Prepping winter wheels needn’t be tiring

By: Eric Czarnik | Sterling Heights Sentry | Published October 11, 2017

With the holidays not too far away, it’s not too soon to do some shopping for quality tires to get a car or truck through Michigan’s hazardous winter weather.

Snowy or icy conditions are a common risk to metro Detroit drivers due to the possibilities for slipping and skidding. 

Bill Griffin, owner of Griffin’s Neighborhood Auto Clinic in Farmington Hills, said there is not much people can do to keep their tires in top condition over the winter. But he said tires should have a tread of at least 5/32 of an inch in order to be effective. 

In addition, he suggested that a vehicle have its tires properly realigned at an auto shop twice a year. He said the tires also should be kept inflated at the recommended level at all times, adding that it’s important to check those levels around this time of year.

“Overinflation or underinflation promotes premature wear,” Griffin said. “As the weather gets colder, the air pressure is going to change.”

Griffin said winter tires are the best way to go if people can afford them. If not, a high-quality all-season tire may also suffice.

“Winter tires are graded, they’re a different tread pattern and (it) really grips into snow and the elements,” he said.

Gary Bubar, AAA Michigan public relations specialist, said motorists who choose to use winter tires are best equipped if they have one on each of the four wheels. However, he said front-wheel drive vehicles can get away with putting two winter tires in the front.

“Most drivers don’t use a winter grade tire, but may want to consider them because it’s more than just treads,” he said. “The rubber compound in a winter tire will stay softer in winter weather, giving you more traction and control.” 

Bubar added that drivers should use a quarter, and not a penny, to check the tires’ tread depth.

“You should not see the top of Washington’s head,” he said. “It should be more tread to cover that up.”

Find out more about Griffin’s Neighborhood Auto Clinic in Farmington Hills by visiting www.griffinsautoclinic.com or by calling (248) 888-9406. For more information about AAA Michigan, visit www.michigan.aaa.com.