When Should You Replace Winter Tires?

Winter is right around the corner and you may be wondering if you need a new set of winter tires or not…

Well, Transport Canada says tires worn close to 5/32” (4 millimetres) should NOT be used on snow-covered roads. In addition, most manufacturers suggest replacing your tires when the tread depth reaches 4/32” in the winter. If you allow your tires to wear to the levels above you are driving on what is considered a bald tire (and a huge safety hazard).

You might be thinking…this is all great information BUT how do I check my tread depth?

Here are 3 simple ways to check if your tires are ready for the upcoming season:

WITH A TOONIE

Grab a toonie and slip it in between your tread blocks. If the tread of the tire reaches the bear’s paw, your winter tires have lots of tread left! If the silver part of the toonie is covered by your tires tread, your tire is about half worn AND if the tread reaches only as far as the letters “CANADA” or “DOLLARS”, your tires are worn and need replacing.

WITH TIRE TREAD WEAR INDICATORS

Our second tip to checking your tire wear is using the built-in tread wear indicators (if they have them). They are little raised bars (usually six on each tire) along the tires grooves that mark the minimum permitted tread depth! If these little raised bars are worn, it is time to replace your tires.

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WITH A TIRE TREAD DEPTH GAUGE

You can find tire tread depth gauges at most gas stations - they make it fast and easy to check your tires tread depth. We suggest keeping one in your glove compartment for easy access. Heres how to use it:

Step One: Find the shallowest groove of the tread on your tire and insert the pin of the gauge until the base is flush with the tire.
Step Two: Read the scale - if you are reading a number between 7 and 12/32” your tires are good for now! Any less, and you’ll be able to improve your winter braking, cornering, and overall safety with a new set of tires.
Step Three: Repeat for all tires!