Snow Tires? Worth it?

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lazydavid
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Re: Snow Tires? Worth it?

Post by lazydavid » Tue Dec 12, 2017 9:41 am

bloom2708 wrote:
Tue Dec 12, 2017 9:14 am
It is a pain to swap tires. TPMS with two sets of wheels are a pain.
Tell me more about this. On my car I literally have to do nothing--the car just recognizes whichever TPMS sensors are in use, and functions normally. My wife's car allows two distinct sets to be registered, and there's a toggle switch in the glovebox to switch between them. Neither is a significant burden.

wilked
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Re: Snow Tires? Worth it?

Post by wilked » Tue Dec 12, 2017 10:03 am

Cycle wrote:
Tue Dec 12, 2017 8:08 am
All season are... All season. If this car is for driving on plowed roads, all season is all you need. Snow tires may give people the illusion they have better traction on ice which could cause one to go faster than the conditions allow.

I work in a group of engineers and this topic is discussed often, and the consensus is that snow tires are not worth the time or money.

Do the environment a favor and don't buy things that aren't necessary.
As an engineer this made me cringe... I am hoping this was software engineers ;-)

I work with ChemEs and MechEs and I think all of us mount snows in the winter (Boston area)

barnaclebob
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Re: Snow Tires? Worth it?

Post by barnaclebob » Tue Dec 12, 2017 10:06 am

I rented an AWD Toyota camry wagon with blizzaks while backcountry skiing in Japan and man did they get us up the mountains in deep snow with no issues at all. Way better than my 4WD SUV would have done. It was possible to make them slip but instead of fully loosing traction they still kept you in control. It seemed more like degraded performance, kind of like driving on a gravel road vs pavement. I'll be getting a set of blizzaks with rims as soon as I have a place to store them.

bloom2708
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Re: Snow Tires? Worth it?

Post by bloom2708 » Tue Dec 12, 2017 10:20 am

lazydavid wrote:
Tue Dec 12, 2017 9:41 am
bloom2708 wrote:
Tue Dec 12, 2017 9:14 am
It is a pain to swap tires. TPMS with two sets of wheels are a pain.
Tell me more about this. On my car I literally have to do nothing--the car just recognizes whichever TPMS sensors are in use, and functions normally. My wife's car allows two distinct sets to be registered, and there's a toggle switch in the glovebox to switch between them. Neither is a significant burden.
Nothing to tell. Your car is set up two swap between two sets of TPMS systems. A better design. Mine wasn't. The dealer had to reprogram.

So you have a set of snow tires, a set of rims and a set of TPMS sensors and two swaps each year into it. Seems reasonable.
"We are here not to please but to provoke thoughtfulness" Unknown Boglehead

Chip
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Re: Snow Tires? Worth it?

Post by Chip » Tue Dec 12, 2017 10:22 am

wilked wrote:
Tue Dec 12, 2017 10:03 am
As an engineer this made me cringe... I am hoping this was software engineers ;-)

I work with ChemEs and MechEs and I think all of us mount snows in the winter (Boston area)
Cringing engineer here as well.

I had 4 snows mounted on cheap steelies when I lived in heavy snow country. It was a huge difference in compared to all season tires.

I now live in light snow country and no longer have the snow tires. If it's too bad out I just stay home. But there are still usually 2 or 3 times a year when I wish I still had snows. Mainly to avoid those around here who have no idea how to drive in snowy conditions. :D

Liberty1100
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Re: Snow Tires? Worth it?

Post by Liberty1100 » Tue Dec 12, 2017 10:23 am

To add to the pack, I think you should get snow tires as well. I have Bridgestone Blizzaks as well. Buy them with rims (I have the standard black steel looking ones) and internal pressure sensors if you car has that ability (most newer cars do). I bought mine at tirerack.com but costco/BJs could do as well. Just shop around. I can get my tires switched for $20-$25 each time. Simple, easy, and WELL worth the money for the additional safety.

I think the only reason not too is if you both work at home and have nowhere to absolutely go to (like work or school) when there is a threat of snow. An example is if you are retired. Otherwise, do the safest thing for you, your SO, and your child: Get the tires.

afan
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Re: Snow Tires? Worth it?

Post by afan » Tue Dec 12, 2017 10:47 am

onourway wrote:
Tue Dec 12, 2017 8:21 am

Most snow tires are designed with rubber that performs best below 40F. Above that the tire compound is out of its optimal zone and is overly squishy which dulls handling and wears out faster than normal. There are tires, like the Nokian WR series, that are designed as all-season winter tires that can be driven year round. In this case the spectrum of optimal conditions is tilted towards winter weather. (Contrast that with say, the Michelin Pilot Sport AS3 which is also an all season, but tilted towards summer/performance handling, with only marginal winter capability).

Exactly. There is not a simple answer
In general WINTER tires are formulated with rubber that stays more flexible at low temperatures. So these tires do better than regular all season tires on cold DRY roads. The tread patterns provide better traction in SNOW.

However, as onourway notes, increasingly manufacturers are making all season tires with compounds that provide excellent performance on dry roads in cold weather. So the distinction between winter and all season tires is blurring.

The all season tread designs are not as good when driving on SNOW.

However, the all season tread designs typically are better than winter tires when driving on dry roads in the cold or on wet roads in the cold. The all season tires often are MUCH better against hydroplaning.

If you live in an area where it gets cold but the roads are plowed by the time you are driving, then you could be far better off with an all season tread design in a tire with low temperature material. You will doing most of your driving under conditions in which the tread design of an all season is more appropriate. That is, cold dry or wet roads but not snow.

If you will do a lot of driving during frequent storms or you are somewhere that does not promptly plow and salt the roads then you will be driving on SNOW a lot. Under those circumstances you would be better off with a winter tire.

