When Should I Change My Winter Tires?

Installing snow tires before it gets cold is the best way to stay safe on the road during the cold winter months. The unique tread design and special cold-resistant rubber ensure dependable traction no matter what Mother Nature brings. Almost as important as putting them on in the fall, knowing when to switch over to your summer or all-season tires at the end of the winter is important for optimizing fuel economy and extending the life of your pricey snow tires. 

In this article, we are going to go over when the best time to get your winter tires taken off is, as well as why it’s important to do so. 

Truck snow tire sitting on snowy road

Can I Use My Winter Tires Year-Round?

You can, as long as they aren’t studded. But, it’s not a great idea. Snow tires have a softer, more flexible rubber compound that keeps them malleable when the temperatures drop. In the summer, the hot road and air temperatures will wear down the tread at a much faster rate. All-season tires and summer tires on the other hand are designed for these conditions and will last much longer. 

Running snow tires in the summer can also be a safety risk. When the rubber tread heats up and becomes flexible, it can negatively impact the handling characteristics of your car. 

When Should I Change My Winter Tires? 

The most reliable way to determine when it’s time to take your snow tires off is by watching the thermometer. As we said above, the rubber compound on winter tires is meant to perform best in cold temperatures.

A good rule to follow is when the seasonal temperatures are at 46 °F, it’s time to change your tires over. 46 degrees is the upper end of where winter tires perform best. Obviously, there isn’t one day where the temperature just changes like that, so keep an eye on the average temps. 

What About All Season Tires?

All-season tires can be a good option if you don’t want to deal with the expense and hassle of having two sets of tires. All seasons use a rubber compound and tread pattern that allows them to handle a wider range of temperatures and driving conditions. 

All seasons are NOT a substitute for true winter tires though. If the roads are bad, you will not have the same level of control, particularly while braking. 

Tire tread closeup

Bonus: Do Summer Tires Work In the Cold?

While you can drive on winter tires during the summer, using a dedicated summer tire in the winter is extremely dangerous. The rubber compound used in summer tires becomes very hard in the cold, greatly impacting handling and braking performance. 

Arguably, it’s more important to make sure you put your winter tires on in the fall than remove them in the spring from a safety standpoint. 

Wrapping Up

In conclusion, it’s always a good idea to switch your winter tires out for summer tires as the temperatures start to go up. Using winter tires when it’s hot out will lead to lower fuel economy, more rapid tire wear, and reduced on-road performance. All-season tires can be a good compromise if you live in an area that doesn’t have extreme heat or cold and doesn’t see much snow. 

Tires at Toledo Auto Care

Toledo Tire and Auto Care is your one-stop for tires and auto repair. Our knowledgeable experts will help you find the best tires for your needs, and our certified technicians will get them installed. Whether you need new tires or want to do your winter switchover, look no further than TAC.