Can I Drive on My Winter Tires All Year Round?

Driving during winter is no joke, especially if you live in an area with harsh weather conditions. Winter tires are specifically designed to provide drivers with better traction and control on icy and snowy roads. 

But what if you’re wondering whether you can use winter tires all year round? Is it safe? In this article, we’ll explore the pros and cons of driving on winter tires year-round and help you make an informed decision.

Am I Able to Drive on My Winter Tires All Year Round?

Technically speaking, you can drive on winter tires all year round. However, it’s not recommended for several reasons. Winter tires are made from softer rubber than all-season or summer tires, which makes them better suited for cold temperatures. 

When the weather gets warmer, the rubber in winter tires can become too soft, leading to reduced handling and increased wear and tear.

Winter tires also have deeper and more aggressive tread patterns, which are designed to provide better traction on snowy and icy roads. However, these tread patterns can also be noisy and can cause increased road noise and reduced fuel economy when driving on dry roads.

Car tire sitting in snow

Is it Safe to Drive on Winter Tires All Year Round?

Driving on winter tires all year round can be safe if you live in an area with mild weather conditions. However, if you live in an area with extreme temperatures or severe weather conditions, driving on winter tires year-round can be dangerous.

When the weather gets too warm, the softer rubber in winter tires can become too pliant, reducing their grip on the road. This can cause your car to slide or skid, which can lead to accidents. Winter tires also have deeper treads, which can lead to hydroplaning on wet roads.

Furthermore, winter tires are not designed to handle high speeds on dry roads, and using them year-round can increase the risk of blowouts and other tire-related issues.

Pros and Cons of Driving on Winter Tires All Year Round

Here are some pros and cons of using winter tires year-round:


  • Better traction on snowy and icy roads
  • Safer driving in winter conditions
  • Longer lifespan than all-season tires (if used only during winter months)


  • Reduced handling and increased wear and tear on warmer roads
  • Increased road noise and reduced fuel economy on dry roads
  • Higher cost than all-season or summer tires

Alternatives to Driving on Winter Tires Year-Round

If you want to avoid the hassle of switching between winter and all-season tires every year, there are some alternatives you can consider:

  1. All-Season Tires: All-season tires are designed to provide good traction in all weather conditions, including light snow and rain. While they may not provide the same level of traction as winter tires on snowy or icy roads, they offer better handling and performance on dry roads.
  2. All-Weather Tires: All-weather tires are a hybrid between all-season and winter tires. They offer good traction in both wet and dry conditions, as well as light snow and ice. While they may not provide the same level of traction as dedicated winter tires on snowy or icy roads, they offer better handling and performance than all-season tires.

It’s important to keep in mind that these types of tires work best in the winter on all-wheel or front-wheel drive vehicles. Rear-wheel drive cars will struggle in the snow without proper snow tires. 

Tire being installed on wheel

The Wrap Up

While you technically can drive on winter tires all year round, it’s not recommended due to reduced handling, increased wear and tear, and reduced fuel economy on dry roads. 

Additionally, driving on winter tires year-round can be dangerous in extreme temperatures or severe weather conditions.

If you live in an area with mild weather conditions, using winter tires year-round can be safe, but it’s important to keep in mind the downsides and possible decrease in safety.

Tire Service at Matson Point S

With the hot summers in Utah, changing out your winter tires for ones suitable for summer driving should be at the top of your to-do list.

Luckily, Matson Point S in Riverton, Utah is your resource for a wide variety of tire choices at a fair price. Our service advisors will help you decide which tire brand, type, and size is best for your vehicle, and then get them installed by our expert technicians.

Call or schedule an appointment online to secure a tire appointment with our friendly team!

Can I Drive With a Damaged Tire Sidewall?

Getting a flat is a reality of owning a car. Most drivers have dealt with this issue at one point or another. Flats are usually caused by a tear or puncture in the tread, the part of the tire that is in contact with the road. 

However, damage to the sidewall of the tire can happen for a variety of reasons. While this kind of damage does not always result in a flat, it can pose a serious safety risk if it’s not addressed. 

In this article, we are going to look at several different types of tire sidewall damage, how it happens, and whether or not it’s safe to continue driving. 

Types of Tire Sidewall Damage

Sidewall damage can present in several ways depending on what caused it. 

Bubbles or Bulges

If you notice a section of the tire sidewall protruding or bubbling out, it’s a good indicator that the structural integrity of your tires has been compromised. Bubbling sidewalls are caused by impact with road debris, speed bumps, or potholes. The impact leads to the sidewall weakening or becoming damaged internally. 