For these reasons two people who live in the same area might be best served by different tires. Someone who regularly has to go out in the middle of a storm, before the roads have treated, and travels on back roads that might wait a long time to be cleared, could be better off with winter tires. Someone who lives more in the city and does not have to go out during the height of a storm, may drive a lot on cold wet roads and relatively little on snow. That person would probably be safer on all seasons (better overall grip, esp on wet roads), provided they used low temperature rubber.
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whomever
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Re: Snow Tires? Worth it?

Post by whomever » Tue Dec 12, 2017 10:59 am

1)Whether it's worth it depends on where you live, your driving patterns (e.g., are you retired and can usually just stay home until the roadss are clear, or does fresh snow mean you want go lay down the first ski tracks), whether your area has hills, whether you get mostly snow or also get ice, etc, etc. IMHO, 4WD doesn't really affect the calculus, either. All cars have 4 wheel braking, and stopping matters more than going :-)

2)Our current car manuals specifically proscribe any lube, including antiseize, on the wheel studs.

3)On TPMS, just FWIW. Our winter wheels don't have TPMS sensors; I just ignore the light all winter. I chose that because:
-I drove for a few decades before TPMS existed, and just got in the habit of checking pressures
-our vehicles are of the variety where the system only allows 5 TPMS sensors, and reprogramming requires a dealer-only
computer thingy, and it costs a hundred some bucks to reprogram - twice a year (this was as of when we bought the
car, someone may have reverse engineered it by now. But I can't do it even with a fairly full featured OBD tool).
-we try to keep vehicles long enough that the sensors aren't a one time expense
FWIW - I have heard that at least some places won't mount non-TPMS wheels for liability reasons. I haven't had any problems with getting tires mounted on loose rims, though.

4)On DIY swapping: first, it's a free country, but I don't get the objection. It's not like it's a fun job, but whether it takes 30 min or an hour, that's still less time than loading up tires and taking them somewhere. It's not any more physically challenging than horsing the tires in and out of a car. You don't need fancy tools. I have a compressor or air wrenches, but don't use them for tires. A floor jack is nice, but they are what, $50 at Harbor Freight? Torque wrenches are nice but not essential (a lot of the places you take your car won't use them - the only time I let a tire shop swap tires, in fact, they stripped a lug by over torquing). You don't need a 6 foot breaker - typical lug nut torques are maybe 80 ft/lbs - with a two foot breaker bar (just checked - $13 at HF) that's only 40 lbs of force (If you took them to a tire shop last time, of course, they might require a lot of excess torque to remove).

It's not something I look forward to doing, but DIY seems like the least painful way to get it done, for me - YMMV of course.

afan
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Re: Snow Tires? Worth it?

Post by afan » Tue Dec 12, 2017 11:18 am

I find TPMS worthless. I check my pressure. If it is down a few pounds I fill up the tire, but my TPMS has not alerted me. My TPMS does generate plenty of false alarms, claiming the pressure is low when it is not.
If it give me the alarm I always check, but the only time it was right I already knew it and was on my way to have a leaking tire replaced.

Nice in principle and I suppose good to have constant monitoring. It would be a lot more useful if it actually worked.
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3feetpete
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Re: Snow Tires? Worth it?

Post by 3feetpete » Tue Dec 12, 2017 11:21 am

Buy snow tires and it's guaranteed not to snow in your area this year. That is what happened to me last year. :)

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Sandtrap
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Re: Snow Tires? Worth it?

Post by Sandtrap » Tue Dec 12, 2017 11:28 am

New from Costco: Michelin ltx at2 on my Tundra TRD 4wd with electronic traction, etc. Will see how they do this year.
Last year was the last of the treadwear on 4 season tires and nearly ended up in a roadside ditch after a heavy snow.
That'll learn me. . . . :shock:

barnaclebob
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Re: Snow Tires? Worth it?

Post by barnaclebob » Tue Dec 12, 2017 11:33 am

afan wrote:
Tue Dec 12, 2017 11:18 am
I find TPMS worthless. I check my pressure. If it is down a few pounds I fill up the tire, but my TPMS has not alerted me. My TPMS does generate plenty of false alarms, claiming the pressure is low when it is not.
If it give me the alarm I always check, but the only time it was right I already knew it and was on my way to have a leaking tire replaced.

Nice in principle and I suppose good to have constant monitoring. It would be a lot more useful if it actually worked.
Maybe its just your vehicles' TPMS thats worthless but mine appears to be very accurate with no false alarms. So far it triggers at 1psi low about once a year at the start of winter and reminds me to top off my tires to a few psi over spec.

Tutty59
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Re: Snow Tires? Worth it?

Post by Tutty59 » Tue Dec 12, 2017 11:36 am

Are snow tires still worth it with a leased vehicle? I believe I could use them for the next 2 winters but I'm unsure if I'll end up buying the car out at the end of the term. I'd hate to spend all the money and not end up completely utilizing the tires if I turn it in. Any suggestions from others in similar positions?

The Wizard
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Re: Snow Tires? Worth it?

Post by The Wizard » Tue Dec 12, 2017 11:38 am

Sandtrap wrote:
Tue Dec 12, 2017 11:28 am
New from Costco: Michelin ltx at2 on my Tundra TRD 4wd with electronic traction, etc. Will see how they do this year.
Last year was the last of the treadwear on 4 season tires and nearly ended up in a roadside ditch after a heavy snow.
That'll learn me. . . . :shock:
In Hawaii??
Attempted new signature...

gogleheads.orb
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Re: Snow Tires? Worth it?

Post by gogleheads.orb » Tue Dec 12, 2017 11:50 am

If you are going to be driving in the mountains in the snow get studded tires. They do make a lot of noise, but they work.

cjcerny
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Re: Snow Tires? Worth it?

