Studded tires: Dates and regulations

Did you know that the use of studded tires in Quebec is governed by specific dates and regulations? Find everything you need to know about the 2023 regulations in our comprehensive guide so you can drive safely—and within the law—all winter long.

What are studded tires?

Winter driving in snow and ice is a serious road safety challenge. Many drivers have found studded tires helpful in this regard. But what exactly are studded tires, and how do they work?

Design and use

Studded tires are specially equipped with small metal studs. Located on the tread, the studs allow for better grip on surfaces covered by ice or snow. They dig into the ice on contact, resulting in superior traction and reduced braking distance.

Installing studded tires on your vehicle is especially recommended in regions with harsh winters and where the roads are often icy. They increase safety by helping drivers mantain stability and control even in adverse weather conditions.

Alternatives to studded tires

Studded tires are just one of several effective options for difficult winter driving. Alternatives include:

  • Studless winter tires: Made with a special rubber compound that stays flexible at low temperatures, these tires feature sipes that grip the snow.
  • Snow tires: Like winter tires, snow tires have a tread structure that’s optimized to evacuate snow.
  • Studdable tires: These can be fitted with studs if needed, so they are adaptable to various conditions. Find out if studdable tires are right for you.
  • Snow chains: These temporary devices can be installed on standard tires to increase traction on snow or ice.

Each of these options offers distinct advantages, and each is best suited to specific situations. For example, winter tires generally work well in urban areas where roads are regularly cleared of snow. Snow chains, on the other hand, are best for occasional trips on roads with heavy snow cover.

Quebec’s studded tire regulations

Studded tires are strictly regulated in Quebec to balance road safety with the need to preserve infrastructure. Here’s what you need to know if you’re thinking of using studded tires this winter.

Authorized period

In Quebec, drivers are allowed to use studded tires from October 15 to May 1. If you install studded tires before or after this period, you could be obligated to pay a fine.

Winter tires are mandatory in Quebec from December 1 through March 15.

Restrictions and conditions of use

Geographical areas

In some regions, using studded tires may be prohibited or restricted to certain types of roads.

Authorized vehicles

Not all vehicles are permitted to be equipped with studded tires. According to Quebec legislation, studded tires may only be used on passenger vehicles and taxis, and on commercial vehicles whose total mass does not exceed 3,000 kg.

Fines and penalties

Failure to comply with studded tire regulations can result in significant fines and other penalties.

Motorists are therefore encouraged to familiarize themselves with current regulations, which may vary in different municipalities and depending on road conditions.

The pros and cons of studded tires

Using studded tires in winter is the subject of much debate. While the safety benefits are undeniable, so too is the impact on the environment and infrastructure. The following table shows the main advantages and disadvantages of these tires.


Pros Cons
Better grip: They provide superior traction on ice and compacted snow, reducing the risk of skidding. Road damage: Studs can damage road surfaces, resulting in higher maintenance costs.
Reduced braking distance: In freezing conditions, they reduce the distance needed to stop the vehicle. Increased noise: Driving noise increases when the studs come in contact with asphalt, which can be unpleasant and contribute to noise pollution.
Performance in extreme weather: They remain effective even in the harshest winter conditions. Speed limits: Vehicles with studded tires must often adhere to specific speed limits to avoid rapid deterioration of tires and roads.

Studded tires are particularly advantageous in regions with extreme winters and frequently icy conditions. However, their disadvantages may outweigh their safety benefits in more moderate climates or in well-maintained urban settings, where winter tires or snow tires are often adequate and recommended.

Maintenance tips

Certain precautions will optimize the longevity and efficacy of your studded tires. After installation, check the pressure on a regular basis to ensure optimum grip and avoid uneven treadwear. When winter is over and you remove your studded tires, inspect them to make sure the studs are still firmly attached and that the tread is not excessively worn. Lastly, store your tires in a cool, dry place, away from direct sunlight, to prevent the rubber from deteriorating. Follow these tips to keep your studded tires in good condition for many more years of safe winter driving.

Frequently asked questions about studded tires in Quebec

Here are the answers to a few frequently asked questions from Quebec motorists about studded tires:

Can I drive with studded tires if there’s no snow on the ground?

Yes, but they are best used only when necessary due to the road conditions. It’s a good idea to have studded tires installed within the authorized dates for this type of tire and the mandatory dates for installing winter tires.

Are studded tires permitted throughout Quebec?

Yes, but exceptions apply in specific zones or areas, such as parking lots. See the government website for details.

Do I need studded tires?

Studded tires are a good option if you often drive on snowy or icy roads. However, this type of tire is less suitable if you mostly drive in urban areas with regular snow removal services.

What are the fines for noncompliant use of studded tires?

Fines for using studded tires outside the authorized period range from $200 to $300.

Do studded tires wear out less quickly than regular winter tires?

A studded tire can wear out more quickly than a regular winter tire if used on surfaces that are not covered in snow or ice, because the studs can deteriorate and damage the tread.

As long as you follow the guidelines and regulations, studded tires can be a major safety asset for winter driving in Quebec. Always check your local bylaws to ensure you use them safely and properly.

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Traction - dry road

Dry-road traction is a tire's ability to brake effectively and respond well to the steering wheel on dry roads.

Traction - wet road

Wet traction is a tire's resistance to hydroplaning and its ability to provide safe driving in wet conditions.

Traction - snowy road

Snow-covered road traction is a tire's ability to operate on partially or completely snow-covered pavement.

Traction - icy road

Ice traction is a tire's ability to operate on partially or completely ice-covered pavement.


Durability refers to how many kilometres a tire can go before it stops performing.


Comfort refers to the ride quality of a tire and the noise it emits on the road.