Sometimes, a bulge or bubble can be caused by weathering, a manufacturer defect, or age. Even if the bubble is not caused by an impact, the tire is still damaged and unsafe. 

Tears and Punctures

A torn or punctured sidewall will not only weaken the tire, it could leave you stranded. Unlike a bubble, punctures and tears will typically lead to air escaping, resulting in a flat. Torn or punctured sidewalls can be caused by glass, nails, sharp rocks, or other debris in the road. 

Audi TT with a flat tire

Scuffs and Gouges

If you’ve ever “curbed” your car, you were probably more concerned about damaging the wheels than the tires. However, the impact of scraping the curb can do some serious damage to your tires. Smaller scuffs are not a big concern, but if there is a lot of material gouged out from the sidewall, the integrity of the sidewall is likely jeopardized. 

Can I Drive With Tire Sidewall Damage?

Driving with any tire damage is a bad idea, but driving with a damaged sidewall should be avoided at all costs. The sidewall supports the weight of the vehicle, and the risk of a tire blowout goes up significantly when it’s damaged. A tire blowout can lead to a serious accident, especially if it happens at high speeds. 

The only time you should drive with a damaged sidewall is to get your car to a tire shop, but even then it’s best to put your spare tire on. It’s not worth the risk. 

Is Sidewall Damage Repairable?

Unlike punctures and damage to the tread, sidewall damage is not repairable. The tire needs to be replaced if the sidewall is seriously compromised. 

Tire Services at Matson Point S

If your tire sidewalls are damaged, you need to get them replaced. It poses a risk for you and others on the road. Matson Point S is your one-stop for all things tires. Our shop in Riverton, Utah is staffed with tire experts that can answer any and all questions you have, and help you find replacement tires to get you safely back on the road. Give us a call or schedule an appointment online today!

Symptoms of Old Transmission Fluid: How Often Should It Be Changed?

Transmission fluid, and maintenance, are overlooked. Other fluids in your vehicle, like oil and brake fluid, get all the attention and as a result, get serviced more regularly. Transmission fluid is just as essential to the health and usability of your car or truck. 

It’s not uncommon for car owners to completely ignore transmission fluid services. While it is true that transmission fluid does not need to be changed nearly as often as engine oil or brake fluid, neglecting it for too long can result in some expensive repairs. 

Outside the recommended intervals, there are some things to keep an eye out for that might indicate it’s time to get some fresh fluid in your vehicle’s transmission. Keep on reading to learn about some common symptoms of bad/old trans fluid!

Ford Mustang automatic transmission shifter

What is Transmission Fluid?

Transmission fluid lives inside the case of the transmission, much like oil lives inside the engine. Transmission fluid varies depending on the vehicle, manufacturer, and type of gearbox. 

Automatic transmissions use a fluid referred to as ATF. Older manual transmission cars utilize a heavier-weight gear lube, but some modern manuals use an ATF as well. 

Other technologies like CVT (continuously variable transmission) or DCT (dual-clutch transmission) use highly specialized fluids. There is no standard rule for what transmission fluid to use. You should always consult your owner’s manual or ask your service advisor. 

What Does Transmission Fluid Do?

Transmissions have loads of moving metal parts. Without a lubricant, these parts would grind against each other and wear down extremely quickly, generating immense amounts of heat. In all cases, transmission fluid keeps the gearbox lubricated and cool. 

ATF also acts as a hydraulic fluid, and assists in gear changes. The pressure and friction created by the hydraulic fluid make switching gears much easier. 

The final purpose is cooling. The fluid absorbs heat from the transmission as it circulates through the system. Eventually, the fluid reaches the transmission cooler, which cools it and in turn, the transmission. This process happens over and over to ensure the proper temperature for your transmission. 

How Often Should You Change Your Transmission Fluid

The period between changes varies heavily depending on the make and model. Some modern cars use a lifelong transmission fluid that according to the manufacturer, never needs to be changed. While this fluid will last a long time, it’s still vital to check and change it if needed, especially if using the vehicle for any hard driving or towing. 

For cars with fluid that needs to be changed, the intervals can vary. In general, service intervals can range from anywhere between 30,000-100,000 miles. You should periodically check your transmission fluid for contamination if you allow it to run close to the recommended maximum mileage. More frequent fluid changes are recommended for higher mileage vehicles.

