By on September 28, 2010

To every tire —Turn, turn, turn
There is a season — Turn, turn, turn
And a wheel for every tire
In your garage
A time for max g — A time for low mu
A time for low profile — A time for thick chine
A time to enter turns sideways
A time to refrain from entering turns sideways

I’ve had winter tires for at least one car in my mini-fleet for ten years now. I only really “need” them about ten days a year. For at least three months each year, however, they provide security, confidence, and personal travel flexibility that more than justify the expense. A quick check of my fellow Ohioans’ tread patterns shows that I’m in a clear minority, unfortunately. For those of you who aren’t blessed with a San Diego, Phoenix, or Miami ZIP Code… what are ya’ll doing to prepare for winter?

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109 Comments on “Ask The Best and Brightest: What’s Your Winter Tire Plan?...”


  • avatar
    Educator(of teachers)Dan

    Switch from scooter to truck, truck is RWD and has fairly agressive tires.

    • 0 avatar
      ScottE

      When I bought my IS350 five years ago with summer tires, the best thing I did was drop an extra thousand on a set of winter rubber and wheels. In Chicago, I’d have been a fool not to. Of course, my wife thought otherwise (as do the vast majority of all-season-tired drivers) and rolled her eyes at the extra expense.
      That’s fine by me, especially as I do my own rolling, right past the the guy who snowplowed his crossover into the drainage ditch.

  • avatar

    At some point in the coming weeks I’ll hit Tire Rack and find decent cheap rims and snowtires that fit my 2006 CTS-V, which will have to see some (limited) on-road duty this winter.
    My other vehicle is a Dodge minivan, which has always been fine in New England snow on its Michelin all-seasons.

  • avatar
    Steven Lang

    I never changed tires when I was in upstate New York or northern New Jersey.
    But then again, I had a FWD vehicle and all-season tires. If I had an expensive RWD vehicle it would be a different story.
     
     

  • avatar
    Joshua Johnson

    For my Jag S-Type R, bought a second set of factory rims (damn staggered wheels) and shod them in Yokohama W-Drive snow tires. For the 10 or so days I “really” needed them last year, they worked phenomenally well.

  • avatar
    tomm

    I live in New England and have a second set of wheels with Michelin snow tires that I throw on my 540i 6-speed at the first sign of snow. The car seems to go reasonably well with the snow tires. I tend to jump the gun and get the summer wheels/tires on in March because the car looks and handles so much better, and of course we then get another minor snow storm while I’m out and it can be scary trying to get home on the summer tires.

  • avatar
    the duke

    Back when I lived in Portland, I never bothered. What’s a little rain gonna do? It was all seasons year-round.

    Here in Michigan, before the white stuff comes falling, I’ll be putting back on the studless snow tires mounted on dedicated steelies.  Stock tires sucked in general, in the wet in particular.  Add to that I spread out the mileage on two sets of tire, and don’e have salt destroying my factory alloy rims, and it was definitely worth it. Again, only really need them 10 days or so a year, but when I need them, they’re already there.

    That, and on my gray Mazda3, I almost like the look of the black steelies (16″, I downsized from the factory 17s but 15s won’t clear the caliper in front) more than the alloys, so it gives a different look for the dark winter months.

  • avatar
    gslippy

    I have pre-mounted Firestone snows for the xB.  They got a lot of use last year with our 80-inch snowfall here in western PA, but normal is about 42 inches.
     
    We’re planning to tough it out with new Yokohama Avid-S all season tires for the Elantra, and the stock Kuhmo KH-16 tires for the Sedona.  I’m not overly optimistic for either.

  • avatar
    Boff

    I have a set of cheap 17″ alloy rims with performance snow tires to slap on my RX-8 in December. The car performs very well in a Southern Ontario winter thus equipped, with ground clearance being a more significant issue than traction. They are not too snappy plowing my street, so I park facing the road, 20 feet up my driveway, so I can get some momentum when I pull out. I get a charge from driving past all the SUV’s in the ditch after a storm…proper tires, control honesty, keeping your momentum and prudence behind the wheel gets you through winter, not the overconfidence arising from off-road ability and a towering ride height. If I lived in a rural or hilly area, perhaps the RX-8 would not be such a good choice, though!

  • avatar
    86er

    Truck has dedicated snow tires on rims, car, well, I thought I’d be one of the cool kids and buy those Nokian WR-G2 “all-weather” tires, but they’re still not a suitable substitute for dedicated snow tires.

    • 0 avatar
      Bimmer

      Well, I guess, I’m one of the cool kids. I have just bought and installed yesterday Russian made tires – Nokian WRG2. I have no storage space for two sets of dedicated tires and living in a city with good snow removal, I think they will be suitable for me.
       
      BTW, all season tires loose their grip as soon as temperature drops to below +7°C ( 45 F). So, if you have Winter tires, don’t wait for the first snow to change the tires. Wait when average temperature dips to 45F (+7°C).

    • 0 avatar
      86er

      Let me clarify, sometimes my sarcasm knows no bounds.

      I find the G2s have significant traction advantages over all-seasons, that much is indisputable.  However, I find that I still have to drive the car like it’s rolling on all-seasons, as the G2s are not as forgiving as dedicated snow tires.

      I was told upon purchase that these are “80%” as effective as snow tires, in that they’ll handle 80% of the conditions that a good set of snow tires will.

      They were an expensive purchase, but I figured the changeover costs would negate that over time.  Climate and conditions may vary, but I’m not completely confident in a tire that Nokian says is a true “four-season” application.

  • avatar
    HankScorpio

    All seasons have never let me down.  Of course I don’t own a car that sits 4 inches off the ground with 300mm tires either.  Even though I live in the Chicago area, I rarely had a need for 4WD last year.  The streets are cleared quickly and my truck is heavy enough that RWD +TC +Stability Control was adequate.  I only needed 4WD when I was out in the country and needed to climb un-plowed driveways and on the lonely county roads where the snow drifts.
    The wife’s Subaru does fine with all seasons also.  We just replaced the OEM GY Eagle LS-2′s this year with some General Grabber HTS All Seasons.  The GY’s had me thinking about snow tires for that car.  6 inches of snow in our driveway with a small incline and all four tires were packed with snow and spinning.  This was with only 12K miles on the tires.  The General’s have received far better reviews on Tirerack.com than the OEM tires.

  • avatar
    jaydez

    I live in CT.  I just bought a used Explorer 4×4 for my new vehicle.  It has good BFG longtrail terrains so I’m all set.  My other car is Fusion.  I have a set of General Altimax Arctic tires mounted on a set of rims ready to go on the first time the weatherman tells me snow is expected.

  • avatar
    ellomdian

    Probably going to get some decent snow-ish tires on my e38 here in Denver. But I anticipate putting summer rubber on new wheels when it thaws.

