Son moving to Denver from California

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krafty81
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Son moving to Denver from California

Post by krafty81 »

My son drives a Kia Sportage AWD. Does he need to get snow tires for the winter? He is moving there next month. He will be commuting from Denver to Boulder daily.
livesoft
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Re: Son moving to Denver from California

Post by livesoft »

He can ask his new co-workers.
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stlutz
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Re: Son moving to Denver from California

Post by stlutz »

From a safety perspective, snow tires are better when there is snow on the roads and worse at all other times. Whether you're in Denver or Milwaukee.
02nz
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Re: Son moving to Denver from California

Post by 02nz »

They are properly called winter tires, because they give you dramatically better traction in all winter conditions, whether there's snow or ice on the road or not. The compound on all-seasons harden up at low temperatures, seriously compromising performance even if the pavement is completely dry.

At an average 50+ inches of snow a year, I'd say winter tires are a no-brainer for Denver. I had the Michelin X-Ice Xi3 before and highly recommend them.
02nz
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Re: Son moving to Denver from California

Post by 02nz »

stlutz wrote: Sat Jan 19, 2019 1:14 pm From a safety perspective, snow tires are better when there is snow on the roads and worse at all other times. Whether you're in Denver or Milwaukee.
This is flat out false. Please don't put information out there if you don't know what you're talking about - this can literally be life and death.

Read any credible source on automotive information to understand why, e.g.:
https://www.caranddriver.com/news/a1534 ... good-idea/
https://www.consumerreports.org/tires/w ... omparison/
https://arstechnica.com/features/2018/0 ... out-tires/
Last edited by 02nz on Sat Jan 19, 2019 1:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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BolderBoy
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Re: Son moving to Denver from California

Post by BolderBoy »

krafty81 wrote: Sat Jan 19, 2019 12:59 pmMy son drives a Kia Sportage AWD. Does he need to get snow tires for the winter? He is moving there next month. He will be commuting from Denver to Boulder daily.
Can he take the bus? Excellent and frequent bus service between Denver <-> Boulder including expresses. The main road to/from Boulder is pretty slow going for cars in the mornings and afternoons.

But in answer to the question, good all-season tires with an "aggressive tread" will do quite well in almost all conditions in winter this side of the mountains. In situations where snow tires might have mattered, the roads will likely be closed or clogged into impassibility anyway.
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02nz
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Re: Son moving to Denver from California

Post by 02nz »

livesoft wrote: Sat Jan 19, 2019 1:02 pm He can ask his new co-workers.
On average they'll be about as knowledgeable about winter tires as they are about index funds. :happy
samsdad
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Re: Son moving to Denver from California

Post by samsdad »

Lived in Colorado now for nearly 20 years. If it’s like the usual awd systems these days then no.

But I’ve never had snow tires on any awd vehicle since I bought my first here in 2003ish. Never been unable to go anywhere that I wanted to go. Denver to Boulder is nothing. He’ll likely travel a federal interstate (I-25) and a U.S. highway (36). These are major thoroughfares like the 5 and 405 in California.

I can’t recall seeing snow tires on anyone else’s awd vehicles used for city-slickers. If you’re in the mountains regularly, well, that’s a different issue. Up there they do all sorts of mountain-folk things to their vehicles.

Because of the conditions chain laws were in effect for commercial vehicles yesterday on the I-25 corridor south of me and the state troopers here do not kid around about that sort of thing. Still, fwd and awd cars were on the road no problem. We’re there accidents? Of course. There was a 20+ car pileup down there yesterday southbound I-25. Unfortunately awd won’t help you in those situations when everyone around you is driving like they’re from, uh, California. :wink:

If it’s bad enough they close the highway with a barrier like the one located at the entrance to the freeway just down the street from my house. They don’t have any qualms about doing that either, and direct all traffic off the freeway, no problem, no exceptions. Did that last year at least once. Tell your son to keep some money for a hotel on him. And a ice scraper the length of your arm. A bunch of blankets wouldn’t hurt either.
Last edited by samsdad on Sat Jan 19, 2019 1:49 pm, edited 2 times in total.
abracadabra11
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Re: Son moving to Denver from California

Post by abracadabra11 »

Get snow tires. Rubber is more important than anything else.

