Spring is here! Is it time to switch your winter tires?

Spring is a time of change, and that includes your vehicle’s tires. To improve your vehicle’s performance and keep your passengers safe no matter what the road conditions are, it’s essential to have the right tires for the job. Once spring starts springing, you should switch over your tires from winter to all-season or summer versions.

At North Shore Driving School, we’re advocates of safe driving education. Here are a few reasons you should put changing your vehicle’s tires on your spring to-do list.

How are summer tires different from winter ones?
To the untrained eye, most tires look pretty similar. Despite appearances, winter tires are significantly different from summer or all-season tires, both in their design and the type of rubber they’re made from.

The deeper treads of winter tires are specifically designed to cut through snow and ice so that your tires can grip the road. They’re made of a special kind of rubber that stays pliable at lower temperatures. Even if it’s freezing cold out, your winter tires will be able to gain traction on icy roads.

All-season and summer tires, on the other hand, are designed with higher temperatures in mind. Although winter tires are great at low temperatures, they become too pliable at higher ones and their rubber can quickly degrade if kept on your car during the summer. All-season tires and summer tires have different treads and rubber that grip the road better when it’s clear of snow and ice. (Don’t be fooled by the name “all-season” tires—they’re not the best choice for the extreme cold of a Canadian winter.)

When is the right moment to change?
There’s no exact perfect moment to change your tires. Every Canadian knows that we usually have to be well into spring before we feel sure that there’s no threat of a cold snap. Although it’s not a good idea to drive on your winter tires all year, they won’t start disintegrating after a few days in the heat. You should keep an eye on the weather forecast and, once you feel confident that there are more warm days than cold ones on the horizon, set up an appointment to have your tires changed.

Knowing best driving practices is essential to keeping you and your loved ones safe on the road. If you’d like to know more about road safety or would like to learn how to drive, contact us for professional lessons at North Shore Driving School today.

Is There a Right Time to Switch to Winter Tires?

While fall temperatures are steadily dipping, they have not dropped into anything colder than 7 degrees Celsius. Vehicle and tire manufacturers recommend using snow tires once the temperatures are consistently 7 degrees Celsius or lower.

Every time you think the weather is cold enough, it starts to warm up again. You do not want to wait too long to put on your tires, but you also do not want to put on snow tires earlier than you should. So, how do you know when is the right time to get this done and prepare your vehicle for winter?

How to Decide if It is Snow Tire Time

Winter tires are a critical investment. They keep your vehicle and you safe on the road, and are better at providing you with traction than all-season tires. If you cannot decide when to put on your tires, consider these factors first:

· Go by the Season: The typical “rule” is that between Thanksgiving and Easter, you will use your winter tires. However, some years the temperatures dip faster, while others are unseasonably warm. If you go solely by the season, then you may have winter tires on too long or too early.

· Temperatures: Manufacturers recommend using their winter tires when the temperatures go below 7 degrees Celsius. This temperature is when the weather is cold, but also snow, freezing rain, ice, and slush are frequent too. The rubber compound in traditional or
all-season tires freezes and hardens when temperatures are at 7 degrees Celsius or lower. Winter tires contain rubber compounds that stay pliable and soft even in low temperatures.

· Requirements: Two provinces legally require winter tires: Quebec and British Columbia. These tires are required in Quebec from December 15th to March 15th, while BC requires them with the mountain snowflake or M+S symbol from October 1st to April 30th.

Some drivers wait until the first snow to switch out tires, but this is dangerous. The tires you have on the rest of the year are not equipped for winter temperatures and road conditions; therefore, you put yourself at risk for an accident doing so. Also, waiting for the season to officially start means that tire companies will be overwhelmed, and you may have to wait a few days to get in line for your tire change.

Refresh Your Winter Driving Skills by Attending a Vancouver Driving School

Regardless of the tires you have on your vehicle, winter driving requires a unique skillset. You will not have to stress over it too much if you take a refresher course from North Shore Driving School, Ltd.

We offer refresher classes for drivers of all ages. This 90-minute lesson assesses your skills, driving habits, and can help identify bad habits you may have developed over the years.

Call our Truck Division in Burnaby for your commercial license classes at 604-299-9292, or connect with our Car Division in North Vancouver by calling 604-988-1138. You can also contact a representative online with your questions about our driving schools serving Vancouver, Surrey, and surrounding areas of BC.

