December 15th is coming. That’s the date where you are obligated to have winter tires on your vehicle in Quebec. Some drivers were not very happy when the province made winter tires mandatory, but in the end the idea that everyone is driving on tires that are appropriate for the harsh conditions we will face in the next few months is beneficial for everyone’s safety.
That said, simply having winter tires is not enough. They must also be in good shape and not too worn out. But how do you tell if your tires are still capable of keeping you safe when ice and snow start to cover the roads? It all comes back to thread depth.
The law states that your winter tires have to have a thread depth of 2/32”. That said, at the beginning of the season, you want your tires to have a thread depth of at least 6/32”. Any less than that, and your tires will not survive the season. Moreover, they will be dramatically less competent on snow and ice if they are any thinner than that. To measure thread depth, you can buy for a few dollars a special tool, or even use a quarter that you insert into the grooves. Most tires also have built-in wear indicators that you can rely on.
Once you know that your tires are in good shape, the next step is to decide when you will put them on. When the temperature outside dips below 7 degrees, it’s generally a good idea to have winter tires on your vehicle. Summer tires will harden in cold temperatures, which in turn leads to a loss of grip and traction.
A good rule of thumb is to get your winter tires on your vehicle by November. That said, you want to book your appointment sooner rather than later, given that specialty centers are already filling up.
Thanks to Bruce Ford for their help with this article.