Post by cjcerny » Tue Dec 12, 2017 12:02 pm

A good set of snow tires (like Michelin X-Ice) are way better than all season tires on snow and ice regardless of what kind of vehicle they are on. They also wear out a lot faster if you are not driving on snow and ice and have to come off promptly when Spring arrives. Definitely expensive, but definitely worth it if you are facing 3 solid months of treacherous roads.

MI_bogle
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Re: Snow Tires? Worth it?

Post by MI_bogle » Tue Dec 12, 2017 12:15 pm

My 2 cents:

I have driven in snowy midwest states all my life. All season tires, never 4WD or AWD. I have never had a winter-related incident but have had lots of white-knuckle commutes or drives in nasty conditions. I consider myself a really good winter driver. BUT

I just got snow tires for my new car and the difference is absolutely unbelievable. I am an instant convert. I TRIED to induce some slipping and sliding by hitting the brakes hard, accelerating while turning the wheel, etc. It was crazy how much I retained control of the car even while doing stuff designed to lose control

I got nice rims, TPMS, and Michelin X-Ice tires, installed for 900 bucks. Going with the cheapest option (cheapo steel wheels, no TPMS) it could have been 500 or so.

In terms of being a pain - it's super easy. Just get them changed twice per year. Either yourself, or at the local shop of your choosing. It doesn't cost very much. My local Toyota dealer charges 18.95 to do it


Yes, the initial cost is expensive, but remember that the wheels last forever, and that you aren't wearing down your other tires, so you get longer life out of them too.

Yooper
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Re: Snow Tires? Worth it?

Post by Yooper » Tue Dec 12, 2017 12:24 pm

barnaclebob wrote:
Tue Dec 12, 2017 11:33 am
afan wrote:
Tue Dec 12, 2017 11:18 am
I find TPMS worthless. I check my pressure. If it is down a few pounds I fill up the tire, but my TPMS has not alerted me. My TPMS does generate plenty of false alarms, claiming the pressure is low when it is not.
If it give me the alarm I always check, but the only time it was right I already knew it and was on my way to have a leaking tire replaced.

Nice in principle and I suppose good to have constant monitoring. It would be a lot more useful if it actually worked.
Maybe its just your vehicles' TPMS thats worthless but mine appears to be very accurate with no false alarms. So far it triggers at 1psi low about once a year at the start of winter and reminds me to top off my tires to a few psi over spec.
Interesting. I wonder if the system can be tweaked? I always thought it was useless as well since my TPMS wouldn't alarm until it was about 10 (or more) below recommended psi. I'm driving a 2013 F-150 so I thought, "Well, I guess this is how TPMS works..." Now you got me thinking.

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Info_Hound
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Re: Snow Tires? Worth it?

Post by Info_Hound » Tue Dec 12, 2017 12:26 pm

Cloud wrote:
Mon Dec 11, 2017 9:26 pm
Yes, they are totally worth it. I recommend Bridgestone Blizzaks. Best snow tire hands down. Makes driving in snow and ice a breeze. You'll feel like driving on a summer day while all the folks around you are white knuckling it.

4 wheel drive doesn't mean diddly when it comes to safety and staying on the road....

Good snow tires may save your life. If you can afford them I wouldn't spend another moment deciding....
+1 for snow tires and the Blizzaks recommendation. I own the same car as OP and have these tires also. They will make a world of difference in dicey weather. My state requires snow tires or chains on certain roads. Something to consider, will you be traveling where some of the roads have this type of restriction?

You will not regret getting these tires. I travel into the mountains regularly during the winter months and they make a huge difference. I've not been stuck yet and that is saying something.

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Just sayin...
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Re: Snow Tires? Worth it?

Post by Just sayin... » Tue Dec 12, 2017 1:03 pm

Info_Hound wrote:
Tue Dec 12, 2017 12:26 pm
+1 for snow tires and the Blizzaks recommendation. I own the same car as OP and have these tires also. They will make a world of difference in dicey weather. My state requires snow tires or chains on certain roads. Something to consider, will you be traveling where some of the roads have this type of restriction?

You will not regret getting these tires. I travel into the mountains regularly during the winter months and they make a huge difference. I've not been stuck yet and that is saying something.
+2. True 4WD on both vehicles, both with Blizzak's. On one, we have a set of chains for the rear tires stored in the back...just in case. Also carry a shovel, tarp, Bubba Rope, blanket, water, etc. etc. etc. Haven't needed them yet, but came close once last year during snowmageddon!

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William4u
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Re: Snow Tires? Worth it?

Post by William4u » Tue Dec 12, 2017 1:15 pm

Yes. 100x yes. The research shows it is much safer in the following conditions: colder than 40F, or snow, or ice, or any combo of the previous 3. Stops 50% sooner in many such conditions. Less likely to fishtail. Get them, no question.

harrington
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Re: Snow Tires? Worth it?

Post by harrington » Tue Dec 12, 2017 1:30 pm

I live in Buffalo NY so I consider myself an expert. The years I used snow tires there was no comparison. They are awesome. I'm retired so I just use all seasons now because I can just wait for the roads to be cleaned and salted.

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munemaker
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Re: Snow Tires? Worth it?

Post by munemaker » Tue Dec 12, 2017 1:44 pm

jkushne1 wrote:
Mon Dec 11, 2017 9:14 pm
Random question for the group. I currently have 4 wheel drive Honda CRV with all season tires. However, we just moved to a cold weather location with longer winters and I have a longer commute now than before. My questions:

-Does anyone recommend snow tires, even if a 4 wheel drive care? I have a wife and a one year old son if that matters at all.

-If yes, what tires would you recommend? Where would you buy them (I’ve heard good things about Costco)?

-How long do your snow tires typically last (how many seasons)?

