By on June 6, 2011

TTAC Commentator talkstoanimals writes:

Sajeev,

Much to my dismay, in less than a year my job will move from downtown Washington, DC to suburban Maryland. This means I will be forced to drive to work every day rather than being able to rely on the Metro system for the work commute. Currently, my main ride is a 2011 BMW 135i with the M Sport package and some Dinan tweaks. However, since it does occasionally snow and sleet around here, and since I’m unwilling to sell the 135 or swap the summer treads for all season rubber (I regularly flog the car out in the twisties of VA/WV and prefer the feel of summers out there), I’m presented with a twist on the new or used question. Should I:

1. Invest in a set of winter tires, perhaps in a minus 1 size on dedicated wheels? This would require that I rent storage for the wheels/tires not in use or move out of my apartment to someplace with dirty item storage space. I could maybe beg a friend with a garage to loan me a dark corner, but it would make me feel guilty.

2. Buy some sort of cheap – $3500 to $5000ish – but reliable winter car? I wouldn’t mind having a second vehicle for hauling stuff around – maybe a small pickup or a wagon/SUV. Also, since most of my social life still revolves around downtown, I wouldn’t mind having something I could park on the street without a care whether it gets doored, dinged or scraped.

If the answer is two, what car or truck should I look for? The only caveat is that, after the fiasco with my 2010 lemon-lawed Mustang [can’t find the link to the Piston Slap on the issue], I won’t buy a FoMoCo product. (Sorry, Sajeev. But Ford ticked me off so much in negotiations over the Mustang that I refuse to give them my money anymore, even in used car form. I don’t want them making a nickel off of me on parts or anything else.) The ideal would be something small enough for city life, durable, utile and easy to insure.

Sajeev Answers:

I remember your quandary quite well.  Shocking as it may sound, who cares if you love or hate FoMoCo?  Not me! My shameless promotion of Panther Love is shallow, laser targeted in scope.  I never was a big fan of coloring outside the lines, if you know what I mean.

I feel bad that you had to Lemon Law your ride, but at least you learned plenty in the process. With any luck,  we can smooth things over with your current quandary.  I wouldn’t entertain the idea of a “winter beater” because I’d keep winter tires in just about any of my friend’s places. As I note the irony of buying winter stuff for Houston, think about the costs associated with multiple car ownership: insurance, wear/tear items and unexpected major repairs.  Of course, your BMW is probably under warranty, and you can often buy a $5000 sled that needs very little in upkeep. If you keep the miles down.  But that 5 large buys a lot of storage and plenty of social libations in the DC area.

More to the point, how long to you expect to live as you currently live?  From your last two rides and career info given here, you sound like a single guy who’s, um, living life to its fullest.  Which usually doesn’t last forever.  Especially with BMW’s rather awesome cost-value proposition after the warranty runs out.  I’d mark time by getting some winter rubber on spare wheels, and judging by what I see on Tirerack.com, the snow-friendly rubber is quite easy to get.

 

Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com . Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry.

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59 Comments on “Piston Slap: Extra Rims for a Simplier Life?...”


  • avatar
    slow kills

    Re: “dirty item storage space” – my tire shop put my old tire in a big plastic bag. I’ve heard of covering stacked tires with a board and an old bed sheet, using as ersatz tables and the like. Plenty of lovelier furniture cover-up options exist unless living in something smaller than a college dormitory room.

    Or just be a wuss and wait till everything gets plowed.

  • avatar
    Educator(of teachers)Dan

    Snow tires are perfection for you, especially since you won’t induldge in Panther Love. (Although in DC your Panther would likely make folks think you’re with the FBI or something.)

  • avatar
    william442

    Michelin Pilot Sport all seasons work better on the AMG than the summer tires did. I suspect they will do fine on the BMW, as your only tire.

    • 0 avatar
      red60r

      ++ on the Pilot Sport AS in winter. I have a set of extra rims for my car, with Blizzaks mounted, but haven’t used them for a long time. The OEM Pirelli P-Zero Rosso’s were dreadful on snow and I started out needing the snow tires. If you’re going to switch shoes for winter, it is much better not to have to break down and remount tires multiple times. Besides, with an inexpensive floor jack and a proper X-shaped lug wrench, the changeover can be done quickly and cheaply. A different width tread (narrower is better on snow) can be substituted as well.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      The problem with all season tires is that they are only really good for use in snow for 1 or maybe 2 seasons depending on how much you drive.

