Tread On Me (and You)

Last week, the trees in northern Baltimore County were spectacular.  Our country drives were surrounded by yellow, orange, red and yet-to-be-considered colors.  When it comes to dendrology – or the study of wooded plants – this is when the rock stars are performing on stage.  We’re lucky to have these natural concerts right in our backyards.  Just like the big rock bands, fans travel from long distances to appreciate the art.  

This week, sadly, the show is over.  The stage curtain has now closed.  Now, many of us are ‘backstage’ cleaning up after the concert - for all of the seasonal color resides on the ground.  

Our unseasonably warm start to November in this part of the woods will soon be only a memory.  [Yes, it was 70 degrees and sunny…on November 4!  I digress.]  This week, Mother Nature isn’t sending signals to your brain that make you consider the status of your vehicle’s tires but the time has arrived, regardless of the week’s meteorological misdirection. 

We all generally start as all-season tire guys and girls.  It’s what we typically find on our first cars that are generally family hand-me-downs or serviceable units from the used lot.  In fact, every car in my life had all-seasons until my current car, the ’09 BMW 335i X Drive.  It’s easily the best-performing car from my rather tepid history of vehicle ownership.  It was also my first all-wheel drive car.  To get the most out of the car’s potential, I dabbled in having dedicated wheel and tire sets for summer and winter.

The photo of the BMW 335 X Drive is courtesy of Rich "Will" Williams.

The photo of the BMW 335 X Drive is courtesy of Rich "Will" Williams.

Enter the recently-purchased set of Continental ExtremeContact DWS06 tires.  This is the first set of tires where I upped the ante on price.  The user ratings were at the top of the scale.  You only live once right?  My tire history falls in line with my rather sedate car history.  Without the greatest basis of comparison, this tire will be placed on the file labeled “You Get What You Pay For”.  Wet and dry roads?  Excellent tire.  Time will tell if I have a suitable amount of rubber on them for a proper test in the snow.  Maybe I’ll retire the winter set…for a season.  

You may be a ‘summer and winter set’ driver.  When is it safe to switch?  Wait for the everyday temperatures to drop below 40.  When are your winter tires no longer suitable for install?  According to Tire Rack, drivers should consider replacing their tires when they reach 5/32” to 6/32" of remaining tread depth to maintain good mobility.  Tires need more tread depth in wintry conditions to compress snow in their grooves and release it as they roll.  [The same depth applies to all-season grip in snow.] 

‘Tis the season to pay attention to the rubber that meets the road.  Safety first…for we all want to see you down the road!