Can you manage with AWD? Sure. But snow tires are the better option.

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livesoft
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Re: Son moving to Denver from California

Post by livesoft »

And don't forget that your windshield washer fluid should not freeze either. The south Texas fluid won't be helpful.
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samsdad
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Re: Son moving to Denver from California

Post by samsdad »

livesoft wrote: Sat Jan 19, 2019 1:40 pm And don't forget that your windshield washer fluid should not freeze either. The south Texas fluid won't be helpful.
Yeah, we have the super cold-proof stuff or whatever here. I used to keep a bottle in the back of the car, now I just keep it in the garage where I have to walk by it to get to the car and periodically fill it during the winter.
stlutz
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Re: Son moving to Denver from California

Post by stlutz »

02nz wrote: Sat Jan 19, 2019 1:30 pm
This is flat out false. Please don't put information out there if you don't know what you're talking about - this can literally be life and death.

Read any credible source on automotive information to understand why...
None of those articles compared braking performance on dry roads.

Here is one that did: https://jalopnik.com/winter-tires-are-g ... 1821468055
Jason Fenske of Engineering Explained recently took his Honda S2000 out to test braking distances in sub-freezing but dry temperatures with different sets of tires. The winter tires consistently yielded longer braking distances, leading him to conclude that if you live in an area that stays pretty dry in the winter, then you’re probably fine leaving those summer or all-season tires on your car.

But, as soon as it gets icy, you might not want to drive around until it melts.
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BolderBoy
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Re: Son moving to Denver from California

Post by BolderBoy »

samsdad wrote: Sat Jan 19, 2019 1:35 pmAnd a ice scraper the length of your arm. A bunch of blankets wouldn’t hurt either.
Good suggestions. Every winter (mid-October) I put a sleeping bag and several types of remove-snow-from-windows devices in the car. Take them out in the Spring.
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BolderBoy
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Re: Son moving to Denver from California

Post by BolderBoy »

BolderBoy wrote: Sat Jan 19, 2019 1:43 pm
samsdad wrote: Sat Jan 19, 2019 1:35 pmAnd a ice scraper the length of your arm. A bunch of blankets wouldn’t hurt either.
Good suggestions. Every winter (mid-October) I put a sleeping bag and several types of remove-snow-from-windows devices in the car. Take them out in the Spring.
Another thought. If he will be parking outside in the winter, a spray bottle with a mix of 1/3 alcohol (drug store) + 2/3 water works wonders to quickly clear a frozen windshield. In the dead of winter, most of our snow is dry powdery stuff, so easy to clear, but in early/late winter some freezing stuff can make cleaning the windshield more difficult.
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samsdad
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Re: Son moving to Denver from California

Post by samsdad »

stlutz wrote: Sat Jan 19, 2019 1:42 pm
02nz wrote: Sat Jan 19, 2019 1:30 pm
This is flat out false. Please don't put information out there if you don't know what you're talking about - this can literally be life and death.

Read any credible source on automotive information to understand why...
None of those articles compared braking performance on dry roads.

Here is one that did: https://jalopnik.com/winter-tires-are-g ... 1821468055
Jason Fenske of Engineering Explained recently took his Honda S2000 out to test braking distances in sub-freezing but dry temperatures with different sets of tires. The winter tires consistently yielded longer braking distances, leading him to conclude that if you live in an area that stays pretty dry in the winter, then you’re probably fine leaving those summer or all-season tires on your car.

But, as soon as it gets icy, you might not want to drive around until it melts.
Good luck with that last part. It might melt and freeze repeatedly during the day.
pejp
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Re: Son moving to Denver from California

Post by pejp »

I have an AWD Honda CRV and live in Denver. I’ve got winter tires, mounted on some basic rims, and I just get them switched out each season. For driving around Denver, I don’t think it’s that necessary, but we go out to the mountains a lot and I’d rather have piece of mind. Think I paid about $1100 for the full set, and the garage charges about $30 each time I switch them out. Of course he could also just do it himself, but I’m lazy
Colorado13
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Re: Son moving to Denver from California

Post by Colorado13 »

