be planning to switch out winter tires in the driveway, Adams offers these suggestions to ensure the job is done safely.
“Definitely make sure that the surfaces that touch – the hub surface and the back of the rim – are free of rust or corrosion. Don’t put a lubricant in there that can prevent it from sitting perfectly flat. And make sure that you have a torque wrench to put the proper torque spec on it. Under torquing or over torquing can both cause wheels to come loose.”
As a final tip, remember to properly inflate your tires, as they could have lost pressure over the winter. The cost of a tire switch for wheels already on rims is $55 at Dettmer Tire, with both walk-ins and appointment service available. To book your tire service, visit either of the two locations of Dettmer Tire, 325 Eramosa Road or 23 Cork Street East in Guelph. Visit them online at dettmertires.com.