Time to put your snow tires on, if you haven’t already. Not too many days ago the heat was sweltering. It makes the cooler weather feel icy cold. If you are like me you would prefer a little longer fall and a lot longer spring. Summer; no comment.
If you are a tire change do it yourselfer I can give you some tips. Number one, don’t be in a rush. Take a serious look at the summer/all season tires you are taking off. How are they wearing and how much tread is left?
If the wear looks even side to side and when you rub the tire with your hand it feels smooth, not edgy or lumpy then things are good. Check all four tires. Do they all have the same amount of wear? Any irregularities suggest possible tire, suspension, steering and/or wheel alignment problems. Before putting on your snows you may need to seek the advice of a professional.
Having the old tires still on the vehicle will help your professional with the diagnosis.
If all looks good take a serious look at how much tread is left. Not enough tread for another season means saving your pennies for a new set next year.
What is enough tread? More than most of us think. I was recently watching some videos showing the effects of tread depth on stopping distance on wet pavement. BC law requires at least 1.5 mm (2/32 inch) of tread depth in the summer and at least 3.5 mm (4/32 inch) of tread depth on your winters. The tests performed by Tire Rack (tirerack.com) show what happens when your tread depth is at 3.5 mm vs a newer tire having 8 mm of tread depth.
The result is very interesting. From 70 mph (112 kmh) the new tires stop in approximately 200ft (60 metres). The 3.5 mm depth tires stop in 300 ft ( 90 metres). That is 100 feet (30 metres) longer. Every bit of tread depth counts.
Back to your winters. Check out that tread depth and again check for poor wear patterns. If you think your tires are good and they are already mounted on winter wheels the next step should be washing the mud out of them if you did not do it when you took them off last year.
After washing make sure the flat surface that mounts to the wheel hub is clean and free of flaky rust. When the summer wheel is removed make sure the surface that the wheel mounts to on the vehicle (hub) is clean and free of loose rust and dirt.
The centre of the hub may benefit from a coating of antiseize compound to prevent rust building up and making the wheels difficult to remove after the winter. This is especially important if your winter wheels are aluminum instead of steel.
Lastly a torque wrench is required to do the final tightening of the wheel nuts or bolts. The bolts should be torqued in a diagonal pattern. Proper torque is only attained when the stud or bolt threads are dry and not lubricated and the wrench must reach proper torque while the bolt or nut is moving. If the torque wrench clicks and the nut or bolt does not rotate in the process the torque is not correct. This is tough to explain. YouTube it.