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The Need for Winter Tires in Canada

By Mahya Kamalvand


Winter can make it extra hard for your body to feel warm and your car to move steadily! If we are not prepared for the ice and the cold, we have to expect unwanted mishaps. 

When the calendar flips over to winter, you should switch to winter tires in Canada. That is to keep away from unexpected costs and undesirable damage to the tires. We need to keep in mind that even with the right pair of tires, we have to prepare our car for winter. Read more here.

Here’s everything you need to know to make the right decision for your winter driving needs in Canada. 

Canada and the Winter Tire Laws


There are many pros and cons guidelines as to why you should switch to winter tires when you see the first traces of snow and fog! However, Canada has its own laws and they sound quite serious in Quebec and British Columbia. 

For these two provinces the winter tire law is mandatory and failing to observe it may cost the car owners some good amount of money.

In B.C, which is famous for its mountainous peaks, it is not far from logic to expect a compulsory winter tire law to be allowed to drive on roads and highways. 

Quebec is also a part of this mandatory law. But the timespan in Quebec is longer in comparison with B.C. Not meeting the requirements will cost you a fine above $200, so you may want to take care of your tires if you haven’t already done that. 

What are Winter Tires?


Canada has its own wonderful winter experience. But, if you have been driving in any of the colder provinces, you know how it feels to be caught by surprise when the car slips away on the snowy roads. This is the place where winter tires make a huge difference. 

Winter tires are designed in a way to move water and slush more efficiently to the sides, due to their huge blocky treads. This design allows the tires to stay in better contact with the surface of the road. They also maintain their flexibility in frigid conditions because of their softer rubber. 

Winter Tire Drawbacks


One of the valid and reported cons of winter tires is the cost. Both storage, and installation will require the owners to take responsibility, dedicate time, money, and some energy to make sure they put the tires on and take them off at the right time. 

Once spring is sprung, there is a need to swap out winter tires for all-season or all-weather ones. The hot temperature is not compatible with the soft rubber on winter tires. 

All said, if you add up the cost of the fine you have to pay to the cost of all-seasons tire damage, which will be discussed as follows, you will figure out how cost-effective the winter tires are. 

Canada and All-weather Tires, All-season Tires, and Winter Tires


There’s no substitute for winter tires in winter! But, it is good to know what the other options are and how they are different in comparison with the winter tires. 

All-weather Tires


As for the all-weather tires, the hybrid design is best compatible with mild conditions and warmer winters of Canada. 

So you may be wondering how are all-weather tires any different from the all-season tires. From what we know, the all-season tires work efficiently in spring, summer, and fall which leaves out winter. The all-weather tires can also survive winters if it is not frigid cold and is slightly colder than fall.  

Furthermore, It’s not bad to keep in mind that in comparison with the winter tires, all-weather tires do not burden you with cost of change or storage. 

All-weather tires, just like winter-tires,  are safe to use on most snowy roads due to their  symbol of a 3-peaked mountain/snowflake (“Alpine”) logo on tires that qualify for this designation.

The one single flaw with these tires is the fact that they survive a shorter lifespan in comparison with the all-season tires and winter tires. This is totally understandable since the all-weather tires are on the road almost throughout the year. 

All-season Tires


Against the name, the all-seasons tires lack the winter tire features to be able to support your car throughout the year.  If the temperature decreases below 7 degrees, or falls below zero, the tires tend to lose grip. 

Another important feature on these tires are their smooth and straight treads. They are able to grip the road better in summer, and repel the water stronger in the rain. 

One feature that makes many of the Canadian residents choose the all-seasons tires over winter tires is their 'M+S' designation. The Mud and snow tires are all-season tires that have been approved for muddy and snowy conditions. 

As long as the tire has a tread depth of 3.5mm, mud and snow tires can be used in British Columbia. With regards to mandatory tire requirements in Canada, however, mud and snow tires do not meet the mandatory winter tire requirement in Quebec.

The Best Winter Tires for Your Vehicle


By now, you should be at least strongly considering buying winter tires, so here are the factors you need to keep in mind when you’re shopping for winter tires.

Tires and Rims


Tires are composed of two main parts: the tire itself which you know as the black rubber doughnut, and the circular metal structure that the tire wraps around and is called the wheel or the rim. 

When shopping for winter tires, you can have the rubber tires which will be swapped onto the existing rims, or you can shop for winter tires that come with their own rims.

Early Purchase 


You shouldn’t really wait till January 1 to make your winter tire purchase. You need to know that as the time goes by, the variety that can exist in winter tire choices decrease. 

It is safe to say that you can buy the winter tires some time around the first winds of fall when the temperature hovers around 9 degrees. 



For a tire to be labelled “winter tire,” it has to meet specific performance criteria in snow testing. 

According to Transport Canada, the winter tires have to have an “Alpine” logo which is the 3-peaked mountain/snowflake symbol. 

Studded Tires


Have you ever recognized the small metal studs embedded in the rubber? Those are called the studded snow tires which dig into the road and provide more grip.

Prohibited in certain areas in Canada, the studded tires can even damage pavements. They are also very noisy. 

Canada Winter Tires and Car Detailing


No matter what type of tires you have swapped onto your rigs, it is important to make sure you take good care of them. Especially in winter, when salt and sand can break down your car, the significance of car detailing increases. 

Also, when winter is over, and you need to change your winter tires, first have them detailed to make sure they will see the next winter. 

Call us now at Shiny. Within Vancouver, Richmond, or Surrey, we know how to detail winter tires. 

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Frequently Asked Questions

What’s the cost to change winter tires?

The price varies because you are paying the installation of each tire, plus the balancing of the tires and pressure checks. The whole process could set you back between $60 to $100.

What tools do you need to change winter tires?

Service jack Safety stands Lug wrench and/or sockets Breaker bar Compressor (for inflating tires)

When do you take winter tires off?

Unless you live in Quebec (March 15) or areas of BC (April 30/March 31), use the 7 degrees Celsius rule to know when to change back to standard tires in the spring.

Can you use tire shine in the winter?

The freezing temperatures and other winter elements can cause your car's tires to deteriorate. The appropriate tire cleaner can works as a protective layer and repel winter's elements from your tires. Therefore, detailing your car in the winter time is really important.

Still have questions? email us at hello@shiny.ca
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