Thanks!
I commuted 100 miles/day on back roads in a snowy area with a several steep hills for 9 years in a CR*V without snow tires. As long as your all-season tires have good tread, you will be fine. Never used snow tires. I am sure they help, but you have the hassle/cost of buying, storing and annually changing them (on and off), plus they are worthless junk when you buy a new car and you have to find a way to dispose of them.

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William4u
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Re: Snow Tires? Worth it?

Post by William4u » Tue Dec 12, 2017 1:49 pm

Here are probably the top two widely available winter tires (I love my Michelin Xice3s, but friends swear by blizzaks). Here is the impression that I get from reading about them on CR etc...

Michelin Xice3:
- Excellent rolling resistance. Little fuel economy penalty from my experience. Way better than Blizzaks here.
- Great steering feel and handling characteristics. Feels like an all season. Way better than Blizzaks here.
- Very quiet. Way better than Blizzaks here.
- Excellent treadwear. 40,000 mile warranty. Way better than Blizzaks here.
- Excellent performance on cold dry pavement and glare ice. Better than Blizzaks here.
- Very good performance in light or deep snow, but not as good as the Blizzaks. This is where the Blizzaks really shine.

Bridgestone Blizzaks
- A higher rolling resistance than the Xi3 contributing to a little more loss in Fuel Economy
- Does not handle as well on dry pavement as the Xi3 (But not bad)
- Not as quiet as the Xi3
- Treadwear is not nearly as good as Xice3. Will need to replace much more often. Can have uneven wear after 15k miles or so, unlike the Xi3 which wears very evenly to 40k miles.
- Great performance on glare ice (almost as good as xi3)
- Unmatched deep snow traction, significantly better than Xi3.

IMHO, if you're in my situation and you are driving in the city or on interstates that are usually cleared but often have snow and ice, Xi3 is the better choice (especially for highway or interstate driving). You get superior ice performance and better handling from the Xi3. But if you're driving in rural areas where it is never plowed and there is a lot of deep snow, get the Blizzaks. Xi3s are better on warmer slush, but Blizzaks are significantly better on very cold, deep snow. The Xi3 is still one of the best in deep snow, but not as good as the Blizzaks.

Tirerack did are good comparison between a number of winter tires. Blizzak and Xi3 are the best, with Xi3 winning more than Blizzak in a number of tests.

https://www.tirerack.com/tires/tests/te ... p?ttid=193

lotusflower
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Re: Snow Tires? Worth it?

Post by lotusflower » Tue Dec 12, 2017 2:09 pm

Epsilon Delta wrote:
Mon Dec 11, 2017 11:21 pm
You also need either anti-seize or a six foot breaker bar.

Any man who puts nuts on dry would letterspace blackletter.
As a mechanical engineer I believe in the benefit of grease on threads. But my van's user manual is unequivocal that it should not be used. If you are going to use it anyway, I think you are supposed to reduce the torque wrench setting. But really you should follow the user manual for your vehicle.

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Cycle
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Re: Snow Tires? Worth it?

Post by Cycle » Tue Dec 12, 2017 2:15 pm

hand wrote:
Tue Dec 12, 2017 8:54 am
Cycle wrote:
Tue Dec 12, 2017 8:08 am
I work in a group of engineers and this topic is discussed often, and the consensus is that snow tires are not worth the time or money.
Not to pile on, but this tickled my funny bone - since when do engineers care about consensus?
I always idealized engineering as the ultimate fact based profession.
All five of us drive or drove 2wd accords or civics with 4-season tires, i'd say that is consensus.

Much of engineering is understanding what a valid requirement is. The optimal solution is rarely the version that has the best performance. Snow tires perform better than 4-season tires in snow, but are they safer by a significant margin? That is debatable. If you want the best performance and you don't care about anything else, go for snow tires. If you don't want to deal with storing a spare set of tires/wheels, the four season tire will keep you out of the ditch.

99% of safe winter driving is keeping a safe distance, leaving enough space to stop, and having a speed appropriate for the conditions. The other 1% is what you get with snow tires and AWD.

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Cycle
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Re: Snow Tires? Worth it?

Post by Cycle » Tue Dec 12, 2017 2:28 pm

TomatoTomahto wrote:
Tue Dec 12, 2017 8:24 am
Cycle wrote:
Tue Dec 12, 2017 8:08 am
All season are... All season. If this car is for driving on plowed roads, all season is all you need. Snow tires may give people the illusion they have better traction on ice which could cause one to go faster than the conditions allow.
I work in a group of engineers and this topic is discussed often, and the consensus is that snow tires are not worth the time or money.
Do the environment a favor and don't buy things that aren't necessary.
I call my tires winter tires rather than snow tires, because while the roads are often plowed, I find that the tire compound in “all season” tires gets as hard as plastic when the temperature goes below 30degrees or so. They just don’t stop well.

Curious minds want to know: if the conclusion is clear, why are the engineers still discussing this often?

Do the environment a favor and don’t collide with things that require replacement :D
The reason is that after the first snow fall every year this controversial topic is always re-raised by someone in the office thinking about getting four new wheels and snow tires. There are many studies that show a reduction in accidents and others showing improved stopping performance, which seems to be all the buyer needs to go out and drop $1000 on this insurance. Go slow when conditions are bad and stay off the roads when there is glare ice (maybe 2 days a year), and you shouldn't have any issues.

If you are moving somewhere where they don't plow or put down chemicals, that is likely a different scenario.

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Cycle
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Re: Snow Tires? Worth it?

Post by Cycle » Tue Dec 12, 2017 2:33 pm

onourway wrote:
Tue Dec 12, 2017 8:17 am
Cycle wrote:
Tue Dec 12, 2017 8:08 am
All season are... All season. If this car is for driving on plowed roads, all season is all you need. Snow tires may give people the illusion they have better traction on ice which could cause one to go faster than the conditions allow.

