Do You Need Winter Tires in BC?


As Autumn arrives, so does our famously unpredictable Vancouver weather. Only in BC can you go from having sunshine at 8:00am, to extreme hail and rain at noon, and finish the day with a freak snowstorm.

That’s why it’s so important to be prepared for all weather conditions, particularly in the fall and winter months. When conditions can change in an instant, you don’t want to be caught on a dark dirt road in the rain with a flat tire. Additionally, you don’t want to be stuck in a pile of slush on the side of highway 1 during your morning commute (which let’s face it, Highway 1 is stressful on a good day).

That’s why it’s so imperative to know what kind of tires you should be driving on for the fall and winter seasons, and when the best time to change them is.

What Kind of Winter Tires Do You Need in the Lower Mainland?

Generally, many drivers in the Lower Mainland can get away with driving on good quality all-season tires year-round. However, over the past few years, our winter weather has been rapidly changing and extremely unpredictable, even for Metro Vancouver.

We’ve all seen the news footage of cars stuck on the side of the road. Or buses sliding sideways down the big hill near Scott Road.

Or even cars sliding into other cars as they try to get home to their house on the top of the Westwood Plateau.

In most cases, the reason people are spinning out of control on wet, slushy, or snow-covered roads is because they aren’t driving on the proper tires.

So, what kind of winter tires should you put on your car? And when should you put them on?


Being Prepared in BC with the Right Winter Tires

Different vehicles naturally require different tires. But it’s not only the size of the tire that matters, it’s the quality, and what they are primarily designed for.

If you look at the tires you currently have on your vehicle right now, you’ll probably see a symbol just to the left or right of the tire size. If you see an “M” or “M/S” that refers to mud and snow tires. These are your typical all-season tires. It may also specifically say “all-season” on your sidewall.

Also, you’ll notice that a summer tire versus a winter tire versus an all-season tire have a very different tread pattern. See below.


Typically, an all-season tire is designed to offer drivers reasonable handling and road grip through rain, hail, mud, and light snow. Needless to say, they are also designed to be driven on dry roads, and hot pavement like what is experienced in our 40-degree Celsius summer weather in BC.

How Do I Know if I Need Winter Tires?

If you live in Metro Vancouver, it’s more than likely that you can get away with driving on simple all-season tires year-round. But that really will depend greatly on where in the GVRD you live.

For example, if you live on campus up at SFU, you’d be safest switching to a winter tire early on in the cold weather seasons. A steep hill, and limited visibility due to mountain fog is not something you want to traverse on just any old tire.

The same could be said for someone who resides in New Westminster, North Vancouver, or parts of Coquitlam, particularly the Westwood Plateau. All of these areas have a lot of hills, and ones with steep inclines. Plus, they don’t always get their roads ploughed promptly after a snowfall, so the risk of losing control while either going up or down a hill is higher than in other areas of Metro Vancouver.

Another key location that would be highly advisable to have winter tires is out in the Fraser Valley. Mission, Abbotsford, Chilliwack, and Hope all get more snow than Metro Vancouver areas. In addition to getting more snow, they also have colder weather. So, after roads have been salted and the snow melts, it re-freezes making pavement especially slick.

BC Winter Tire Regulations


Anyone who has driven across the province during fall and winter months knows that snow can happen on the highways and passes as soon as early October. That’s why BC laws state that you must have winter tires on your car from October 1 to April 1 to travel on many of the provinces out-of-town highways and roadways.

This usually starts around the Manning Park area just outside of the Fraser Valley and continues across the rest of the province. That’s because the Lower Mainland has always had some of the mildest weather in the province. Once you leave the Lower Mainland, you’re at risk for harsher weather including black ice.

Certain areas of travel also specify that you need to have chains on your vehicle. There will be signs posted saying “Must Have Chains Beyond This Point”. If you’re unsure about what is required during your travels, check the BC driving conditions website of Drive BC.

Drive BC offers traffic cams so you can see conditions firsthand, as well as notifications about construction, landslides, flooding, avalanches, etc.

What Kind of Winter Tires Should I Buy for My Car?

When it comes to buying good winter tires, there are a variety of things to consider before deciding which one is right for you, your car, and what your vehicle will be used for. Although every winter tire offered on the market varies, the best tires to buy for harsh winter weather are the ones with a 3-peaked mountain icon as shown below.


