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Still have winter tires on? You're not alone as some have put off car maintenance during pandemic

FILE - Tire installer Arthur Sandoval places a winter tire on a car at a tire shop in southeast Denver on Monday, Nov. 10, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/David Zalubowski,
Summary

As the economy starts opening up, many people are playing catch-up with car maintenance, including changing winter tires

Keeping your winter tires on for too long may shorten their lifespan since warmer weather wears those tires faster

This can then lead to a potentially dangerous situation in the winter when treads are worn down

Vancouver (NEWS 1130) – Many of us have been driving less in the three months since COVID-19 hit. Now, with the economy starting to open up again, some may be playing catch-up with car maintenance, including the annual ritual of taking off our winter tires once spring arrives.

“The analogy that I usually use is, if you go to the beach and you take off your sandals and walk across the sand, if you were to do that right now, it’s not an issue. If you do that in the middle of July, you’re going to, obviously, burn your feet,” explains Brett Delaney, owner-manager of the OK Tire on Fraser Highway in Langley.

“Right now, you shouldn’t have them on, but, as of right now, it’s not detrimental to the tire as the pavement right now hasn’t been super, super hot as what it is in the middle of July, August, and some of September.”

Delaney warns the danger in keeping your winter tires on for too long is that you may shorten their lifespan. “The life of a winter tire is usually about three to three and a half excellent years and then after that you kind of have to go depending on the tread amount and the weather.”

Winter tires wear faster in warmer weather because specialized compounds and tread designs are meant to perform better in colder temperatures, which can then lead to a potentially dangerous situation in the winter when treads are worn down.

Delaney notes the pandemic hit in the middle of the busy season for his store, but, luckily, it hasn’t affected business too much. “We didn’t see a lot of a drop-off, just because a lot of the non-essential workers had a lot of time off not being at work,” he says. “So, we actually stayed pretty steady through it all with people coming in and getting their change-overs done.”

With pandemic restrictions now easing, he says even more people are coming in. “We’ve got people coming in [with] full gloves, respiratory masks, and [keeping] their distance. We have other people coming in that are just kind of wearing their regular masks, and then we have the other people that are coming in where we actually have to remind them, ‘Hey, do you mind standing back a little bit because you are getting too close.'”

Delaney adds his staff are taking the appropriate measures to keep everyone safe. “We have people booking their appointments and then when they pull up outside, we walk out and meet them,” he explains. “If it’s mechanical work, we ask them to give us the keys and they wait outside where we have seats out front in our parking lot. Then we get the mechanical done, our techs come in with gloves, we sanitize the vehicle prior, we sanitize the vehicle after, just that way, there’s no issues there.”

“And then, if it’s on the tire end, we actually get the customers to drive their own vehicle in and they have the option of either staying and waiting in the vehicle until the job is done or out front as well. And then, when that vehicle is done, we will bring that person in individually into our office, where we are sanitizing our [payment] machines, and we do have the cellophane Saran Wrap that we’re putting over our machines as well for any amount over $100 where they can’t use tap.”