When to Replace Your Winter Tires
Winter tires feature extra-deep tire treads, which allow them to grab the ice, plow through snow and slush, and hug the road on slick corners. After a few seasons on your winter tires, however, you might notice their performance lagging and your ability to drive confidently in dangerous winter conditions diminishing. This is because, over time, winter tire treads wear down, becoming more and more shallow and providing you with less control in icy, snowy, windy, and slushy conditions.
How to Know When It’s Time to Replace Your Winter Tires
Winter tire performance is directly related to the depth of your tire treads. Brand new tires of high quality should perform well in winter conditions, but between 50% and 75% wear, their performance in both braking and cornering declines significantly. You can determine the amount of wear on your tires by measuring their tread depth.
Common Tire Depths
- New Tires -12/32″
- 25% Worn Tires -5/32″
- 50% Worn Tires -7/32″
- 75% Worn Tires -5/32″
- 100% Worn Tires -2/32″
According to the law of most Provinces and also most manufacturers, tires should be replaced at a tread depth of 4/32″ in the winter. To avoid significant performance declines, you should replace your tires at 50% wear.
3 Ways to Measure the Depth of Tire Treads
1. Tire Tread Depth Indicators
Some tires have built-in tread wear indicators. These indicators are small raised bars, typically six per tire near the tire grooves, which mark the permitted tread depth. When these indicators become worn, your tires should be replaced as soon as possible.
2. Tire Tread Depth Gauge
Tire tread depth gauges are small enough to be stored in your glove compartment and are available to purchase at most gas stations and vehicle supply stores. These gauges are easy to use. Simply find the shallowest point of your tire tread and insert the gauge’s pin until the base of the tool is even with the surface of your tire tread. The scale on top will indicate your tire tread depth. A number between 7/32″ and 12/32″ indicates your tires are safe for winter road conditions.
3. Toonie Tire Depth Estimate
Put a toonie between your tire treads. If the surface reaches the bear’s paws, you’re good to go. When your treads cover the silver portion, your tires are about half-worn. If the tread only comes up to the words “DOLLAR” or “CANADA,” then it’s time to replace your winter tires.
Winter-Ready Vehicles Available for Rent
At Young Motors, we have a winter-ready vehicles with four-wheel drive, all-wheel drive, and anti-lock brakes. Our car rentals feature tires that are safe for winter, are always properly winterized, and are ready to go. To book a rental vehicle for your next visit, cross-country trip, or vehicle loaner needs, contact any of our three locations in Fort McMurray today.
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