  • avatar
    eldard

    “Shocking as it may sound, who cares if you love or hate FoMoCo?”

    The 2 million former Ford owners who brought their business elsewhere in the last 5 years?

  • avatar

    Are they negated by the millions who abandoned another brand for similar reason?

    • 0 avatar
      Detroit-Iron

      Just like all those people who switched to Geico last year.

    • 0 avatar
      talkstoanimals

      The thing that really bums me out about making a principles based stand on FoMoCo products is that they are now turning out some of the most interesting products on the market. The new Focus is the bomb and I suspect the ST will be crazy good. I really loved that Mustang when it worked – and the 5.0 that I tested before Ford finally drove me over the edge on the lemon law repurchase was simply awesome. And I remain in awe of the sheer durability of the Panthers. I totally understand why people are starting to flock to the Ford tent. Maybe, with the passage of time, I will be able to pull the trigger on a nice used Townie that can be turned into a sleeper muscle car with unparalled style and comfort, but I’m not there yet.

  • avatar
    Zackman

    An extra set of wheels and snow tires can make life just that much more worth living. Store ‘em in your own place. If you live like I used to when I was single and had an apartment, you have plenty of room. If your walls are bare like mine were back in the day, hang ‘em on the wall for decoration, just clean them first – instant art!

    By the way, if one of your end tables is a beer keg like I used to have, keep it filled and chilled!

    Enjoy your “free” circumstances while you can!

    EDIT: One final thought – stack the tires, cut a piece of plywood to fit on top, drape the stack with material and put a lamp on it – out of the way and functional!
    EDIT: Oops! That suggestion already was taken, but I second it!

  • avatar
    celebrity208

    Snow Tires for a BMW? In DC? Error!

    DC may get “snow” but once it hits the streets it turns into packed snow or ice. Winter tires may do a little better when there’s some fluff on the road but after rush hour and with the minimal attention the salt and plow trucks pay, they’ll be worth little more than your summer tires (IMO).

    I suggest a beater AWD Jeep Cherokee (Grand or not) with the I-6. Simple to work on. Can tow a small trailer. Can fill with junk. Tons of parts out there. etc.

    You’d be forced to use the Jeep just a few times a year and hell, 5 years you might want to start watching Trucks! and turn it into a rock crawler.

    Full disclosure: I love having a 2nd vehicle. Daily Driver = A4; Beater tow vehicle = ’88 Che_rolet 3500 van (the “V” fell off so it’s a shay-row-lay). It’s not for foul weather but it’s still awesome to have.

    • 0 avatar
      Ubermensch

      Snow tires or really winter tires in this day and age aren’t like the knobby snow tires of yore. They have sipes for gripping ice and packed snow and are made of compounds that are designed to stay plyable in cold weather. Your ideas of snow tires are outdated.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      If you are talking about some cheapo made in China “snow” tires that are only called snow tires because they have a tread pattern like “mud and snow” tires from 50 years ago you are right they won’t help much if at all on compact snow and ice. If on the other hand you are talking about a modern winter tire like Michelin’s X-Ice which comes alive when the temps are below 40 you will get way more traction on compact snow and ice vs an all season tire. BTW the mfgs of really good summer tires, ultra high or max performance will tell you they aren’t intended for use in temps below 40 degrees.

  • avatar
    snabster

    No, I have to disagree.

    Snow tires can be excellent in DC. The problem you are describing is the occasion 4 year big storm, where it takes 4 days to clean up. I agree there the issue is clearance and not tires, but for most winters you’re fine.

    Or just stick with your summers and don’t drive at all in the winter. Learn to take the bus or walk those days. It really depends on your particular circumstances. I’ve learned, after 15 years of snow tires in DC, that it isn’t worth it. Snow driving in DC isn’t a problem because of the snow — it is because of very stupid drivers. And the massive amounts of salt they put down. I actually skidded out on 66 because there was a least 1″ of salt sitting in the road. So learn to sit i out. Hell, if you work for the feds you won’t be working anyway.

    • 0 avatar

      I was in DC for the snows of February 2010. I was so glad to have my Boston snow tires on (Nokians) the Accord. Didn’t have to worry about going out even while the blizzard was still going. Well, I don’t know what I’d do if I still lived in DC. But call snows an insurance policy that’s cheaper than getting an old beater cherokee.

