How Long Do Winter Tires Last?

Changing over to winter tires is one of the most important parts of preparing your car for winter. Remember to inspect your winter tires each year and maintain them throughout the season to help them last as long as possible. We’ll walk you through the steps.

The Role of Winter Tires

Using the right tires for the conditions you’re driving in is crucial to your vehicle’s braking ability, handling performance, and overall safety.

Winter tires have deep, wide grooves designed to handle snow, slush, and water. They push these elements out of the way to maximize their contact with the road. The rubber in winter tires is also made to remain flexible in freezing temperatures, whereas summer and all-season tires become hard in the cold, preventing them from gripping the road properly.

Winter tires are mandatory in Québec and British Columbia and are highly recommended in all other parts of Canada. Switch to winter tires when the temperature drops below 7°C (usually in October) and remove them when the temperature returns to being consistently above 7°C (usually in April). You can read more about when the best time to change your tires is here.

Inspecting Your Tires

Inspect your winter tires before putting them on for the season. Look for cracks around the tread and sidewalls. Even the smallest cracks need to be taken seriously because tire cracks can accumulate and increase the chances of your tire fully blowing out. If you see any cracks during your assessment, replace the tires.

Next, check the tread depth of your tires. If the tires have too much tread wear, they won’t be able to grip the road as easily, leading to decreased performance and handling. Most tires have tread wear indicators. If the tread is worn down to the same level as the indicators or below, it’s time for a replacement. If your tires don’t have tread indicators, you can measure the tread yourself. Tires with a tread below six millimetres deep should be replaced.

Find your local NAPA AUTOPRO to have your tires inspected,

How to Maintain Your Tires

Most winter tires will last between four to six seasons. You can make your winter tires last longer by maintaining them properly. This means keeping up with tire inflation, driving slowly in winter weather, and storing your tires properly when you’re not using them.

At the end of the season, store your winter tires in a clean, cool, and dark location to prevent the rubber compounds from breaking down too quickly. Most people keep their tires in their basement or garage. If you don’t have any room at home to store your tires, you can pay select tire retailers to hold them for you. This service typically costs $10 to $15 per tire, depending on the tire size and whether they’ll be mounted on rims.

Image courtesy: Shutterstock 1902411007