All you need to know about changing from winter to summer or all-season tires

Winter is over, which means it’s time to prep your car for spring!

It’s been a long winter in Ottawa. No, it’s been a helluva long winter that started in November and has been absolutely relentless, up until just a few days ago. Spring was officially rung in last week and we all have our fingers crossed that we won’t be seeing any more of the white stuff until the end of this year, at the earliest. Now that temperatures are finally starting to warm (ever so slightly), our attention has quickly turned to prepping everything for spring – our homes, our wardrobe, and in particular, our vehicles. The happy day is approaching for you to take off those winter tires that have perhaps made your car a little noisier, slightly less smooth, and burn a touch more gas.

When can the winter tires finally come off?

If you live on the other side of the Ottawa River, in Quebec, then by law and for insurance purposes, you have to keep your winter tires on until at least March 15. If you live in Ottawa or other parts of Ontario, there’s no mandatory date by which you must keep your winter tires on. However, a good rule of thumb is to wait until the spring melt has started, and the forecast starts showing consecutive days above 7 degrees Celsius. We’re getting there folk, don’t you feel it!?

What’s the difference between summer tires and all-season tires?

When the time comes, many who are in the market to buy a set of new tires ask themselves whether they should purchase summer tires or all-seasons.  All-seasons generally perform well in a variety of both wet and dry conditions, and they also provide traction in snow. For this reason, some people opt to use all-seasons all year round. This is particularly true in provinces where there are no laws preventing you from doing so. All-season tires tend to have deeper threads than summer times, and as such, have greater longevity. Summer tires are great for speed and performance. They’re more grippy, perform better in wet conditions, and with more shallow treads they offer more stability at high speeds. A good rule of thumb when deciding is to pick the tire best that suits your budget and driving needs.

How do I know when it’s time for a new set of tires?

A visual inspection is often not enough to know whether it’s time to invest in a new set of tires. There are several things to look for to determine whether the summer/all-season tires that you packed away last fall will serve you for another season. The most obvious is to examine the thread depth. The depth of the thread should never be below 1.6 millimeters. Of course, this is just a guideline and not a hard rule. For example, if you do a lot of driving on wet roads, you’ll need better traction, and deeper threads. Newer tires will have tread wall indicators – this will tell you how much wear and tear you have left. Another thing to look for are cracks in the sidewall of the tires, or strange blisters or bulges. If you see anything like this, you know it’s time to invest in new tires. Lastly, how do the tires ride? Are you getting a lot of vibration? If you experience this, have the tires checked immediately by a professional.

If you are in the market for new tires, or need to get your winter tires taken off and summer/all-seasons put on, then Ottawa Honda’s Tire Centre has a fantastic selection, and our staff will be more than happy to get your car spring-ready!