PG and I traded cars one day last week so he could take my car in to get winter tires installed. I’ve never bought winter tires in my entire driving career – this is Vancouver, after all, and it mostly rains here in the winter and doesn’t get super-cold.
Except last year. We had enough snow last year to cover our quota for about fifty years, and it lasted longer than our snow here has ever lasted. And there I was, in my brand new car with my all-season tires, stranded at home because I couldn’t get out of my driveway. And if I could have gotten out, I couldn’t have driven too far because we have no idea how to clear roads here. Oh, the excuse was that it was snowing so much that they just couldn’t keep up, but I’m not sure I believe that. Cities like Toronto or Montréal, which regularly have copious amounts of snow, seem to keep up fairly well. Those cities don’t shut down in the snow. But Vancouver? Wah, there’s snow, let’s all go hide under the covers!
But anyway, I don’t ever want to go through another winter like that – me and the other million people who live here. We’re all frantically buying and installing winter tires this year. It can be hard to get the tires you want, so many people are purchasing them. The first set of tires that PG ordered for me were sold to somebody else before they even were delivered to the shop, so he had to go on to Plan B. Fortunately, he is quite knowledgeable about tires, and loves doing the research and phonecalls to track down the best deal, so at least I had somebody with the time and expertise to do that for me.
The big issue, apparently, was that the all-season tires that came with the car are run-flats and the winter tires I ended up buying are not. When one of them is punctured or flat, run-flats can be driven for about another 100 km, at a reduced speed (whatever THAT means – is it 50 km/h? Reports I’ve read vary.) to safely get somewhere to get the tire replaced (most likely) or repaired (occasionally). This means that my car did not come with a spare tire or a jack. This means that now that I’m running regular tires, I still have no spare or jack.
The tire dealer was quite worried about this. PG reassured the poor man that I have both BMW Assist and BCAA, both of which can come to my rescue if ever I have a flat tire. And really, I’ve only ever had a flat tire twice in my whole life: once was from hitting a pothole in the dark in a construction zone and the other was when I was forced into the curb by the car beside me deciding to change lanes without checking to see if another car was already there. So I think the odds are pretty good that I’ll be just fine for the five or so months that I’ll be driving on my new winter tires.
It better snow like crazy this winter. I didn’t spend all that money for nothing, ya know!