As of Saturday, March 16, it’s perfectly legal in Quebec to swap out the winter tires on your vehicle for summer tires — but that doesn’t mean it’s a good idea.
CAA-Quebec is reminding Quebec motorists that the province sees, on average, 40 to 50 centimetres of snow throughout the months of March and April, and while you may be in hurry for spring to arrive, it might be better to exercise caution and hold off changing tires until later in the season.
In a blog post on its website, the CAA says Montreal usually sees four snow days in April while Quebec City sees five.
The treads on winter tires hold snow, which helps improve traction and grip. Summer tires aren’t designed with the same treads.
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The CAA recommends using the thermometer rather than the calendar to help guide your decision on when to make the switch from winter to summer tires, with the magic number to look out for being 7 C.
When it drops below that temperature, summer tires start losing their grip as the rubber compound on the tires hardens.
Furthermore, freeze and thaw cycles, typical at this time of year, are conducive to black ice formation.
The CAA recommends waiting until the thermometer reaches 7 C on a regular basis before switching tires.
That usually happens at the beginning of April in Montreal and by mid-April in Quebec City.
The mandatory period for winter tires in Quebec is from Dec. 15 to March 15, inclusively.
However, as of 2019, the deadline for winter tires has been pushed up to Dec. 1.