I work in a group of engineers and this topic is discussed often, and the consensus is that snow tires are not worth the time or money.

Do the environment a favor and don't buy things that aren't necessary.
Snow tires *do* have better traction on snow and ice. That's a fact. Nothing to dispute.

Kind of scary that a group of engineers could come to any other conclusion.

AWD without snow tires is what lends a false sense of security when it gets you moving with little drama, yet then provides no assistance in stopping.
We don't debate that snow tires have better traction. That information is readily available in many studies. What we debate is whether it is worth it for us. We grew up driving in these conditions and realize that the improved stopping distance is really only required if you follow cars too closely or drive too fast. We want everyone but ourselves to purchase snow tires and a spare set of wheels.

wrongfunds
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Re: Snow Tires? Worth it?

Post by wrongfunds » Tue Dec 12, 2017 2:39 pm

when I buy snow tires, I run them until they are worn out and then get another set. I do not bother to swap between summer and winter. My winter tires last about 3-4 years and that is good enough for me. I am not a race car driver, so I do not need the summer tires for performance driving. The winter tires are noisy but since my vehicles are very old, the added noise gets masked by the car noise; besides that is why there is a volume control on the radio :-)

Whether it is worth or not depends upon many things but the chances are once you put snow tires on the car in the winter once, you will most likely want them for the next winter etc.
Last edited by wrongfunds on Tue Dec 12, 2017 2:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Cycle
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Re: Snow Tires? Worth it?

Post by Cycle » Tue Dec 12, 2017 2:40 pm

wilked wrote:
Tue Dec 12, 2017 10:03 am
Cycle wrote:
Tue Dec 12, 2017 8:08 am
All season are... All season. If this car is for driving on plowed roads, all season is all you need. Snow tires may give people the illusion they have better traction on ice which could cause one to go faster than the conditions allow.

I work in a group of engineers and this topic is discussed often, and the consensus is that snow tires are not worth the time or money.

Do the environment a favor and don't buy things that aren't necessary.
As an engineer this made me cringe... I am hoping this was software engineers ;-)

I work with ChemEs and MechEs and I think all of us mount snows in the winter (Boston area)
MechEs and ChemEs. I'd cringe too if I realized I sunk a thousand bucks and spent 2hrs each spring/fall on something that was not totally necessary.

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William4u
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Re: Snow Tires? Worth it?

Post by William4u » Tue Dec 12, 2017 2:45 pm

"A 2011 study in Quebec (where snow tires are mandatory) found widespread snow tire use reduced winter accidents by 5 percent and lowered deaths and serious injury by 3 percent."

https://www.consumerreports.org/winter- ... rvey-says/

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Re: Snow Tires? Worth it?

Post by onourway » Tue Dec 12, 2017 2:48 pm

Cycle wrote:
Tue Dec 12, 2017 2:40 pm
MechEs and ChemEs. I'd cringe too if I realized I sunk a thousand bucks and spent 2hrs each spring/fall on something that was not totally necessary.
It isn't anything like a thousand bucks. The total cost is the same minus the difference of the price of a spare set of wheels (which are usually sold on Craigslist after selling the car) as both sets of tires only see half a year's worth of use annually. We are talking $200-400 total on a car over 3-10 years+. Completely insignificant in the overall cost of ownership. Probably lower than your deductible.

mrb09
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Re: Snow Tires? Worth it?

Post by mrb09 » Tue Dec 12, 2017 3:01 pm

Another related thread: viewtopic.php?f=11&t=232887

Only other thing I'd add is there's a difference between driving in heavy snow vs. icy conditions.

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Re: Snow Tires? Worth it?

Post by Sandtrap » Tue Dec 12, 2017 3:31 pm

The Wizard wrote:
Tue Dec 12, 2017 11:38 am
Sandtrap wrote:
Tue Dec 12, 2017 11:28 am
New from Costco: Michelin ltx at2 on my Tundra TRD 4wd with electronic traction, etc. Will see how they do this year.
Last year was the last of the treadwear on 4 season tires and nearly ended up in a roadside ditch after a heavy snow.
That'll learn me. . . . :shock:
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Cycle
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Re: Snow Tires? Worth it?

Post by Cycle » Tue Dec 12, 2017 4:59 pm

If new, Costco is the way to go. Imo.

If u can afford them, the ones with Kevlar fibers will be safest on ice... Which is really the most dangerous part.

My coworker recently bought a set of four wheels and snow tires for 100 dollars on Craigslist... Check there if u're looking for a great deal. Crv is a common vehicle be so u should have luck. Best time is spring for Cl deals on snow tires.

I'm anti snow tires, but u will notice a difference so if u have a long icy commute it may have a significant impact on your stress levels. For my 10 mile commute, not worth the hassle.

wilked
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Re: Snow Tires? Worth it?

Post by wilked » Tue Dec 12, 2017 6:34 pm

Cycle wrote:
Tue Dec 12, 2017 2:40 pm
wilked wrote:
Tue Dec 12, 2017 10:03 am
Cycle wrote:
Tue Dec 12, 2017 8:08 am
All season are... All season. If this car is for driving on plowed roads, all season is all you need. Snow tires may give people the illusion they have better traction on ice which could cause one to go faster than the conditions allow.

I work in a group of engineers and this topic is discussed often, and the consensus is that snow tires are not worth the time or money.

Do the environment a favor and don't buy things that aren't necessary.
As an engineer this made me cringe... I am hoping this was software engineers ;-)

I work with ChemEs and MechEs and I think all of us mount snows in the winter (Boston area)
MechEs and ChemEs. I'd cringe too if I realized I sunk a thousand bucks and spent 2hrs each spring/fall on something that was not totally necessary.
I still have a hard time believing that a group of engineers, presented with clear data that snow tires significantly improve handling, would balk over an additional $500 or so additional on a $20,000 car or so.

