A tricky question that I get asked anytime there is unseasonably warm temperatures in March is whether it’s a good idea to switch over from winter to summer tires yet?
Like many automotive maintenance items, the answer we always give is: “it depends”.
Edmonton weather can be all over the place in spring
The average daily high temperature in Edmonton in March rises from -1 degree Celcius on March 1st to +7 degree Celsius on March 31. Since summer tires start to perform better than winters at +7 degrees, generally we recommend waiting until April. In unseasonably warm years though (such as 2021) in some cases it does make sense to switch over a bit early.
Factors to consider when deciding when to switch your vehicle over to summer tires
Questions we like to ask include:
- How aggressive a driver are you?
- Do you have an all-wheel or 4-wheel drive vehicle
- Do you often work from home?
- How often do you go out for groceries or shopping?
- Do you have other urgent maintenance to do on your vehicle?
- Do you frequently have to chauffeur kids or family around to activities or appointments
- Are there known intersections you often drive through that have slippery conditions with new snow
- Do you have all-season tires to put on for the summer, or true summer tires
- Do you have 7 mm of tread or more remaining on your summer tires?
- Are you going to be driving to BC on major highways such as Highway 3 or Highway 5
In general, the more aggressively you drive, the more often you drive and the more dangerous intersections you drive through, the less we recommend switching over to summer tires early. Also, if you are going to be driving in BC, keep in mind that driving without winter tires can result in a fine before March 31 on certain highways.
On the other hand, if you often work from home, you don’t drive to the store every day and you switch over to an all-season tire, then we can recommend beating the spring crush and switching your tires over a little earlier, especially if you have to drop by the car repair shop to do some maintenance anyway.
Even if you’re a candidate to switch your tires over a bit earlier, as a rule of thumb, we like to see a full week of warm weather in the forecast in mid-March before we generally recommend swapping tires. If we hit a few hotter days then don’t sweat it – a week of warm weather is not going to appreciably reduce the life of your winter tires.
Access Automotive Recommended Summer Tires
If you need new tires, here are our current top picks:
For trucks I like the Michelin LTX M/S which I recommend as the best value pick, the best performance pick and the best combination of value and performance. It is a great All-Weather tire that I use on my own truck all year round.
For cars I recommend the Michelin Primacy MXV4 for summer tires, both as the best performance and best value tire.