When Should You Put Winter Tires On?


Winter tires are a huge relief for Canadian drivers that helps them navigate slippery, snow-covered roads. It is time-tested to provide much-needed stability to cars on snowy, icy roads. Some people often mistake not changing their regular tires before winter hits. Moreover, some people also think that all-weather tires are effective in the winters too. However, that is not the case.

Therefore, buying and installing the right winter tires at the right time is important. The right time to put winter tires on depends on various factors like temperature and provincial advisories. This quick guide can help you learn everything you need to know about winter tires.

Meanwhile, to learn more about the nuances of finding the right car insurance policy, visit https://www.surex.com/Insurance/auto-car/mississauga.

When should you put winter tires on your vehicle in Canada?

The most suitable time to put on winter tires is before the temperature drops 7 C. Sometimes, people wait for the first snowfall before changing their regular tires. However, it is advisable to put on winter tires much earlier (probably in October) to avoid the rush on service departments.  If you fail to put the tire on the first slot, you can consider the first two weeks of November.

The general rule is to avoid the wild rush that generally happens after the falls and the start of winter. Moreover, if you delay too much, you damage your regular tires that are incompatible with enduring harsh winters.

Now you know the answer to the question, “when should you put your winter tires on your vehicle in Canada?”.

Why install winter tires?

Winter tires are specifically designed for snowy, icy roads. Here are some reasons to put winter tires on:

Provide more flexibility

When the temperature drops below 7 C, all-weather tires get harder. This significantly reduces the grip of tires on slippery roads. Whereas, winter tires are made of special compounds that do not harden in cold temperatures. As a result, drivers get more flexibility and extra grip required for driving on snowy roads.

Superior traction

Unlike popular belief, four-wheel drive is not mandatory to survive winter. Winter tires are sufficient to sail through the winter season easily. Their tread design avoids snow buildup on the tires. As a result, you get superior traction and complete peace of mind.

Better braking

Irrespective of the season, drivers tend to hit hard on the brakes during a driving emergency. If you are driving without winter tires, the chances of sliding increase.

As mentioned, winter tires do not harden even in extremely low temperatures.

Soft tires tend to have better grip and flexibility, providing better steering and braking on snowy surfaces.

Hydroplane resistance

Winter tires reduce a phenomenon known as hydroplaning. Hydroplaning results from high speed coupled with standing water and insufficient tire tread. In simple terms, this occurs when your car tires lose contact due to the road’s water.

As tires roll over icy roads, the friction causes the ice beneath to melt. As a result, a layer of water builds up on the road, hindering your tire’s contact with the road. So, this directly increases the chances of sliding. Winter tires are specifically crafted to push the water off to the side.

Are winter tires mandatory?

No, winter tires are not mandatory in any of the provinces of Canada except Quebec and British Columbia. Although it is not mandated by law, most insurance companies recommend winter tires to avoid accidents caused by inappropriate tires.

Furthermore, insurance companies in Ontario also offer a discount of up to 5% to customers who put winter tires on between specific dates.

What is a winter tire insurance discount?

Vehicles with winter tires between December to March are considered less risky. Hence, insurance providers reward such customers by offering a discount of up to 5% on car insurance rates.

Here is how you can claim your car insurance discount:

  1. First, buy a set of four original winter tires. Confirm the authenticity through a logo – a snowflake inside a mountain peak. Do not buy all-season tires, as they are not eligible for the insurance discount.
  2. Put on the winter tires before the dates notified by your insurer.
  3. Inform your insurance provider about winter tire installation along with necessary proofs such as receipt, photograph, or invoice.

When you renew or purchase new insurance, do not forget to mention this feature.

When do you take winter tires off?

Like all-season tires do not perform best on snow and ice, winter tires are not meant for hot asphalt roads. Moreover, winter tires degrade faster on hot roads. So, change winter tires after the temperature hits 7 C and above.

Furthermore, after the removal of winter tires, their proper storage is equally important. Here are some tips for storing winter tires:

  • Store in a cool, dry place away from extreme heat.
  • Do not use hooks; instead, use rack storage.
  • Wash them and dry them thoroughly before storing them.
  • Use air-tight bags to preserve the rubber oil.

What’s the cost to change winter tires?

A winter tire cost ranges from $80 to $200. You may have to spend $350 to $800 for a set of 4 winter tires. The price varies according to the size and brand of tire. Most customers also purchase a new set of rims for winter tires, doubling their estimate.

Further, installation along with wheel alignment costs $60 to $100. Although the initial upfront cost is costly, winter tires outweigh the cost in the long run.

When should you put on winter tires? — Endnote

Winter tires are important both from a safety and cost savings point of view. Similarly, installing them at the right time is imperative for the best performance. You can follow your provincial guideline or put on the winter tires before the temperature hits below 7 C.

Furthermore, remember all-weather tires are not meant for extreme winters. Also, ensure the authenticity of the winter tires, remove them and install them properly after fall. While the initial upfront cost may sound unreasonable, winter tires reap benefits in the long run.


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