We get lots of questions from our customers who are looking for advice about how to choose the best winter tires, and one particular area of confusion is studded winter tires. Most people think that studded winter tires are always banned in Canada, so you might be surprised to learn that, most times, they’re perfectly legal! The challenging part is knowing when and where studded tires can be used. We’ve put this resource together to help you get an idea of where and when studded winter tires are allowed. We’d still advise that you check with your province if you have questions or if you’d like more specific details.
In British Columbia, the rules governing the use of winter tires, studded tires and tire chains are quite specific. In fact, in some areas, winter tires (or tire chains) are mandatory in some areas between October 1st and April 30th, and being caught without them could result in a heavy fine. During this period, studs of up to 3.5mm are allowed, and for vehicles under 4,600kgs or 10,000lbs, the maximum number of total studs is 130, or around 30 per tire. Further, if you plan to use studded tires on the front wheels, you must also use them on the rear wheels.
Alberta, Saskatchewan, Northwest Territories, Nunavut and the Yukon
These provinces and territories have no restrictions on the use of studded tires, so you can use them as you’d like at any point throughout the winter without incurring a fine.
In Manitoba, studded tires can be used between October 1st and April 30th. Beginning in 2014, Manitoba Public Insurance will offer a low-cost loan program, making it easier for all of the province’s residents to purchase winter tires. Manitoba has a particularly low rate of snow tire adoption and in order to improve safely, all residents are encouraged to use winter tires.
In Ontario, studded winter tires are permitted between September 1st and May 31st for drivers in northern Ontario, which includes as Algoma, Cochrane, Kenora, Manitoulin, Nipissing, Parry Sound, Rainy River, Sudbury, Thunder Bay, and Temiskaming. Below these areas, the use of studded tires could incur a fine. For drivers from outside of Ontario, studded tires can be used while travelling in the province for up to a month. During this period, the only acceptable studs are Scandinavian-made lightweight studs.
Quebec is the only Canadian province that has mandated the use of winter tires, and in the process reduced road accidents that cause injury by 36% and weather condition related collisions by 17%. Winter tires must be used between October 15th to May 1st, and studded tires are allowed during this period as long as they’re used on both ends of the axle.
New Brunswick allows studded tires between October 15th and May 1st, and recommends the use of snow tires. However, the only legislation governing the use of winter tires is specific to school busses, which must use them during this period.
In Nova Scotia, studded tires are permitted between October 15th and May 31st as long as they aren’t longer than ⅛ of an inch from the base of the tire or have a diameter of more than ½ an inch. Similar to B.C., for vehicles under 10,000lbs, or 4,600kgs, up to 130 studs in total are permitted.
Prince Edward Island
In P.E.I., studded tires are permitted between October 1st and May 31st, and the provincial guidelines strongly recommends using winter tires during this period.
In Newfoundland, studded tires are permitted between October 31st and May 1st with the use of winter tires highly encouraged during this time.
Would you like to discuss the best options for your vehicle in more detail? Visit your local Tirecraft to get your questions answered!