It may feel like we had a very short summer, but nonetheless it is now time to switch over to winter tires.
B.C. law requires winter tires on most provincial highways beginning on October 1. Winter tires or chains are required on many BC highways from October 1 to March 31. For select highways, including mountain passes and rural routes in high snowfall areas, the date extends through April 30.
According to Shift Into Winter, your winter tires should be in good condition with a tread depth of 3.5 mm.
Although Mud and Snow tires meet the legal requirements for winter tires in B.C., it is recommended that people in mountainous areas such as the Kootenays use tires with the three-peaked mountain and snow flake symbol. The tires outperform Mud and Snow tires when temperatures are 7C or lower. Chains on summer tires are not an acceptable option.
Shift into winter provides these tips:
• Make sure tires match
All four tires need to match in size, tread type, and depth. You need at least two matching winter tires on the primary drive axle, even for a 4X4 vehicle. Using different types of tires compromises stability and could cause your vehicle to fishtail.
• Check tire wear and pressure
Always check the wear of your winter tires before installing them. Are they in good shape and with enough tread? Monitor tire pressure often as it can drop in cold weather.
• Carry chains or other traction devices
Passenger vehicles may be required to use chains or other traction devices with winter tires. Know and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for putting them on properly.
Shift into Winter is supported by the Winter Driving Safety Alliance, which reminds drivers to prepare themselves and their vehicle now for changing road and weather conditions.