By on January 25, 2019

2017 Honda CR-V Touring Rear 3/4, Image: © 2017 Timothy CainRyan writes:

Esteemed Mr. Mehta, what tires should you use when going from cold to hot weather? Imagine you were driving from Canada to Arizona in March.

Earlier this year, my parents drove their shiny new 2018 CR-V AWD to Phoenix in order to attend the Vintage Stunt Championships. The event happens in March, a perfectly temperate, even zesty, time of the year in Arizona. (Daytime high in Phoenix last March was 33C). Unfortunately, we all live in Canada. The trip went across the Rockies, and they definitely encountered nightmarish winter conditions. We’re talking near-whiteout, slippery roads, Subarus in the ditches.

Even for Canadians, a bit much!

My Dad praised his new AWD rig; he drove through (albeit at a prudent speed) and felt in complete control even as the car wiggled a bit this way and that, the traction aids obviously acting as guardian angels.

Did I mention they did this whole trip on the stock all-season tires?

Anyway, we argued about what the right tire choice was for the trip. I say that if you’re driving the Rockies in the winter, you mount real snow tires, and suffer through whatever consequences there are driving them around in Phoenix for two weeks. My dad’s argument is the “M+S” stock tires worked fine, and true snow tires would melt (or worse) during their Springtime in Phoenix.

So, what say you? Aside from the obvious answer of carrying a second set of tires on the roof for the trip, what should they do when they head to the Vintage Stunt Championships in March 2019?

Sajeev answers:

I doubt snow tires “shall melt (or worse)” in Arizona, but they’ll wear out quicker and provide inferior summer performance relative to a high quality M+S tire. I’ll spare (sorry) you the details; watch Engineering Explained for that.

Imagine making the journey safely only to not stop quick enough to avoid an accident once there with snow tires!

Newer M+S tire designs and modern handling nannies are awesome: I was absolutely dumbfounded by the performance of my 2WD Ford Ranger with OEM M+S tires — hardly the best of that breed — traveling from a dry, 60F degree Houston to few plowed roads and 6″ of snow in small town Decatur. The drive back home included watching superior performing sedans, CUVs, and trucks sliding off two lane roads and divided highways like Interstate 45, and I credit my safe travels to:

  • Driving slow, smooth throttle/steering/brake inputs, and occasional use of engine braking.
  • Active Handling, Traction Control & ABS brakes (going up/down steep hills was magic!)
  • 80-100 lbs of ice between the cab and the rear axle, exact weight unknown as it was water sloshing around/out a Yamaha Quint Case while leaving Houston.
  • Starting in 2nd gear and sloooowly letting out the clutch. (hashtag Save The Manuals)

If a 2WD, open differential Ranger lacking appropriate ballast survives a somewhat-difficult snow storm with the handling nannies, I reckon your folks in an AWD Honda CR-V shall fare well with M+S tires provided they:

  • Plan stops around the weather: The National Weather Service recommends doing so in 6 hour time blocks, among other great ideas here.
  • Stay on the largest freeways to maximize the chance of plowed roads: hopefully the journey is done completely on interstate-sized highways.
  • The M+S tires still have plenty of tread left, and (as time goes by) do not dry rot.

Of course, as always, do ensure they are prepped for the journey as weather could outsmart our smartphones and sat nav systems.

I am beyond optimistic after experiencing today’s active handling technology on a vehicle far inferior to your folk’s Honda. What say you, Best and Brightest?

[Image: © 2017 Timothy Cain/TTAC]

Send your queries to [email protected]com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry…but be realistic, and use your make/model specific forums instead of TTAC for more timely advice.

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99 Comments on “Piston Slap: A Winter Tire for All Seasons?...”


  • avatar
    Hummer

    This is the easiest question of all time to answer, BFG KO2, great tire for soaking up miles all year round and has a snowflake for approved winter tire duty.

    • 0 avatar
      18726543

      K02s are great (if not somewhat overpriced) tires, but do they come in a size that’ll fit an ’18 CR-V? I’d bet not.

