In the Czech Republic, the demand for changing car tires for winter has skyrocketed, leading to long waiting times at tire service centers. The largest centers are fully booked for a month in advance, while smaller ones have a minimum waiting period of at least a week. However, there are occasional openings when scheduled customers fail to show up, especially on weekends. Despite the high demand, tire service prices have remained similar to last year.
According to the Autosalon Klokočka reservation system, the earliest available date for Škoda vehicles is November 23rd. Volkswagen owners will experience an even longer wait. On the other hand, Audi owners could secure an appointment in early November, and Kia owners could get their turn at the end of October.
It is a legal requirement for drivers to use winter tires from November 1st to March 31st if continuous snow, ice, or frost on the road or weather conditions indicate the possibility of snow, ice, or frost. Experts recommend winter tires when the temperature drops below seven degrees Celsius, as summer tires lose their grip at lower temperatures, resulting in longer braking distances.
While the prices for tire-changing services are generally similar to last year, there can be significant variations among different tire service centers. The price differences are not solely determined by the location, whether big cities or villages, but also by the range of services provided. Some centers offer a complete service and care for the entire wheel. In contrast, others have lower prices for essential services and additional charges for wheel balancing, new valve installation, or wheel washing.
For those who do not have an extra set of wheels, the cost of changing tires on existing rims can range from eight hundred to one thousand Czech koruna per wheel for smaller sizes and start from 1300 Czech koruna for larger sizes. Some tire service centers offer more favorable prices for customers who purchase new tires. If winter tires are already mounted on a separate set of wheels, the mere transfer of tires can cost more than 400 Czech koruna to 700 Czech koruna per wheel, depending on the size.
Specific tire service centers attract customers with special offers and promotions. For example, in Ostrava-Přívoz, complete tire changing and wheel balancing for the entire car can be done for as low as 400 Czech koruna. Such a price would not cover changing a single spin in Prague.
When changing tires, it is recommended to have the rims thoroughly cleaned by the tire service technician. The technician should also check the condition of the valves and replace them if necessary. Wheel balancing and valve replacement are often overlooked when individuals change tires independently.
It is essential to follow the practice of changing tires from the front to the back axle in a diagonal pattern. Additionally, drivers should pay attention to the DOT code on the tire’s sidewall, which indicates the tire’s production date. Aging tires can still look new, so it is crucial to monitor the DOT code. For another winter season, winter tires should have a minimum tread depth of four millimeters. The snowflake symbol on the tire remains visible until this depth is reached. Once the emblem disappears, it is recommended to purchase new winter tires for safety reasons.
The storage of tires is another aspect to consider. Storing tires near central heating boilers is not advisable due to the excessive heat, which can negatively affect the rubber compound. Tires can dry out, harden, and develop cracks in such conditions. The ideal tire storage place is an excellent dry area below 15 degrees Celsius. Dark and sun-protected regions are preferred.
For those with aluminum wheels, it is recommended to retighten the nuts after one hundred to two hundred kilometers of driving following a tire change. Additionally, rotating the tires between the driven and non-driven axles every six to eight thousand kilometers is a good practice. Winter tires should also be inflated to a pressure 0.2 bar higher than summer tires.
Understanding the codes on the tire is essential for drivers. For example, in the code 205/55 R16 91H DOT 1222, the last four digits of the DOT code indicate the production date, with the first two digits representing the week and the last two digits representing the year. The width of the tire tread is indicated by the first number (205), while the profile is expressed as a percentage (55) of the tire width. The letter after the shape (R) denotes the tire construction, with R standing for radial. The following number (16) indicates the tire’s inner diameter in inches, which should match the rim’s diameter. The load index (91) is a numerical representation of the tire’s load-carrying capacity in kilograms, and the speed index (H) represents the maximum speed at which the tire can safely operate.
As the winter season approaches, drivers must plan nd schedule their tire change appointments in advance to ensure their safety during the colder months. </markdown