Preparing Your Vehicle for Winter

As we head towards another winter season, it is important to be cautious on the roads and mentally prepare for driving in poor conditions. It is also important to take the proper steps and get your vehicle prepared to take on the wet, snowy and icy roads.

5 Key Steps in Your Winter Vehicle Preparation Checklist

Taking the time to prepare your vehicle can help you have a safe driving season. Here are some tips for getting your vehicle ready this winter:

  1. Check your antifreeze – Check to make sure your coolant is a 50-50 mixture of water and antifreeze. Less than 50 percent antifreeze makes your engine vulnerable to freezing up. You can purchase an inexpensive test at a local auto part shop if you are unsure.
  2. Ensure heaters and defrosters are in working condition – After a balmy summer and fall season, we may forget to make sure that all of the extra winter functions in our vehicles are properly working. Take the time to check and make sure that your heaters and defrosters are working so that you won’t be surprised when you need them.
  3. Make an emergency kit – Prepare for the worst case scenario and store a well-stocked emergency kit in an accessible place in your vehicle. Include warm clothing layers, hat and gloves, blankets, First Aid kit, sand or salt, jumper cables, water, non-perishable food, a flashlight, batteries, extra wipers, windshield washer fluid, and a shovel for digging your vehicle tires out of deep snow. 
  4. Get a pre-winter tune up – Try not to wait for the winter weather to arrive before having your vehicle checked out. Keeping to scheduled maintenance can mean a worry-free winter.
  5. Put on snow tires – The increased traction and control provided by snow tread tires can give you a lot more confidence driving in slick winter conditions. They can help you stop up to 40 percent faster than all-season tires and are made of a special rubber that helps them withstand even the most frigid temperatures. If you are not interested in snow tires, at least be sure to check the tire pressure of your existing tires, which can drop in cooler temperatures.

Preparing your car can help, but feeling confident behind the wheel is the best way to prepare for winter driving. North Shore Driving School Ltd. has driving schools in West Vancouver and North Vancouver that can give you the skills to drive in winter conditions. We offer individual lessons to help you be comfortable handling your vehicle all year.Schedule your driving lessons today. Questions or concerns? Call us at 604-988-1138.0

Do I Really Need Snow Tires if I’m Driving During the Winter in BC?

‘Winter’ has different meanings across the country, and in British Columbia, we get off a little easier. While temperatures and conditions are still variable and chilly, we typically get to skip the blizzards and ice storms. Safe driving is still paramount, but you may be wondering if winter tires are really necessary, given our temperate conditions. Always err on the side of caution, but check out the guidelines below to make your decision about purchasing or putting on the snow tires this year.

Snow Tires: Rules, Regulations and Tips for BC DriversThe decision is ultimately yours, but here are the details to consider when deciding if snow tires will grace your vehicle this winter season:

  • Obey the Law – Drivers throughout the province are required to abide by winter tire and chain signage starting October 1 until March 31. If the highway signage says you need winter tires, you could be charged if you don’t have them. 
  • 7 Degree Rule – The 7 degree rule can be useful to determine how likely it is that you will need snow tires. If your area of BC typically stays above 7 degrees throughout the year, all season tires are suitable. If the temperature tends to dip below the 7 degree mark, winter tires are advisable. Check out the seasonal outlook for this year and make an educated decision. Those living in northern and more mountainous areas may feel more comfortable with greater tread underneath them. 
  • Safety for All Tires – Regardless of your final decision, traction is important in all temperatures. Air pressure should be checked regularly to extend the life of your tires and keep you in control of your vehicle. When temperatures drop, so does tire pressure; so check your set at least once a month during the cooler months. 
  • Back Up Plans – Even the best meteorologists cannot predict the weather. To be on the safe side, you may want to carry chains for additional traction. Be sure to think ahead. If you are planning a ski holiday or visiting family in colder areas of the province or country, it is a good idea to have winter tires installed on your vehicle.

