Low temperature can harden the rubber in tyres and prevent them from offering confident grip and control, often leading to mishaps.
Winter is perhaps the best season of the year. It brings along endless reasons to sip hot chocolate and fills our hearts with the Christmas spirit. But not all is pretty about winters. They can be harsh and make things trying, especially for our vehicles.
Low temperature makes it difficult for your engine to rev, and this happens despite the fact that engine is well protected under the bonnet. Now, imagine what impact the cold could have on the tyres, that are always exposed to the harsh chills. Read on to know more.
How winters affect the tyres
Let’s go back to 8th standard science. Low temperature makes molecules contract. Now apply this to the tyres. During winters, the rubber molecules of the tyre contract and make the tyre hard. This hard tyre then fails to offer adequate grip and braking efficiency, thereby making your drives a bit risky. Morning dew and occasional rains can make matters worse.
Tips to drive safely in winters:
- Go easy on speed
When the tyres are still cold, it is not advised that you push your car to high speeds, especially right after you start the drive. Instead, drive at a moderate pace to warm-up the tyres. Once warm, they would go back to the normal state and would start offering confident grip.
- Use all terrain tyres, even chains if driving over snow
If you live in areas that receive snowfall or rains, then ideal solution to your problem is snow-tyres. Sadly these tyres aren’t easily available in India. So, we recommend that you use All-Terrain tyres to navigate mild snow and hilly terrains. These tyres are specially designed to offer confident traction in difficult conditions. Their unique block-type tread pattern performs a dual job – One, of effectively dispersing water from underneath the tyre to establish confident grip. Second, these blocks grip the surface well, especially snow and muck, and respond well to steering inputs.
However, if you want to negotiate heavy amount of snow, then we suggest you start using chains on the tyres. They grip the snow firmly and help push your vehicle forward.
- Inflate tyres to correct pressure
Low temperature makes the air pressure inside tyres drop by a couple of psi. This fall in tyre pressure increases the width of contact patch and increases the rate at which the tyres wear out. This impact will be even more pronounced if you live in hilly areas or regions where temperature drops to single digits.
Running tyres on low air pressure also reduces fuel efficiency of the vehicle. So, keep a tab on air pressure on weekly basis to ensure that the tyres are always running on correct air pressure.
- Replacing 2 tyres vs all 4
This is where a lot of us go wrong. When it comes to replacing tyres, we often just replace 2 of those, without giving much thought to the safety.
Let’s assume that you need to change tyres ( Check if you need to change tyres ) and you buy only 2 new ones. You could fit these on either of the axles. Let’s see what happens in each case.
a.) New tyres on front axle- You would have confident grip at the front, but having worn out tyres at the rear can make the car slide sideways, especially over wet surfaces. Not safe!
b.) New tyres at the rear: As you can imagine, the front tyres will not respond to steering inputs, won’t be able to turn and change their direction.
So, none of these scenarios is any good. Buying 2 tyres may seem like a cost-effective option but it isn’t the safer one. It’s better to spend a little more and replace all 4 tyres. This way you could keep yourself and your loved ones safer.
Tyres are like foot soldiers in an army. They obey orders (read steering inputs) and take over the risks head-on. They are your first layer of defence and much like the soldiers, aren’t usually cared for.
However, just the way soldiers deserve basic care, your tyres too deserve some basic attention to always deliver their best. And now that the winters are here, it becomes all the more important for you to take care of the tyres. Just a little attention can go a long way in keeping accidents at bay.