I've never had winter tires in CO, but I do buy very expensive tires for my SUV and replace the tires before they are worn out. AWD will be great in snow but no help on ice. We can get snow from October through May, with many 50+ degree days in between. And some -10 degree days. Also, snow and 60 degrees on the same day, so my advice is to be prepared for a variety of weather conditions. We are able to identify the CA and TX transplants when they are wearing giant winter coats when the rest of us are wearing shorts. :D

Also, unlike in some parts of CA, the roads here do not necessarily become slick/oily when it rains. When it rains here, use common sense (obviously) but you typically don't have to change your driving very much in the rain IF you have good all-season tires and good visibility. I find other drivers and the bright sun to be more of a problem than snow when driving (blinded by the sun, can't see the road or stoplights very well) but I'm from the Midwest, so YMMV.
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Re: Son moving to Denver from California

Post by dbr »

An irony about the Midwest is I read an article that states most (like 75%) of Upper Midwest drivers don't bother to mount winter tires as such ever. That would be Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan. Apparently the perception exists that it isn't worth the bother in spite of whatever objective data exists. The need for snow tires in the Denver-Boulder area is certainly less than MN-WI-MI. On the other hand if one is heading to the mountains in winter that is a different story as is heading east across Kansas or Nebraska in the winter if there is a storm and the highway is even still open.

Disclaimer: I confess to having skidded out of control on I25 south of Denver on an occasion the date of which I will not specify. That car did not have winter tires. FWIW.
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Re: Son moving to Denver from California

Post by vitaflo »

Can he get by without winter tires? I mean sure, most people do. But the difference between winter tires and all-seasons in the snow and ice is night and day. My front wheel drive vehicle with snow tires would run rings around his AWD with all-seasons on. It always amazes me the amount of people who "need" AWD and then never get winter tires for winter. It's like running a 100m dash in loafers. Get the right shoes for your car and you won't need AWD. Once you've run winter tires in the winter, you'll never go back.
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Re: Son moving to Denver from California

Post by chevca »

krafty81 wrote: Sat Jan 19, 2019 12:59 pm My son drives a Kia Sportage AWD. Does he need to get snow tires for the winter?
No. I've lived in Denver and in MN, and never once owned a set of snow tires. Especially with AWD, he'll be fine. Just go slow and learn to drive in the snow.... which involves just going slower.
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Re: Son moving to Denver from California

Post by chevca »

A better question might be, why is he living in Denver and not closer to Boulder?
jbmitt
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Re: Son moving to Denver from California

Post by jbmitt »

Watch for tire sales from Costco and Discount Tire. Denver has a TireRack warehouse near Stapleton to cut down on shipping. We have two cars with AWD and always have winter tires on one of our vehicles. We take the one car to the mountains and carpool in bad weather.

Winter tires are generally the same price or less as your insurance deductible. I'd rather pay for tires to avoid paying one or more insurance deductibles or get a rate increase.

I'm only in my 30's but I received good advice that we spend much of our lives on our feet, sleeping or driving so it's important not to be cheap about shoes, mattresses, and tires.
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Re: Son moving to Denver from California

Post by radiowave »

I have a set of Bridgestone Blizzak tires. I put them on mid November and take them off in April. This season, except for a couple of recent 4-6 in snows, really haven't needed them. We live a little off the beaten track near Denver and they don't plow our cul-de-sac if it's less than 6 in. I was in Greenwood village yesterday for a meeting and trying to get back home in blowing snow. The first couple inches started to accumulate on the road and just about every pickup truck with regular tires were fishtailing. I'm glad I had my Blizzaks and didn't have any worries coming up the foot hills. Of course if you drive up into the mountains, even if you have AWD, I wouldn't go up there in the winter without good snow tires.
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oxothuk
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Re: Son moving to Denver from California

Post by oxothuk »

I’ve lived in Boulder for almost 30 years and never had snow tires, just good all season tires from Big O and Costco. I do just fine by driving conservatively when the snow falls. One blessing is that Colorado rarely gets ice, which is much more challenging to drive on than snow.

Of course it would be a different story if I lived in the mountains.
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Re: Son moving to Denver from California

Post by BSBHead »

krafty81 wrote: Sat Jan 19, 2019 12:59 pm My son drives a Kia Sportage AWD. Does he need to get snow tires for the winter? He is moving there next month. He will be commuting from Denver to Boulder daily.