  • avatar
    Hank

    I live in upstate NY where the snow is much worse, and I’d go winter tires as well. Tread, skill, and patience are more important that what kind of vehicle in winter. That’s why our grandfathers in a ’55 Chevy could cruse on by where these newbies in Grand Cherokees fall off the ditch every winter.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    I’d say get the winter tires from a shop that can store them for you.

    Not only will they help you get going, they’ll help you stop, they’ll save wear on your summers (and if you get them on steel rims, they’ll save you salt damage to your nicer rims) and they’re much cheaper than the inevitable insurance claim when you fail to stop on wet or icy roads. Winter tires aren’t just for snow; they’re for cold.

    They won’t get you going when a ton of snow falls, no one clears the streets and you’re plowed in, but neither will anything short of a snowplow. In those situations you’re better served investing in telecommuting.

  • avatar
    mnm4ever

    I dont live anywhere near snow now, but I used to live in DC. And this isnt about the snow, its about winter drivers and city drivers and wear and tear on a very nice BMW. Commuting in DC will destroy a car. Garage the Beemer, use it for fun, for nights on the town, and for nice days. Get a beater for daily commuting and winter use. $5k will get you a pretty decent ride, even in DC.

    • 0 avatar

      DC driving did not destroy either of the two cars I owned while I lived there. And unless the commute is just bumper to bumper all the way, I think it’s a lot nicer to do it in a car you love than one that you tolerate.

  • avatar
    John Horner

    It certainly should be easier to find storage for a set of tires than for an entire vehicle. I would go with the tires and rims.

    • 0 avatar
      Jellodyne

      I immediately thought the same thing, but then reread. The hypothetical second vehicle in this case would be street parked (but watch out for snow parking tows!).

      Either way, I vote wheels and tires. But storage lockers ain’t cheap — you have to find a better solution than that. It might be cheaper to just replace tires and throw the old ones away every 6 months. Or sell them on Craigslist. You can get nice wheel covers, totes or racks from Tirerack. Surely you can find the back of some closet to chuck ‘em in. A pair of tires side by side in the back of two different closets might be almost unnoticeable. Or maybe if you have a dedicated indoor parking spot, see if the building owner will let you mount a wheel rack on the wall by your parking space (padlock the wheels in of course). If he says no, see if a couple of 100 dollar bills will change his mind.

  • avatar
    Trend-Shifter

    The 1 series is awesome! Keep it spit shined in the garage and ready for active duty.

    Get a beater to drive everyday, especially for the inner city environment. Buy an unloved vehicle with a proven drivetrain and low miles.

    The beater car would be a test for all your future potential dates.
    If they pass the test, pick-em up in the 1 series!
    Kinda like this video…
    Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tRIY5H7pDuo

  • avatar
    grzydj

    I have two sets of winter tires mounted on extra wheels for both of my Subaru’s. I can stack all 8 of them in a pretty small space in the corner of the garage and forget about them until the leaves start to fall. Winter tires are so totally worth it in every regard. Even the best all season tire can’t come close to the performance a winter tire can when the weather outside is frightful.

  • avatar
    truffle_shuffle_steer

    No question- 1st gen “zj” Jeep grand cherokee. They must have made about a billion of them so they’re cheap and easy to find parts for. The 5.2 V8 is surprisingly strong and fun to drive, with minimal (or none depending on options) mods they will go anywhere- and I mean ANYWHERE. They are big enough for hauling stuff, but not totally giant. And above all- SOOOOOOOO cheap!

    Plus they’re pretty much unbeatable in the snow and rain!

  • avatar
    TEXN3

    Why not do both? Buy an old truck or ute and store the winter tires in there.

    I’d either find a shop that can store the tires for you, many nicer tire/wheel shops will do that for little cost. And then you don’t have to haul them around when you need them re-mounted.

    But, the used truck isn’t a bad idea either…I don’t know what road conditions can be like in the east during winter time, but if you want to keep the BMW in nice condition then maybe keep it off the street.

    You may not like Ford, but an older F150 with an I6 would be perfect. Or find a Tacoma/T100 from the mid-90s.

  • avatar
    brettc

    I’d recommend a separate set of steel wheels and winter tires. Tirerack will sell you such things and even mount and balance them before shipping them out. Which means that if you have the proper tools, you don’t even have to take your car to a tire place to get them installed. But if you do end up going to a tire place, make sure you don’t get them installed by a moron that thinks torque wrenches are for sissies. I had good times yesterday when I discovered that some idiot way overtightened all 20 lugs on my new to me Golf TDI.