  • avatar
    dubtee1480

    Actually, down South “winter tires” exist in some areas, only usually they refer to someone taking the nice wheels & all terrains off of their truck and swapping them for a set of steel rims & mud tires :)

  • avatar
    mikey

     My beloved Firebird became a casuality of early retirement, freeing up a spot in the garage. I’m thinking, I might use it for the Impala during the nasty parts of our Southern Ontario winter. My wife commutes on the train now, so I think I’ll drive her old Jimmy with 4/4 and Michelin LTX M/S tires.

    • 0 avatar
      Educator(of teachers)Dan

      Sounds like a plan to me.  (So did the Firebird take up too much room, need too much work, not get enough attention?  Most guys in retirement are looking at convertibles not selling them.)

    • 0 avatar
      mikey

      None of the above, Dan. Insurance, plates and repairs. Oh yeah that and I couldn’t figure how to make it fit into a envelope. It seems the nice people at the Canadian Revenue Agency wanted me to send them an obscene amount of money. I entertained the thought of driving up to Ottawa and parking it in thier office. Rational thought prevailed and I sold it.

       I saw it about a week ago, filthy, dirty. If I see it with steelies and snow tires,I might have to cry.

    • 0 avatar
      Educator(of teachers)Dan

      You could have taken it up to their offices, parked it with the keys in it, and left a note that said; “Anybody who wants to pay the registration taxes and insurance on this sucker can have it.”  But that’s not nearly as much fun.  :)  For some reason your words made me picture the scene in “The Mighty Ducks” where Emilo Estevez is drunk driving his Corvette through the filthy snowy streets.

  • avatar

    For my last 3 cars I’ve had a dedicated set of wheels with winter tires mounted on them.  Two sets of OEM alloy rims (one set takeoffs on ebay, one set from a local dismantler) and the third on a set of OEM steelies.

    I run dedicated summer tires the rest of the year on each cars’ OEM alloys.   Snow tires have been from Michelin, Bridgestone & Vredestein.

    I’m facing a purchase decision right now for how to tackle winter with my recently purchased X5 35d.  Since it came with the 20″ sport wheels, the factory tires are strictly a summer-only affair.

    I bought a set of take-off OEM alloys from an ’09 e70 on ebay, but UPS managed to lose one and destroy another one between California and Connecticut.
    The seller refunded most of my money & let me keep the two rims that actually made the trip because he didn’t have access to any more matching rims.

    For me I’m trying to decide on a whole host of issues:

    1) Run Flat or traditional.  I fear the stiff side wall of a run-flat winter tire will compromise handling in deep snow.

    2) TPMS or not (if traditional).  Have to do it if running run flats.

    3) Buy two more matching OEM rims (only available new @ ~$440 each) or buy a mounted/balanced  set on aftermarket alloys.  I’ve never run aftermarket rims and I like both the pedigree and “look” of oem wheels.

    4) Brand?

    Vredestein Wintracs (used 03-09 on an ’03 GTI) were more than adequate and wore like iron.  I have fond memories of these tires.  Downside is that they are hard to source.

    Blizzaks worked great in the cold (used primarily as cold-weather tires for when the PS2′s on my SRT-6 turned into hockey pucks) but wore pretty fast and didn’t seem as sticky as the Vred’s.

    I’m impressed with the traction of the Michelins (X-Ice 2?) that I have on my C30, but I only have 1 season of using them.

    The Pirellis for the X5 get good reviews, and have the added benefit of being the lowest priced option.

    The Continentals available for the X5 also get good reviews, but are expensive.

    So, What’s my plan?

    I don’t know, but I better decide soon.

  • avatar
    Stingray

    I would ask you about good tyres for rain driving… since we don’t get snow down here.

  • avatar
    mdensch

    Location:  Southern Wisconsin — we get a fair amount of snow.
     
    We’ve been driving FWD cars for over 25 years and have always gotten by with all-seasons.  We’ve also owned 4WD Escapes for the past 10 years and, again, gotten by just fine with all-seasons (including a hair-riasing trip to the Detroit auto show press preview in 2009, driving through some of the worst winter conditions I’ve ever driven).
     
    Just bought myself a 2011 Mustang V6 and will definitely be getting a set of winter treads for it since it is my daily driver.  Have already scoped out OEM matching wheels on ebay so I can swap more easily as the seasons change.

  • avatar
    Quentin

    When I still had my MKV GTI, I ran a set of the oem 17″ wheels w/ Icebear winter tires.  It did reasonably well, but if I had gone off, I’d have been waiting for the tow truck for sure.  The MINI has all seasons year round and never makes the ‘winter trips’ back to my parents’ house over the WV mountains.  It does excellent in the snow we get here in the valley thanks in part to no real slopes of any kind here.  This will be the first year with the 4Runner.  I’ve gone back and forth about getting a 2nd set of wheels with an aggressive snow tire for my mountain runs or to ride out this year as a trial on the standard Bridgestones.  If 16″ wheels would fit over my brakes, I’d pick up some of the FJ TRD wheels for it and be happy as a clam, but I’m forced to at least a 17″ wheel.  I’ll probably do as I’ve done in the past and find some OEM wheels from another Toyota (FJ Cruiser, Tacoma, last gen 4Runner).

  • avatar
    brettc

    Looking at a set of Blizzak WS60s on Tirerack. I currently have a set of Yokohama IG20s, but the tread is a bit low on them. Figure I better get some ordered soon before the Quebecers buy them all up. :)

    • 0 avatar
      TCragg

      Word to my brother.  I live in the Ontario snowbelt between two lakes, and we get more than our fair share of frozen love from above.  I have been running winter tires for the past 15 years, and have burned through various sets of Dunlop, Michelin, Toyo, and Pirelli winter tires, always mounted on factory rims for my two Passats (2004 4motion wagon, and 2010 2.0T wagon).  Winters go on by Nov. 15, and come off no earlier than late March (you never know).  And like Baruth said, my winter mobility is important to me.  Just because there’s no snow in London doesn’t mean that Owen Sound or Barrie were so lucky.  And to echo Brett’s comments above, because of Quebec’s mandatory winter tire law, snow tires are very hard to come by beyond early October up here.  Get ‘em early!

  • avatar

    Nokian Hakkapeliitta RSis on my ’07 Accord, Yokohama Ice Guards on my wife’s ’09 Fit.  Both have sticks, which I think makes winter driving even easier.  Being able to start in second gear, with a little more control over torque, is a handy thing at times.
    Our winter season in Saskatchewan is long (it’s hot today but we could have persistent snow a month from now).  I usually mount my tires in late October to mid-November, depending on how the weather is looking, and I take them off sometime in April.
    One of the winter tire companies is advertising here in Canada that you should be running winter tires whenever the temperature is below 7 degrees (45 F).  I’d heard it before; the idea is that you get better traction in the cold, even if there isn’t snow, with the softer rubber of a winter tire.  Conversely, if it gets hot you’ll wear them out really quickly, so it’s important to get them off as soon as the risk of snow and ice is essentially gone.
    I wouldn’t go without winter tires anymore.  We don’t have particularly snowy winters here, but the residential streets tend to be snow-covered all winter long (main streets get ruts and then, eventually, become bare a few times during the winter).  It’s sort of like having air bags and seat belts; you don’t really want to need them, but you want to have them anyway.
    I’ve only gotten stuck in the snow once in seven winters of winter tire use.  We got a massive quick snowfall last winter and I got stuck turning a corner onto my home’s street.  Half our office staff didn’t make it into work that morning, but I did.  (Lurking neighbours who knew people were getting stuck got me out of the deep snow in under a minute!)

