The Importance of Driving on Winter Tires During the Colder Months

Fall is beginning, and it’s time to schedule the fall maintenance of your vehicle and your winter tire change. It’s the perfect time to kill two birds with one stone. Keep reading if you want to know how to prepare properly for the winter.

Tire Change Is a Requirement in Quebec

Switching to winter tires is mandatory in Quebec. Your vehicle must be winter-ready from December 1st to March 15.

However, because spring conditions can be so variable, it’s a good idea to wait a few weeks after March 15, 2024, to switch back to all-season or summer tires. Indeed, Mother Nature is often capricious during that period.

Moreover, the Highway Safety Code clearly points out that:

The [winter tire] requirement applies to all motor vehicles registered in Quebec, including rental vehicles. However, this requirement does not apply to trailers. Drivers who do not comply are liable to a fine of $200 to $300.”

Although passenger vehicles have to comply with this requirement, there are several exceptions that are worth mentioning:

  • Heavy vehicles

  • Utility vehicles

  • Farm machinery

  • Spare tires

  • Motorcycles used as emergency vehicles

  • And others

The Société d’assurance automobile du Québec (SAAQ) allows for other exceptions for special circumstances and lists several cases where exemptions apply.

How Can You Recognize a Winter Tire?

From the outset, a tire that’s approved for winter must be marked with a pictogram in the shape of a mountain with a snowflake inside. This pictogram confirms that the tire has been designed for winter.

You’ll notice it on the tire’s side. All tire manufacturers are required to distinguish their summer tires from their all-season tires, and including, of course, their winter tires.

Is It Legal to Drive on Studded Tires?

In Quebec, you can equip your vehicle with studded tires between October 15th and May 1st. Studded tires are permitted on taxis, passenger vehicles and commercial vehicles whose total mass doesn’t exceed 3,000 kg (6,600 lb).

Why Drive on Winter Tires?

Unlike summer or all-season tires, winter tires are designed to prevent snow from accumulating in their grooves. It’s first and foremost a question of road adherence.

Moreover, the increased tread depth improves grip on a snowy road. The deeper grooves also contribute to evacuating snow and slush quickly. Finally, winter tires reduce braking distance on icy or snowy roads.

In short, driving with winter tires in good condition during the colder months helps ensure safe driving. Remember to ask your mechanic to check for tire wear before you change your tires.

Winter tires in Quebec allow you to:

Reduce braking distance by 25% and maintain tire elasticity to -40 °C.”

Finally, it should be noted that winter tires are no guarantee against accidents. However, if you drive safely by reducing your speed on the road and by keeping a safe distance with the vehicle in front of you, you’ll be on the safe side.

Why Not Some Car Care?

Last but not least, you should think about scheduling your car maintenance before winter arrives. Ask your mechanic to perform the following:

  • Brake check and brake system inspection

  • Fluid check

  • Change oil

  • Check transmission fluid

  • Check winter windshield washer fluid

  • Check charging system

  • Check battery and alternator

  • Check antifreeze agent

  • Check windshield wiper blades

  • Tire inspection

  • And much more

As you’re preparing for the colder months, take the time to put a shovel, a snow brush and an emergency kit inside your vehicle.

Following these tips will ensure that you can get through the winter and stay safe on the roads of our beautiful province.

If you’re looking for a used vehicle at an extremely competitive price, come and visit us at AutoStudio72 in Mirabel, on the North Shore of Montreal and a few minutes from Laval. Our seasoned team will answer all your questions and make you discover the whole range of used vehicles that we have in stock. They can also offer you highly advantageous financing solutions. See you there!

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