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How To Change Your Winter Tires

November 25, 2022    Car Care

With our winter’s frigid temperatures and slippery driving conditions, winter tires enable drivers to have better control throughout the season. Let’s look at when you should make the swap, how long they last and how to change them!

When should you put on winter tires?

Once temperatures reach below seven degrees Celsius, you should change to winter tires. In warmer weather, winter tires are prone to overheating, wear out faster and provide less control than all-season tires. Additionally, winter tires are mandatory by law in Quebec and British Columbia.

How long do winter tires last?

The average Canadian drives 20,000 to 25,000 kilometres per year. This leads to winter tires lasting four to five winter seasons. You may drive more or less and in different conditions so it’s important to know what signs to look for. Cracking, discolouration and shallow tread depths are all signs that you should swap out your winter tires for a new set.

How do you change your winter tires?

You can change winter tires on your own by following these simple steps!

1. TURN THE VEHICLE OFF

On level ground, set your parking brake and turn off the ignition. We don’t want your car going anywhere during the swap!

2. SET WHEEL CHOCKS

As a safety precaution, you should have wheel chocks set around all the tires you’re not working on.

3. LOOSEN LUG NUTS

After removing the hubcap, use a lug wrench (also called a tire iron, tire tool and so on) to turn the lug nuts counterclockwise.

4. RAISE THE VEHICLE WITH JACK

Jacking points refer to reinforced metal ribs made to withstand the weight of a car on the jack. When placing the jack, make sure you’re aligned with these to prevent damaging your vehicle. Consult your owner’s manual to find these. After jacking up the vehicle, place jack stands under jacking points and lower the vehicle onto them. Your tires should now sit around six inches above the ground.

5. REMOVE NUTS, TIRE AND WHEEL

Since you’ve already loosened your lug nuts, they should come easily as you continue rotating from where you left off. Sit them in a spot where they won’t get lost! You can now lift the wheel/tire and place it to the side.

6. PUT ON THE NEW WHEEL

Make sure the mating surfaces (the metal area of the wheel hub that will sit against the new wheel) are clean. The easiest way to do this is with a wheel hub cleaning tool, which is sold in tool stores like Princess Auto or online, like on Amazon. Once the area’s clean, you can place the new wheel and attach the nuts, just as you did to remove the old wheel.

7. LOWER VEHICLE

After removing your jack stand, lower the vehicle to the ground.

8. TIGHTEN NUTS

Tighten your lug nuts with a torque wrench in a star formation. This pattern prevents wheel flexing. Uneven lug nut torque can cause all sorts of issues when driving, including bolts breaking. Refer to your owner’s manual to find the torque specifications of your vehicle’s lug nuts.

Those are the 8 basic steps to swapping out a winter tire! If you’re not looking to do it yourself, we can help! Bring your vehicle down to one of our dealerships and we’d love to swap them for you. Find a Birchwood Credit location near you.

Brandish Digital
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