  • avatar
    jimble

    Simple: when there’s a lot of snow on the ground I don’t drive. I live within walking distance of everything I really need and it’s not worth the aggravation of dealing with clueless DC-area drivers in the snow.

  • avatar
    bunkie

    A few years back, I bought a set of four Bridgestone Blizzaks for my 2003 CTS. I scored a set of 17″ OEM alloys off ebay, and each winter I’ve changed over. One advantage of the 2006 STS we now have is that the 17″ rims bolted right up. Sadly, the Blizzaks are now worn out so I’ll be mounting a fresh set in about two months.

    My primary reason for this is that I find that all-season tires are biased way too far toward the summer season, especially on ice. Despite having a V8 and RWD, the STS is fine on the Blizzaks and I find that they communicate the road conditions well allowing me a good amount of confidence. We weekend up in the country year round and I wouldn’t do it any other way.

    If you’ve never experienced the difference between all-seasons and snows, you’re in for a pleasant surprise. Definitely worth the money and effort to do the biennial changeover if you drive in snowy or icy conditions.

  • avatar
    JuniperBug

    As far as I’m concerned, if you can spend $10k+ on a car and live somewhere where the winter brings half decent snow coverage, you’d be a fool not to invest in winter tires. Unless you swap cars frequently, you’re going to go through at least 2 sets of tires, anyway, right? So may as well get a set of each right away, and swap them when needed. Over the life of the car, the only extra cost will essentially be that of mounting the tires (or buying a second set of rims, if you go that route). That’s peanuts compared to the price of the car, especially when you consider the extra margin of safety and performance afforded by the winter tires.

    Can you get away with driving on all seasons year-round? Sure, but unless you’re flat broke and drive a near-worthless beater, why would you?

    In my neck of the woods, snow tires are now mandatory between December 15 and March 15. The result: I now see late-model BMW’s driving around on snow tires all year round. People are ridiculous.

    • 0 avatar
      Disaster

      There are a few reasons, winter tires haven’t been a bigger hit.
      1.  It is hard to justify the cost on lease vehicles, where the tires don’t wear out before the car gets turned in.
      2.  People don’t have room, or just plain don’t want to store winter tires.
      3.  People are ignorant of how hugely better winter tires are.  They figure all season means all seasons.
      4.  People are too lazy to be bothered with another maintenance item…changing tires seasonally.

    • 0 avatar
      Giskard

      +1
      For reference, I live in north western Minnesota (near the Canadian border), so I have to deal with a fair amount of snow for 4-5 months out of the year.  It shocks me how few people take the tiny bit of trouble to fit a set of winter tires to their vehicles.  I think it has a lot to do with what Disaster was saying – you have to stump up to buy a set before you know how good they are.  Most people don’t think there will be that much difference, even when I flat out tell anyone who complains about winter driving I will not drive my own vehicle without winter tires in the winter – they’re that good.  I don’t feel safe without them in the winter anymore.

      There are very few small cars up here – almost everyone drives 4×4 trucks and SUVs so they can “make it through the snow.”  And they still struggle to control their tanks over the ice all winter long on their “all season” tires.  it’s kind of fun to run rings around them in my little Honda Fit with Blizzaks or my Boxster with it’s performance snow Dunlops (I actually put more miles on the Boxster in the winter – it’s great fun in the snow with the proper tires – as long as it isn’t too deep).

      I remember last January we had a snowstorm over a weekend that deposited nearly 6 inches of snow on the road outside my house (I live about 8 miles from town).  It actually warmed up the next day, which made it very slushy and they didn’t come by to plow it until Monday evening.  There were several people missing from work that Monday, including my neighbor who has a 4×4 Toyota.  I just plowed through it with my Blizzak equipped Fit :)

      Oh, I should mention that another advantage to winter tires is the ability to change the size of the tire. I run one size smaller tires with a narrower tread in the winter to help make it through the snow. This also makes the tires and rims cheaper. Having a separate set of wheels for winter also protects your nice summer alloy wheels from the winter salt (they dump a lot of salt on the roads up here). I run with steel wheels on the Fit and the original 16″ alloys on the Boxster in the winter (steel wheels just wouldn’t look right on a Boxster). Oh, and the Fit has a tire pressure monitoring system, but my winter wheels do not have sensors for it. Not worth the extra expense, in my opinion, but then I know how to use a tire pressure gauge and bicycle pump.

    • 0 avatar
      The Walking Eye

      I’ve lived in Indiana my whole life but for two years and I’ve never felt the “need” for snow tires.  But I’ve also always lived in cities which have been very good at clearing roads.  Plus, snow tires make it harder to hoon around when traffic’s not around or in empty lots.
       
      This year, I may upgrade to better all-seasons, but may just keep the originals since it’s a lease anyway.  2009 Impreza Wagon, manual, handled just fine in northern Indiana and Chicago last year.  Plus, I don’t have anywhere to put my wheels now, so snow tires are a moot point for me.

  • avatar
    Disaster

    I spent years in ignorant bliss…or not so much bliss, driving all seasons on all my cars, year round.  My ignorance was shattered when my teenage son drove/slid our traction controlled, antilock braked, front wheel drive, Volvo S60 into a freeway wall.  It was just starting to snow and the roads were really slippery and, of course, he was driving too fast.  Fortunately, it just turned out to be a teaching moment for both of us.  My brother asked me if I heard of winter tires and the education began.
     
    I purchased Blizzaks, for the replacement Acura TL, because they were THE winter tire, and was amazed at how much less white knuckle driving I had to do.  That winter I had to drive the same son to college in a snow storm.  We counted over 20 cars off the road…mostly SUV’s, but we plowed along…passing one SUV after another.  I was sold… evangelized even.
     
    Now we have a set of dedicated winter tires for every vehicle, all 3 of them.  I’ve found Blizzaks are excellent, but so are General Altimax Artics, and Michelin XIce’s. My neighbor jokes that it looks like I’m starting a tire store, but I’m not sure if laughed so much the half a dozen days last year when he had to park his car at the bottom of the driveway, while we rolled right up.

    • 0 avatar
      TCragg

      I have been a winter tire evangelist in the past, telling people that a dedicated set of high-quality winter tires on separate rims were not a cost, but an investment.  You just proved my point.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    Dedicated snow tires on ugly black steel rims, both vehicles, all four corners.  Both cars also get a fresh undercarriage wash and rustproofing, as well as a solid waxing.
     
    If you live anywhere that it snows (or, more importantly, anywhere that it snap-ices) the tires are a must.  If you live where they salt, the rustproofing is worth it, too.

