Studded tires are OK until April 16

The in basket: Dixie Mars of North Kitsap wonders when studded tires have to be off to avoid a ticket. It’s supposedly April 1 by law, but it seems like it gets extended by bad weather every year.

The out basket: As it was this year, too. The deadline is April 16 now, and it looks like the weather has gotten springlike enough that that will hold.

The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) Web site on this subject ( says:

“Motorists using studded tires after the deadline could incur a fine from law enforcement.
“Those traveling into higher elevations should carry chains and have approved traction tires year-round. When chains are required, studded tires alone will not meet the chain requirement unless your vehicle is a four- or all-wheel drive vehicle.
“There is no individual exception to the studded tire season. When traveling in Washington, you are required to follow the State of Washington’s motor vehicle laws.
“Ultimately, WSDOT would like to see the use of tire studs phased out to improve safety and reduce pavement maintenance and preservation costs. WSDOT hopes the trend will at least move to the introduction of new, even lighter weighted studs.
“The abrasion on pavement surfaces caused by studded tires wears down pavement at a much greater rate. Rutting damage caused by studded tires is limited to state routes, primarily the interstates, due to the higher speeds and volumes. Rutting leads to safety issues such as ponding/water on roadway, hydroplaning, excessive roads spray, and ‘auto-pilot/steering’ problems.” I think that means hydroplaning while in cruise control.
“See a WSDOT report on The Study of Pavement and Studded Tire Damage. (pdf 2mb),” the site says.

“Please share with us your ideas, comments, and concerns on studded tires by contacting:,” it concludes.

The site also has a button to click to see the rules in other states. I was surprised to see that Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois and Minnesota are among the 10 states where studded tires are prohibited year-round, though there appear to be short-term exemptions for visitors from states that permit them.



One thought on “Studded tires are OK until April 16

  1. Studded tires can cause ruts in pavement when the studs chip into a road or highway’s surface, especially when a driver is going fast along the road or highway. This means that when it rains, there could be a hydroplaning hazard.

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