The tires picturing this icon will handle considerably better on snow and ice. Which, if you are planning on driving on winter specific tires, that’s what you want.

Also, you’ll need to have at least 2 matching winter tires on the primary drive axle according to BC law. Even if you drive a 4×4, you’ll need a matching set of winter tires before going up the Coquihalla or other BC highways outside of the Lower Mainland.

What Are the Best Winter Tires for a Car?

Choosing a great winter tire can be a little overwhelming if you’ve never purchased winter specific tires before. With so many options, and many of them appearing to offer the same things, most of us consider what we buy based on the price.

However, there are definitely some brands that have proven to be a better-quality winter tire that handles well in all winter conditions.

  • Nokian Hakkapeliitta 10, R5 and Nordman 7
  • Nokian WR
  • Bridgestone Blizzaks
  • Michelin X-Ice Snow
  • Michelin Cross Climate
  • Continental Viking Contact
  • Michelin Pilot Alpin
  • Pirelli Ice Zero
  • Yokohama Ice Guard
  • Dunlop Winter Maxx

If you are wondering which tires would be best for your car this winter, check with the good people at Kal Tire, Costco’s Tire Shop, or any other reliable and reputable tire shop to find out what they would suggest. They can give you honest feedback on what tire is best for you after assessing your driving needs and seeing your car in person.

How Much Do Winter Tires Cost in Canada?

The price of a good winter tire really depends on the size of the tire, what kind of tire you’re buying, and how many you need. Many tire suppliers and shops offer a discount when you purchase 4 winter tires all at once.

The usual deal offered is buy 3 winter tires, get one free. Others offer free installation and free removal when you bring your car back to switch over to your summer tires. While some offer a better price for buying tires online and installing them yourself.

Before ordering any tires online, be sure you’re ordering the correct size for your vehicle. You can get this information from your owner’s manual, your local tire shop, or more easily, from the tires that are currently on your car. The tire size is written on the sidewall of every one of your tires for quick reference.

Don’t Buy Winter Tires If You’re Planning to Sell Your Car Soon


When the winter weather is approaching fast, it’s easy to air on the side of caution and snatch up any good winter tire deals that are happening in your city. But, if you’ve been considering sell your car, it might be a better idea to hold off until after you’ve got a new car.

Many people have tried to sell their brand-new winter tires along with selling their car. Unfortunately, you’ll never recoup the total cost of the winter tires you’ve just bought. That’s why it’s a smarter decision to sell your car before the winter weather hits.

This way, you can try to get a deal on new winter tires when purchasing a new car. Many dealerships are happy to offer a deal on winter tires if it means selling a car.

Thinking of Selling Your Car in Metro Vancouver or the Fraser Valley?

If you’ve been thinking about selling your car, think Cash For Cars BC. We buy vehicles of every kind, and in any condition.

Plus, unlike some local car buyers, we are more than happy to increase our offer when you sell a car to us with an extra set of tires that are in good condition. Like winter tires that have only had one season of drive time on them.

We buy vehicles from $100 – $100,000+, so don’t get discouraged if you think we won’t buy your 1996 Honda Civic, because we will. From junk cars to supercars, we buy them ALL. Plus, we handle all the paperwork, we come to you, and NOBODY Pays More!

Contact Our Team of Used Car Buyers Today

If you want to sell your car for cash, get in touch with our dedicated and friendly team of used car buyers today.

Just provide us with the make, model, year, and condition of your car. Then, we’ll arrange an in-person vehicle appraisal. This can be done 7 days a week, from 7:00am to 11:00pm. We even work most statutory holidays too!

Once we see your vehicle first-hand, we’ll make you an instant cash offer on your car right then and there. If you accept our offer, we’ll pay you in cash on the spot, or through the payment method of your choosing.

Yes, selling your car can be that quick and easy when you sell your car to Cash For Cars BC. Contact us today to find out how much your vehicle is worth. You might be surprised!

By Published On: September 28th, 2023Categories: UncategorizedTags: , ,

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Cash For Cars BC is a Vancouver based used car and truck buying service. We make the process easy to sell your vehicle. We come to you and we do all the paperwork. We always offer the most cash and pay on the spot. GIve us a call, text or email today to see how we can help you sell your car in Vancouver for the most possible money.