Stay Safe this Winter with Driving Lessons in West Vancouver
Beyond your vehicle, feeling confident in your own skills contributes to a safe winter driving season. North Shore Driving School offers Graduated Licensing Program (GLP) driving courses and theory classes in North Vancouver for students from Langley and across Greater Vancouver. Get your BC driver’s license or take a defensive driving course to prepare for changing conditions ahead. Our skilled instructors offer a combination of in-class lessons and in-vehicle training to prepare every student, no matter their comfort level or past experience, for what the road and the weather throws their way. Contact us today to learn more about the GLP courses at our North Vancouver driving school.

Drive safely with the right tires and the right techniques. Schedule your driving school lessons to learn the basics or get a refresher class before winter. Call our GLP driving school today at 604-988-1138 or contact us online to find out more about our classes across Greater

Car Maintenance Tips: Preparing Your Vehicle for Summer

As the temperatures start to warm up outside, more drivers plan to get on the road and enjoy the great weather. Before you do any driving, be sure to prepare your vehicle for summer! Summer car maintenance is just as important as winter maintenance, and it can save you from repairs and hassles later on if you take care of it early.

Summer Car Maintenance Essentials

  • Check the Tires – Check the inflation of your tires and make sure they are in accordance with the manufacturer instructions on your vehicle as well as the tire. Remember that as tires heat up, the air expands; so do not over-inflate or you may risk a tire blowout. If you have winter tires on, now is the time to change over to summer tires.
  • Wash Off the Salt – Winter takes a serious toll on the exterior of your vehicle and the salt from the roads that built up all season damages your paint. Wash the car thoroughly to scrub off the grime from winter.
  • Check the Brakes – Brake pads suffer from thermal cycling due to temperature changes outside. Have your brakes inspected during your next oil change and maintenance and replace any brake pads that are worn down.
  • Do Not Forget Coolant – Coolant levels must be checked manually. Because it prevents your engine from overheating, do not forget to check levels right before going on a summer road trip.
  • Get a Summer Maintenance Check – To ensure your vehicle is ready for the road this summer, visit your local service center for a summer tune-up. They will top off fluids, check for any repairs and can offer other summer car tips to keep you safe.

Consider a Refresher Course at a Driving School in North Vancouver and West Vancouver

Summer driving is fast-paced and some drivers on the road can be quite aggressive. Consider taking a refresher course from a driving school in North Vancouver and West Vancouver to prepare yourself for the season. If you are still working your way through your graduated license, summer is the perfect time to add on a class too.

North Shore Driving School Ltd. is your local driving school in Vancouver. We offer refresher courses for seniors, graduated license training and individual driving lessons to prepare you for the road. Learn more about our driving classes by calling 604-988-1138 or contact us online.

When to Change Your Tires: the Great Tire Mystery Solved!

Deciding when to change your tires is a big debate every year when the warmer weather starts to move in. Some people stick with all-weather tires year-round, while other drivers put on winter tires as soon as the snowflakes start to show up in the forecast.

While drivers may debate the subject, safety professionals and the ICBC do not. In fact, the ICBC recommends using winter tires in the snow and swapping to all-season or summer tires the rest of the year.

Summer Tires vs. Winter Tires vs. All-Season Tires: What is the Difference?

You have three types of tires to choose from: all-season, winter, and summer. By understanding how each type is designed, you can better choose which is right for your car.

  • All-season tires have a tread that is meant to compensate for all road conditions. These treads are known to harden and lose their grip when the temperatures get closer to 0 degrees. All-season tires are not designed to excel in a specific condition.
  • Winter tires have a better chance of gripping the road because they are specifically designed for stability and handling on slippery, slushy, and icy roads.
  • Summer tires are high-performance tires designed for dry and wet conditions, but they lose stability in cold temperatures and are not recommended for driving on snow or ice.
  • As the temperatures start to go down, have your winter tires put back on. As spring hits, you can swap out to summer or all-season tires.

Tire Change Is Not Enough

While the right tires certainly help you control your vehicle, driving in poor weather requires skill as a driver too. A driving school in North Vancouver, Vancouver and West Vancouver can teach you essential defensive driving skills that improve safe driving habits. These habits are not just for the winter, they can also teach you how to drive safely in warm weather and a good driving school in North Vancouver and West Vancouver will teach you maximum responsibility behind the wheel.

North Shore Driving School Ltd. is a North Vancouver and Vancouver driving school that offers an in-depth defense driving course. This course can help you learn how to control your vehicle regardless of road conditions or weather. Learn more about defensive driving classes by calling 604-988-1138 or contact us online.

