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How Cold Should it be When I Put on My Winter Tires?

Weather is getting harder to predict. However, anyone who has spent at least one full year in Alberta knows that winter is coming and that they need to be prepared for it. As it turns out, Red Deer-area drivers should probably be getting ready for winter sooner than they might think. So, how cold should it be when you put on your winter tires? Vehicle owners should switch out their tires when the average daily temperature drops below seven degrees Celsius. Studies have found that 7℃ is the mark when all-season and winter tires have an equal grip on bare pavement. Let Southside Dodge walk you through a few things you might not know.

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How Are Winter and All-Season Tires Different?

The debate between the effectiveness of all-season tires versus winter tires has been going on for a long time. No single blog post by a dealership is going to put it to bed. However, study after study has demonstrated that winter tires do conclusively provide a marked advantage when driving on snow-covered, wet or otherwise slippery roads.

Without getting too deep into tire jargon, the differences between winter and all-season tires lie in how the rubber reacts to low temperatures and its tread pattern. Basically, there’s a give and take that drivers need to understand. At temperatures approaching 0℃, an all-season tire will get too firm and won’t properly grip the road surface. Winter tires remain more pliable in low temps and offer tread patterns that can move moisture out of the way, which also helps with maintaining positive traction.

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What is the Science of Seven?

Earlier, we noted that 7℃ is the point where all-season and winter tires have an equal amount of grip on the road when it’s clean and dry. However, add in dropping temperatures with some kind of precipitation, and all-season tires may struggle to maintain grip. Some studies have suggested that all-season tires could become unsafe by the time the temperature hits -14 ℃.

We also mentioned earlier that winter tires’ tread pattern is different from that of the all-season variety. Winter tires employ a design feature called sipes. They are shallow grooves in the rubber that opens up when they contact the pavement, collecting water. As the tire rotates, that water is expelled to the rear – allowing for cleaner contact.

Southside Dodge can help you answer the most important questions about getting the most from your car, truck or SUV, including finding you the best set of tires to handle any season. Make an appointment with one of our product experts, today.

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