‘Flying tires’ a risk as snow tire season is underway

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‘Flying tires’ a risk as snow tire season is underway
Police and mechanics are reminding people to get their tires re-torqued after 150 kilometres when they get their winters put on to avoid a potentially dangerous situation – Nov 29, 2022

The rush is on for drivers to get their winter tires installed but some people may be forgetting one important step as they make the switch to better treads.

Police say it’s already led to some frightening “close calls” on highways.

As Canadian drivers make the switch to winter tires, engineered to handle winter weather, one mechanic said many people are ignoring the need to get their tires re-torqued after 150 kilometres.

Read more: Are winter tires worth it? How to put your best wheels forward in snow and ice

“Because people are really busy, or maybe lack of knowledge, they don’t clean the mating surfaces properly. Especially when you have aluminum and steel, it’ll start to corrode. If you don’t clean that corrosion out of there, tires usually fall off when they’re not re-torqued,” said Paul Cardoso, owner of Paul’s Auto Service in Kingston, Ont.

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This can lead to dangerous tire separations in high-traffic areas, like the 401, which is exactly what happened on Tuesday along Highway 7.

It’s not clear if anyone was hurt, but the driver was charged under the Highway Traffic act.

It’s just the latest flying tire incident and the OPP said these situations could be deadly.

“All of the sudden you’ve got one object bouncing down the highway at highway speeds of 80-plus kilometres an hour; if that impacts into another vehicle, that’s going to cause some serious damage, potentially injury, within that vehicle,” said Ontario Provincial Police Const. Scott Woodburn.

Read more: Winter tires mandatory on most B.C. highways starting Oct. 1

He added that if a collision is determined to be due to a failure to keep up on vehicle safety maintenance, a driver could face a court appearance and possibly a fine.

Cardoso said they change around 15 sets of tires per day for about two months every winter and spring but that only around 30 to 40 per cent of drivers return to get the tires re-torqued.

“I usually hear about (tire separation incidents) probably four or five times a year,” said Cardoso.

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When you go to change your winter tires over this season, keep in mind that a five-minute re-torquing appointment can be the difference between life and death.

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