When Should Winter Tires Come Off?
As the first day of spring draws closer, and the weather in Winnipeg starts to flip between sunny +5 temps and snowy -15, you may start asking yourself, “When should my winter tires come off?” We know the feeling.
Don’t Rush It.
It’s easy to want to jump the gun and switch out the second the weather hits above zero for the first time, but don’t get too ahead of yourself. Taking them off too early could backfire if things start to refreeze and your replacement tires are unable to handle the terrain. Springtime in Canada is super unpredictable, but the general rule of thumb is to switch tires when the temperature is around 7° C for at least a week.
Make sure you take note of how much tread is left when you take your winter tires off. If you have less than 4/32 inches of depth left it’s unlikely those tires will last another winter. Put money away to prepare for buying a new set now, so you’re not blindsided with an extra charge when next winter rolls around. Also, check out Capital’s tire quote service and see exactly how much you need to put away.
All-Season or Summer Tires?
Once the winter tires are off a new question comes up- all-season tires or summer tires? All-season tires are meant for just that- all seasons, all-terrain, all-weather, all the time. They’re designed to last longer than a single season, making them the most cost-effective option. That being said, because they’re a “jack of all trades, master of none” kind of tire, they may not do as well on hot pavement as summer tires would.
Summer tires will give you the best grip and handling during summer heatwaves and thunderstorms. The fine tread pattern offers excellent grip in dry conditions, while also improving cornering and steering. And because of the wide circumferential grooves, water is channeled away from the tires, greatly reducing the risk of hydroplaning. Summer tires may be more expensive, but they’re designed to better handle hot pavement and slick turns. They can also improve fuel economy, which is good for the environment and your wallet.
Once the tires come off, it’s totally normal to want to hit the highway at top speed with the windows down and experience your first taste of spring, but its important to rein in your spring fever and not let your excitement get the better of you. Make sure you’re still driving defensively, within the speed limit. Also, warmer temperatures mean wildlife will be coming out of hibernation. Keep on the lookout for animals wandering near roadways and highways; especially deer, which are most active at dawn and dusk.
If you’re in the shop getting your tires switched out, it’s not a bad idea to ask for a general tuneup. Ask the service member for an oil change, tire rotation and a once-over on your brakes pads and lights. Finally, remember to share the road. Motorcyclists can weave in and out of your blind spot, and bicyclists can sneak up beside you pretty quickly. Make sure you’re frequently orienting yourself on the road and checking your blind spot.
Long story short; don’t rush to get your tires switched out at the first sign of spring, and it’s worth it to invest in a set of summer tires because they can keep up with whatever conditions Manitoba’s summer throws at us. Also, don’t get too crazy once you feel the first hint of spring, make sure you’re still driving defensively and safely, taking extra care to look out for potholes, cyclists, and animals.
And when winter inevitably rolls around again, check and see if you’re eligible for financing under MPI’s Winter Tire Program. The Program provides eligible Manitobans with low-interest financing at prime plus two per cent, on up to $2,000 per vehicle.