According to a survey * conducted by the General Representative of Daimler AG in Latvia SIA “Domenikss”* it is concluded that due to warm weather, 84% of road users equip their cars with winter tires in time, already in November, which is less than last year. 2% choose to change their tires exactly on December 1, when it is mandatory, but 1% only when they have "slipped".
At the same time, 44% of respondents admit that they have witnessed an accident caused by the choice of unsuitable for the weather tires, and almost 15% of respondents have such an experience themselves. “In winter, is there a snow or not, it is advisable to choose narrower tires with a higher profile, in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions. A larger tire diameter with a lower tread ensures a more stable ride, especially on a good road at higher speeds, but as the driving speed is lower and the road condition is relatively uneven in winter, a higher tire tread will provide greater driving comfort, a "softer ride", says Māris Putnieks, Manager of Personal cars service centre of “Domenikss”. "In turn, studded tires are preferred only if you have to drive a lot and often on roads that are icy or covered with snow. Although studs prevent the tires from wearing, there are more disadvantages than advantages to their use on asphalt: increased rolling noise, increased rolling resistance, increased fuel consumption, more intensive wear on the road surface. As a result, savings do not come. In addition, studded tires are not permitted in many countries. Also, in winter, the wheels must be washed regularly to prevent mud, snow and ice from accumulating on the discs, which can cause significant imbalances.”
In turn, 8% of the respondents admit that they do not change tires, because all-season tires are considered the most suitable. The expert explains that it is better to choose seasonal tires. "All-season tires will not provide the highest traction quality in either summer or winter conditions. Due to the outside air temperature, the tire material significantly changes the grip properties. Therefore, driving in winter with all-season tires will increase the braking distance and the risk of skidding in turns,” says M. Putnieks.
Recommendations for selecting and changing tires:
- To ensure optimal grip, it is not recommended to use M + S tires for more than four years.
- We recommend that you select tires and wheels in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions for their dimensions, which can be found in the user manual. When choosing tires, it is recommended to give preference to the manufacturer's homologated tires, which are marked with the index MO.
- If only two tires are changed, it is recommended to install them on the wheels of the front axle, unless the dimensions of the tires with the rear axle are different.
- It takes about 100 km to “approach” new tires, preferably at a limited speed.
It is not uncommon for car owners to ask whether non-seasonal tires have to comply with any regulations before being stored in a garage. "The most important thing here is to keep the tires or wheels in the correct storage so that they do not disappoint when installing next season. Treatment with one of the agents for tire`s can protect the wheel`s surface from the environment and increase its visual value,” said the expert.
Here are some tips for storing tires / wheels:
- Carefully remove tires and discs, it is recommended to assess their condition before storage.
- Mark the installation position of the tires / wheels with chalk.
- Store in a dark, dry and preferably well-ventilated place.
- The desired storage temperature is slightly above 0 ° C.
- For short-term storage (<4 weeks) the wheels / tires can be stacked horizontally.
- If the storage time exceeds 4 weeks, it is desirable to rearrange the top, bottom and vice versa.
- For long-term storage, it is advisable to place the tires in a vertical position and turn them once a month to change the feel and prevent dents.
The window liquid needs to be changed now
Not infrequently, drivers tend to forget about timely window liquid replacement. When the outdoor temperature drops below zero, it is already overdue. On the road, it can be a very unpleasant surprise when the spray liquid freezes on the glass. "If the transition to winter-friendly fuel goes on without the involvement of the driver because it is taken care of by fuel dealers, then the window liquid must be taken care of by ourselves. It would be desirable for at least half of the liquid in the tank to have good frost resistance,” says M. Putnieks. "It is important not to save at the expense of window liquid, as poor quality can contribute to the aging of the lamp surface, making it less transparent and thus the road opaque."
Lights, lights and once again lights
Properly adjusted lights are an essential condition for road safety in the dark, rainy weather. "It just must be done. For the benefit of ourselves and other drivers. The beam of light must not be too high, as it dazzles oncoming people, and it must well illuminate the edge of the road to avoid pedestrians, animals or other objects,” says M. Putnieks.
* SIA “Domenikss” customer survey conducted in October 2020 on winter tire changing habits.