  • avatar
    Charles T

    I’m about to spend my first Boston winter with a Toyota MR2 Spyder, which being a RWD mid-engined convertible is by some accounts one of the worst cars to use in the snow. I will be putting on a set of Viking Snowtech tires mounted on 14″ Mk1 MR2 wheels. Vikings are apparently made by Continental so they’re trustworthy, and reviews I’ve seen say that they’re particularly good on plowed roads and cold rain, which is what I’ll mostly be facing. My main worry is dealing with other drivers on crowded Boston roads. It’s a small car, and thanks to the convertible top it has an enormous rear quarter blind spot that is very good at hiding turning traffic and cyclists.

    • 0 avatar
      ivyinvestor

      Hey, Charles,
       
      We’re transplants to Boston from DC, although I drove for many years where I grew up – upstate NY.
       
      Best wishes for a safe winter: we’ve been up here for a few years and the winters aren’t much to write home about, although the MR2 (nice!) might be a bit of a clown on our horribly pockmarked roads…
       
      For the record: 2000 Civic 5-spd: all season; 2006 TSX auto: all season. Never had a reason to use anything else in NY’s snowbelt, up here in Boston, or in NoVA.

  • avatar
    hreardon

    I’ve run a set of winters since my ’04 Golf R32 and it was worth every penny.  I think the 17″ Blizzaks I ran on that car were slightly better than the current Dunlop WinterSports I’m running on my A3, but I would recommend either.

    I’m also among the group that feels a good set of dedicated winter wheels will provide better security than most all-wheel-drive setups alone can do.  Of course, one thing I need to remind people is that winter tires do not negate the laws of physics: if you drive like an asshat on icy winter roads, no snow tire in existence will prevent you from buying the farm in due course.

  • avatar
    mikey

    @TCragg You are so right.  I’m on the north shore of Lake Ontario, where we get less snow. Though when we do get hit the roads are clogged with them that refuse winter tires.

  • avatar

    The Canadian Research Council proved that all-season tires lose grip at 45 Fahrenheit (7 Celsius). Being in Ontario, I switch rubber in November/April. Alloys for summer, steelies for winter. Winter tires are mandatory in Quebec… it should be a priority for any jurisdiction with a real winter.

  • avatar
    racebeer

    Due to changes in the bus route about 3 years ago, I now drive to a park & ride instead of walking one block from the house to catch the bus to work.  This being Minnesota and me driving a Firebird with high performance summer tires, shall we say that first winter I tried to commute to the park & ride lot was a real adventure.  So, the following winter (actually September) I got online at the Tire Rack and ordered a package of alloys with winter tires mounted.  After reading numerous reviews of RWD cars with various tires, I got the Dunlop SP Winter Sport 3D.  After 2 years of use (getting ready to mount them for this coming winter…), I’ve been quite impressed.  Haven’t gotten stuck, the car doesn’t slip around, and with the limited slip rear it really moves quite nicely from a stop.  All my neighbors laugh a bit when they see me putting them on in mid/late October, but they usually don’t laugh when I can make it up the fairly steep cul-de-sac with a hot rod while they typically fight to get up it.  Winter tires are WELL worth the price and inconvenience twice a year!!!!

    • 0 avatar
      Z71_Silvy

      Yep…if you know how to drive and have proper tires….RWD is just as capable in the snow.
       
      Snow tires are a much smarter purchase than AWD.  AWD breaks and does not help you turn or stop.

  • avatar
    Z71_Silvy

    When I owned my open diff, no traction control, RWD Crown Vic, I bought the cheapest winter tires I could find…WinterForce tires for $75 a piece.
     
    I live in the upper mid-west……I was never stuck once.

  • avatar
    Larry P2

    We are finally starting to recover from the SUV hysteria, so snow tires will be more ubiquitous. Remember SUVs? The salesmen saying “Just think about how wonderful and safe they will be in the winter.”
    NOT.
    SUV’s: The greatest organized fraud in history. Yes, I too am a snow tire evangelist. Michelin X-Ice: Have the same traction as Blizzaks with 10 times the dry pavement capability.

  • avatar
    Jordan Tenenbaum

    I live in the snowbelt portion of Ohio, so my Volvo never goes without snow tires.

  • avatar
    zbnutcase

    I park the sedan and jump into my 5.0L powered 4×4 Ranger pick-up with 31-10.50′s and go rescue people….

  • avatar
    chuckR

    I have two sets of tires awaiting colder weather. For my daughter’s college commute car, 4 Blizzak snow tires go on around Thanksgiving. For my Cayman I have 4 Continental 810S winter tires. The Contis are NOT snow tires, but provide good grip at low temperatures, unlike the Michelin PS2s summer tires which are downright evil under 40F or so. I had snows on order the first winter for the Cayman, but after a couple of weeks inactivity, I wanted to go around the block a few times (or more) and get everything warmed up. Got stuck in my driveway. Four (4) inches of good snowball snow was all it took.  Third car, A4 AWD has all seasons and has gotten through NE winters for 12 years on the same. If you have a car with summer tires and live where it goes to 40F and below, you’d best be damn careful or better yet get a set of winter/snow tires.

    • 0 avatar
      racebeer

      Agree with your last comment.  The Firebird with the summer Firehawks was an absolute nightmare that first winter before I got the Dunlop Winter Sports.  There is definitely a noticable difference in grip when the temps start dropping in October.  Snow, of course, was almost impossible from a standing start.  I won’t say how many times I got stuck that first winter before I got smart and bought the dedicated winter set ……

  • avatar
    HoldenSSVSE

    My winter tire combination is 205/70R15 tires attached to a SWB ’98 Pontiac Trans Sport winter beater that I bought last year for $1.9K, craptastic GM 3.4L with a slightly leaking head gasket and all.  Winter tires/rims for the toy were going to cost $1.6K – 245/40R19 tires aren’t cheap – the beater seemed the better way to go and keeps miles off of the toy.

  • avatar
    jpcavanaugh

    I have not used snow/winter tires since the days of bias plys.  However, I have also not had a car that is bad in snow, and most have been rear wheel drive.  With one exception, I have also not had performance tires that were bad in slick weather.  That exception was a set of Eagle GTs on an 85 VW GTI.  Without the big front weight bias on that car, it would have been immobile in snow and in retrospect, it could have used winter tires.  I have always liked the second set of rims setup which makes the semi-annual swap childs play.
    Edit: I live in central Indiana where we get moderate snow in the winter.

  • avatar
    dingram01

    All-seasons, for all the seasons, here in CT.  Grew up driving a Saab in the sloppy stuff in the White Mountains, and snow tires were a must there of course.  But here the roads get cleared pretty quickly and the greater hazard is other drivers, especially those in SUVs.
    Right now I’m driving a FWD Jetta TDI wagon.  This will be its second winter; it did fine in the white stuff last year.  Before this car it was a 95 BMW 540i6, again with all-seasons.  Never a problem except breaking out of snowplow drifts when parked on the street.  Would’ve been a problem with snow tires too.
    All this would change if I really had hills to climb but my driving is on Interstate 95 mostly, along the shoreline, where it’s flat as a pancake.

