Does It Matter What the Groundhog Says?

This winter’s degree of harshness will have depended upon the region where you live in Canada. Anyhow, some regions will have contended with impressive amounts of snow. Most drivers living in areas where the total snowfall is quite heavy will have put snow tires on their vehicles. But one question sticks out: what is the ideal date at which to re-install summer tires?

Tires’ treads and their other components are designed to accommodate and adjust to the weather conditions they are faced with. But what about the transition between two seasons? Is driving with your snow tires on until late April or early May truly a nuisance? In fact, you have to consider a multitude of different variables before thinking of storing your snow tires away for the spring, summer and early autumn.

Tread Wear

First of all, are your winter tires nearing the end of their service life? A tread depth gauge stands as the best tool to use in measuring tread groove thickness. If the gauge shows a measurement of 4/32 or less at end of season, forget about thinking of re-using your snow tires next winter. In this case, you are better off keeping them on as long as possible before re-installing your summer tires.

A tire’s average useful life is about 30,000 kilometers. There is no point trying to stretch the issue beyond its limit to save a few dollars. We all know that a tire’s condition highly influences its grip on the road, its traction and, by the same token, our safety.

“Mon pays, ce n’est pas un pays, c’est l’hiver” (“My Country Is But A Winter Landscape”)

Before garaging your snow tires, you also have to take the most unpredictable factor into account: Mother Nature! Whether you live in Northern Quebec or Ontario, the Maritimes or the Prairies, sometimes winter can drag its feet, and the return of mild, springy weather can stall for weeks on end. Although four-season tires may be more and more popular, they will never be as effective as winter tires on snowy, icy or extremely wet road surfaces.

In conclusion, waiting a few more weeks before slipping on your summer or four-season tires is far from undesirable. Your gas consumption will remain largely unaffected and, at least, you will drive in peace of mind should Mother Nature keep on languishing and even unload another white-stuff storm or two!