Symptoms of Old Transmission Fluid

Neglecting to flush your transmission regularly can lead to some pretty noticeable symptoms. 

Dirty Transmission Fluid

One of the easiest ways to see if you should replace your fluid is to look at it. Contaminated or old transmission fluid will be a dark brown or black color. The darker the fluid, the more critical it is that you replace it. The fluid may also have a burnt smell. 

ATF fluid is red when new, and will become a darker red as it’s used in the transmission. These colors are normal and signify fluid that’s still okay to run in your vehicle.

Manual transmission fluid for older manuals is golden/amber in color, similar to motor oil. It will also become darker and dirtier with age. 

Engine Running Hot

It may be counterintuitive to think that your engine would be reaching high temperatures due to your transmission, but it’s possible! When the transmission fluid can’t flow as it should, the gearbox is unable to cool itself. The transmission will build up excess heat through friction if the fluid is not lubricating like it should, and since it’s connected to the engine, will transfer the heat to it. While there are many other reasons your engine could be running hot that should be looked at first, it may be worth checking your transmission fluid.

Grinding Transmission

When transmission fluid degrades and becomes contaminated, it loses its lubricating properties. Moving parts will start to grind against each other and can cause some very unnerving noises. If you hear any similar noises, it may be time for a transmission fluid change. 

Transmission Slipping

As transmission fluid becomes worn out, it can impact how your transmission shifts. A reduction in hydraulic pressure causes the transmission to struggle when holding the car in a certain gear and can allow the transmission to slip back into another gear. Slipping can be a symptom of more severe mechanical issues, but in some situations changing the transmission fluid will help. 

Surging Transmission

If your vehicle “surges” or jolts forward every so often, it may be a product of old and dirty transmission fluid. Similar to when gears slip, the fluid isn’t able to flow at the rate it needs to which causes it to get stuck at certain points. This causes inconsistency in the power delivery and occasional surges that send your car lurching forward. 

Transmission Fluid Service at Matson Point S

If you’re experiencing any symptoms similar to these, it’s best to bring your vehicle to a professional to service it. Driving with old transmission fluid can be harmful to your car’s health in the long run, and catching issues early can save you a lot of money.

Luckily, Matson Point S in Riverton, Utah is your resource for transmission service and fluid changes. Our experienced technicians will ensure your transmission is healthy. Call or schedule online today to meet with our friendly team!

Why Do Ford Triton Engines Blow Out Spark Plugs?

Ford’s modular engine platform of the 1990s and 2000s was the catalyst for some of the most powerful and widely used gasoline V8 and V10 engines of the day. One of these engines that came as a result of the modular platform was the 5.4 Triton, a V8 that Ford used primarily in trucks. Variations of it also appeared in legendary cars such as the Ford GT500, Ford Mustang Cobra R, and the Ford GT in a modified form. 

2002 Ford Explorer

One of the common issues of the modular platform was its tendency to blow out spark plugs. This issue happened the most on the 5.4 Triton from 1997 to 2003. During this era, the motor commonly powered the F-Series pickups, E-Series vans, and the Expeditions/Navigators. The engines built past that point were much less susceptible to the problem, but are still known to have the issue in some instances. 

During driving, the spark plugs could eject themselves from the engine. This can cause major damage to the cylinder head and spark plug port threads, and leave the driver stranded with an expensive repair. 

Why Did the Spark Plugs Blow Out?

The problem stems from the threads themselves. The spark plugs Ford used on these engines didn’t have enough threads, and the threads they did have were soft and weak, meaning that the pressure from the combustion was able to blow the plugs out of the engine. Ford later tried to remedy this issue by adding more threads, but there have been instances of post-’03 Tritons blowing out their spark plugs as well.  

Factory worker installing Triton motor

What Can I Do to Prevent It?

While there hasn’t been much evidence one way or another, Ford does recommend sticking with Ford Motorcraft brand spark plugs during replacement, but the issue has still been commonly seen in the trucks that come with OEM Ford plugs from the factory. 

The best way to avoid it is just regular spark plug service and commonly checking the torquing of the plugs, as loose spark plugs accelerate the issue.

Ford recommends a method of repair for the cylinder head that prevents the issue in the future, but this can only be done if the problem has already happened. 

When Should I Service my Triton’s Spark Plugs?

Ford recommends spark plug service for 5.4 Tritons around the 100,000-mile mark, but checking the torque specs of the plugs most frequently can help prevent the ejection issue. 

