About Winter Tires

Drivers must obey winter tire and chain signs throughout the province from October 1 to March 31.

Winter road conditions across most of B.C. often include snow and ice. We recommend drivers install mountain/snowflake tires for cold weather driving and, for extreme conditions, carry chains.

It is the responsibility for the operator of a vehicle to understand the conditions on the roads they regularly drive and equip their vehicle for those conditions.

British Columbia accepts tires displaying the 3-peaked mountain and snowflake symbol OR the M+S (mud and snow) symbol, with at least 3.5 mm tread as winter tires. Some tire manufacturers choose to mark their tires with both designations.

Check your tires for at least one of these symbols:

The 3-peaked mountain and snowflake symbol on the side of the tire
These winter tires offer the best traction on snow and ice, and in cold weather.

Also known as mountain/snowflake or alpine.

The mud and snow symbol on the side of the tire
These winter tires offer better traction than summer tires, however, they are less effective than 3-peaked mountain and snowflake tires on snow and ice, and in cold weather.

Also known as M/S, M&S, Mud and Snow. All Season tires must also display the M+S symbol to be considered a winter tire.

All winter tires must:

3.5 mm tread
Tires must have 3.5 mm of tread remaining to be considered winter tires. Tires that are worn have reduced traction and should not be used in winter weather.

 

Matching winter tires
You must have at least 2 matching winter tires on the primary drive axle, but we recommend using 4 matching tires on the four outside corners of the vehicle - even when driving a 4X4 vehicle. Mixing tires with different tread patterns, internal construction and size compromises stability, and should be avoided.

For additional safety and traction:

Air pressure
Maintaining proper air pressure extends tread life and improves safety. Tire pressure decreases as temperatures drop, so have the pressure checked at least once a month, when the tires are cold.

Traction Devices
Drivers may wish to enhance the traction of their winter tires by carrying chains or using other traction devices. Summer tires are NOT recommended for winter driving October 1 to March 31. Chains on summer tires are not an acceptable substitute for winter tires on signed highways.

Temperate Climate

Due to a more temperate winter climate in the Lower Mainland and southeastern Vancouver Island, drivers are not required to use winter tires, although many drivers choose to use M+S tires year-round. Drivers should use discretion when equipping their vehicles.

Remember: If you plan to travel outside the Lower Mainland and southeastern Vancouver Island, winter tires are required on most highways.

Did You Know?

ICBC says: 

Driving without winter tires will not void your insurance if you have a claim. It also won't mean you're automatically at fault in a crash. However, if you get in a crash where winter tires could have helped, not having them may affect whether—or how much—you are at fault.

We Recommend

The law surrounding winter tires can be complicated, however, our recommendations are pretty straight forward.

Know Before You Go

Shift into Winter: Driving tips and safety information for BC drivers

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