After Saturday, motorists to be cited for using traction devices on roads

Studs must go

Posted: Friday, April 29, 2005

With the Sunday deadline looming for taking studded tires off vehicles, area tire shops are being kept busy.

"We're not as busy as we thought we'd be," said Brian Curry, manager of Johnson's Tire Service in Soldotna.

"People may be holding off 'til Sunday," he said Thursday.

Alaska law states it is unlawful to operate a motor vehicle with studded tires or tires with chains on a paved roadway after April 30.

Fortunately for the procrastinators, Johnson's Tire is open Sundays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. this time of year.

Curry said in past years, the wait to have studded tires removed and summer tires mounted and balanced would be three to four hours. Right now it's 1 1/2 to two hours, he said.

The store operates seven days a week from the first of April until Mother's Day to accommodate the seasonal tire switch.

Business at Alyeska Sales and Service in Kenai is about the same as last year, according to store manager Dan Simpson.

"The last few days, it's been pretty good. The wait's about an hour," Simpson said.

He said business has been "pretty steady" the past three weeks.

Alyeska is not open Sundays, so people wishing to comply with the state studded tire law only have until Saturday to have their tires changed at there.

Johnson's and Alyeska include wheel balancing as part of the seasonal tire changeover service and recommend drivers have the alignment of their vehicles checked at that time, as well.

"After hitting all those potholes (in winter), they should get the alignment checked," said Johnson's Tire assistant manager Kristy Bird.

Both tire shops hire extra help during this time of year, according to the managers, and Curry said some of the new employees are retained through the busy tourist season in summer.

For those who wait too long to get their studded tires removed, the state fine for driving with them after Saturday is $50.

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