18% of BC drivers did not remove winter tires due to COVID-19

Winter tires - not too soon

Sarita Patel

Winter tires are required on vehicles travelling most BC highways starting Thursday.

Starting October 1, you should have winter tires on your vehicle if you are travelling between just about any two communities in the B.C. Interior. 

“For those people who are travelling, especially going over the Coquihalla, you know the Coquihalla can be unpredictable at best,” says Bruce Stranaghan, owner of Integra Tire in Kelowna. 

“Even though it’s sunshine right now the Coquihalla can change overnight so if I’m travelling I do recommend that you should put those winter tires on now.”  

A national survey from Vernon-based Kal Tire shows many drivers will wait too long before putting on their winter tires, while others use tires that are unsafe on snow and ice.

Cam Currie, manager of Kal Tire in Kelowna, says 18 per cent of British Columbians did not remove their winter tires this spring due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He said using winters throughout the summer can cause significant wear and tear. 

“We could see as much as 50 per cent fast wear out of those winter tires,” he says, advising residents to come in to check the quality of their tires before the season shifts, or to check at home.

Currie reminds the public that not everyone may need winter tires, particularly if they are not leaving the city, but all-seasons do not perform well once the temperature dips below seven degrees.

"If you are on the mountain passes or if you do plan to be on these road trips through the winter season, there’s nothing that is going to be as safe as a winter.”

Those looking to save money but still own a set of tires for each season can consider buying recycled.

“I definitely recommend it for most of my customers to have two definite sets of tires one for summer and one for winter,” says Justin Bullock, owner of Top Grade Tire Recycle.

“The only people that I think that can get away with it is the people who really are on their own schedule and they can drive when the weather is nice 

Bullock says they keep just shy of 200,000 tires out of the Okanagan landfills every year. 

“We’re reusing 99.92 per cent of the tire … it’s a pretty remarkable thing as in that in the early 90s, 100 per cent of the tire was getting buried.”

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