The spark plugs on Triton motors post ‘03 can be more troublesome than their infamous predecessors during service. The 2-piece design was supposed to alleviate previous issues, but this led to carbon build-up in the gap between the plug and the cylinder head causing the plugs to often break when being removed. These broken plugs would then be stuck in the cylinder head and be extremely difficult to get out.

Because of this, spark plug service for the Tritons from 2004-2008 should be done more frequently. This gives the carbon less time to build up and cause problems. 

Spark Plug Service at Matson Point S

If you’re looking to buy a Triton powered vehicle, we recommend taking it to a professional for a pre-purchase inspection to make sure your new truck doesn’t send a spark plug flying. If you own one already, regular service and torquing of your plugs are essential to keeping it on the road.

Luckily, Matson Point S in Riverton, Utah has you covered! Our ASE-certified technicians have many years of experience working on Ford engines and can service or inspect them to the highest quality.

Call or schedule an appointment online today to meet with our team and keep your vehicle running healthy!

What are the Symptoms of a Leaking Valve Cover Gasket?


The many gaskets we have in our cars are a small but essential piece in keeping the vehicle running safely and smoothly. There are gaskets in nearly every system within the engine, all working to keep essential fluids like oil where they should be.

Keeping oil in the engine is just as important as having oil in the first place, and that wouldn’t be possible without silicone and rubber gaskets. Metal on metal connections do not form a proper seal, and would allow oil to seep out of where it needs to be.


What Does the Valve Cover Gasket Do?


The valve cover protects some of the most vital and carefully calibrated parts of your vehicle, and keeps the high pressure oil there to lubricate it all. The valve cover gasket is exactly what it sounds like, a gasket for the valve cover. It essentially maintains the seal between the valve cover and the cylinder head, and prevents oil from escaping. 

Cylinder head and engine internals without valve cover

The gasket is usually made of silicone, rubber, or cork and provides a cushion for the seal. With use though, the gasket is gradually worn down by the oil and heat and can eventually no longer properly serve its purpose. 


What Happens When the Gasket Goes Bad?


As oil starts to leave the system, there are a host of issues that can come up. As your engine loses oil, the wear on internal components increases.. Low oil levels can lead to catastrophic problems for your engine, and despite a gasket replacement costing a little upfront, it’ll save massive headaches for you and your wallet down the line.


How do I know if my valve cover gasket is bad?


A bad valve cover gasket has multiple different symptoms, some that are similar to other issues with your engine and some that are unique to the specific gasket. Some of the symptoms that can be signs of a bad gasket include:


Visible Oil Leaks 


When oil is able to escape, it’ll often leak onto different parts of the engine that may be visible when you pop your hood. Other times, it can drip all the way to the ground and you’ll be left with a blackish brown stain on your driveway under the engine bay. Keep an eye out for these leaks, as having an engine soaked in oil is a good indicator that something isn’t right. 


Low Engine Oil


With an oil leak comes the accompanying low oil light. If you have an oil light illuminated on your dash or suspect low oil, shut off your car and check your dipstick, as running with low oil can be harmful for your engine even in short periods of time. If you know you have low oil, top off your engine immediately and bring your car to an expert


Smell of Burning Oil


Often when oil is leaking from the valve cover, it can drip onto extremely hot parts in your engine such as the exhaust pipes or engine block. If you smell burning oil it means your engine is losing oil, and may have or will soon reach dangerously low levels. If you smell this distinct smell, make sure to take it into a service shop to locate and fix the source of the leak. 




With a bad gasket, the oil is able to leak into the spark plug wells and eventually soak the spark plugs. This can result in your engine misfiring, which is the failure of a cylinder to ignite during the engine’s cycle. Misfires will result in reduced performance, and the spark plugs will need to be replaced. In serious cases, misfires can even lead to engine fires. It’s important to look for misfire codes on your dash, and take your car in for service as soon as you see one. In severe instances, you might see your check engine light blinking repeatedly. You should pull over immediately and have your car towed to a professional, as driving with a severe misfire can cause extremely expensive damage to your catalytic converters. 

Valve cover inside engine bay

Valve Cover Gasket Service at Matson Point S


If you suspect a problem with your valve cover gasket, or any other gaskets for that matter, Matson Point S has you covered at our Riverton repair shop. Our experienced and certified technicians will make sure your car is all buttoned up so it can spend more time on the road and not in the shop. Call or schedule an appointment online with us today!

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