Anyone considering changing tires before April 15 should keep an eye on the weather forecast. Summer tires have no place on winter roads – regardless of the date, according to the Austrian Automobile, Motorcycle and Touring Club (ÖAMTC).
At the beginning of April, people usually start thinking about changing to summer tires. “In principle, there is nothing to be said against changing over even before April 15, when the situational winter equipment obligation ends,” says ÖAMTC technician Friedrich Eppel. “However, you should always keep an eye on the weather forecast, because you should only really change when it is consistently warm and snow and ice have finally retreated.
Weather conditions are more important than the date when changing tires
Summer tires have no business on winter roadways, regardless of the date.” Only when it is actually warmer for a longer period of time is it advisable to change for safety reasons. Eppel comments, “Winter tires are designed for the cold season and have some weaknesses in warm temperatures. For example, there may be a longer braking distance or even greater wear. Driving behavior can also suffer.”
Under no circumstances should you change prematurely, however, if you are planning a trip to the mountains – as far as that is possible at all under Corona conditions. Because even on wet and slippery roads, as well as temperatures just above freezing, winter tires provide better grip.
Change them yourself? Possible, but not always recommended
Before mounting the summer tires, they should be checked for proper functioning. “The legal minimum tread depth is indeed 1.6 millimeters. However, a low tread depth can have a dangerous effect in wet conditions and aquaplaning,” the ÖAMTC expert draws attention to. In addition, cracks and damage should be checked before changing.
When changing the tires in the workshop or at an ÖAMTC support point, such details are looked at closely. In modern cars that have a tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS), it is also necessary to recalibrate the system.
Tips for storing winter tires at home
If storing winter tires at home, there are a few basic tips to keep in mind:
- Ideally, hang tires on the wall or on a rim tree.
- Tires should be stored in a dark, cool and dry place.
- Beforehand, it is advisable to mark the tires with chalk according to their last vehicle position, e.g. “VR” for front right or “HL” for rear left. “After about 10,000 kilometers, the tires should be changed axle by axle. The right front tire should be mounted right rear, left front belongs to left rear. This way, the tires are worn evenly.
- If the tires are worn very unevenly, one should consider buying four new tires at once.
- If one is forced to an uneven tire mix, the better tires should be mounted on the rear axle. This reduces the risk of skidding in emergency situations.
- sources: ÖAMTC and vienna.at/picture: unsplash.com