  • avatar
    Russycle

    Don’t have any winter shoes, but I’m seriously considering it if the budget allows.  I keep my cars for the long haul, so it seems like a reasonable investment.

    One question:  I notice a lot of people run their winter tires on steel wheels.  Any inherent advantage to steel in the winter, or is it just that they’re cheap?  I’ve been thinking about hunting for OEM alloy rims on ebay, but might go with steel if that’s the consensus of the B&B.

    • 0 avatar
      hakata

      Cheap. That’s all. If you can find some cheap reasonable quality alloys, go for it. I got a set of four ugly OEM Audi alloys on closeout for less than steelies because, well, they were ugly. My dad got some used OEMs on craigslist, which is what I would recommend. Ebay isn’t great because of the high shipping costs on four bulky wheels.

    • 0 avatar
      redmondjp

      +1 Cheap.  Plus, you’re much more likely to slide into a curb and bend a rim during the winter, so why not use the least expensive ones that you can get?

      When I see a car with four steelies (often w/o wheel covers and chrome lug nuts) shod with winter tires, my respect for the owner/driver goes way up.  Maybe that’s the Boy Scout in me . . .

      Out here in Seattle, I run all-seasons year-round, but I do have mounted winter tires for at least one of my cars in case we have snow/ice (usually get up extra early and throw them on myself in the driveway, have a good jack, air compressor and impact gun) or if I’m travelling to Eastern WA where “black ice” is not uncommon and super-scary to drive on (esp. with a strong crosswind, nothing will wake you up like going perfectly straight down a level highway and having the rear end of your car suddenly slide sideways two feet).

  • avatar
    tbp0701

    I’m in the slushy center of the Northeast Ohio snowbelt and commute into Cleveland for an 80-mile a day round trip, usually coming home around midnight.  I have a set of Blizzaks for a 2000 Accord Coupe which, last year, actually made driving through the snowstorms kind of fun. I’ve been asked a few times by people with four wheel drive SUVs how I managed to get around when they couldn’t.  It’s simple: snow tires, a reasonably balanced FWD car and paying attention to the sensations coming through the steering wheel.  The only concerns I have are the possibility of being overconfident and an occasional desire to yell, “I am a superior human being!” as I work my way through clusters of skidding vehicles.

  • avatar
    kdilkington

    I’ve always managed to do well with all-season tires on the FWD and AWD vehicles I’ve owned while living in Boston.  But after getting a 330Ci, a set of cheap rims fitted with Blizzaks were a necessity.  The Michelin Pilot Sports that came standard on the car are absolutely useless in the snow so they typically come off in mid-November and return for duty in April.

  • avatar
    Monty

    Mrs. Monty’s Focus has a dedicated set of OEM rims with Blizzaks for the winter – which up here in Manitoba can last more than six months some years. The stock Pirelli P7′s on 17″ rims don’t have any traction when the temps drop below freezing, so the winter shoes and rims were a no-brainer.

    My truck, which doesn’t see a lot of driving, even in the winter, has aggressive tread all-seasons that are okay for the small amount of kms I put on it.

  • avatar
    LALoser

    Back in the Anchorage/Fairbanks days I kept a 4 WD Chevy S-10 with Coopers, always got me where I was going, not fast, but always. including being blown off the road in Yukon and crawling back onto the road in L-4 with solid ice. My combination now is XC-70 in Honolulu. Works even mo’ betta!

  • avatar
    hakata

    In non-rural SE Michigan, with its cold but not overly-snowy winters, performance winters are the ticket. I run Dunlop 3Ds on a closeout set of factory alloys.

    1) Dry grip is phenomenal in the cold. Nice soft ride and near-summer handling qualities versus all-seasons that turn into hockey pucks. Run them as long as the average temp is below 50 ~Nov.-Apr.

    2) In snow or rain, easily 2-3 times the grip of all-seasons. Not as good as non-performance winters, but plenty to get you through. You feel like a superhero pulling smoothly away from the light while others spin their hard, bald all-seasons.

    3) Safety Safety Safety. You can brake and turn to avoid trouble where others cannot. I’ll never go back to all-seasons and evangelize winters to everyone. Everyone who has switched is rightly amazed at the difference.

  • avatar
    Gardiner Westbound

    Live in Taxario. Have driven standard tires year round for decades, mostly RWD cars, without much trouble. Can remember getting stuck once. Though needed for only about ten driving days a year bought snow tires for both cars a couple of years ago. Really surprised by their added winter traction and handling.

    The extra cost seemed high but it’s cheaper than a $1,000 collision deductible and several years of hiked up insurance premiums. The extended regular tire life will probably recover about 40-percent of the cost and the expensive OEM alloy wheels will stay presentable. As it turned out the cost was extremely reasonable. Bought very good used winter tires and rims on Kijiji for about a third of new. Start looking at Kijiji and Craigslist now.

    One of the cars is TPMS-equipped. They’re costly and make changeover a royal PIA and wallet, not worth it until prices come down in my view. The downside is looking at the yellow dash warning light all winter.

    Transport Canada is cautioning consumers the mountain/snowflake logo is untrustworthy. Manufacturers are cheating. Some tires bearing it are no better on snow and ice than all-season tires.

    Some car dealers have new OEM rims, called take-offs, available at very attractive prices. Good used rims and tires are also available from auto recyclers for half the cost of new.

  • avatar
    V572625694

    I’m in 92101 heaven these days, but used to commute 65 miles each way over a 7352-foot pass in Colorado. Had four studded snows, first for the Datsun B210, ultimately for the Audi 4000s, with separate rims on the Audi–it would take Rabbit rims, as I recall, and I even found some 4-ring hubcaps at a junkyard. The studded snows raised my confidence level substantially, along with the noise level on dry pavement. Nothing else grips on ice.

  • avatar
    lubbock57

    True snow tires are a must here in Edmonton…..but the larger problem is ice traction vs snow traction, and my Blizzaks on my ’05 Impreza make it unstoppable.

  • avatar
    carve

    I live in Albuquerque.  It’s dry and sunny here, but at 6000′ it does get cold in the winter, and I do have to drive in snow 7 or 8 days per year.  I also go skiing 10-20 days per year.  Many days it doesn’t get above the low 40′s, so my summer performance tires on my 335i turn rock-hard and lose their traction.

    I got some rims with Blizzak WS-60′s for a steal on Craigslist last year.  While the snow traction is very confidence inspiring, they suck everywhere else.  Even on cold pavement, the traction isn’t that much better than my summer tires.  Road feel and handling are awful- they take most of the fun out of the car.  They wear super-fast…especially in the fall and spring, when I drive them in temps up to 60 degrees (lows still dipping into freezing).

    When they wear out, I definitely won’t be getting WS-60′s or other hard-core snow tires.  I’ll probably get a particularly agressive all-season, or the most stree-performance oriented winter tire I can find.

