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Monday, November 28, 2011

Things To Remember Before Installing Winter Tires

Winter weather calls for appropriate gear: warm clothing and footwear that doesn't slip. Driving in the winter, in turn, requires good tyres: high-quality products that improve safety and level out differences in weather conditions. Driving is enjoyable when the weather does not cause surprises.

Winter tyres have a low rolling resistance: they roll easily, save fuel and generate fewer harmful emissions than summer tyres.

Preventing dangerous slush with the right choice of winter tyres

Climate change is making winters fickle and adding an element of surprise to them. Conditions change quickly, with temperatures zigzagging around freezing point. Precipitation increases and, depending on the temperature, either a cold drizzle or thick snow falls from the sky. Warm weather or road salt melts the snow, turning it into slush that can make driving quite scary.

Sudden and unexpected changes in weather conditions increase the need for efficient winter tyres. Tyres designed for demanding conditions reduce the risk of hazardous slush planing by removing wet snow from between the road and tyres.

Taking timely action

Change your winter tyres in time: follow weather forecasts and be prepared to react. Winter is on the doorstep when nights are frequently frosty and morning temperatures are close to zero. Driving on bare asphalt in summery conditions for a few weeks will not excessively wear out tyres.

At-home condition testing

Carefully check the condition of your winter tyres before fitting them. Ensure that there are no cracks, cuts or bulges on the sidewalls. The recommended depth of the main grooves is at least 4-5 mm.

If the tyre does not have a driving safety indicator, measure the tread depth using a match or a 2-euro coin. The sulphur head of a match inserted into the tread should remain completely hidden. If any of the silver rim of a 2-euro coin inserted into the tread remains visible, it is time to consider a new set of tyres. Tyres that are over four years old are no longer fully safe, even if they still have tread left.

Unevenly worn tyres

If the tyres are unevenly worn, check the vehicle's steering angles. The tyres must roll properly and straight and not show any ploughing or heading errors.

In the case of uneven wear, always fit the better tyres on the back axle irrespective of whether the vehicle is a front-, rear- or four-wheel drive. This prevents the rear wheels from skidding dangerously.

Savings and precision from correct pressure

Check the pressure of your tyres. Correct tyre pressure ensures that the tyre rolls and steers easily. It also reduces fuel consumption and hazardous emissions.

At the fitting stage, ensure the correct direction of rotation.

It is a good idea to break in new winter tyres. A gentle break-in of 500 kilometres improves the grip and durability of tyres and makes the studs stay on better.

Get accustomed to winter

Tyres are the most active safety devices in vehicles. They give the driver a feel for the road, indicating whether the car stays securely on it or whether grip has weakened. Listen, keep your senses alert and react.

Winter needs getting used to - or rather, recalling old and familiar skills. A slower pace, careful thought and a safe headway to the car ahead. The right attitude, that is.

Safe winter driving!

*Courtesy of Nokian Tires

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