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Did you know there was such things as winter tires? I didn’t. Living in a part of California where it doesn’t snow, I never knew the importance of tire safety during the winter. I had assumed there were one type of tires that was good all season. Boy was that a wake up call when I learned the importance of winter tires from Cooper Tire.
To help prepare and keep motorists safe on winter roads, Cooper Tire encourages drivers to not only install winter tires before the first storm hits, but also use the changing seasons as a reminder to engage in routine tire maintenance. Preparing early for winter weather and anticipating and avoiding dangerous circumstances can help drivers maintain control and stay safe on the road.
Cooper recently expanded its winter portfolio with three new winter performance tires, available in 28 sizes in the U.S. and Canada:
- WeatherMaster Snow — Cooper’s asymmetric silica-rich tire, the WeatherMaster Snow offers performance in severe winter condition for sedans.
- WM-SA2 — Utilizing state-of-the-art computer technology and increased sipe density, the WM-SA2 delivers grip in snow, slush and wet performance for mid-range sedans and minivans.
- Discoverer M+S Sport — Designed today’s SUVs and CUVs, the M+S Sport features snow groove design technology and a special silica compound improved winter performance.
Always remember to Drive cautiously!!!
Experts say the best advice for driving in harsh winter weather is to not drive at all, but according to the U.S. Department of Transportation, driving – even in ice or snow – is an everyday part of life for the owners of more than 250 million vehicles on the road in the U.S.
Here are some great tips for driving during the winter season:
- Double the anticipated stopping distance when braking anytime conditions are not dry. It will take longer to come to a stop in snowy or icy conditions.
- Do not assume a four-wheel drive vehicle will stop faster than a two-wheel drive vehicle – four-wheel drive offers no braking advantage.
- Always reduce speed during winter conditions.
- When purchasing winter tires, replace all four tires. Due to the different grip capabilities of summer, all season and winter tires, the driver will not get all of the handling and traction benefits if all tires are not replaced.
- Drivers should keep in mind that it is best to check their owner’s manual to see how their vehicle should be serviced in cold weather.
- Examine tread: The only part of a vehicle to touch the road is the tires, and tire tread is a vital part of handling, cornering, accelerating and braking. For winter weather driving, a general rule is the more tread depth, the better. A tire’s minimum tread depth should be more than 2/32 of an inch deep all around the tire. Drivers can check tread depth by using a U.S. penny. Insert the edge of the coin into the tread with Lincoln going in headfirst. If the top of Lincoln’s head is covered by tread that means there is at least a minimum acceptable amount of tread; if the top of his head is visible at any location on the tire, the tire is worn out and it’s time to replace it. For winter driving in adverse conditions, your tires should exceed the minimum tread depth standard. While examining the tread, also look for signs of uneven wear or damage such as cuts, cracks, splits, punctures and bulges. These conditions shorten the life of tires and, if not corrected, further tire damage, tire failure or air loss may occur.
- Test air pressure: Tire pressure plays a critical role in the overall performance of tires. Under inflation creates excessive stress on the tire, while over inflation can cause uneven wear in addition to handling and braking issues. Tire pressure decreases by about one pound per square inch for every 10-degree drop in outside air temperature, so it is vital that drivers check the air pressure regularly as winter weather approaches. Drivers should follow the guidelines found in the vehicle owner’s manual or tire placard (or sticker) attached to the vehicle door edge to determine the correct air pressure for their vehicle’s tires. A common myth is that the tire pressure listed on the sidewall is the optimal pressure, while in reality it is the maximum pressure.
- Air pressure should be checked when the tires are cool, meaning they are not hot from driving even a mile.
- Should any of these checks reveal the need for required maintenance – or when in doubt about the condition of their tires – drivers should take vehicles to a tire dealer for a professional inspection.
For more information on proper tire maintenance, visit www.coopertire.com.