Post Road Trip TLC Tips for Your Vehicle

Summertime’s warmer temperatures offer the perfect excuse for hitting the road and taking in the natural and cultural sites around Vancouver. Road trips across the water to Vancouver Island, north to the mountain resorts, or east to the grassy hills serve as rejuvenating adventures.

Many people focus only on pre road trip prep, forgetting to inspect their cars or trucks after an extended journey. As the miles add up, your vehicle’s systems are put to the test. That’s why showing your car extra love after a long trip is just as important as prepping it for the journey.
To keep your car running in tip-top shape and to avoid costly maintenance issues, consult this checklist when you return from your next road trip around Vancouver.

Basic Maintenance

Basic maintenance should be performed on a regular basis, whether or not you decide to go on a road trip.

Fill the gas tank. A road trip can take a lot out of your car, and nowhere is this more evident than your gas tank. Although you may be weary of spending money on gas by the end of your trip, save yourself time by filling up at a trusted, local gas station when you pull into your area.

Measure tire pressure. During your final pit stop before arriving home, make one last check of your tire pressure. Adjust any tires with low or high pressure until all four have the same reading. Proper tire pressure ensures good gas mileage, a benefit you will want during and after your road trip.

Check fluid levels. Faced with unfamiliar roads, hours of highway driving, and atypical time spent operating, your cars fluid levels may run low faster than normal. Think about how many times you use washer fluid during a trip to clean off bugs, dust, and rain spots.

Soon after you return home, take an inventory of these basic fluid levels:

  • Oil
  • Washer fluid
  • Transmission fluid
  • Brake fluid
  • Coolant/antifreeze
  • Power steering fluid

Replace any fluids that are too low. Brake fluid shouldn’t fluctuate much, so if it’s low in your car, have a mechanic inspect for leaks.

Get an oil change. You probably know approximately how many months you go between professional oil changes. But, adding extra miles during a road trip often brings your regular inspection up faster than you expect. Compare your cars post-trip mileage reading with the number for your next recommended oil change. If the two are within 100 miles of each other, having the oil changed right away is a good idea.

After Off-Roading

Post car trip maintenance is especially necessary when your trip includes off-roading, so add these special steps to your post-trip maintenance checklist.

Inspect your car’s major systems. Off-roading extremes often expose your car to jagged surfaces. Consequently, the most important parts of your car become more susceptible to damage.

Upon returning from off-roading, give your car a full engine and underbelly checkup. Wash your vehicle and your engine before this inspection to make damage easier to spot. Pay close attention to cracks, leaks, or loose parts. Be sure to note the differential, transmission, axle, and suspension. See a mechanic if your inspection turns up any concerns.

Examine tires for punctures. Because off-roading puts tires on uneven terrain, checking and re-inflating tire pressure is vital for continued safe driving. Complete this step as soon as possible after off-roading, especially if you have a long trip home afterwards. Repeat your tire checks at home to be sure your tires are road-safe.

Final Touches

While these final touches are not necessary for improving your cars performance, they will improve the look and feel of your car.

Wash your vehicle. Long hours on the road expose your car to the elements more than typical daily use. You’ll see better when driving if you erase the physical evidence of your cars recent adventures. A thorough washing leaves your car sparkling and city-friendly.

Clean and vacuum the interior. Whether you add 50 or 500 miles to your car on your trip, spending that much time in your vehicle inevitably means one thing: accumulated road trip remnants. Food wrappers, souvenir trinkets, and other items keep you fed and entertained on the road, but they clutter your car and make it unpleasant for day-to-day use. Once you’ve unpacked luggage, vacuum your whole car, including trunk, floor mats, and beneath removable seats.

Restock your car. Last but not least, replace any first aid and emergency supplies you used on your trip. Replenish bandages, basic medicines, your stock of essential car fluids, and just-in-case food and water rations. Even in the city where stores are everywhere, it’s faster and easier to face car troubles when you’re stocked with these basic essentials.

This list should inspire you to treat post-trip car maintenance as seriously as pre-trip preparations. Whether you’re a frequent road-tripper or only occasionally venture beyond Vancouver’s city limits, following this post road trip checklist will keep your car in great condition, no matter where your travels take you next.

