Winter Tire Laws in Canada
Canada is one of the coldest and snowiest countries on the planet and if you’ve lived here more than a few years, you are fully aware of this fact. The cold and the snow are bad for a lot of things, but none more so than driving.
Icy and snowy conditions can make for a terrible commute and it’s not uncommon to see half a dozen accidents on your way to work if it’s quite icy out or a fresh snowfall came down the night before. One of the best ways to ensure you remain safe and in control of your vehicle during the frigid and frozen winter months is to make sure your car is equipped with suitable winter tires.
Winter tires are essentially tires with a different tread design that is meant to give you better traction and control on the ice. These tires can be the difference between getting in an accident or being able to stop at the right time. If you have ever used them, you know about just how helpful they can be.
In fact, these tires are so helpful in the winter conditions that it is the law in some parts of Canada to have winter tires equipped on your vehicle. Here we will take a closer look at each province and see what rules and regulations (if any) they have about winter tires.
What are The Specific Winter Tire Laws for Each Province?
Alberta – Alberta has no official laws that make it mandatory to use winter tires during the winter. However, Alberta Transportation does recommend that you use them (or a good set of all-seasons) during extreme and severe weather conditions.
British Columbia – In 2014, new rules were put into effect for winter tires in British Columbia. Some places in the province require the use of winter tires or chains, while others do not. Signage will be present on certain mountainous roads and highways where winter tires are required from October 1st to April 30th. So those in the city or relatively flat parts of BC are fine, but if you’re driving through the mountains, you need to have winter tires.
Manitoba – Manitoba does not require their drivers to use winter tires at all but does recommend them. The province also features a winter tire program that helps eligible Manitoba drivers by providing them with a low-interest financing option to get the tires if they want them. Since the start of the program, there have been over 70,000 different winter tire loans.
New Brunswick – In New Brunswick, the only type of vehicles that are required to have winter tires are school buses. Other than that, people are free to use their own judgement and decide whether they want to use them or not.
Newfoundland – About a decade ago, the government pushed for a law that would make winter tires mandatory for everyone, but to date, nothing like that has ever been created. However, the province does recommend people use winter tires from November 1st to May 31st.
Nova Scotia – Nova Scotia has said it prefers public awareness over simply making the tires mandatory. They say that if people can afford them, they should use them, but they also say they don’t want to impose a cost like that on the public. So once again, they feel you should use them, but there is no actual law in place.
Ontario – While there are no actual laws in Ontario that require drivers to use winter tires, there are some reasons people might want to use them outside of them simply being safer. Insurance companies in the province are legally required to give discounts to drivers who use winter tires. This discount can be as high as 5%.
Prince Edward Island – Guidelines set by the province suggest and recommend that drivers use winter tires, but once again, there is no law in place and they have no plans to put one in place.
Quebec – Unlike every other province we have mentioned so far, Quebec actually does have a law in place that makes using winter tires mandatory. Since 2008, all motorists in the province must have four winter tires installed on their cars from December 15th to March 15th at least. A study has been released that states there has been a reduction in road accident injuries and deaths as a result of this law. Don’t worry though, if you are just visiting Quebec, this law doesn’t apply to you.
Saskatchewan – The province recommends that people use winter tires, but have no laws set in stone that require people to do so. Despite Saskatchewan being one of the iciest and coldest provinces, they have one of the lowest winter tire usage rates in the country as only 39% of people actually use winter tires.
The Territories – Despite being among the coldest and snowiest places in the entire country, none of the territories have specific laws that require people to use winter tires while driving. However, if you are ever driving up there, we strongly recommend you use them.
So now that you know winter tires are actually mandatory for some people living in Canada, how do you find the best deals on winter tires?
How do You Find the Best Deals on Winter Tires?
The key to finding the best deals on winter tires is to do your research. There is a good chance you have many different stores and shops that sell winter tires in your town or city, and it is a good idea to visit or reach out to them all. There is a good chance at least one will be having some sort of deal on tires and if not, you will at least be able to compare the prices and see which one has the best deal for you.
One other popular place to find great deals on winter tires is on sites like Kijiji or other online marketplaces. Owners often have brand new winter tires or rims that they bought for a vehicle, only to find out they don’t fit (or they got a new car and their old tires don’t fit). These people will often be selling for much cheaper than the stores so as long as the tires are in good condition, you can often find amazing deals.
What are the Best Ways to Finance Your Winter Tires?
Now, these tires aren’t cheap and can often run you several hundred dollars for a set of four. While some people can definitely afford this, others will find it difficult to spend that kind of money on tires. Thankfully, there is the possibility of financing your winter tires.
There are many sources of financing for your winter tires. Many of the leading tire shops out there will offer financing for the tires they sell and will work with you to find a deal that suits you. In addition to that, some provinces have programs (as mentioned above) that will assist the public in getting winter tires at a reasonable price. Of course, with the explosion of online lending and online financial companies, many of them will be able to help you quickly and easily secure a loan for winter tires.
How to Get the Most out of Your Winter Tires?
Being as you likely paid a pretty penny for these tires, it makes sense that you want to make them last and ensure you get the most out of your winter tires. Thankfully, there are a number of different things you can do.
- Keep your tires inflated as cold weather can lead them to lose air and driving on tires that are low on air can damage them.
- Inspect them closely. Check tread and check for debris frequently to make sure they are still in good condition. You should do this fairly often in the winter to make sure you aren’t driving on compromised tires.
- You shouldn’t use your winter tires after the winter season as driving on regular and dry roads can deteriorate the tread relatively quickly. Once the winter season is over, you should switch back to your regular summer or all-season tires.
- Proper storage is important in keeping your winter tires in good condition. Never stand them on their tread, avoid keeping them in moist conditions and keep them in fairly neutral locations in terms of temperature. Tire covers are also a good idea.
In conclusion, we hope that this article has helped you not only understand the winter tire laws in Canada but also given you some great tips on how to save money when buying winter tires and how to keep them in great condition.