      • 0 avatar
        Hummer

        They can definitely be somewhat pricy but I’ll stand by them, they are very quiet, they are exceptionally smooth riding, after 25k miles I can’t see any noticable wear on any of the tires.
        My old KO1s probably hit 3-4 nails over their life, with the exception of 1, The others did not leak air when removed despite being long enough to go into tire. FIgure that one out, I hope the Ko2s are also capable of that magic trick.
        My only issue is they don’t come larger than 37in diameter which is a non issue here.

        • 0 avatar
          Dan

          “… after 25k miles I can’t see any noticable wear on any of the tires.”

          That’s what’s wrong with them. The rock hard compound without sipes to weaken the treadblocks is just what you need to survive beating around in the sand and dirt, they last forever on pavement as a bonus, and all of those qualities are the exact opposite of what you want for hard, slick surfaces. KO2s suck in the rain and they’re even worse on hard packed snow and ice.

          Don’t run snow tires in Baja. Don’t run Baja tires in the snow.

          • 0 avatar
            Hummer

            I’ll admit I’ve never put them into deep snow but I’ve had them in plenty of the 3″-6″ snows we get here and they have been excellent, even flooring my H2 from a stop there is almost no slip, similarly stopping the truck is no ordeal.

            Are they a dedicated snow tire? Absolutely not, are they a good choice for a year round tire, In my opinion, yes.

            I doubt you’ve driven them if you say they suck in rain, that couldn’t be further from the truth.

            Regardless they are still rated as a winter tire, it certainly isn’t a dedicated winter only tire, but it is more capable than you credit it.

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      Wow, those are pricey, but have excellent reviews

    • 0 avatar
      FormerFF

      I’ve been wondering about th0se “all weather” tires for my daughter’s car. She’s going to school in central Pennsylvania, and it’s going to be difficult to get winter tires changed over.

      The BFG K02 is not available for her car, but the Goodyear Assurance WeatherReady is. That tire is available for a CR-V, as is the Michelin CrossClimate SUV.

      • 0 avatar
        Rocket

        Penn State or Bucknell by chance?

        Regardless, you might want to take a look at Nokian WR G4. It’s their all-weather tire and wears the severe service emblem. Nokian makes outstanding tires, with snow being their particular area of expertise.

        https://www.nokiantires.com/all-weather-tires/nokian-wr-g4/

        • 0 avatar
          FormerFF

          She’s at Penn State. Unfortunately, Nokian does not make a tire that fits her car.

          She’s in her first year and the car is still at home, being driven by her sister, but she wants it this upcoming fall.

          • 0 avatar
            Rocket

            I grew up in central PA and went to Penn State myself. Great school!

            Too bad about the Nokians. The WRG3 was the predecessor to the WRG4, and also got great reviews. Might be worth looking into. There are other severe service rated all weather tires. Hopefully you find one that fits, because short of dedicated winters, it’s the best way to keep her safe in the mountains of central PA.

          • 0 avatar
            Shannon Hughes

            I doubt you would be disappointed in the Goodyear Assurance WeatherReady for an all year around tire that is proper winter capable. It is not only M+S, but also is 3 Peak Mountain Snow Flake (Winter / Snow Certification) marked….or as some are noting “severe service” marked.

        • 0 avatar
          random1

          I ran the WR G3 for a couple of years. I was really happy with snow/ice performance, but they did wear pretty quickly in the summer. Not sure how much better they wear compared to a “pure” winter tire, because I’ve never run those in the summer. I put a lot of miles on my cars, so I’m sticking with dedicated winter tires(also Nokian).

          • 0 avatar
            Carrera

            Yes, I had the WR G2 SUV in my Ridgeline when I lived in Canada. Great all weather tire but only lasted 30,000 miles. The Michelin LTX MS2 all season last about 65-70,000 miles. There’s a price you have to pay for convenience with Nokian tires. Also the Dutch make a brand of all weather tires…Vredestain or something like that.

      • 0 avatar
        d4rksabre

        I’ll second the Goodyear Assurance line. Love those tires. My old Lesabre was unstoppable in the snow.

      • 0 avatar
        johnds

        I’ve been using Michelin Defenders on my 2008 CRV since 100,000 miles. On my 2nd set now at 190,000 miles. Living in Minnesota they work great when its -40 below zero or if the temperature is 100 degrees. Last year we had a snow fall of 9-12″ and we didn’t have issues. Works best for us. I’ve thought about snow tires because I see many a Mazda car expert enthuthiast driving around looking cool with steel wheels, but why change when we haven’t had any problems?