If he's just commuting, then it's only going to be a handful of days where snow tires will be necessary. Hopefully, he can work from home those days. If he plans on skiing then yeah it's definitely worth it. BTW - that's a brutal commute. My sig other did it for awhile and it was soul crushing.
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Re: Son moving to Denver from California

Post by dustinst22 »

dbr wrote: Sat Jan 19, 2019 6:04 pm An irony about the Midwest is I read an article that states most (like 75%) of Upper Midwest drivers don't bother to mount winter tires as such ever. That would be Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan.
Interesting. Growing up in Alaska, nearly 100% of people put studded tires on for the winter. If you didn't you were sure to go off the road. Good tires is vastly more important than AWD.
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Re: Son moving to Denver from California

Post by samsdad »

BSBHead wrote: Sat Jan 19, 2019 9:32 pm
krafty81 wrote: Sat Jan 19, 2019 12:59 pm My son drives a Kia Sportage AWD. Does he need to get snow tires for the winter? He is moving there next month. He will be commuting from Denver to Boulder daily.

If he's just commuting, then it's only going to be a handful of days where snow tires will be necessary. Hopefully, he can work from home those days. If he plans on skiing then yeah it's definitely worth it. BTW - that's a brutal commute. My sig other did it for awhile and it was soul crushing.
Denver to Boulder on 25 and 36? Yes, soul crushing. Heck, 25 north starting around Lincoln past the mousetrap sucks hard. But, he’s coming from California. Maybe he likes it? You ever been on the 405 at any time in a weekday other than say, 3:00 am? Sucks.
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Re: Son moving to Denver from California

Post by noco-hawkeye »

Snow tires are fairly common in the Colorado front range, but not required. If you have all season tires in good shape you will do reasonably well in a car like that. If you are on the fence, I might get snow tires and save the current tires for the summer months.
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Re: Son moving to Denver from California

Post by chevca »

dustinst22 wrote: Sat Jan 19, 2019 9:42 pm
dbr wrote: Sat Jan 19, 2019 6:04 pm An irony about the Midwest is I read an article that states most (like 75%) of Upper Midwest drivers don't bother to mount winter tires as such ever. That would be Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan.
Interesting. Growing up in Alaska, nearly 100% of people put studded tires on for the winter. If you didn't you were sure to go off the road. Good tires is vastly more important than AWD.
It has much to do with road prep and plowing. The bigger metro areas tend to ne pretty good at that in places it snows a bunch. Don't know if that's the case in Alaska?
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Re: Son moving to Denver from California

Post by noco-hawkeye »

chevca wrote: Sat Jan 19, 2019 6:35 pm A better question might be, why is he living in Denver and not closer to Boulder?
That’s easy - home prices.
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Re: Son moving to Denver from California

Post by chevca »

noco-hawkeye wrote: Sat Jan 19, 2019 9:57 pm
chevca wrote: Sat Jan 19, 2019 6:35 pm A better question might be, why is he living in Denver and not closer to Boulder?
That’s easy - home prices.
Denver ain't cheap either and there's plenty of towns in between the two. Not so easy. 🙂
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Re: Son moving to Denver from California

Post by dbr »

dustinst22 wrote: Sat Jan 19, 2019 9:42 pm
dbr wrote: Sat Jan 19, 2019 6:04 pm An irony about the Midwest is I read an article that states most (like 75%) of Upper Midwest drivers don't bother to mount winter tires as such ever. That would be Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan.
Interesting. Growing up in Alaska, nearly 100% of people put studded tires on for the winter. If you didn't you were sure to go off the road. Good tires is vastly more important than AWD.
Studded tires are not permitted in Minnesota and Wisconsin and only rubber studs are permitted in Michigan. Go figure.
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Re: Son moving to Denver from California

Post by quantAndHold »

For commuting? No. The roads are dry and clear 360 days a year. And they aren’t really that bad 4 of the other 5 days. Maybe one day a year he works from home.

