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When should you really take off your winter tires?

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Although winter tires on cars are mandatory in Quebec from December 15th to March 15th now, you may have noticed many people did not yet remove them and have their summer tires installed. In fact, like myself, you just may be one of those people who suffer in trepidation of an April, or for that matter, a May winter snow storm. Given the erratic and extreme weather we have been experiencing lately and barely living through one the most frigid, slippery, glacier thick, icy winters on record – it’s no wonder many are hesitating. I still have my ice traction cleats near my shoes and even a pair in my car, in case the ‘light rain’ they predict in the morning turns into a surprising mix of stinging ice pellets, or even worse; a snow-followed-by-freezing rain tsunami of biblical proportions.

Perhaps June is a better time, but by then my winter tires might turn into a mush of the rubber compound they were made of. The long range forecasts over the past few weeks were almost convincing enough to take a leap of faith – but then the short range forecast proved more accurate, with some nights and even days below the freezing mark. So when is the best time to make the change?

According to the experts, it is when temperatures remain consistently above seven degrees Celsius and that has not really happened in our area as of the writing of this article. I don’t think there has even been five straight days of balmy plus sevens on the thermometer. A snow tire wears faster on warmer surfaces and also has a higher rolling resistance than summer tires. It will not only end up costing more on fuel, but you will have to endure the sound they make, somewhat like rolling over sticky stuff. As of today, the long range forecast is very promising and perhaps it is time to take that leap of faith and make an appointment to have those tires changed. Have you already changed your tires or you waiting until the first heatwave?

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