Winter Tires Required in BC – Are You in Compliance?

Minit-Tune & Brake| Friday, November 13, 2015

In most areas of Canada, winter tires are a good suggestion or recommendation to stay safe on hazardous winter roads. However, if you live in British Columbia, you may have noticed that there are signs on the roadway indicating that winter tires are required by October 1st and through March 31st. This is because certain areas of BC see some dramatic changes in temperature and road conditions during the winter months, with endless stretches of slush, ice and snow being very common. If you plan to drive in these areas, you must be prepared to comply with the winter tire requirement.

Understanding Winter Tires and Road Safety Requirements in British Columbia

Winter tires have a three-peaked mountain logo or snowflake symbol on them indicating that they are specifically designed for winter driving. Depending on your type of vehicle and where you drive, you may or may not need to make the switch. Some things to consider first include:

  1. Recommended Tires – Winter driving conditions are harsh; therefore, a tire with a snowflake or three-peaked mountain symbol are recommended with a minimum tread depth of 3.5mm.
  2. The Law – The law accommodates M+S models and vehicles with either tire will be allowed to pass checkpoints where such tires are required. Commercial vehicles with 27,000 GVW or more must carry chains along these routes while trucks between 5,500kg and 27,000kg can use the winter tire model instead.
  3. Areas Required to Have Winter Tires – Not all roads will require winter tires, but highways where the signage is present in BC will. Two such examples include the Coquihalla Highway and the Sea to Sky Highway between Squamish and Whistler. Therefore, if you regularly drive through these areas or other interior highways that require Winter Tires, or plan to this winter, you will need the proper tires in order to do so. Roads within city limits do not have this requirement, but most individuals cannot be 100% certain that they will never need to access highway—don’t be caught unprepared!
  4. Will this Law Affect Me? It is estimated that only 40 percent of drivers will be required to use winter tires, but that is still a large majority of drivers. The law is already in effect for 2015, so don’t lose more time if you are yet to achieve compliance for your vehicle.

Even If You Are Not Required to, It Is Highly Recommended

Even if you will not be required to have winter tires this year, you may want to consider them for your own safety. Winter tires are specifically designed to handle ice, sludge and snow, which means that you have better traction, braking control and stability than all-weather or regular tires.

All Season tires start losing traction at ambient temperatures below 7 degrees Celsius. As such, always consider installing winter tires when the outside temperature drops below this mark.

Also, by already having winter tires installed, if you randomly venture into these areas, you will be prepared and ready to pass without breaking the law.

At Minit-Tune & Brake Auto Centres, we can help you remain in compliance with the winter tire requirement as well as install your winter tires for city driving. Whether you need new winter tires or auto repair in Vancouver, you can trust our technicians to provide you with the expertise and service you need to stay safe on the road. Schedule your tire change in Vancouver and surrounding areas—book an appointment today and visit one of our 18 convenient locations.

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