If he takes up skiing, he might want to reevaluate.
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FinTruth
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Re: Son moving to Denver from California

Post by FinTruth »

I love in Colorado. Get the snow tires. Although it may not be "necessary", the difference in traction is huge. As far as cost, the way I look at it is that the cost is minimal. Although snow tires wear out faster in my experience, you are not using your summer tires in winter, so they last longer. Over time, the minimal delta costs seems well worth it.
I grew up in the Midwest, and now I have no idea why we never purchased snow tires when I was younger, it would have made life so much easier...
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Re: Son moving to Denver from California

Post by angelescrest »

dbr wrote: Sat Jan 19, 2019 10:25 pm
dustinst22 wrote: Sat Jan 19, 2019 9:42 pm
dbr wrote: Sat Jan 19, 2019 6:04 pm An irony about the Midwest is I read an article that states most (like 75%) of Upper Midwest drivers don't bother to mount winter tires as such ever. That would be Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan.
Interesting. Growing up in Alaska, nearly 100% of people put studded tires on for the winter. If you didn't you were sure to go off the road. Good tires is vastly more important than AWD.
Studded tires are not permitted in Minnesota and Wisconsin and only rubber studs are permitted in Michigan. Go figure.
I’m no engineer, but in Alaska they use a special epoxy on top of their asphalt, mixed with glass beads and other durable material that protects it from studded tires and chains. Otherwise it would reduce it down to nothing pretty quickly, and the funding for roads up in the Upper Midwest already sucks as it is. Alaska also has some of the most incredible mountain ranges with tons of snow. I’ve driven a lot in Alaska, Denver, and the Upper Midwest, and Denver is nothing. The snow melts really fast with the sun, and it’s mostly flat. In my view, winter tires would be a waste of money as that expensive rubber would be wearing down driving on dry roads 95% of the time. In the mountains, yeah, different story. But even in Alaska, I drove a crappy Nissan Juke rental (baby SUV AWD) and did fine, except when too much snow got under the car, but that was a clearance issue. Now there was one year, maybe 2005 or something, when there was a massive storm across the country, to the extent that people were stuck in airports for days, and Denver got hammered with like 36” of snow in 24 hours (all time record), and a few days later got hammered again. We literally had to dig a tunnel to the main road to be able to get anywhere, and that was a real fun mess. Mayor was under fire since they ran out of resources. But that was during Christmas and few people were working anyhow.

I’ll give a contrasting view to FinTruth. I drive in snowmageddon territory, don’t have AWD, and don’t use snow tires. But I know how to handle the car very well, and also use the highest rated snow/ice all season tires from Tirerack.com, which are usually Continentals. Been using those for years now, and when they are new, they are fantastic. But you want to replace them sooner than say when I lived in California, which is dry 99% of the time and slicks are almost advantageous. Here, though, like in my wife’s car, I replace them after about 4 winters even if the tread life has some ways to go, to allow for optimal driving on snowy roads. It also means safer driving in the rain in the spring and summer.

Now, if I had the right tools and space in the garage, I might consider putting winter tires on my wife’s car (pain imho to take it to the shop) just for a husband and father’s peace of mind. Every storm I drive by people who, even on straight roads, somehow end up in the ditch. Most of the time it’s because they panic if they feel they’re slipping, and then overcompensate. But there’s zero reason in my neck of the woods for that. The only thing I fear are curvy two lane highways, and icy intersections, when there has been some melt and then freezing overnight.

But Denver? Nah. Not even AWD if you don’t go into the mountains in the winter. Had to drive down from Breckinridge last winter, while it was snowing, and that was pretty unpleasant in a FWD mini van, not because we were gonna crash, but because we were losing traction on the uphill portions and almost got stuck. That would have been a real PITA since we’d be in the way of the plows. But in hindsight, if we had checked the weather, we would have waited a mere two hours and then it wouldn’t have been an issue as the roads were cleared by then.
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dratkinson
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Re: Son moving to Denver from California

Post by dratkinson »

Try this search: http://www.google.com/search?q=colorado ... fact+sheet

Read the Colorado Chain Law Fact Sheet.



The short answer. AWD/4WD + M+S/M&S tires + sufficient tread depth = are legal for all plowed road conditions. (First-person experience: M+S/M&S tires without siping are useless on ice. See: http://www.google.com/search?q=define+siping )

However, when the snow is deep, plows not able to keep up (roads unplowed), then chains (alternative traction devices) are required. So even with winter tires, chains would still be required.

If severe conditions continue, then roads will be closed until the plows can catch up.



