How to determine if your winter tires are safe to use

The mandatory tire change date in Quebec is December 1, and it’s fast approaching. Are your tires still in good condition, compliant and, most importantly, safe? The experts at OCTO Auto Service Plus have put together a guide to help you determine whether or not your winter tires will get you through the cold season.

Check the condition of your winter tires in 3 steps

Perform these three checks to ensure your winter tires are still in good condition.

  1. Calculate the tread depth

According to Quebec law, your winter tires should have a tread depth of at least 2/32 inches or 1.6 millimetres. But most experts consider this measurement unsafe because it affects traction and may compromise your safety on the road. At OCTO Auto Service Plus, your safety is important to us. We follow the guidance of organizations like CAA-Quebec, who strongly advise against driving on tires with a tread depth of less than 6/32 inches or 4.8 millimetres.

Some people recommend using a quarter to measure the tread depth of your tires. For instance, if you can see the tip of the caribou’s nose, your tire’s tread is worn down. That said, we recommend using a tire tread depth gauge instead. This instrument is highly accurate and can be used to measure several places on the tires to get a better idea of their overall condition, as tires don’t necessarily wear evenly.

2. Look for signs of wear

Even if the tread depth is sufficient, you shouldn’t hit the road until you’ve carefully examined all four tires individually. For example, you may notice uneven wear on the ends or exposed wear markings, which means your tires need to be replaced. Uneven wear can be caused by improper inflation, misalignment or a worn-out suspension system.

3. Confirm the age of your tires

Whether you buy new or used tires, you should know they have a limited lifespan. Over time, the rubber on your tires will wear with the elements, even if you’ve stored them under the best conditions. Most tires have a maximum lifespan of about 10 years on the road and six years in storage.

Locate the four numbers on the sidewall of your tires. The first two digits indicate what week of the year the tire was made, and the last two digits indicate the year. For example, if you see the number 2316, it means the tire was manufactured on the 23rd week of 2016.

Lastly, if you’re unsure about the condition of your winter tires or want to invest in a new set, trust the experts at your nearest OCTO Auto Service Plus. Our team provides comprehensive inspections or personalized advice.

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