We’re rolling right along into the middle of winter, but are your tires rolling smoothly on the road? If your tires aren’t providing the necessary traction when driving on snowy and icy roads, that puts you and other drivers at risk of an accident. Taking care of your vehicle can be more intensive in the wintertime, especially when it comes to tire maintenance. But, knowing when to get those maintenance tasks done can extend the life of your tires and save you money down the road.

Tire Rotation

This regular maintenance task should be done around every 6,000-8,000 miles, but you should reference your vehicle owner’s manual to be sure. When tires are rotated, they will wear evenly, which maximizes their tread life. Even tread wear also keeps the tread depth the same across all four tires—this helps create better traction, something especially important when driving in poor winter weather conditions.

Tire Balance

Another service that keeps tire wear uniform is tire balancing. When tires are unbalanced, this can cause the car to vibrate, along with creating uneven tire wear. Tires that aren’t balanced can develop bald spots that make it difficult to control the vehicle, especially on ice. If you get new tires (in the case of many Minnesotans, winter tires), they need to be balanced before you hit the road.

Tire Pressure

While not something you need to bring your car to the shop for, this is an important task to keep up with throughout the entire winter season. The colder it gets, the less pressure you’ll have in your tires. Low tire pressure can cause skidding, increased braking time, and shorter tire lifespan if not inflated soon. You can find the recommended tire pressure for your tires in your car’s owner’s manual or on a sticker, typically on the door jamb.

Wheel Alignment

This isn’t necessarily a regular winter maintenance task, but if the wheels are out of alignment, that creates uneven pressure on your tires. This leads tires to wear unevenly, but it’s also dangerous as an unaligned vehicle typically pulls to one side of the road, which is not ideal in icy conditions. If you notice having to adjust the steering wheel to the left or right in order to drive straight, your alignment is off.

Winter Tires

The above tasks should all be done for any tires, not just all-season. Installing winter tires can help keep you safe while driving this season, however. Because of a special tread pattern and depth, winter tires provide better traction on the road. Be sure to get the above tasks done for winter tires, as that tread is still susceptible to uneven wear and bald spots if the tires are imbalanced or unaligned.

Driving in winter can be dangerous if your car isn’t equipped to handle icy roads. Taking care of your tires can extend their life and prevent accidents from skidding and sliding. Give Auto Works a call to schedule an appointment to get your tires in good shape this season!