How to prepare your tires for wintertime

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A number of things can happen to your car in the winter, but one of the easiest things some people overlook is the importance of good tires and traction.

Josh Steuben from Art Morse Auto Repair in Battle Ground has some tips to lessen the chances of slipping off the road. Steuben said snow chains are a good start.

“Installing the chain will vary depending on the type of chain you have,” he said. “If you use them, it’ll help on an icier road to get traction, and if you use a cable, it doesn’t help so much on ice, but it definitely does help more on snow, and they are more low-profile and fit on more cars.”

Steuben added it’s important to check the owner’s manual first, since some newer cars don’t recommend the use of chains since they can cause damage to the vehicle. 

“You always want to check where you get the chance to see if they’ll actually fit, and possibly test them before you use them,” he said.

Aside from chains and cables, people can also use a snow sock, Steuben said. The textile devices wrap around the tire. Steuben said the snow sock provides some traction, but “it’s not going to be something for severe duty.”

“It can get you out of a pinch, say if you’re stuck in the mountains and maybe (the roads are) plowed, but still have snow on the ground,” he said.

In extreme cold, a news release from Discount Tire stated the rubber of an all-season or summer tire can stiffen and provide less sufficient traction on snow or ice.

“Winter tires deliver as much as a 25-50% increase in traction over all-season tires, which could be the margin that saves you from disaster when stopping on dangerous roads,” stated the release.

To check the health of your tires, people can use a penny. Steuben said every tire has a wear indicator built in. If Lincoln’s head is exposed when a person presses the penny into the tread, Steuben said that’s when tires need to be replaced. The wear indicator can be found in between each tread.

Cold temperatures can also impact the tire’s inflation.

“When it gets cold, you’re going to lose some pressure, so always check the air pressure in your tires,” Steuben said. “Anytime you let your tires get to a point where they’re dried out or cracking, that’s generally due to age. In the cold weather, it’s only going to amplify any issues you may have with that.”

To check the air pressure, Steuben said there are some tire shops and oil change mechanics that will check the pressure for free. He said people can also get a tire gauge. Steuben said people should check their tire pressure once a month.

Art Morse Auto Repair is located at 1713 W. Main St. in Battle Ground.

The business is open from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

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