Most Canadians are familiar with the routine: the weather quickly changes and the long, hot days of summer begin to transform into the crisp days of fall. Then, all of a sudden, it’s time to think about winter tires again. Regardless of where you are in Canada, winter tires are one of the most important investments you can make to keep your vehicle on the road, regardless of the temperatures and conditions you’re facing during our unpredictable winter months.
When is the best time to switch over to winter tires?
The general rule of thumb is that between Thanksgiving and Easter, you’ll need winter tires. These holidays are the markers because they fall during the start and end of the time of year when it’s likely that the temperature will regularly be at or below 7°C.
Be Prepared for 7°C
Across all of the major brands, winter tires have been specially designed for better handling, traction and braking distances in any condition when the temperature dips below 7°C. This makes them universally useful for Canadians—wherever you are in the country. Winter tires allow for drivers to be prepared for not just cold weather, but the snow, slush, freezing rain and ice that are part and parcel of winter where we live.
The dedication of tire manufacturers to create, redesign and improve a wide selection of high-quality, effective and safe snow tires means that there will be a great set of winter tires for every vehicle owner. Regardless of your driving style, there is sure to be an option that will satisfy your style, appearance and performance requirements to keep you in control of your vehicle when you need it most.
Rubber Compounds & Traction
7°C is an important temperature for all season tires because of the way the rubber compound reacts: above that temperature, the compound used in all season tires will be flexible allowing for shorter stopping distances and giving drivers greater control over their vehicles. Below that temperature, however, drivers will be able to feel that their all season tires become stiff, resulting in longer braking distances in cold, wet and snowy conditions—not an ideal discovery to make during bad weather!
Should I wait to change my tires after the first snow?
Although many people wait until the first snow to get their winter tires installed, this is not the optimal time to change from summer tires or all season tires to your snow tires. As mentioned above, as soon as the mercury starts to drop, tires designed for warmer temperatures will stiffen reducing traction and increasing rolling resistance. Greater tire flexibility will provide better grip on the road surface, helping you stay in control of your vehicle. This is a key reason drivers should swap out their all season tires for winter tires during colder months.
Does my province have any special rules about when I can use winter tires?
Quebec is currently the only province where winter tires are required by law during the period between December 15 and March 15. However, all provinces and Transport Canada encourage the use of winter tires between October and May. However, many provinces do have guidelines governing the use of studded tires. In most provinces studded tires can be used only between October and May.
If you’re considering studded tires, be sure to find out about the precise dates they’re allowed on the roads where you live. In Ontario, for example, studded tires are only allowed in Northern areas of the province, and using them below Parry Sound or Nipissing could result in a hefty fine. In some northern areas of B.C., you’ll need studded tires or chains. Before you purchase, be sure to visit your local Tirecraft or refer to your provincial regulations to ensure that the tires you’re getting meet the guidelines for stud length that is allowed your province.
Remember, once the temperature begins to drop and is more often than not around or below 7°C, you’ll need to install your winter tires. Your local Tirecraft experts will be able to help you get the most out of your winter driving season, so discover the brand we carry in your area or book an appointment today!