  • avatar
    DearS

    Same all seasons from last year on the E34 525i. Worked ok.

  • avatar
    CarGuyDad

    Good quality all-seasons on an MDX served me well last year (in Boston). Otherwise had dedicated winter tires on black steelies on my rwd BMWs (looked bad ass too) (looked ghetto too).

    • 0 avatar
      MattPete

      I live in the DC suburbs (Northern Virginia), and I’ve been suffering through the winters (BMW 325) on summer tires for the past 7 years.  First it was the stock Bridgestones (came with the Sports package) and those were later replaced by Goodyear Eagle F1s.  Both had absolutely zero traction in the snow.  They (especially the Goodyears) might as well have been racing slicks.
      Snow tires would be overkill for Northern Virginia.  On the other hand, I moved to a new house (rural-ish Oakton in Fairfax County) with a steep driveway, and I couldn’t make it to the top with the lightest dusting, never mind the blizzard we had the last spring.  I finally broke down and bought a set of Continental Extreme Contact DWS (all-season performance tires).
       
      I haven’t had the chance to try them in the snow, but their dry grip in cold weather is far superior to the summer tires (I could spin the Goodyears in the dry at 40 degrees — can’t with the Continentals).  The ride and noise is far superior to the Bridgestone and Goodyear summer tires, and hydroplaning resistance seems as good, if not better (which surprised me, given the rep of the Eagle F1).  Sure, I give up some ultimate dry grip in the summer (which I can’t use anyway), but just looking at the tread tells me that they will be far superior to the summer tires in the snow.

    • 0 avatar
      sastexan

      @MattPete – I would hardly classify Oakton as rural.  I’m in Bethesda.  I did a few winters on my summer tires until I moved to the ‘burbs, then got a set of Michelin Arctic Alpin’s on their own set of rims ($50 each, which is explainable by how the paint is all flaking off now – should get them sandblasted and then spray paint).  Since Monkey County doesn’t understand that our street pays taxes, they constantly forget to plow us.  Not good this past winter.  My snow tires did no good behind 30 inches standing on our street.
      Regardless, the snow tires are far superior to the summer tires when temps drop.  And the summers are like baldies when there is any precipitation on the road and temps are below about 45.  Yes, snow tires are overkill but I have about 25k on them and I think I can get another season out of them before I need to replace them.

  • avatar
    krhodes1

    Yokohama W-drives on the ’08 9-3SC on the stock alloys. I have OEM 17s for the summer. TPMS sensors in both sets of wheels, that was an ouch, but the light and start-up message drove me nuts last summer. I picked up the 17s stupid cheap at the Saab Owner’s Convention though, $300 for the set, new in the boxes.

    Here in what passes for urban in Maine, I could certainly make it through a winter with all-seasons on the Saab. FWD and really good stability/traction control would make it OK. But I don’t want just OK, I want to be able to tear past all the idiots in SUVs and Subarus spinning thier all-seasons in the snow. :-)

    Every winter, 95% of the vehicles I see in the ditch have AWD.

  • avatar
    allythom

    Northern NJ is one of those places that snow tires are only necessary a handful of days a year, some years, not even.

    So the family trucklet (07 RAV 4 V6) stays on Bridgestone Dueller HL Alenza all seasons all year long, they happen to be semi decent in snow, better thn the Yokohamas it came with that I decided to ditch, even though they weren’t even 1/3 worn, after a trip to Vermont.

    My 02 WRX Wagon & 09 Mazdaspeed3 run summer tires normally, which start to become a liability once December rolls around, so roundabout Thanksgiving the WRX sheds its cheap 17″ anthracite Rotas wrapped in Goodyear Eagle F1 GS 3Ds and puts on the 16″ stocker rims with Dunlop Wintersport M3s.  The MS3 drops its 18″ stockers with Bridgestone Potenza RE050As and gets some very cheap, heavy 16″ Tirerack Borbet rims with Dunlop Wintersport 3Ds. 

    On both cars, the winter tires kill a good deal of the road feel, but once the potholes set in, I’m glad of the extra sidewall.  A WRX on winter tires is extremely confidence inspiring, a little too much so TBH.

    I usually switch back in late March.

  • avatar
    itsgotvtakyo

    The stockers from my current TSX are shod in Blizzaks. First winter with the car but I had a set on my 04 TL and never had a problem here in Connecticut.

  • avatar
    Slow_Joe_Crow

    It depends on whether we plan to go skiing this winter, or cross the Santiam pass after November 1. If we are then I put the studded tires on, if not I make do with the “all-season” and use the other car that has chains if we hit major ice in Portland. One of the quirks of Oregon winters is lots of black ice, so chains, studs or traction rated tires are required in some areas.

  • avatar
    WaftableTorque

    I’ve been keeping track of “winter tire days” in Edmonton, and it’s between 51 and 88 days a year, averaging 64.5 days (including the winterless anomaly that was 2005/06.)

    On my LS430, I just picked up Michelin X-Ice Xi2 tires on Elbrus rims from Tirerack.

    I was running Michelin Pilot Alpin PA2 tires, but considering the number of times I got stuck last year, I’ve had it with performance winter tires on RWD, and wanted real winter tires on this car, speed rating be damned. These tires are virtually indisguishable from MXV4 Plus all-season tires. It’s quiet, rides very well, and has good handling with zero squirm. It has sudden breakaway characteristics on ice and snow, and takes time to recover. It’s really not meant for Edmonton winters.

    The Primacy Alpin PA3′s go on the ES300. It’s also a performance winter tire, but it’s significantly better on ice and snow. It has significant tire roar on dry pavement, and a bit of squirm.

    Studded Hankook Zovac W401′s go on the Camry. It’s an old-style snow tire, and is totally predictable at the limit. This tire is perfect for drifting. It’s also the noisiest, and handles like wet noodles. Ice traction with studs isn’t as good as the Primacy Alpin PA3′s.

    I should note that I’m a fan of Michelin winter tires because most of their competitors only sipe their tires down to about 6/32″, which makes them useless after 2-3 seasons. There are a few exceptions, like the General Altimax Arctic and the Hankook iPike’s, which also do full depth sipes.

    • 0 avatar
      WaftableTorque

      Now that I have snow time with the Xi2 under my belt, I can’t believe I wasted my money with the performance winter tire category. The Xi2 has as much traction unladen as the PA2′s do with 500lb of trunk ballast and passengers, it’s not a subtle difference. The Xi2 has smooth and predictable breakaway characteristics at the limit, and it’s ice and snow traction is better than the Primacy Alpin PA3′s. It also has a plush ride, no squirm, and it’s even more quiet than the PA2′s.
       
      For once, I’ve changed my mind about RWD and winter driving, but that’s only if the car is equipped with this class of winter tire.

