Studded tires can be worn on your car from November to April. However, the damage compared to the benefits of studded tires is questionable. In Oregon, signs of spring approaching is April 1 when studded tires must be removed from vehicles. The date was pushed up from April 31 in 1997 by the state Legislature to reduce damage to roads by studded tires. According to Doug Tindall, an ODOT Maintenance Engineer, ODOT spends an estimated $11 million dollars a year repairing damage caused by studded tires. Drivers caught with studded tires after April 1 can be charged with a class “C” traffic violation that carries a maximum $150 fine.
Although I prefer all season radials with chains in the trunk, here are some tips for studded tires.
Studded tires are best for ice not snow, so still carry chains. Always have four studded tires on your car, not two. It is illegal in Canada to only have two. If you start to skid or go sideways, two studded tires will leave your car unbalanced and open to spinning.
Keep the tires mounted for quick on and off. If not, it could cost $100 to mount and remount your tires. It is more cost effective just to invest in rims (generally $25 a piece). You can get 4 years out of studs if you only use them when needed. For under $25 you can get them installed and balanced while you wait.