Al I need to do is glance in the rear view mirror at the kids in the back to be convinced

Edit to add - or you could be in a milder climate of course!
Last edited by wilked on Tue Dec 12, 2017 6:39 pm, edited 2 times in total.

Jack FFR1846
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Re: Snow Tires? Worth it?

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Tue Dec 12, 2017 6:35 pm

lazydavid wrote:
Tue Dec 12, 2017 9:41 am
bloom2708 wrote:
Tue Dec 12, 2017 9:14 am
It is a pain to swap tires. TPMS with two sets of wheels are a pain.
Tell me more about this. On my car I literally have to do nothing--the car just recognizes whichever TPMS sensors are in use, and functions normally. My wife's car allows two distinct sets to be registered, and there's a toggle switch in the glovebox to switch between them. Neither is a significant burden.
Every car is different. My Wrangler has a set of wheels from a previous Wrangler and the ones that came on it. Both sets work perfectly well with the TPMS.

Subarus are the opposite. Sensors have to be linked to the vehicle. Dealers take 30 to 40 minutes of time doing this and have charged in the $100 range. Then, in the spring when the other wheels go on, I assume this has to be done again (I don't know this for sure).

I've had lots of Subarus and currently a Ford with snows on wheels with no sensors. I don't care about the stupid light. I find the Ford amusing because the monitor doesn't warn me until I've driven for 20 minutes.


This engineer wouldn't think of driving without winter tires. Since tread depth on winter tires can be as much as 50% more than normal tires, even though they wear faster, there's so much tread that the tires don't actually wear out faster. I've typically gotten 70k miles out of snows driven year round.
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Re: Snow Tires? Worth it?

Post by VGisforme » Tue Dec 12, 2017 7:53 pm

MI_bogle wrote:
Tue Dec 12, 2017 12:15 pm
My 2 cents:

I have driven in snowy midwest states all my life. All season tires, never 4WD or AWD. I have never had a winter-related incident but have had lots of white-knuckle commutes or drives in nasty conditions. I consider myself a really good winter driver. BUT

I just got snow tires for my new car and the difference is absolutely unbelievable. I am an instant convert. I TRIED to induce some slipping and sliding by hitting the brakes hard, accelerating while turning the wheel, etc. It was crazy how much I retained control of the car even while doing stuff designed to lose control

I got nice rims, TPMS, and Michelin X-Ice tires, installed for 900 bucks. Going with the cheapest option (cheapo steel wheels, no TPMS) it could have been 500 or so.

In terms of being a pain - it's super easy. Just get them changed twice per year. Either yourself, or at the local shop of your choosing. It doesn't cost very much. My local Toyota dealer charges 18.95 to do it


Yes, the initial cost is expensive, but remember that the wheels last forever, and that you aren't wearing down your other tires, so you get longer life out of them too.
This is exactly right, until you actually use winter tires (and yes they are more winter than just snow tires as they also greatly outperform all season tires on cold dry pavement too) you have no idea how much more control you have.

I have a v8 powered RWD car in the Chicago suburbs and with all season tires winter time driving was a chore. Had to baby it all the time and couldn't trust a right turn on red in any kind of traffic. With winter tires it's very simple you drive just like it is 75 and sunny and don't lose traction.

For an enthusiast it also gives you the chance to purchase summer tires for the non-winter months which I also do. The tricky point is changing over since the summer tires are horrible below 45 degrees.

If you are keeping the car 7-10+ years as most Bogleheads seem to do, the extra grip and safety of winter tires really makes sense.

I'm using Michelin XICE Xi3 tires and this is my fourth winter using them. I have them on from mid November to about late April and I drive about 15,000 miles a year total. The nice thing with the Michelins is that they actually have a 30k mile warranty, most winter tires have no mileage warranty. I've been impressed with the treadlife, might need to replace them next year I'll see how they look at that point. Another benefit if you do this yourself is free rotations since you swap wheels twice a year!

Like others have said you can find a cheap set of steel wheels or a smaller sized stock wheel (say your Camry came with 17 inch wheels but lower models had 16 inch wheels) you can find tons of take off OEM wheel on craigslist and Ebay for folks that have taken them off for plus sized wheels. I trust OEM construction over aftermarket wheels.

On my car I use a higher end model 20x9 wheel for summer tires and my original 18x7.5 wheels for my winter tires. Works great the tires are cheaper and you get a soft ride and more protection from deep winter potholes.

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Re: Snow Tires? Worth it?

Post by VGisforme » Tue Dec 12, 2017 8:03 pm

wrongfunds wrote:
Tue Dec 12, 2017 2:39 pm
when I buy snow tires, I run them until they are worn out and then get another set. I do not bother to swap between summer and winter. My winter tires last about 3-4 years and that is good enough for me. I am not a race car driver, so I do not need the summer tires for performance driving. The winter tires are noisy but since my vehicles are very old, the added noise gets masked by the car noise; besides that is why there is a volume control on the radio :-)

Whether it is worth or not depends upon many things but the chances are once you put snow tires on the car in the winter once, you will most likely want them for the next winter etc.
This isn't a great practice either as a winter tire in summer weather performs poorly and is really greasy out on the road. I can tell when we start to get some warm weather in early spring that my winter set performs worse than my summer tires or all seasons I've had in the past. I'm talking about braking distance in a panic stop or quick avoidance maneuvers.

Depending on climate, you really should swap out the winter tires once it is consistently above 45 degrees.

loveyourheart
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Re: Snow Tires? Worth it?

Post by loveyourheart » Tue Dec 12, 2017 8:44 pm

Yes, call tire rack. If you are going to have the car long enough to go through 2 sets of tires and have to drive in snow, then one set might as well be snows.

