Many people will spend the next five months driving around town with different tires on their cars to increase traction during slippery winter conditions. But the Oregon Department of Transportation says it wants people to really consider their options before investing in studded tires.
“Today being the first day that studs are legal in the state of Oregon, we’re starting to see kind of customers starting to come in and get their snow tires on,” said Jason Gale, Les Schwab Tire Store Manager.
At the Les Schwab Tire Store, mechanics work to install winter tires on cars, starting the beginning of a busy season for tire retailers.
“We see a lot of folks who do a lot of commuting, so up and down the I-5 corridor over to Bend, over to the Coast, so that they have to get through the mountain passes. So we do see a lot of commuters. We do get some of the local folks that do live up in the hills that need that extra traction as well,” Gale said.
Although these tires are legal, ODOT says it hopes drivers consider other winter tires without studs before buying studded tires.
“ODOT really encourages drivers to consider using chains or non studded traction tires, studded tires cause between $40 and $50 million in damage each year on city streets, county roads, and state highways,” said Lou Torres, ODOT spokesperson.
ODOT says the need for winterizing your car really depends on where you live and where you drive because if this winter is anything like last, studded tires might be unnecessary.
“We really didn’t get really frozen conditions until late December into January last year so you know as far as needing studded tires last year during the winter, probably wasn’t one of our winters that we needed them,” Torres said.
Even so, tire stores expect not only these next few days, but next few months to be pretty busy.
“You know some people put them on right at the get go and run them til March 31st when they have to be off, and then we have the other folks that maybe they have them on a separate set of wheels and tires, so they’ll come in and switch them off and on as the weather indicates,” Gale said.
Tire stores say another product that’ll be flying off shelves quickly in the coming months are chains, which many people use to drive over mountain passes once the snow begins piling up.