You might not think your car’s tyres need changing all that often, save for blow-outs, punctures and eventual wear – but swapping out your tyres for the season can have a positive impact not only on the lifespan of your tyres, but also on your safety while driving. Winter tyres give you more traction on wet and snowy roads, and withstand colder temperatures without losing road grip. But with the summer months not far away, it’s already time to think about swapping back to your summer kit. What follows is the low-down on changing your tyres from winter to summer.
When Should You Change Your Tyres?
The best time to change your winter tyres over for summer tyres is dependent on temperature, for a number of reasons. The key visible difference between winter and summer tyres lies in the treads, which are wider and deeper than in summer tyres in order to give better grip in snow and mud. However, another key difference can be found in the make-up of the tyres; winter tyres have a higher silica content, which prevents the tyre from becoming stiff and inflexible in the colder weather. Conversely, though, running winter tyres in warmer weather can result in increased stopping distances and faster wear, as a result of being over-flexible. It is said that when the seasonal temperature reaches an average of around 7 degrees, this is the best time to make the switch to summer tyres, both for safety and performance.
Changing Your Tyres
Changing tyres is a relatively simple procedure, if a little laborious. Many take their vehicle to a local garage to get their tyres swapped, but many more change their tyres at home – a cheap, swift and rewarding alternative. To change your tyres at home, you’ll simply need a trolley jack, wrench and breaker bar, though a cordless impact wrench can make much shorter work of removing your tyres’ lug nuts. Your car’s chassis will have safe jack points welded on to different parts of the undercarriage, with one for each tyre at least; line your trolley jack up with each in turn, in order to safely lift that wheel off the ground and replace it with your summer tyre.
Tyre Care and Storage
With your winter tyres safely removed, storing them correctly is crucial to their longevity. Even though they aren’t in active use, they can still wear without proper care. For example, keeping your winter tyres out in the open and uncovered can result in their weathering, and even leaving them somewhere where the sun can reach them can cause degradation from UV exposure. Wrapping your tyres tightly in clingfilm or some sort of vacuum wrapping can prevent oil from evaporating, maintaining the tyres’ structural integrity.