  • avatar
    nikita

    Pack a set of snow cables or Spike Spiders, like we do in the mountain West. That should get you thru an occasional snow storm.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      Now, I love spiders as much as anyone who drives in really horrible weather, but they’re not a substitute for winter tires. They’ll get you going, and keep you going if you’re insane enough to drive on logging roads or such, but they will not help you stop or turn and they’re useless (if not illegal) in city.

      • 0 avatar
        nikita

        They are legal, and required, or chains or cables, on public highways here, regardless of tires, unless you have 4 wheel drive or AWD, during ice or snow storms. The BMW 325i had summer tires and sometimes I just got caught by a late season storm. The cables were adequate for the slow-speeds.

  • avatar
    detlump

    Having lived in DC for a couple of years moving from Detroit, I was glad I keep my snow tires for my 850. Actually I got the DC job a week after I bought a new set of Artic Alpins! But I didn’t regret having them at all, especially for winter trips from DC to Detroit and back.

    However, I would second the second vehicle idea in DC. Having a brand new car there is just not fair to the car. It’s better to have a battle-car for commuting and use the BMW on the weekend for pleasure drives. I would suggest a Corolla or Civic sedan and consider snow tires for it. DC drivers in the snow are insane. I enjoyed pulling around and passing SUVs with the snow tire equipped 850.

    Maybe the best DC car would be one with hail damage.

  • avatar
    Philosophil

    If you decide to go with the second ‘winter’ vehicle, then you may want to stay away from a 4×2 pickup because they will get stuck on a snot. Some people try to get around this by adding extra weight over the rear axles, but unless you actually need a pickup it might be best to look at something that’s a little more winter worthy (and a front wheel drive with snow tires is often good enough).

    • 0 avatar
      Zackman

      I can attest to this. I owned a 1995 Ranger and no matter how much weight I added, it made no difference. On slick roads, if you exceeded 29 mph going straight, fine. 30 mph? squirrely time. Truck, meet ditch!

  • avatar
    MattPete

    Continental Extreme Conctact DWS

    I drive a BMW 325 (sport suspension) through the twisties of Oakton VA everyday, and they permanently replaced my summer tires (Bridgestones then Eagle F1s).

    1) Yes, a little less sharp turn-in than the summer tires.
    2) Yes, a little less dry grip (not that I can really use it).
    3) Far superior dry grip at temperatures less than 45 degrees F (the summer tires turned to rocks)
    4) Far superior snow and ice traction. The summer tires were as worthless as tits on a bull.
    5) Hydroplaning resistance and wet grip that is as good or better than Eagle F1s.
    6) Far smoother and quieter ride.

    These are far superior day-to-day tires compared to summer tires.

    Keep your summer tires for track days.

  • avatar
    highlandmiata

    AS a DC resident and owner of a light rear-wheel drive car, I have to say that good dedicated snows (Hakkapellittas) work wonders. I drove all around from here to Boston with nary a slip. Ground clearance was the only issue. Good winter tires will be fine when it is not snowing as well, not giving up as much performance as you might think.

    But if I had the option (read: cash) to have a winter beater, I probably would have, just so I did not have to worry about all the other creeps on the road. But cars are far more expensive than tires, especially since you should get winter tires for whatever beater anyway…

    If you go tires, get the smallest wheels that will fit over your brakes, and get the best tires that come in that size. Nokians are the thing.

  • avatar
    Scoutdude

    First of all lets not confuse proper winter tires with many of the tires out there that are sold as “snow” tires. If you do decide to get a second set of wheels and tires spend the money and get proper winter tires like Michelin X-Ice. They are designed for use in cold weather and will grip much better than a real summer tire when the temps start to drop. A good summer tire (and cheapo tires marketed as “Snow” based on tread patter and not compound)gets way too hard when the temps get down to 40 and below to grip on even bare wet roads. Insist on the “snowflake on the mountain” on the sidewall.

    On the other hand having a beater to go into town and not have to worry about it getting dented, scratched or towed is priceless. An old beater Cherokee, not Grand, with the 4.0 wouldn’t be a bad choice. You’ll still need proper tires though. There are a couple of “all-terrain” tires from BFG and Goodyear that do carry the snowflake on the mountain and can handle summer temps too.