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CyclingDuo
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Re: Snow Tires? Worth it?

Post by CyclingDuo » Tue Dec 12, 2017 9:14 pm

MI_bogle wrote:
Tue Dec 12, 2017 12:15 pm
I have driven in snowy midwest states all my life. All season tires, never 4WD or AWD. I have never had a winter-related incident but have had lots of white-knuckle commutes or drives in nasty conditions. I consider myself a really good winter driver. BUT

I just got snow tires for my new car and the difference is absolutely unbelievable. I am an instant convert. I TRIED to induce some slipping and sliding by hitting the brakes hard, accelerating while turning the wheel, etc. It was crazy how much I retained control of the car even while doing stuff designed to lose control
:mrgreen: :mrgreen:

Here's another analogy.

With all-season tires here in the Midwest, when it snows and there is ice on the road - sure, we can all drive at slower, much more careful speeds with some white knuckle, tense neck syndrome and get around.

Swap out to a set of snow/ice tires, and you can fly on ice and snow at 65 mph without even knowing there is anything on the surface of the road. That's the unbelievable difference you are now noticing. Glad you switched. We made the switch several years ago and will never go back. :beer

Snow and ice? No problem. 65mph full speed ahead. :arrow: :arrow: :arrow: :arrow:

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Re: Snow Tires? Worth it?

Post by ahnooie » Tue Dec 12, 2017 9:17 pm

What about a mix between snow/ice/wet/dry roads in winter conditions? I am considering snow tires like the X-ice or Blizzaks but my concern is per consumer reports ratings snow tires don't perform well in wet or dry conditions. My commute is 3-6 inch deep snow, and few icy hills. But in the late fall and end of winter the snow tends to melt and re-snow. The temps are still below 40 but I'm often driving on snow and ice on my way to work and a mix of dry roads, water, and slush on my way back. What would be better for this, an all season tire that has some light snow traction like the Michelin Defenders or a dedicated snow tire?

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Re: Snow Tires? Worth it?

Post by angelescrest » Tue Dec 12, 2017 9:21 pm

goldendad wrote:
Mon Dec 11, 2017 10:57 pm
Have lived in Denver for 30 years. Never put a snow tire on any of our cars. Didn't even have 4 wheel drive for the first 8 years - had front wheel drive and a '72 VW Bug (engine over the rear wheels). Good tires, front wheel or All/4 wheel drive will do you fine. Even the VW was very good in the snow. One of the best in the snow was a Plymouth Voyager - a lot clearance and front wheel drive. Currently have a 2013 Honda CRV and a 2004 FWD Toyota Highlander. Both were bought new and are very good in the snow.
Lived there, and Denver doesn’t really need snow tires as much as northern states do. Lots of sun, and snow melts really fast. Near the Lakes or NE, where snow and ice can last for weeks, or one storm leads to the next, it matters. Also rural areas more so than city areas need it, as they have less road services.

motorcyclesarecool
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Re: Snow Tires? Worth it?

Post by motorcyclesarecool » Tue Dec 12, 2017 10:34 pm

jkushne1 wrote:
Mon Dec 11, 2017 9:14 pm
-If yes, what tires would you recommend? Where would you buy them (I’ve heard good things about Costco)?
In my experience any brand will be very good, so long as it carries the snowflake/mountain logo. Explanation: https://www.tires-easy.com/blog/mountai ... ke-symbol/ If you ever drive on dirt or gravel roads, or where lots of black or glare ice builds up, studded off-brand snow tires with the snowflake/mountain logo will be incredibly useful.
jkushne1 wrote:
Mon Dec 11, 2017 9:14 pm
-How long do your snow tires typically last (how many seasons)?
Depends on how many miles you drive on them. The tread depth can be legal but woefully inadequate for use as snow tires. Also, the rubber will harden over time. I try to replace my snow tires every third season.
Understand that choosing an HDHP is very much a "red pill" approach. Most would rather pay higher premiums for a $20 copay per visit. They will think you weird for choosing an HSA.

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Re: Snow Tires? Worth it?

Post by wrongfunds » Wed Dec 13, 2017 8:32 am

This isn't a great practice either as a winter tire in summer weather performs poorly and is really greasy out on the road. I can tell when we start to get some warm weather in early spring that my winter set performs worse than my summer tires or all seasons I've had in the past. I'm talking about braking distance in a panic stop or quick avoidance maneuvers.

Depending on climate, you really should swap out the winter tires once it is consistently above 45 degrees.
The only time I feel uncomfortable when I feel the tires are on the edge of their grip. That happens when the tires get worn and start hydroplaning or if the road is slippery. In normal climate I never ever exceed even 50% of tire limit. So from my perspective, if I have sacrificed some summer handling on that winter tire, it does not have material effect on me. I obviously understand that I am wearing the snows quickly by driving year around. But in NorthEast area, we don't see too many 90+ days. There were few BH who do the same as I do and I think they too are from NorthEast area.

I consider battery and tires to be cheapest maintenance items on any vehicle, so if I am getting less than average mileage out of them, I am OK with that. I believe this is a reasonable approach for somebody who does not want the hassle of storing and mounting/remounting or swapping of entire wheels twice per year.

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Re: Snow Tires? Worth it?

Post by bloom2708 » Wed Dec 13, 2017 9:18 am

CyclingDuo wrote:
Tue Dec 12, 2017 9:14 pm
Snow and ice? No problem. 65mph full speed ahead. :arrow: :arrow: :arrow: :arrow:
So, you are the guy driving 65 in a 55 zone when the roads are icy and everyone else is driving 45 and being cautious? :P :wink:
"We are here not to please but to provoke thoughtfulness" Unknown Boglehead

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Re: Snow Tires? Worth it?