It is recommended that your son...
--Research winter driving techniques.
--Practice winter driving techniques---starting/stopping/turning/skidding/skid recovery---in an empty snow-covered parking lot... so he will learn his vehicle's diminished traction capabilities. And know they are worse on hills. (Down hill, on ice, a vehicle may become unstoppable, so toward an intersection would be a bad situation and to be anticipated/avoided.)
--Keep winter survival gear in the vehicle. (As a CYA. Better to have it and not need it....)
--Avoid driving in snowstorms.
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krafty81
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Re: Son moving to Denver from California

Post by krafty81 »

Thanks for all the thoughtful replies! Very useful. This remains the most useful forum I have found and well worth all the time I spend here! :D
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Re: Son moving to Denver from California

Post by GreenGrowTheDollars »

If he'll be working in the Google/transit village vicinity or in the Pearl Street area, I'd highly advise the RTD Bus Rapid Transit rather than driving. The bus has preferential lanes and the traffic from Denver to Boulder in the AM is sluggish for 2-3 hours. Really sluggish. It is then bad again from 3-6:30 in the afternoon. (I say this as someone who formerly lived in LA.) Many employers provide Eco-Passes, which makes the ride free. The bus has wi-fi, and it is comfortable and frequent.

From a car perspective -- my Subaru has never had more than all-weather tires and does great.
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Re: Son moving to Denver from California

Post by CurlyDave »

BolderBoy wrote: Sat Jan 19, 2019 1:43 pm
samsdad wrote: Sat Jan 19, 2019 1:35 pmAnd a ice scraper the length of your arm. A bunch of blankets wouldn’t hurt either.
Good suggestions. Every winter (mid-October) I put a sleeping bag and several types of remove-snow-from-windows devices in the car. Take them out in the Spring.
If he is at all active, sooner or later he will have a ski outfit, with something close to insulated coveralls.This is at least as good a bet to put in the car as a sleeping bag or blankets. Both is really best. Hiking a mile to the the next exit is a lot easier in ski or snowboard clothing than in a sleeping bag...
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Re: Son moving to Denver from California

Post by phantom0308 »

02nz wrote: Sat Jan 19, 2019 1:35 pm
livesoft wrote: Sat Jan 19, 2019 1:02 pm He can ask his new co-workers.
On average they'll be about as knowledgeable about winter tires as they are about index funds. :happy
The feedback loop for being able to drive is shorter than being able to invest for the long term, so I'd guess they'll be more knowledgeable. If the average investor found out how their investments would do over 30 years after a few days, they'd be a lot better at it.
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Re: Son moving to Denver from California

Post by MnD »

30+ years living Denver/Boulder and other front range cities.
AWD and all-season tires are perfect for Denver/Boulder and the occasional trip into the mountains. Many people just have FWD vehicles (including DW) and some even rear-wheel drive with all-season tires and do just fine, although AWD or 4WD does come in handy on rare occasion.

If you are spending a great deal of time in the mountains (which is not by the way Denver/Boulder) because you live in them and commute down or for work projects and/or _lots_ of winter recreation, I would recommend AWD or 4WD and dedicated winter tires. There's cost, time and storage involved with having separate winter tires which for the vast majority of Denver/Boulder drivers is not worth it. Most of the time you are going to be driving your snow tires on completely dry roads and sunny conditions in winter.
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dbr
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Re: Son moving to Denver from California

Post by dbr »

MnD wrote: Mon Jan 21, 2019 1:06 pm 30+ years living Denver/Boulder and other front range cities.
AWD and all-season tires are perfect for Denver/Boulder and the occasional trip into the mountains. Many people just have FWD vehicles (including DW) and some even rear-wheel drive with all-season tires and do just fine, although AWD or 4WD does come in handy on rare occasion.

If you are spending a great deal of time in the mountains (which is not by the way Denver/Boulder) because you live in them and commute down or for work projects and/or _lots_ of winter recreation, I would recommend AWD or 4WD and dedicated winter tires. There's cost, time and storage involved with having separate winter tires which for the vast majority of Denver/Boulder drivers is not worth it. Most of the time you are going to be driving your snow tires on completely dry roads and sunny conditions in winter.
That situation is common to many winter areas even without warmer and sunnier conditions typical of that part of the country. That probably explains why usage of dedicated winter tires is not that high even where one might have expected changing over to winter tires would be routine. In short the relative benefit is not compelling even if objective data says tire type is important to performance in winter. As far as that goes it may be AWD/4WD is not of compelling benefit beyond FWD though in this case the consumer vote seems to favor AWD. The difference is that you don't have to manage a twice a year changeover to run AWD and AWD is a feel good feature.

