QUEBEC, Nov. 7, 2013 /CNW Telbec/ - With temperatures already dipping to
near the freezing point overnight, CAA-Quebec reminds drivers that it
is time to switch to winter tires, and ensure they are in good shape to
withstand the rigours of the cold season. A tire with a tread that has
worn too thin simply will not deliver the minimum performance required
for safe driving in cold, snowy and icy conditions.
CAA-Quebec's rule for ensuring a tire is in proper condition at the
start of the season is that its tread must be at least five millimetres
(or 6/32 of an inch) thick, to guarantee proper grip during the entire
winter. To make sure, you can use a tread-depth gauge, have your tires
inspected at a garage you trust, or use the "quarter trick." Take a quarter, with the elk side facing you, and stick it into one of
the channels in the centre of the tire tread, with the elk's snout
pointing downward. If you can't see the tip of the snout, then your
tread is thick enough to last the season.
Choosing the right tires
Not all winter tires will deliver the same performance on a given
vehicle. In reality, there are no "bad tires," only tires not properly
suited for a specific situation. Considering that a driver must invest
a fairly large amount of money—at least $500 for a standard-size,
name-brand set of tires— the importance of choosing wisely should be
immediately obvious. "Your driving habits, the conditions you'll be
driving in most often, and the type of vehicle you drive are only some
of the questions you need to consider before buying a new set of
tires," advises Jesse Caron, an automotive researcher with CAA-Quebec.
"Generally speaking, you get what you pay for."
Pictograph mandatory beginning in 2014
Starting December 15, 2014, all passenger-vehicle winter tires,
including those for full-size pickup trucks, must bear the pictograph
of a peaked mountain with a snowflake. "Although they have been
authorized since the winter tire regulations came into force in 2008,
tires designated LT (for Light Truck) will no longer be allowed after
December 15, 2014, unless they have the pictograph or are equipped with
studs," Mr. Caron explains, adding: "It's mainly users of LT tires who
will have to comply, because the vast majority of winter tires for
passenger vehicles already have the pictograph."
Planning to change tires at home? Be careful
Since many motorists do their own tire changes, it's important to
remember that using the right tools is strongly recommended to avoid
nasty surprises. Improper tightening, with too much force applied to
the nuts, can result in bolt breakage, which in turn can cause the
wheel to fly off. Using an adjustable torque wrench or pneumatic tools
is a much wiser option. The correct manufacturer-recommended wheel-nut
torque is found in the vehicle owner's manual.
Dates to keep in mind, and how to get tips from the pros
The requirement to equip a vehicle with winter tires is in effect from
December 15 to March 15. Use of studded tires is authorized from
October 15 to May 1. More detailed information is available in the On the Road section of caaquebec.com. CAA-Quebec members can also call the organization's Automotive
Advisory Services if they have any questions related to tire changes.
Is equipping a vehicle with four identical tires recommended practice?
Of the four tires, should the pair in the best condition be installed
on the front or the rear wheels? Is choosing smaller-diameter tires for
winter a wise move? CAA-Quebec's specialists answer tens of thousands
of questions like these every year.
CAA-Quebec, a not-for-profit organization founded in 1904, provides
automotive, travel, residential and financial services and privileges
to its 1,250,000 members.
For further information:
418 624-2424, ext. 2418
Cell.: 418 580-1633