Fancy “footwear” for the cold season
In winter, the choice of shoes is often dominated by pure pragmatism – function comes before beauty.
Luckily, this motto no longer stands for light alloy wheels since the both sporty and fancy AEZ designs feature the innovative SRC coating (Salt & Sun Resistant Coating), which guarantees a convincing appearance for any car during all the four seasons. And that, for many years to come. After all, damages caused by oxidation and UV-light are blocked out reliably.
The primer of an SCR coating is a robust powder paint that is applied electrostatically and then thermally cured at 210 °C. Following this, the actual “colour carrier” is applied in form of a modern wet coating. Up to two ultra-hard clear lacquer layers then form the transparent sealing and first line of defence against environmental influences.
Even front-polished wheels are no longer off-limits. As a result, fitting your winter tyres is no longer a chore. On the contrary, you’re offered a chance to treat your car to a second wheel set that comes with an alternative look. The AEZ 3D configurator offers plenty of inspiration on your very own car model.
“Early fitters” play it safe
If you plan changing your tyres early enough, it will be easier to get an appointment with the workshop, and an unexpected onset of winter weather will not worry you. Else, your car will have to remain idle. The situative mandatory winter tyre rule demands it, which – in Germany – applies throughout the year while in Austria it is upheld between 1st of November and 15th of April.
Apart from that, regardless of the weather, there is also the O to E rule of thumb – from October to Easter. During that time, based on experience, cold temperatures are most likely to occur. And even without snow and ice that’s reason enough for dangerously low grip, handling and braking performance of summer tyres. The rubber mix in winter tyres is softer and therefore more elastic at lower temperatures than is the case with harder summer tyres.
Also good to know: Winter tyres that were manufactured after 1st of January 2018 must now bear an Alpine symbol (snowflake) in Germany. In Austria, the symbols “M+S”, “M.S.” or “M&S” are still sufficient. The same holds true for all-season tyres.
Cleaning and check-up before the “winter slumber”
To winterize your summer wheels the most comfortable solution would be to keep them in a wheel hotel at a workshop. However, basements and garages are other popular and common options. If you follow our tips, you won’t go wrong with it. Prior to storing the precious pieces, you should give them a thorough cleaning. Read our blog to find out how to do that gently and effectively. Next, the fitted units are best stacked horizontally on top of each other or kept on a rim stand or a sufficiently sturdy wall hook. During storage it is further recommended to increase the air pressure by 0.5 bar.
If you’re already going through all the trouble, your summer wheels should at least last for another season. This regards tread wear as well as actual damages. In Germany, a tread depth of 1.6mm is mandatory both for summer and winter models. In Austria, this applies only to summer tyres while in winter the tread for commonly used radial tyres must measure at least 4mm. That’s also our safety recommendation. However, there are other important aspects that can be inspected particularly well on detached wheels: Are there any screws, nails or other pointy objects stuck in the rubber? Are there any material fractures, or is there any unusual and uneven wear and tear? In such cases, it’s best to let go of the old tyres or ask for professional help at a specialist tyre shop. After all, chassis damages such as misaligned tracking could also be a reason. And that should be definitely repaired before investing a lot of money in new tyres that should last as long as possible.
Kissed the kerb?
You should also inspect the rims before storing them because the finish could have been damaged by high-pressure water blasters used up close, stone impact or a kerb bump. This bears the danger that the aluminium starts to corrode, which makes for an ugly sight, and in the area of the rim flange even leakages may occur.
That’s why, damages should be repaired as fast as possible and not left for the next spring when they may have gotten worse. If you have touched the kerb at a higher speed or at an adverse angle, you may even risk material fractures or severe deformations. Since this can lead to loss of air and impaired driving behaviour, the affected rim needs to be replaced. At the same time, you can get rid of a grave visual blemish, true to the motto: Safety meets style