If you’ve had your winter tires for a couple years, you may wonder how much life they have left in them. On average, most winter tires will last you four to six seasons. However, their exact lifespan depends on tire type, road conditions, and how you drive. Because certain habits can help your tires last longer, we’ll first show you how to inspect your winter tires for wear and then share our best tips for extending their life.
Inspecting Your Tires
Before you put on your winter tires, inspect them at the beginning of the season, well before the first snowfall, so you have plenty of time to get new tires (if needed).
Look for any cracks along the tread and sidewall and assess the tread wear. Tires with deep cracks and treads less than 6 mm deep should be replaced. (Refer to your owner’s manual to confirm what tire size you need.)
If you need to replace one tire, replace all four at once. Otherwise, you risk changing how your vehicle handles on the road, and you’ll create uneven tread across all your tires.
Getting the Most out of Your Winter Tires
Over time, the tread on your tires will wear down, weakening their grip on icy roads. If you drive slowly, your tires will grip the ground more naturally. This also lessens your chances of needing to brake quickly, reducing friction and preventing the tires from wearing out too fast.
We don’t mean you should drive 40 kph in a 60 kph zone! But don’t slam on the gas every time the light turns green either.
Monitoring your tire pressure is also essential in the winter because the pressure drops much faster in cold weather. Check the pressure of each tire every two weeks and adjust as needed with a tire inflator.
When winter is over, give your winter tires a good wash before storing them. This will remove salt and debris that can weaken or damage the rubber. Store your winter tires in a cool, dry place. To keep them dry and protect them even more effectively, you can wrap each tire in plastic bags and keep them on a tire rack to prevent little friends from moving in over the warmer months.
The rubber in winter tires is designed for the cold. Using winter tires in warm temperatures can cause excessive wear and tear. Switch to a set of all-weather or all-season tires when spring comes around.
Preparing Your Car for Winter
Aside from your tires, you can prioritize your safety on the road and keep your car looking its best by preparing for the season with some winter-specific accessories.
Start off by getting some floor mats to keep salt from staining the floor of your car.
A snow brush is a core winter essential. Keep one in your vehicle throughout the season to clear off snow that piles up on your vehicle between journeys. Don’t forget to reach into the wheel wells to remove accumulated slush that has frozen overnight.
If you park your car in an uncovered spot overnight, grab a windshield cover to prevent snow from accumulating on the windshield.
Switch to a set of windshield wipers built for icy temperatures. You can find steps on how to replace your wiper blades here. Pair your blades with a winter-specific windshield washer fluid (one that includes de-icer).
If you have any questions about winter tires or preparing your car for winter, visit a NAPA Auto Parts store to speak with an expert.