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Slow down to save your tires, says expert

Studded winter tires.
Studded winter tires.

A local tire business is urging drivers to slow down and watch the road to avoid wrecking their wheels as winter looms in Pictou County.

Andy’s Tire Shop manager Paul Chapman said that winter black ice, snow and springtime potholes are all hazards that drivers will have to contend with over the next six months. Recent roadworks in New Glasgow may also have added to vehicle wear and tear.

“It’s horrible at low speed, but you just need to slow down and navigate your way around them,” said Chapman of potholes and bumpy roads.

Another problem to watch out for is wheel alignment, as winter tire treads wear out faster than all-season ones if it is incorrect.

In springtime, drivers moving too fast over potholes can bend the lip of their wheels, requiring them to be straightened out or replaced.

“If you drive at a high rate of speed you can have a lot of damage,” warned Chapman.

He said that winter tires ought to be put on after Nov. 1. Tire studs are best applied in late November, according to Chapman.

He said that winter tires are typically put on vehicles in early November. Studs tend to go on in mid to late November.

“Winter tires would be very important round here, the way our winters are around here we have a lot of freeze and thaw,” said Chapman.

Some drivers may also choose to use studded tires. These work by biting into ice on roads, giving a vehicle better grip and preventing it from skidding out of control.

In Nova Scotia, it is illegal to use studs after May 31 and before Oct. 15 every year.

However, most drivers in Pictou County will not need chains wrapped around their tires in winter, unless they live in hilly areas such as Mt. Thom.

Chains work by giving tires extra traction on ice or packed-down snow.

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