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Tires need tread checks for winter driving

Chance Williams services a vehicle at Washington Discount Tires. (Kalen McCain/The Union)

With the beginning of seasonal snow and ice-covered roads, checking tires early is important for any driver.

Washington Discount Tires Manager Josh Allen said in addition to typical tire pressure checks with cold weather, motorists should pay careful attention to their tread depth.

“I’d say going into winter, if there’s anything less than 4/32 of tread, I’d be looking at getting them replaced,” Allen said. “Most of the time manufacturers say the tire is completely wore out at 2/32 tread depth, but once they start wearing down, they don’t offer a whole lot of traction for winter at that point. They’re still all right in the rain and stuff, but once you get into the snow and ice and stuff they just really don’t do much.”

While dedicated snow and ice tires are useful for some, Allen urged that they weren’t necessarily for everyone.

“If it’s people that are living in town that their roads are cleared all the time or fairly regularly, it may not be the best option,” he said. “But then there’s people that have an extended commute or maybe have to go across roads that aren’t quite as maintained … or depending on the hours of their commute, if they’re out before a lot of the trucks are out or if they’re coming home late at night.”

Allen said for those motorists, snow tires had substantial benefits.

“If you’re in an extended commute scenario and it starts snowing on you an hour before you get home, there’s a good chance you’re going to be driving through a fair amount of snow,” he said. “They just add an extra level of traction. It’s a different rubber compound, the way they design it is different, it’s purely designed to run in snow and ice and in that aspect they do a really nice job.”

Washington Discount Tires employee Trevor Schultz inspects the inside of a tire (Kalen McCain/The Union)