Tire tips for winter driving

As the weather outside gets frightful, now is a good time to make sure your vehicle’s tires are prepared for snow, ice and freezing temperatures. Sixty-three percent of Americans are concerned about skidding and icy roadways as the thermometer’s mercury drops, according to a recent survey commissioned by Hankook Tire America Corp. To ensure safety and peace of mind as you venture out on a snowy day, here are some tire tips to consider:

* Buy your loved one a set of winter tires: The Hankook Tire Winter Gauge Index revealed that 84 percent of Americans would not mind receiving tires as a gift and 35 percent would actually love it. In these tough economic times a brand new car may not be in your budget; however a set of tires can be a more affordable way to upgrade your current car and keep your loved ones safe on the road.

* Plan accordingly when putting winter tires on: Winter tires, such as the Winter i*cept evo are optimized specifically for icy and snowy conditions, providing enhanced traction to prevent skidding. Put snow tires on your car one to two weeks before the first anticipated snowstorm of the season. Also check your tire tread before the first storm. Worn tread is the No. 1 cause of skidding. If the tread is low, consider replacing your tires with a winter tire.

* Check your tire pressure: Every 10 degree drop in air temperature can actually cause a vehicle’s tires to drop up to 2 pounds per square inch (psi) in tire pressure. Improper tire pressure can result in increased tread wear and lowered performance, factors that are highly detrimental to one’s safety in undesirable weather conditions.

* Have a kit handy: Because winter weather is unpredictable, it’s important to be prepared. Always keep in your car a winter driving kit consisting of a spare tire, ice scraper, snow shovel and brush, booster cables, a flash light and a blanket.

* Check your tire carrying capacity and speed rating: Never overload your vehicle. Check the tire load carrying capacity indicated on the tire or owner’s manual for the maximum recommended load. Also, when replacing tires, the speed rating of the replacement tires must be equal to or greater than that of the tire being replaced to maintain the speed capability.

It is vitally important to take appropriate steps to ensure your vehicle is properly prepared as we head into the coming months that bring snow and blustery conditions. Make it part of your routine to check tire pressure and tread wear, and keep yourself educated on ways to protect yourself, your friends, and your family.

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