Spring Is Around the Corner: Is it Time to Switch Your Winter Tires?

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As the snow starts to melt and the days get warmer, you might start thinking about switching off Winter Tires and switching back to all-season or summer tires. Before you make the switch, here are the top five factors that can influence your timing.

Winter Tires

Winter tires are important for keeping you safe on the road during the hazardous conditions of snowy and icy roads. But as the snow starts to melt and the days get warmer, you might start thinking about switching back to all-season or summer tires. Before you make the switch, here are the top five factors that can influence your timing.

5. Winter Tire Laws in Your Province. When is it legal for you to go back to summer or all-season tires? Quebec winter tire law requires you to keep them on from November 15 – April 15. The BC winter tire law applies to specific roads where signs are posted, requiring them from October 1 – April 30. While the rest of the provinces don’t have laws governing when you must use snow tires, many have laws requiring you to remove studded tires after a certain date. Know the law – avoid a ticket.

4. Check That Weather Report. It’s safe to remove your winter tires once the average daily high is above 5 C and the risk of snow or frost has passed. Keep an eye on the averages in your area and take a look at the long range forecast before switching out. Late spring snowfall isn’t unusual in many parts of Canada, so be prepared; Environment Canada can give you the information you need. Remember that black ice isn’t visible, so the temperature is an important factor in ensuring you are safe on the road.

3. Where Will You Store Your Winter Tires? Before you take them off, you should know where you’re going to put them. Improper storage of your winter tires can lead to damage that will shorten their lifespan. Ask around; dealerships often offer winter tire storage that will keep them out of your garage and in a proper storage facility. If you plan to store them at home, be sure to follow these important tips:

  •     Purchase proper storage bags and store each tire in its own individual bag
  •     Do not hang the tires, instead stack them carefully
  •     Do not stack more than four tires high
  •     Store in a cool, dry place

2. How’s That Gas Mileage? One of the main downfalls of winter tires used past the end of dangerous conditions is that they aren’t designed for dry pavement. That means a lot of road noise as well as something that could cost you – decreased gas mileage. Once you are clear of the danger of ice and snow and the temperatures have risen, changing over to summer or all-season tires can save you on the cost of gas, so don’t put it off any longer than is necessary.

1. Winter Tires are Expensive – Make Them Last. When you invest in winter tires you expect to get several seasons of use out of them. But using them longer than you should, especially on dry pavement, can cause them to wear out faster, meaning you will be replacing them sooner. Of course, you should take all of the important factors into consideration and not remove them too early just to avoid wear; safety is the number one concern.

While you don’t ever want to take your winter tires off before it’s time, it can be damaging to leave them on too long. The right combination of weather conditions is far more important than the date - just make sure you’re within the legal requirements in your province.

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Michael Valentine

Michael Valentine
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