Status: 30.09.2023, 19:00 p.m.
By: Susanne Herrenbrück
There is hardly a topic that concerns drivers more in the cold months than the change to winter tires. But when is the perfect time to change tires?
The basics: Why winter tires at all?
Before we get into the timing of the tire change, let's briefly clarify why winter tires are important in the first place. Winter tyres have been specially developed for low temperatures and winter road conditions. They offer more grip and safety than summer tires in cold, ice and snow.
The Golden Rule: From O to O
The rule of thumb for changing tires is: From October to Easter, i.e. from O to O. This period marks the transition from mild autumn temperatures to cold winter days in most regions.
In October, temperatures are often low enough to make summer tires unreliable. That is why it is advisable to switch to winter tires in October. However, if you prefer all-season tires, it is also a good idea to switch to them at the beginning of the cold season. By the way, there are also a few things to keep in mind if you want to know how to get through autumn safely with your car.
The change back to summer tires usually takes place in April. But it's worth keeping an eye on the weather forecasts. In some years, winter can strike again in March.
If the snow is already falling, it's too late to put on the winter tires. © DALL-E/Susanne Herrenbrück
It's the temperature that makes the difference
The O-to-O rule is a good guideline, but there is an even more important rule: the temperature rule. Winter tires show their strength especially at temperatures below 7 degrees Celsius. Under this brand, summer tires lose their optimal grip.
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Look not only at the calendar, but also at the thermometer. When temperatures drop permanently into the single digits, it's time for the change.
Snow and ice as a decision-making aid
Of course, the road conditions also play a role. When snow and ice cover the roads, winter tires are indispensable. But even on wet roads, they offer better grip than summer tires. Think about what conditions are typical in your area and adjust the tire change accordingly. All-season tires can be a practical alternative in temperate climates if you are not faced with extreme winter conditions.
The importance of tread depth
In addition to the timing of the change, the tread depth of your winter tires is also crucial. In many countries, the legally prescribed minimum tread depth is 1.6 millimeters. However, it is advisable to replace winter tires if the tread is worn down to 4 millimeters or less. A sufficient tread pattern provides better grip and reduces aquaplaning.
Changing tires: workshop or self-assembly?
Now the question arises: should you have the tire changed done in the workshop or can you do it yourself? The answer depends on your skills and equipment. In the workshop you will receive professional help and the certainty that everything will be done professionally. If you have the necessary know-how and the right tools, self-assembly is a cost-effective alternative. However, keep in mind that changing tires correctly is crucial for your safety on the road.
Conclusion: The right time to change tires
The best time to switch to winter tires is a combination of the O-to-O rule, temperature and road conditions. Stick to the rule of thumb "From October to Easter", but also be flexible and pay attention to the thermometer and local weather conditions.
Remember that the safety of your vehicle and passengers is a top priority. Winter tires are not an option, but a necessity to get through the cold season safely. However, if you choose all-season tires, make sure they meet the requirements of your climate and driving conditions. Your safety on the road should always come first. And whether it's a workshop or a self-assembly, changing tires correctly is an important step in ensuring that you are safe on the road.
Editor Susanne Herrenbrück wrote this article and also used applications based on artificial intelligence (AI).