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Removing winter tires: A priority during a pandemic?


May is usually one of the busiest months for Ontario auto shops, as the first signs of spring send vehicle owners flocking in for their seasonal tire change. This year, however, concerns about COVID-19 have many vehicle owners wondering if swapping their tires should be a priority during the pandemic.  

Why do I need to remove my winter tires when the warmer weather starts?

Winter tires are designed for improved traction and durability while driving through snow, slush, ice and cold temperatures. They are not designed for warm weather drives on dry asphalt. Once temperatures begin to rise above seven degrees Celsius, winter tires can begin to lose their grip, putting you and your passengers at serious risk. This risk increases on wet roads because winter tire treads cannot shed water as effectively as summer or all-season tires, which can lead to aquaplaning. 

Additionally, driving on winter tires through warm temperatures can cause significant damage to the tires’ rubber. This means that your winter tires may not be as effective in cold weather driving conditions once next winter rolls around, and will likely need to be replaced. Simply put, if you are planning on driving your car regularly this spring, it’s best to do so on summer or all-season tires.

Where can I go for a seasonal tire change without putting myself, or others, at risk?

It’s important to prioritize the safety of yourself, the people in your household and of the auto service staff by taking appropriate preventative measures. Call ahead to your local auto shop or trusted mechanic and schedule an appointment. Make sure to inquire about their physical distancing protocols and sanitation procedures. Do not drop by without making an appointment, as it is essential to limit the number of people inside the building at one time. If you are feeling unwell, delay your appointment by at least two weeks, so you have enough time to sufficiently self-monitor. 

Before and after your appointment, wipe down your car’s steering wheel, door handles and keys. During your appointment, if weather permits, wait for your car outside rather than in the showroom. Avoid touching your face and be sure to wash your hands thoroughly as soon as you return home. 

If you are self-isolating, immunocompromised, or simply prefer not to leave your home, ask your auto service provider about mobile installation options. Mobile installation means you can leave your car parked in your driveway and an auto service professional will arrive to swap your tires, while you wait from the comfort and safety of your own home.

It’s okay to wait longer than usual to swap your tires this spring, as long as you are not planning on driving often or for long distances. If you will be driving regularly in warm weather, it’s important to find an auto service provider that is sufficiently equipped to set and abide by strict physical distancing and sanitation protocols. 

If you have questions about your car insurance, or would like to discuss your coverage options, contact your OTIP insurance broker today at 1-800-267-6847

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