The temperature is slowly dropping and that can only mean winter -- and snow -- is on the way.

CAA-Quebec is reminding Quebecers across the province it’s never too early to call your garage and make an appointment to have your winter tires installed.

Too many people procrastinate and are left scrambling to make their appointments at the last minute, the organization notes.

“The key is to be proactive. If you wait, you may not get an appointment for one, two or even three weeks," said Pierre-Serge Labbé, CAA-Quebec vice-president of automotive services. "By planning ahead, you not only make sure you meet the Dec. 1 deadline and stay safe on the road, but you also give garage owners a much-needed break.”

The organization points out installing winter tires early doesn't mean they'll wear out faster.

"Given the shortage of garage mechanics in the province right now, making an appointment makes it easier for your trusted garage or one of our approved auto repair service locations to plan their staffing needs so they can provide the high-quality service you deserve in this busy season," the organization states.

BUT THE DEADLINE'S SO FAR AWAY

CAA-Quebec recommends Quebecers install their winter tires as soon as the temperature drops below seven degrees Celsius for several consecutive days.

The organization, in cooperation with MétéoMédia, estimates these are the best dates to have your winter tires ready to go, based on region:

  • Gaspé: Oct. 30
  • Gatineau: Nov. 5
  • Montreal: Nov. 10
  • Quebec City: Nov. 5
  • Rimouski: Oct. 30
  • Saguenay: Oct. 25
  • Sept-Îles: Oct. 20
  • Sherbrooke: Nov. 5
  • Val-d’Or: Oct. 25

ARE MY TIRES STILL SAFE?

There is a quick trick to find out if your tires will hold up through the winter, according to CAA-Quebec.

"It’s very simple, you just need a quarter," it states. "If you can see the caribou’s nose when you insert the quarter into one of the grooves on your tire, it means that the tread depth is less than 5 mm (6/32 of an inch) and your tires need changing."

You can also use a tread depth gauge to get an exact measurement.

"These are two effective ways of making sure your tires will be safe right until the end of winter," CAA-Quebec notes.

CAA-Quebec's third edition of National Winter Tire Appointment Week takes place from Oct. 4 to 10.

The deadline to have your winter tires installed in Quebec is Dec. 1.