As an interesting aside, where I drive in snow and ice I have probably had more bad experiences where the difference would have been/was having a higher clearance under the car than having AWD.
MnD
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Re: Son moving to Denver from California

Post by MnD »

We've been getting 70K miles with Michelin M+S and all-season year-round tires on both my 4WD truck and DW's FWD sedan. With separate summer and winter tires it begs the question just how old your tires might get given you might be only putting 1/2 the normal miles on each set.

We only drive about 10K per vehicle per year so in our case that would translate to 14-year old tires before they were worn out if we had two sets. So for some at least, it is unlikely one would get the full value out of each set of tires given typical vehicle turnover and/or manufacturers recommendations to replace tires at 6-10 years. Discount Tire, a major chain in the Denver/Boulder area will not do any service on any tire that exceeds 10 years.
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oxothuk
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Re: Son moving to Denver from California

Post by oxothuk »

AWD drive is what let’s you GO in the snow. Good tires are what let you STOP in the snow.
Yiewsley
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Re: Son moving to Denver from California

Post by Yiewsley »

All season tires are fine here.
MtnTraveler
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Re: Son moving to Denver from California

Post by MtnTraveler »

I have lived here the majority of my life and my answer is... it depends. A good all-season tire is an absolute must but I find that whether snow tires are needed depends on what the driver wants to do (skiing for instance), weight distribution of the vehicle, and skill of the driver. I've seen AWD cars with snow tires struggle due to weight distribution of the vehicle while a regular front wheel drive car does absolutely fine with good all seasons. It is important to note that Colorado is apparently cracking down on people driving in snow/ice without the proper designation on their tires. I've only read about it but apparently there is even a law now. Basically I would absolutely recommend getting good all-season tires regardless and experience a winter here and then decide on winter tires (unless he wants to ski - if so get snow tires now). The last 5 years I've switched to snow tires on 2 of my cars and kept the regular all-seasons on the third. The kids car getting snow tires is a no brainer and I've slid off the road more times than I want to admit to in a 4Runner with all-seasons and 4wd on so the 4Runner gets them as well.
Shallowpockets
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Re: Son moving to Denver from California

Post by Shallowpockets »

There are a lot of cost issues here. Per BH thinking, one should evaluate that.
Cost of two sets of tires. Cost of possible two sets of rims, or cost of changing over tires on the same rims each year. Cost of storage in bigger garage, apartment. Less wear per year on each set, but someone here will pipe in about loss of tire integrity from sitting around twice as long in an unused state. Rubber deterioration.
Another BH consideration is why this projected commute, which translates to costs of money and time and even more so if in an accident due to weather or simply by being on the road more hours than a short commute.
Perhaps the whole premise of living in a place that needs a commute such as this is suspect. Maybe there can be a better plan.
I live in Denver burbs 28 years and have been driving an AWD Honda Element without snow tires since 2005 and before that other SUVs without snow tires all with no problems. Snow comes, snow goes. Drive slower, less braking. Be prepared. Maybe you will get some winter days with snow and you have to make the best of it.
Truth be told, get rid of that commute.
dbr
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Re: Son moving to Denver from California

Post by dbr »

When I first lived in Denver the one innovation was to buy a VW bug and enjoy rear engine RWD in the snow. The getting ice off the inside of the windshield was a different issue. I don't remember anyone putting snow tires on a VW (probably they actually did) but I certainly remember putting chains on any car to go to the mountains for skiing. I70 wasn't a thing then. People definitely had real 4WD cars. A friend had an International Harvester Scout and we were all amazingly jealous, but that vehicle got us a lot of places. Our other car of choice for going to the mountains was a pair of 1949 Nash Ramblers but I don't recall ever daring those in the winter in the mountains. I recall one or two people owning a Willys Overlander as well but never rode in one.

I guess the lesson is plain cars do just fine on the plains around Denver and the mountains in winter are a whole other ballgame.
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