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Winter Tires Required BC

Winter Tires Required BC

Winter tires, sometimes referred to as snow tires, are tires specifically engineered to perform in harsh winter weather, such as ice, snow, slush, and freezing temperatures.


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As such, they are the safest type of tire to drive in places that experience winter conditions on an annual basis. Unlike all-season tires, winter tires have an abundance of features that allow them to offer better grip, traction, steering, and handling in the winter. They also excel in temperatures of 7 degrees Celsius and below, whereas the versatile capabilities of all-season tires become compromised in temperatures below 7 degrees. As a result, certain Canadian provinces, namely Quebec and British Columbia, have winter tire mandates during the colder months. In Quebec, that mandate is province-wide, but in BC the mandate only pertains to specific highways.

Where are Winter Tires Required in BC?

Winter tires are required on certain highways in British Columbia. More specifically, the provincial government has made winter tires on passenger vehicles and chains on buses, semis, and other commercial vehicles a legal requirement when driving on highways in Northern BC, along the South Coast, or in the Southern Interior of the province. These highways are called “Designated Winter Tire & Chain Routes” and a clear map of these routes can be found on the Government of BC’s website. When getting onto or driving on these routes, you will also see numerous signs stating these requirements. Some of the major BC highways that require winter tires include the Sea to Sky Highway between Vancouver and Whistler, the Malahat Highway, Highway 4, Highway 14, and Highway 28 on Vancouver Island, and the Coquihalla that goes from Vancouver to Kelowna. Generally speaking, if you plan on travelling anywhere outside of Metro Vancouver or Southeastern Vancouver Island, winter tires will likely be required. The reason winter tires are not a requirement in certain parts of Vancouver Island (Victoria, Nanaimo, etc…) and the Lower Mainland (Vancouver) is because of the mild winter weather these areas experience compared to the rest of the province.

When are Winter Tires Required in BC?

Winter tires and/or chains are required starting October 1st on designated highways in British Columbia. However, the date they must be worn until varies depending on the route. On some routes, the mandate ends March 31st and on others, it isn’t until April 30th. Typically, the highways not located through mountain passes or in high snowfall areas only require winter tires until March 31st, whereas most other mandates end April 30th. To be on the safe side, we recommend keeping the winter tires on your vehicle until the end of April or visiting the Government of BC’s website to confirm which routes require winter tires until which date.

Why are Winter Tires Important?

Winter tires are critical to your own safety, as well as the safety of other drivers. These tires have unique features, such as deep grooves, heavy siping, biting edges, and a soft rubber compound that allows them to perform much better than the average all-season tire in winter weather. Specifically, the unique tread features of winter tires allow them to excavate water and slush from the contact patch and grip snow or ice-covered surfaces, reducing the chance of hydroplaning. Meanwhile, the soft rubber compound allows the tire to remain flexible, even in the coldest winter temperatures, which makes for better steering, handling, stability, and overall ride comfort. Plus, if you choose not to abide by the provincial law and are caught driving on a highway without winter tires, you will not only be fined between $122 and $598 but will also be turned away. The designated winter tire routes are monitored and enforced by the police and ministry throughout the province. So in addition to everyone’s safety on the road, not using winter tires where they are required is financially risky as well.

Shop Winter Tires at Tire Warehouse

Choose Tire Warehouse for all your winter tire needs. We have winter tires for all makes and models of vehicles, no matter which brand you’re looking for. We carry Michelin, Firestone, Bridgestone, Toyo, Radar, GT Radial, BFGoodrich, and more. Plus, we make shopping for tires easier than ever before thanks to our intuitive online website, fast delivery times, and low shipping fees. Though we’re headquartered in Edmonton, Alberta, we ship tires all across Canada, including throughout British Columbia. After placing your order, you can expect your new tires to be delivered within 2 to 4 business days. We also have a mobile installation service where a professional mechanic will install and balance your new tires right there on the spot. For the height of convenience and unbeatable savings, shop Tire Warehouse today.

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