Cold, wet weather brings with it a whole host of dangerous driving conditions, including skidding, sliding, and hydroplaning. In situations like these, you want to have the most reliable tires possible. Here are the tire maintenance tips we recommend doing each fall before winter weather arrives in full force.
When the air temperature drops, so does the air pressure in your tires. Keep a tire gauge in your glove box so you can easily check the pressure every time you fill up the gas tank. Driving with the ideal tire pressure improves your gas mileage and reduces the risk of tire failure when driving at high speeds.
Having adequate tire tread is essential in winter driving conditions. If you attempt to navigate wet, icy, or snowy roads with bald tires, you’re more likely to skid out, hydroplane, become stuck, or cause an accident.
If your tire tread is less than 2/32 of an inch, it’s time to get new tires right away. The easiest way to determine this is with a penny test. Place a penny upside-down into a tire groove. If you can see all of Lincoln’s head, you know your tires are no longer suitable for the road. Even if the tread is at 4/32 of an inch—which you can determine using a quarter instead of a penny—you should consider replacing your tires if winter is on its way.
When checking the tire tread, be sure to perform the penny test in multiple places—along the outer edge, in the center, and on the inside edge. If the measurements vary, this means your tires are wearing unevenly. Have your wheels aligned, tires rotated, and suspension checked to hopefully repair this problem and help your tires last longer.
Rubber wears out over time. This means, even if the tread depth is acceptable, your tires could be prone to failure if they are over six to 10 years old. Check the information printed on the tire’s sidewall to determine its age. The last two digits of the Tire Identification Number signify the year the rubber was manufactured. Use your best judgment when deciding whether to replace your aging tires this fall.
Here in Colorado, it may be wise to trade out your all-season tires for winter tires once the snow starts falling. This gives you improved traction while accelerating, braking, and turning for enhanced safety, especially if you’re caught in a blizzard while traversing mountain roads.
In fact, that’s exactly what Colorado lawmakers had in mind when they enacted a new law this year regarding all I-70 traffic between Dotsero and Morrison. To avoid a costly citation, your car must meet one of these requirements:
These traction requirements apply to all I-70 traffic, no matter what the weather is doing. For other Colorado roads, driving restrictions are only in place during adverse weather conditions. The law is in effect from September 1 through May 31.
If you have standard tires without the mud/snow designation, make sure you have traction chains or AutoSocks in your trunk the next time you head to the mountains! Even if you’re not driving on I-70, these important safety measures can be a lifesaver if a blizzard hits. Invest in them now so you’re ready when the weather turns sour.
If your tires are wearing unevenly, pulling your car to one side, or causing unusual vibrations or noises, have the problem fixed as soon as possible. Of course, with regular tire maintenance, you can avoid issues before they start. Refer to your owner’s manual for a recommended schedule.
Scott’s Fort Collins Auto offers tire rotations and balancing, wheel alignment, tire repair, and other services. We also sell and install new tires from top brands like Goodyear, Firestone, Michelin, and others. Whether you notice a problem with your tires, or you want to prevent trouble proactively, please contact us at (970) 682-4202 to arrange tire maintenance, repair, or installation in Fort Collins or Loveland.