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.

Laws On Winter Studded Tires In Canada

While not a legal requirement in every province, all Canadian provinces do recommend the use of winter tires. At the very least, most require all season tires through the winter season and some permit the use of studs for road use (check the laws for your local area to confirm that studded tires are permitted).

For instance, in Ontario studded tires are allowed from the 1st of October to the 30th of May. This is the time of year when heavy snowfall and thick ice on the road is common. With studded tires, drivers are able to maintain a firm grip while driving.

Quebec is perhaps one of the strictest provinces when it comes to winter tires. In 2007 a law was passed that required all motorists to have four winter tires fitted to their vehicle. Winter tires must be used in Quebec between December the 15th and March the 15th. Winter tires must also be marked with a snowflake and mountain on the tire wall. This shows that they are permitted for safe use during the winter months.

When to Change to All Season / Summer Tires

If you own a set of all-season tires, you should make the change when low temperatures are consistently above freezing each night and the longer term forecast is showing the same. Getting caught in an early spring dusting shouldn't be an issue as all-season tires can still provide traction in light snow.

Summer performance tires are at their best when it's warmer, as they provide almost no traction in snow. If your area tends to have such unpredictable late freezes, put off the changeover a little longer than you would with all-seasons.