  • avatar
    sastexan

    I have snow tires / wheels, and I live in suburban MD of DC. The summer tires are bad Thanksgiving through mid-March not because of piles of snow or ice, but because of temperatures – they get hard as a rock around 45 degrees. Plus, in the occasional snow/ice, they are worse than useless (don’t need to ask me how I know).

    I keep my set in plastic garbage bags in my shed – when I change them, I clean them well and let them air dry in the sun before bagging (or underneath my deck).

    You can get a set of used rims on ebay for a pretty good price, but the advantage to tire rack / discount tire is that the tires come mounted and balanced – saves a few bucks – I get mine balanced every 2 years unless there is a problem. And my Michelin Arctic Alpins are still perfectly adequate after 6 years / 20k miles.

    There is no need for all-out snow tires – good all seasons will be fine, unless you will be living (as I do) in an area where snowplows forget to visit.

    All this being said, it sure is nice to have a bonus beater car when you want to carry more than the Bimmer can hold, but that is one more item to maintain, even when you aren’t driving it, plus pay for insurance.

  • avatar
    cdnsfan27

    After 10 years in the Metro DC area we moved to Tampa last spring, a month after snowpocalyse. If your commute takes you through the African-American Kleptocracy of Prince George’s County then it doesn’t matter what tires you put on your car, you will not get through. My commute took me up 210 from Waldorf to Bolling AFB and after the snow storm 210 (a major thoroughfare) was not plowed or salted for days. FWD and RWD cars could not get up the hills. I had to leave my 4Runner in 4High and on hills put the two right tires off the road. So if your commute takes you into PG then buy a 4WD beater, take the Metro or wait for the snow to melt.

    • 0 avatar
      mnm4ever

      We too moved (back) to Tampa also after 3 yrs in DC, I grew up here, tried out DC for a bit, hated it; we now live in Palm Harbor… Nice to see a neighbor!

  • avatar
    william442

    The Michelin all seasons on my Accord work fine here in Tampa also.

    • 0 avatar
      cdnsfan27

      we still have all-seasons on both vehicles but when they wear out it will be summer only baby…should quiet down the Freestyle a bit:)mnm 4ever we live near by in Westchase/Contryway area.

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        The problem is there really aren’t any “summer” tires on the market that aren’t of the ultra high or max performance variety and many of those aren’t know for being quiet.

      • 0 avatar
        william442

        Mango. The Pilot Sport all seasons on our AMG are much quieter than the previous set of Pilot Sport “summers”. The ride is better and they stick very well. It is still in VA, or I would take you around the block.

  • avatar
    Nifty

    As someone who faced very similar concerns when buying a 2009 135i as a DD, I suggest getting a set of winter wheels and tires that you can take on or off quickly yourself with some cheap tools.

    Within 200 miles of taking delivery of my 1er I decided to ditch the runflat tires and go with conventional ones. Since it’s my DD, and Illinois winters can dump significant snow from time to time, I went with a set of Continental DWS tires due to their reputation as a great all-rounder. They handled the first winter OK – when the tread was deep. The next year and about 7/32″ of tread later, (350+ hp and a heavy right foot can do that) I realized the error in relying on AS tires for winter. After a few white knuckle experiences, I promptly ordered a set of new wheels with mounted Michelin X-Ice snow tires from tirerack. I went with 215/45R17s on all four corners, and was blown away at the difference they make in snow and ice even when compared to the brand new All Seasons. The only concern I now have when driving in the white stuff is ground clearance, and if it’s that bad on the roads, then I probably shoudn’t be our driving anyway. Besides, how many days would you be stuck due to ground clearance anyway?

    No need to get a different vehicle, put some proper shoes on the 1er and call it a day.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      There is a reason those there are those little “D” “W” & “S” in the outer trad blocks are there and go to different depths. Once you don’t see the “S” any more the’ve lost most if not all of their snow capability. Once the “W” goes away they aren’t really good for rainy weather.

      The Michelin X-Ice is a great choice but note they too have their own indicator and once the sipes are no longer visible you are down to the harder summer compound and they are no longer suitable for use in snow and ice or really in 40 degree or lower weather.

      • 0 avatar
        Nifty

        What I’m getting at is that getting dedicated snows gives you the added benefit of using that deep tread when you really NEED it, as opposed to burning it away 3 out of the 4 seasons.

        The DWS indicators are a nice way to easily gauge tire tread of you dont have a depth gauge, and I was aware of the fact that the ‘S’ had worn away on the rears before I drove it during winter, so shame on me. And yes, as the Ice-X’s wear down they will lose effectiveness as well, but since I only drive with the them on for about 1.5 to 2k a winter, that deep tread and winter compound will stick around longer.

