As you know, winter tires are mandatory from December 1st to March 15th or you can be fined up to $300. But spring is coming and you want to put on your summer tires as soon as possible, but is this really the best time?

The end of winter

If the obligation of the Highway Safety Code is to have winter tires until March 15, officially, the end of winter is March 20, which is 5 days later. However, you do not have to respect these dates to the letter. The weather conditions in Quebec are so variable that it is more prudent to keep your winter tires a little longer, even a few weeks. It is often common to see one or more snowstorms after the announced date of the end of winter. It is better to remain cautious, for your safety and that of your vehicle, do not be in a hurry to remove your winter tires even if your vehicle will look better.

According to CAA-Quebec, there are more realistic dates to respect, which helps to orientate oneself, for the different provinces of Quebec:

  • Montreal, Laval, Montérégie, Estrie and Outaouais between April 5 and 15
  • Lanaudière, Central Quebec, Laurentides and Mauricie would be after April 10
  • Quebec City area, Chaudières-Appalaches, Abitibi, Lower St. Lawrence and Saguenay-Lac St-Jean between April 15 and 25
  • Gaspésie and Magdalen Islands between April 20 and 30
  • The North Shore at the end of April and beginning of May
  • And finally the Northern Quebec would be after May 15

CAA-Quebec also specifies that the most important factor is that summer tires gain traction when the temperature exceeds 7°C. Even if you keep your winter tires a little longer, don't worry, they won't wear out prematurely.

The best time to change your vehicle's tires.

It's best to replace your vehicle's winter tires before the summer. This prevents their rubber from wearing out too quickly on hot roads. If you keep them on for too long, winter tires, with their high resistance to the road, will make your vehicle louder to drive, and will make you use more gas. If you drive with winter tires on the hot summer asphalt, there is a risk of blowouts that can end up in a serious accident. In addition, winter tires in summer lengthen the braking distance, evacuate water less well, so the vehicle tends to be less stable.

So when the sun heats up the tarmac and the temperature outside is around 7o Celsius, it's time to take off the winter tires and put on your summer or all-season tires.

Changing your tires will also give you the opportunity to check tire pressures, tread thickness, date of manufacture and wear. To learn more about this topic you can read the following article: Having the right tires is important!

What to do with your winter tires?

Once replaced, here are some tips to help you keep your tires for the next winter:

Cleaning before storage:

Wash your vehicle's winter tires before storing them. Remove stones and debris stuck in the grooves of your tires. Once cleaned, wait until they are completely dry and pack them away and place them on pallets or racks.

Keeping tires indoors:

Temperature fluctuations, rain and the vagaries of other seasons can damage your tires. You should store them in a place that is protected from daylight and heat or rain. The back of the garage is better than the back of the yard.

Avoid stacking your tires:

Stacking tires risks warping them, you should store them upright. If your tires are still mounted on the rims, it's best to hang them up. To avoid sagging, consider turning them every four weeks so that one side does not settle more than the others.

Beware of objects that are hazardous to your tires:

Keep tires away from appliances that can cause electrical discharges or sparks. Keep your tires away from sharp objects or other solids that can pierce them. Objects that emit high heat can also harm your tires by overheating the rubber.

If you are short on space, some dealerships or garages offer storage services. They will take care of your winter tires so that they are operational and ready to be mounted on your vehicle next winter.

When it comes to choosing your summer tires, you have plenty of choices. Choose the one that best suits your type of vehicle, its environment and your driving style. If in doubt, ask a specialist for advice for the good of your vehicle.

In conclusion, what you need to remember is not the 15th of March but a temperature above 7°C and off to the garage, but don't delay in making an appointment so you don't get caught.

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Laura Geller

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