BC winter tire laws

Oct 31, 2018

In BC, a legal winter tire must have a tread depth of at least 3.5mm, and it must also be labeled as “M and S”, meaning that it is a “mud and snow” or “all season” tire. This is the minimum requirement. Instead of this symbol, it may instead have a 3-peaked mountain and snowflake symbol, which are usually better winter tires. The BC government does not recommend driving in winter conditions with summer tires, and putting chains onto summer tires is illegal during the wintertime.

Matching qualities

You should ideally use 4 tires which match in terms of type, tread depth, and tread type. You should avoid mixing tires of different types, as this could make your car less stable.

Air Pressure

Cold tires see their air pressure decrease, so it is essential to get your air pressure checked regularly and keep your tired topped up if need be.


Steel link chains are ideal for traction in snow and ice, and will also keep your car stable on banked curves. Cable chains are also good for general traction but may let you down on banked curves due to slipping.

Studded Tires

Studded tires may be used on BC highways from October 1 till April 30, although using them outside of this period could see you being fined. The studs should not protrude more than 2 mm from the tread of the tire. It is a legal requirement that you must use studded tires for ALL of your tires (instead of just a couple) and this is the best way to stabilize traction.

Textile Tire Cover

Textile tire covers help to improve traction in snow and icy conditions, but bear in mind that they will soon perish on regular asphalt.

No one wants to be landed with an unexpected fine due to the condition of their winter tires, so be sure to follow these laws and drive safely during the perilous winter months here in BC. If you are unsure if your vehicle meets BC legal requirements, drop by Paragon Motors today!

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