Don’t be fooled by the beautiful foliage and cool air of fall, winter is coming! Along with football and the holidays come rain, snow and ice – all of which pose risks to drivers. Don’t wait until the first freeze to think about your car, act now.

One of the best ways to combat these weather risks is by making sure your tires are prepared. At the end of the day, they are all that keeps your car off the road.

Here are a few tips to get your tires in shape to handle any weather conditions you may face in the coming months:

Monitor tire pressure

Because the air in your tires is gas, it contracts as the temperature drops. Unless you’re storing your car in a temperature-controlled garage, your tires will deflate. Goodyear measured this at a rate of about one pound per square inch of pressure for every 10 degrees the temperature drops.

A loss of tire pressure can sacrifice traction and handling, which are both crucial in poor weather. So regularly check tire pressure making sure it stays within the recommended range of your vehicle’s owner’s manual.

Check tire tread

Tire tread is vitally important in helping tires grip the road effectively. If tread is too low, resistance to hydroplaning in the rain and traction in the snow is significantly reduced.

It’s easy to measure. All you need is a quarter. Insert the coin into the tread groove and if you can see the top of Washington’s head your tires are worn out and should be changed. Additionally, many tires have a tread wear indicator molded into the tire that becomes flush with the wheel when tread is low.

Consider tire options

 Depending on where you live, you should consider different tire options to suit your weather conditions.

If you’re in the mountains, winter tires could be your perfect solution. They’re built with materials that provide maximum traction at low temperatures and have tread patterns specifically designed to provide better traction in ice, snow or slush.

If you’re in an area that sees more rain than snow, consider tires with extra tread depth. Tread depth is important in mitigating the chances of hydroplaning in wet conditions.

Alternatively you could consider all-season tires. These will save you time, money and space, by avoiding the need to change tires between seasons and trying to find somewhere to store out-of-season tires.

Still need more help?

Check out our video from Pat Goss on Goss’ Garage that shows the best way to check your tire pressure and tread.