Post by bloom2708 » Wed Dec 13, 2017 9:20 am

ahnooie wrote:
Tue Dec 12, 2017 9:17 pm
What about a mix between snow/ice/wet/dry roads in winter conditions? I am considering snow tires like the X-ice or Blizzaks but my concern is per consumer reports ratings snow tires don't perform well in wet or dry conditions. My commute is 3-6 inch deep snow, and few icy hills. But in the late fall and end of winter the snow tends to melt and re-snow. The temps are still below 40 but I'm often driving on snow and ice on my way to work and a mix of dry roads, water, and slush on my way back. What would be better for this, an all season tire that has some light snow traction like the Michelin Defenders or a dedicated snow tire?
Read up on Toyo Celsius. "Toyo Celsius offers year-round versatility plus winter-weather safety in one."

https://www.toyotires.com/celsius-tires

I have these on my car. No swapping in spring and fall.

"This variable-conditions tire offers better ice and snow traction than a typical all-season tire and longer tread life than a winter tire. Celsius stops up to 14 feet shorter on snow and eight feet shorter on ice than a typical all-season tire* plus it’s backed by a 60,000-mile warranty."

Mountain Snowflake qualified for severe snow conditions*
"We are here not to please but to provoke thoughtfulness" Unknown Boglehead

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CyclingDuo
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Re: Snow Tires? Worth it?

Post by CyclingDuo » Wed Dec 13, 2017 9:30 am

bloom2708 wrote:
Wed Dec 13, 2017 9:18 am
CyclingDuo wrote:
Tue Dec 12, 2017 9:14 pm
Snow and ice? No problem. 65mph full speed ahead. :arrow: :arrow: :arrow: :arrow:
So, you are the guy driving 65 in a 55 zone when the roads are icy and everyone else is driving 45 and being cautious? :P :wink:
:D

Nah, speed limits are 65 - 70 mph on most roads where we live. It's only 55 and 45 in city proper on the main roads, and I go full speed ahead there as well, but I try not to be a LeadFoot all the time. :beer

I am, however, the guy taking advantage of the snow tires. The other item slowing people down is the ice/snow build up on the windshields. That issue I have yet to solve as well as I would like to outside of using good quality blades, a little additive in my wiper fluid, and proper scraping of the glass before getting in the vehicle.

We haven't put the snow tires on yet this season, as we've had no snow yet, and the temperature continues to flirt with the 40's and 50's which is too warm for the special rubber in winter tires. Maybe by the end of the month. Maybe come January, but so far no need to swap out just yet.

My wife keeps begging for snow, but I tell her to knock it off as I am enjoying riding my bicycle in December. :shock:

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Re: Snow Tires? Worth it?

Post by onourway » Wed Dec 13, 2017 9:35 am

ahnooie wrote:
Tue Dec 12, 2017 9:17 pm
What about a mix between snow/ice/wet/dry roads in winter conditions? I am considering snow tires like the X-ice or Blizzaks but my concern is per consumer reports ratings snow tires don't perform well in wet or dry conditions. My commute is 3-6 inch deep snow, and few icy hills. But in the late fall and end of winter the snow tends to melt and re-snow. The temps are still below 40 but I'm often driving on snow and ice on my way to work and a mix of dry roads, water, and slush on my way back. What would be better for this, an all season tire that has some light snow traction like the Michelin Defenders or a dedicated snow tire?
If you are regularly driving in 3-6 inches of snow and icy hills, I'd want full-on snow tires. Good snow tires still work very well on cold and dry or cold and wet conditions. We're talking a small drop off from good all-seasons, which may themselves not be that great in those conditions depending on the specific model, tread depth, etc.

My favorite tires hands-down Nokian hakkapeliitta without studs. A slightly cheaper option is the Nordman 5 which is made with the previous generation hakkapeliitta molds.

If you are looking for an all-season option that is still very good in snow, I would consider the Nokian WRG3 or the Michelin X-ice 3. We currently own vehicles with the Nordman's, X-ice 3, and WRG3. We've previously owned many pairs of the Hakkapeliitta's and a variety of lesser brands. The X-ice is, IMO, a great snow tire for cold/wet/dry roads with minimal snow and ice. I don't find it gives me nearly as much confidence as the Nokian's in really bad conditions, but it does handle very nicely and it's quiet.

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Re: Snow Tires? Worth it?

Post by lthenderson » Wed Dec 13, 2017 9:42 am

wilked wrote:
Tue Dec 12, 2017 6:34 pm
Cycle wrote:
Tue Dec 12, 2017 2:40 pm
wilked wrote:
Tue Dec 12, 2017 10:03 am
Cycle wrote:
Tue Dec 12, 2017 8:08 am
All season are... All season. If this car is for driving on plowed roads, all season is all you need. Snow tires may give people the illusion they have better traction on ice which could cause one to go faster than the conditions allow.

I work in a group of engineers and this topic is discussed often, and the consensus is that snow tires are not worth the time or money.

Do the environment a favor and don't buy things that aren't necessary.
As an engineer this made me cringe... I am hoping this was software engineers ;-)

I work with ChemEs and MechEs and I think all of us mount snows in the winter (Boston area)
MechEs and ChemEs. I'd cringe too if I realized I sunk a thousand bucks and spent 2hrs each spring/fall on something that was not totally necessary.
I still have a hard time believing that a group of engineers, presented with clear data that snow tires significantly improve handling, would balk over an additional $500 or so additional on a $20,000 car or so.

Al I need to do is glance in the rear view mirror at the kids in the back to be convinced

Edit to add - or you could be in a milder climate of course!
So why don't you drive a tracked vehicle since it obviously handles better on snow and ice than snow tires? Or why don't you just stay home where it is much much safer than driving on snow and ice so you don't put those kiddos in jeopardy at all? At some point we all have to make a decision on whether increased safety is worth the associated costs.

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