  • avatar
    MarcKyle64

    This may sound insane, but I actually knew someone in Montana who had a GTI and used winter and summer rims. He lived in a small efficiency apartment (apartments prices are high there) and did this: Put the tires and rims inside some Hefty bags (use some good strong yard waste quality garbage bags not the cheap store brand bags) and double bag them. Wrap tightly with quick ties. Now, throw away your cheap folding metal bedframe and put your box spring & mattress on top of the properly arranged tires. You now have free storage space and will enjoy not stubbing your toes on the metal bedframe posts in the middle of the night walking back to bed. Me, I bought an extra rim at the junkyard, mounted studded tires on that and the spare, and kept the extra tire in the trunk.

  • avatar
    talkstoanimals

    Thanks everyone for all the input on this. Right now, just for the sake of keeping things simple, I’m leaning toward a decent set of snows from a shop that will store my off-season wheels and tires for me. I had great success with Nokians and Blizzaks in my days in upstate NY and Boston – maybe it’s time to give them some business again. That said, the idea of an old school Cherokee or Grand Cherokee that I can beat the wee out of is awfully appealing…

    BTW, Sajeev, those are some sweet looking steelies you found for the lead picture! Something similar would look great on a blacked out, muscled-up Crown Vic or Townie.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      Nokians are great for deep snow but they kill handling the rest of the time. Blizzaks like all Bridgestone products don’t like to stay round. I’d suggest one of the many ICE and snow tires from Michelin. Good performance in the snow, ice, wet or dry roads and they come out of the box round and tend to stay that way.

  • avatar
    CraigSu

    A set of winter wheels/tires is what you need along with Tire Totes or the Tire Garage from Kurgo. Check it out: http://www.kurgostore.com/categories/Automotive-Accessories/Tire-Storage/

  • avatar
    dcecr

    Go for the snow tires on seperate rims. I bought a set of Dunlop WinterSports for my ’99 528it sport wagon which couldn’t be driven safely with even minimal freezing rain / snow. After I put on the winter tires it was unreal in the snow.

    Keeping a second car around is expensive and requires a lot of effort (annual inspection, registration, parking permits). Plus it needs to be driven all year, even when you dont feel like driving it. Plus, if you care your neigbors will resent the ‘beater’ taking up a valuable parking spot

  • avatar
    jerseydevil

    clean the tires and rims up, stack them 2 by 2, close together, and put a piece of glass on top, VIOLA, u will have the coolest coffee table anywhere.

    another note, it seems that companies move out of cities where they are easy to get to to the outlying areas, usually for tax reasons, and the difference moves right into the owners pocket. That sucks. It winds up costing all the employees alot of money to commute, especially if they have to buy a car, when before none was required. There ougta be a law that says that a company that moves out of range of public trans, be required to pick up the tab for commuting employees.

  • avatar
    Forty2

    I have a set of Continental winter tires on the OEM 14″ steelies for my old Volvo 240. Not-winter = Yokohama AVID TRZ on a set of 15″ alloys from a 740T. The (actual) winter tires let me drive the old Klanker around morons mired/tits-up in their $80,000 4WD/AWD whatevers.

    Incidentally the Yokos are awesome in wet weather. In snow, not so much; the Contis are like night and day.

  • avatar
    DC Bruce

    As a 40-year DC resident, I would suggest one of two options. Option 1 is to put all-seasons on your 1- series, not that they’re that terrific in snow, but that your summer tires suffer a serious lack of grip on even dry pavement once the temperature falls below 45 degrees and simply have that as your year-round tire. Snow in DC is highly variable. Some winters (like this past winter) you can get nothing or next to nothing; other winters you get snowmageddon. Your back up transportation for big snows is either public transit, or telecommuting. Unlike, say Wisconsin, its unlikely that snow is going to be on the roads in significant quantities for more than a day or two.
    Option 2 is the dedicated snows, which you should mount on separate wheels and mount the wheels on your car the weekend after Thanksgiving. Take them off your car on March 15. These will keep you going until the snow is too deep and you are asking your car to be a snowplow. More importantly, these will stop your car much better on the hard-packed snow and ice that are often “snow” in metro DC.

    Buying a second “winter beater” might make sense in Wisconsin; it doesn’t in DC. It’s just a waste of money.


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