Whether you’re a new or experienced driver, North Shore Driving School’s North Vancouver driving school is sure to improve your skills.

Wash, Wax, and Pluck: Keep Your Car in Tip-Top Shape with 11 Tips and Tricks

You just bought a new car. Now you want to keep it in pristine condition, right? There’s no better way to do just that than a bi-monthly wash – inside and out. Although most gas station car washes clean away surface grime, good ol’ fashioned hand washes will give your car the TLC it deserves. Try some of these professional car cleaning tips and tricks to keep your car looking, feeling, and driving like new.


Whatever you do, don’t use dishwashing liquid on the exterior of your vehicle. Find the right soap. Dishwashing liquid degreases the surface of your car, but it also sucks oil out of the paint. If you use only dishwashing soap to clean your car, the paint will eventually break down and start to rust. Try a vehicle cleaner instead.

Vehicle cleaners are formulated to remove dirt and grease while protecting paint. Fill two buckets with warm water. Add vehicle cleaner to one of the buckets. Place a wash mitt (available at auto parts stores) on your hand and dip it into the soapy water. Wash your car with the soap suds and then rinse the mitt in the water bucket. Repeat until you’ve covered the surface of your vehicle with suds.


Rinse all the suds off of your car with clean hose water. If you let the suds sit on your vehicle for longer than a few minutes, the suds will collect dust and grime and your car will end up dirtier than when you started.


Clay-bar your car to pluck out embedded grit and grime. You can find clay bar kits (a package containing lubricating spray and synthetic clay) at most auto parts stores. First, spray the surface of your car with lubricating spray. Next, use a small section of flattened synthetic clay and rub it over the surface in a circular motion. Knead the clay until it turns gray. Once it turns gray, throw that piece away and then continue to clay-bar the rest of your car.


Polish buffs the finish of your car and allows it to shine. Pros never skip polishing. Although a polisher is pricey, it’s worth it. First, smear some polish onto a polisher pad. Next, run the polisher over the entire surface of your vehicle. Start slow and build momentum as you see fit.


Wax adds a glossy finish to any car (different from polish) and protects the surface from harsh elements. Find synthetic wax at your local auto shop store. Apply the wax to a foam pad and rub it onto the surface of your car in a circular motion. After you’ve applied wax, wipe any remnants off with a microfibre cloth.


After you’ve washed, rinsed, plucked, polished, and waxed your vehicle, focus on the inside. Buy or rent a vacuum and suck up any dust on your dashboard, in the door panels, or on the steering wheel. Dust also collects in vents. Use a small brush to sweep the dust out of the vents and then vacuum it away.


Once you finish vacuuming up dust, turn your attention to the floors and seats. Use your vacuum to suck up any trash, food particles, or grime found on the floors and seats. Dust settles into carpet fibres—pay attention to every surface inside your car to ensure you get a squeaky clean finish.


Does your car have leather upholstery? Purchase a leather-cleaning kit and rub it on any spills. Let it sit for a few minutes and then wipe it clean with a cloth. Let it dry and then apply leather protection cream.


Wash the windows on the interior of your car with cleaning spray (try Windex) and a clean cloth. Roll the windows half way down and make sure you clean the top of the window as well.


After you’ve vacuumed all the grime away, deep-clean the carpets and upholstery in your car. Try one of the following:

  • Rent (or buy) a carpet cleaning machine from a local rental center.
  • Use spray-on cleaner and a scrub brush.

If you deep clean your car, your carpets will last a lot longer and you’ll avoid having to dish out money for professional carpet cleaning services.


Cars collect scents. Keep your car scent-free with one of the following:

  • Odor-eliminating spray (Febreze Auto is available at most supermarkets or auto shop stores)
  • Car air freshener
  • Potpourri (place it in the cup holder)
  • Perfume (spray your favorite scent into the air vents)

If you smoke, buy a freshener that neutralizes tobacco smoke and spray it on your seats and floor, as well as in the door panels and air vents.

Show your car a little bit of bi-monthly TLC with these 11 tips. If you do, your car will stay in pristine condition for years to come.

Although caring for your car is very important to keep it lasting for many years, it is important to practice safe driving to avoid damage to your vehicle. North Shore Driving School offers driving lessons at our driving school in North Vancouver for all levels.

Contact us today!