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Tires 101

Although there typically isn’t a lot of accumulated snow in the greater Grand Rapids area during the month of November, it’s not surprising to get our first few sporadic snowfalls during this time and even less surprisingly… they can wreak havoc on the roads for West Michigan drivers. While we all know it’s coming, many seem to forget each year that a good set of tires can be the difference between getting where you want to go and finding yourself stranded on the side of the road. For those that need it, here’s a little Tires 101 to help catch everybody up to speed.

 

Understand Your Tread

You hear plenty of folks putting a lot of emphases on vehicles that have all wheel drive or four wheel drive during wintry months where they will be facing icy or snowy roads, but the truth is that if the condition or type of the tire that’s being rotated on the road is insufficient, all that extra power can’t do much for you. Fall is a great time to take a good hard look at not only how your tire looks but figuring out if it’s the right kind to get your through the long months of winter that Michigan vehicles face. Start by examining your tread wear to see if it complies with the minimum of 2/32″ Michigan law requires, which we want to stress is the bare minimum. Most experts recommend replacing your tires when they are below 5/32″ and begin to become compromised in snow and ice.

 

Know Your Tire

Not all tires are created equal and that couldn’t be truer for Summer or All Season tires versus Winter Snow tires. Summer and All Season tires provide a relatively quiet, smooth ride with good tread life and year-round performance which makes them popular and ideal for many Michigan seasons but you might want to reconsider utilizing them during winter months when the conditions become more challenging. Unlike Summer and All-Season tires, which begin to harden and begin to lose traction when temps begin to dip lower, snow tires remain flexible in frigid temps which in turn creates a better grip on the road. In addition, winter tires have deeper tread depths with unique designs intended to provide more traction on dicey Grand Rapids’ roads which will be unpredictably covered in snow, rain and black ice. To prepare for the long, cold Michigan winter, you might want to consider swapping out those summer or all-season tires for snow tires.

 

Waiting Too Late

 

Far too many people make the mistake of figuring out if they need new tires or swapping out their summer tires to winter ones until after it has already snowed and they are already needed. That’s a mistake and if you don’t believe us, check out the long line of people waiting at the tire store the first time a significant snow event happens next year! Don’t be one of those people who procrastinates doing what they know is inevitable and plan ahead before the white stuff starts piling up on the roads. Winter tires should be swapped onto your vehicle when the temperatures are consistently below 45° regardless if there is snow or ice on the ground already.
Get Them Aligned
Would you be surprised to find out that wheel alignment can be just as important as having winter tires? It’s absolutely true! Wheel alignment factors as an important role in maintaining your vehicle’s steering integrity and provides the most effective way to distribute your car’s weight. But when your tires are not aligned properly, it can cause them and other parts of your vehicle to take the brunt of the road’s impact and cause things to break faster. While alignment is important if you are driving on All-Season tires, Snow tires can take an even bigger hit due to being created with softer materials.  Do yourself, and your vehicle, a favor by getting your alignment checked each and every winter.

 

 

 

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