  • avatar

    I live near Boston, and in early to mid-december, the extra four wheels with the Nokian snows go on. As someone said near the top of this thread, there are only a small number of days where you can really use them, but it’s so nice to have them on those days, and it’s so nice to know the rest of the winter that if it does snow, I’m prepared. (I need to drive to get just about anywhere I want to go.) Last winter, I spent 3 weeks in northern VA near DC in Feb, and damn, I never expected to need them there, but they had two major blizzards in a row.
    The snows are actually a lot more slippery on dry than whatever it is I have on the car now. There’s an off-ramp I take to my coffee house, where I like to pretend I’m back at Skip Barber. I can easily do four wheel drifts with the snows; can’t with the summer tires.

  • avatar
    Sammy Hagar

    We’ve averaged about 100+ inches of snow per winter for the last three, so I do run a set of non-studded Dunlop Wintersport M3′s on steel wheels;  put them on myself around December first and run them until the beginning of March.  The other ~9 months or so, I run Yokohama AVID Envigors.  The nice thing about running dedicated snow tires in winter is that it stretches the life of my all-seasons and I can get about 8 years out of the dedicated snow tires (probably more if I really wanted to).

  • avatar
    Power6

    Picked up a set of used 08 WRX wheels right after I bought my 09 WRX. Mounted some blizzaks and change them over every season. I like the stopping and turning benefits of the snow tires, and knowing it will be unlikely to get stuck in Boston with AWD, traction control and snows.
    If I didn’t do track days and run max-perf summer tires I would consider all seasons, but might as well run good winter tires if I am going to run good summer tires. I do run the performance Blizzaks as my experience has been that the full on multi-cell versions get chewed up on dry days, which are all the days in between snow storms. It is a nice compromise for cold, rain, and snow.
    The local tire shop I bought the Blizzaks from does the TPMS stuff for free but I cam considering buying the tool to do it myself so I can change them over at home.

  • avatar
    Kendahl

    For the all wheel drive Subaru wagon, all season Kumhos. Around Thanksgiving, I will need a new set. The current ones aren’t worn out but, last winter, traction wasn’t as good as I would prefer.
     
    For the Infinti G37, leave it in the garage unless the roads are clean and dry. I could replace the high performance summer tires with dedicated winter tires. However, I don’t want to ruin the car driving it through the salt drifts. Modern factory rustproofing doesn’t stop rust, it just slows it down. In the end, there are still only two kinds of cars — summer cars and rusty cars.

  • avatar
    alex_rashev

    My MkI MR2 has a set of steelies with Blizzak W50′s on them, usually for about 4-5 months a year. $400 including 14″ brand new wheels and shipping. Those worked well for the 08 and 09, but the 2010 winter truly let them shine. My only limiting factor as far as getting around was ground clearance, since we had way over 2 ft of sitting snow at times. Still, as long as I could keep the speed up and keep the wheels out of others’ tracks, the thing would just hop on and plane like a boat. Lots of rear weight and a flat bottom really help.

    They are pretty bad when it gets warmer, though. Luckily I have other cars so I can just drive something else on those hot sunny February days (damn DC).

  • avatar
    v65magnafan1

    ’00 Crown Vic in suburban Toronto.
    My Hakkas will be serving their fifth or sixth season. I have enough tread for one more. I may be making a trip or two to Florida, so, I’m happy that the tread is down a bit. I’m not an engineer, but I’m guessing that in Florida winter weather I-75 speed,  these tires will heat up less with less tread depth than a new set.

  • avatar
    Jason

    My car, and my wife’s, both have full sets of summer and winter tires (with black steel rims)…standard operating procedure for Canadians of sound mind.

  • avatar
    Cynder70

    Living in Alaska doesn’t make me an expert, but I have thoughts on winter driving that usually do not set well with the enthusiast driving crowd.  Essentially, if you can’t stop you shouldn’t go.
    Driver capability is a greater measure of driving outcome when the temps drop and the roads are solid ice or packed snow five months of the year.
    We’re allowed to run studded tires, so I’ve got Hankook W401s.  They’re not for winter stop-light racing but they work well for my Subaru Legacy and my Mazda3.  I have also used Nokian Hakkapaletta tires… great if you can afford them but my opinion is that lower priced tires will achieve nearly the same performance.

  • avatar
    joe_thousandaire

    I go with all-season tires and awd. Snow tires are the best product I will never own, like Jack said you need them ten days a year tops, that’s true even here in Michigan. I’m not going to keep a whole ‘nother set of tires/rims in my garage just for that.

  • avatar
    mcs

    Blizzak WS-60s on steel rims for the cars that will see snow. I also go with a winter rim size a couple of inches smaller and a different aspect ratio to give myself more sidewall for the potholes in the spring. Another benefit is that the snow tires for the smaller rim size are cheaper.

  • avatar
    fiasco

    Live in Southern New Hampshire on a dirt road on a hill.
    Just laid out the big bucks for some 17″ Hakka Rs on Moda EB1 wheels (and those stupid TPMS things) for my 2011 Sienna LE FWD. Bought them from a local shop. Blizzaks on wheels from the Tire Rack would have been about $110 less delivered to my door, but I think the Hakkas will be every bit as good (if not better) AND last longer.
    My 03 Legacy wagon will be on its third winter with 205/55 16 Hankook iPike W409 snows on WRX wheels. They’re OK in snow, but not great on ice. I think Hankook ripped off the Hakka RSi tread pattern, then used a harder compound and/or less siping. I paid something like $60 each for them on sale, so I can’t complain.
    The 04 Outback we just traded on the Sienna had a set of Yokohama ig20s. They were GREAT for 1.5 winters, then just OK. still had 7/32 tread left, but they were effectively an all season by this spring. I should have just burned them off this summer. But when they’re new, they’re AWESOME. It’s a popular ice tire for Canadian winter rallies.
    My XR4, well it doesn’t see snow unless everything else is broken (which is once every half decade or so), so it sits on two 10 year old Kumho 712′s and two bald Uniroyal GTZs, which I use in summer, too.

  • avatar
    fiasco

    Live in Southern New Hampshire on a dirt road on a hill.
    Just laid out the big bucks for some 17″ Hakka Rs on Moda EB1 wheels (and those stupid TPMS things) for my 2011 Sienna LE FWD. Bought them from a local shop. Blizzaks on wheels from the Tire Rack would have been about $110 less delivered to my door, but I think the Hakkas will be every bit as good (if not better) AND last longer.
    My 03 Legacy wagon will be on its third winter with 205/55 16 Hankook iPike W409 snows on WRX wheels. They’re OK in snow, but not great on ice. I think Hankook ripped off the Hakka RSi tread pattern, then used a harder compound and/or less siping. I paid something like $60 each for them on sale, so I can’t complain.
    The 04 Outback we just traded on the Sienna had a set of Yokohama ig20s. They were GREAT for 1.5 winters, then just OK. still had 7/32 tread left, but they were effectively an all season by this spring. I should have just burned them off this summer. But when they’re new, they’re AWESOME. It’s a popular ice tire for Canadian winter rallies.
    My XR4, well it doesn’t see snow unless everything else is broken (which is once every half decade or so), so it sits on two 10 year old Kumho 712′s and two bald Uniroyal GTZs, which I use in summer, too.

