When to change your tires

Mechanic working on car tires

Did you know that changing your tires at the right time can save you money and gives you more mileage for each set?

Plus, safer driving generally means less need to file car insurance claims due to accidents. So make sure you switch them over to the appropriate season when the weather changes.

Understanding Winter Tires

Quebec is currently the only province where winter tires are required by law from December 15 to March 15. However, all provinces and Transport Canada encourage the use of winter tires between October and May.

The best time to have winter tires on the road is when the temperature is regularly at or below 7ºC. This will differ from city to city across Canada, but generally, it’s around October to March.

When the temperature dips below 7ºC, all-season tires become stiff and result in longer braking distances in cold, wet or snowy conditions, making drivers more susceptible to accidents.

Winter tires are engineered to perform best in sub-zero temperatures and on ice and snow. The tread compound is made of materials that ensure drivers have a grip on frigid roads and allow for better traction when stopping. The braking distance can be as drastic as 10.7 meters better for winter tires, versus summer tires in temperatures of just -6ºC. It’s proven that winter tires are simply better equipped to perform in cold climates and in temperamental weather conditions.

Understanding All-Season Tires

All-season, or better yet three-season tires, are designed to provide safe driving over a wide range of conditions, including muddy and wet surfaces. The advantage to these tires is that they’re great for most of the year-spring, summer and fall. But once the temperature drops below 7ºC, it’s highly recommended you switch over to winter tires. Even in Quebec, where winter tires are mandated by law before December 15.

When to make the switch

Once the temperature is consistently above 7ºC, it’s time to switch back to your all-seasons.

Driving with winter tires on dry pavement in warm temperatures will wear the tires out faster, which will also wear out your wallet when you have to buy a new set sooner. Also, a winter tire will be more flexible in the summer, which compromises the vehicle’s handling, and makes braking distances longer.