  • avatar
    John Horner

    My winter tires are any tire with decent rainy weather performance.
    Snow? We don’t need no stinking snow here in the California SF bay area :).

  • avatar
    Zombo

    Mastercraft (made by Cooper Tires) Glacier Grip snows on the rear of my 06 2wd Tacoma extended cab have gotten me through 4 winters now here in NW NJ . Not the best tires for ice , but having a harder compound they wear better on the dry roads – I run them all year round and have 25K on them and counting . I carry snow chains in the winter just in case  , but with some weight in the back of the Taco I haven’t needed them yet . Glacier Grip – the best budget brand of snow tires practically no one has ever heard of !

  • avatar
    Redshift

    Located in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
    Sometime in November the RX8 and the MazdaSpeed will go away for the winter.
    1993 Subaru Impreza AWD with Goodyear snow tires will go back into the commuting rotation.  When the snow gets deep, the Yukon 4×4 on all-terrain tires should get it done.

  • avatar
    frizzlefry

    I have always used all-seasons. I live in Calgary….-30 celcius and snow one week, 15 celcius no snow the next so most people who do use winters here chew through them in a season. I have a Audi A6 and when paired with Pirelli P6 All Weather tires I did ok in the snow. Last big storm I passed a couple of SUVs that lost it and ended up on the side of the road. I got rid of the P6 tires recently, replaced with far superior Pirelli PZero Nero All Seasons. We’ll see but they are supposed to be a vast improvement over the P6s in snow, and I never had any problems with the P6s. In short, no winters for me.

  • avatar
    rocketrodeo

    I am also a dedicated winter tire evangelist. Every winter I get thank-you emails from my friends, usually right after bad snowstorms.

  • avatar
    handplane

    Family fleet of four cars in SE Michigan.  Volvo 850 wears Nokian Hakka RSIs on factory steels–it’s hard to find wheels for Volvos, don’t know why.  Pontiac Vibe wears Conti Extreme Winter Contacts on aftermarket alloys.  Honda Fit uses Michelin X-Ice Xi 2s on the factory steelies, since I got bigger alloys and tires for 3-season duty.  My daily, an 03 Jetta GLI, runs actual summer tires on the factory alloys until late November.  Then it gets black steelies with winter rubber.  For the past three years I’ve used Michelin Alpin performance winters, but I might go with hard-core snows this year.  Candidates include Blizzak WS60, Michelin X-Ice Xi 2, Conti Extreme Winter Contacts, and, if I’m feeling spendy, Nokian Hakka R.

    I’ve done the winter tire evangelism, too, and have been thanked profusely by some of my converts.  I think it’s silly to stick with the no-seasons through the winter.

  • avatar
    texan01

    I’m not gonna do a darned thing except check air pressure in them more often. The Chevelle will keep its whitewall tires and pretty much stay in the garage while the front end gets rebuilt and the sleepy malaisey 305 will get a wakeup via a cheap head swap to bigger valves and bump in compression. It’s no slouch on snow and ice anyway.
     
    The Explorer will keep its all season Michelins, it does very well in the snow and muck here in Dallas, should do even better now that the limited slip rear end has been refreshed.
     
    it mostly rains here anyway, very rarely will it ice up.

  • avatar
    George B

    Nothing special.  I plan to replace worn all season tires with new all season tires when tire prices go through their seasonal price drop sometime in November.  Currently live in North Texas and used to live in the Kansas City area.  Never owned winter tires.  The problem used to be that snow tires were expensive noisy tires that rapidly wore out when driven on dry roads.  I guess winter tires are better now, but I just don’t have that many days when I have to drive in snow.

  • avatar
    johnny ro

    just bought B7 OEM 17′s for my B8 A4, used. Will buy $140 snows at Sullivan Tire.
     
    Will drive long distances at 75mph in 4 inches of slush in left lane of I95, with more throttle than usual, while the SUVs trundle along single file in right lane at 30mph and spin out one by one as they panic and stomp ‘em.

  • avatar
    dolo54

    Now that I have an actual garage I’m tempted to get winter tires. But since I’ve managed driving in the worst blizzards on all seasons, even in my car that’s rwd with no traction control, I’ll probably pass again this year. We have a fwd beater now for winter excursions, and it’s just fine with all seasons. I like to slide around anyhow…

  • avatar
    Dynamic88

    Jack, you’re correct – the winter tires are really only needed about 10 days out of the year.   If 3 or 4 such days are weekend days, then I only have to get to work about one week where I could really use winter tires.
    Therefore I’m going to do the economical thing – leave the all seasons on all year.

  • avatar
    bluetick

    This reminds me I need to fix the broken wire for the electric gloves on my motorcycle.

  • avatar
    golden2husky

    Fun car stays in the garage during inclement weather and until any residual salt is gone.  Second car is used during this time….no need to worry about which snow tire to buy…

  • avatar
    FJ20ET

    I bust out the 1989 240sx LE. With Blizzaks of course. I also installed a true LSD, not that viscous piece of shit.

  • avatar

    Hey can anyone recommend a good tire for times when it gets down to 60F? ;) sorry, I had to… -So Cal AssHat

  • avatar
    xer 21

    i put summer tires on everything, all year long.

    of course, living in a state where winter temps rarley hit 50 helps.

  • avatar
    Sam P

    Living in the Pacific Northwest near Seattle, I don’t have to deal with much more than extended periods of heavy rain during the winter. In which case, the BMW 330i with ContiExtremeContact DWS all seasons will be fine.
     
    But if I go over one of the passes on I-90 or US 2, you can bet I will be taking the wife’s Subaru Outback with Michelin all-seasons. Ever since there has been an all-wheel drive car in the household, we’ve never needed to put dedicated snow tires on it. Our Subarus have always done well with all seasons.

  • avatar
    grzydj

    All season tires are a sham. Sure, even a FWD car will get around just “fine” which is you’ll be able to do is get around just fine. Slap on a good set of dedicated winter tires and you’ll get around great, which is usually the difference between making it up that snowy and icy hill or sliding underneath the bumper of that pickup in front of you because you couldn’t stop.
     
    Fine and great, big difference.

  • avatar
    Headroom Tommy

    NE Ohio here, been driving RWD Panthers for I think millennia :), I love driving in bad weather, never get stuck, never miss work: old fashioned studded snows on the back, good thick tread all seasons on the front, and a modicum of good sense (translation – slow down!).

    Hello snow! Meet your master :grin:

    Tommy

  • avatar
    Headroom Tommy

    I live in NE Ohio too, and I love driving in bad weather.

    I’ve driven RWD panthers forever. I use studded snows on the back, and good all seasons on the front. No getting stuck, no missing work!

    Tommy

  • avatar
    JeremyR

    Drive the Porsche less, drive the Honda more. The Honda currently has summer tires too, but that will have to change before too long. Will probably pick up a set of wheels+winter tires.
     
    Or, since I will be trading my daily commute for an occasional trip to the airport, I may get away with not making any changes…


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