    • 0 avatar

      Stock CRV wheels are 18″ with a 29.1″ diameter tire.

      They won’t fit the stock wheels, but with aftermarket wheels you can get 255/55R18
      If you drop down to a 17″ wheel you can get KO2s in LT245/65R17
      If you drop down to a 16″ wheel you can get KO2s in LT225/75R16

      All are +/- 0.3″ of the stock tire diameter and will fit under their car.

    • 0 avatar
      gtem

      No way, All terrains like the BFG KO simply lack the siping and softer compound to really do well in the snow IMO. To say nothing of the road noise and precipitous MPG drop you’d see if you even found that size for a CRV. The only all terrain to really catch my eye for winter duty is Cooper’s fairly new Discoverer ATW, specifically engineered with a softer compound and extra siping to do better in winter conditions than their usual All terrain AT3. My friend just put some of those on his ’02 4Runner and seems to like them. I run dedicated Altimax Arctics in the winter, Grabber AT2s in the summer on my own 3rd gen. Now, if you want to go SUV-ish with a tire, the Michelin LTX-MS2 might be worthy of consideration. Lots of siping, I had a set on my Pilot and a coworker put some on an ’05 Suburban Z71 at my recommendation for all around good performance (noise, wear, adequate winter performance).

      I’m a big snow tire fan, but in this case a good quality all season with known better-than-average snow performance, and maybe emergency low profile tire chains in the trunk might be the way to go. Although 2 weeks of warm weather use won’t totally wear out or destroy snow tires either to be honest.

      • 0 avatar
        Lie2me

        What we’re looking for here is a good compromise. There are many reasons why a lot of people just can’t have two sets of tires, storage being one of the main issues, but you offer-up some good alternatives that I’m going to look into

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        The KO2, like many AT tires, is good in snow, where they are less than great, again like many AT tires is on ice.

        • 0 avatar
          gtem

          Define “good”

          No better than an all season/highway type tire which generally have more siping and softer compounds, as they do not focus as much on durability on rocks and such.

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            Definitely much better than A/S type tires.

          • 0 avatar
            gtem

            Yeah re-reading it again, I agree on snow with any sort of depth, I’d take the A/T. On packed snow/icy conditions, I’d prefer a well-siped A/S, although even that is much less than ideal.

    • 0 avatar
      TheDutchGun

      I have KO2s on my F150 in eastern Ontario. Great in snow, not amazing on ice.

      But having been in this climate most of my life, I find adjusting one’s driving style to be the ultimate winter defense.

      Unfortunately, there are countless others too stubborn or other not complimentary adjectives that fill the ditches every winter storm.

    • 0 avatar
      operagost

      I hope that ice water wasn’t actually sloshing in/around your marching toms…

      I mean, marching percussion is necessarily tough, but that’s ridiculous.

    • 0 avatar
      jalop1991

      BFG? Wrong.

      There is only one answer: Nokian WR.

    • 0 avatar
      NormSV650

      Everyone is so concerned about the tire of a brand new Honda CR-V, I’m more concerned about the first 7,000 mile differential fluid change and Honda 1.5t fuel dilution. Especially since Honda Canada covered Civic and CR-V 1.5t with a longer warranty that was not offered in the states. Neither is the Civic covered here.

  • avatar
    18726543

    It might be worth looking into a set of all season tires from the Nokian company. I’m familiar with them from my many years on a mountain bike, but just recently learned that they make vehicle tires too. I’ve read probably a hundred reviews on their tires stating their M+S tires have outstanding winter weather traction…something you might expect from a tire company based in Finland.

    I’ve been shopping a set of their Rotiiva AT’s for my Grand Cherokee. Haven’t pulled the trigger yet, but I’m leaning that direction.

    • 0 avatar
      jalop1991

      “It might be worth looking into a set of all season tires from the Nokian company.”

      Wrong.

      It IS worth looking into a set of all WEATHER tires from the Nokian Company.

      Nokian WR. End of story.

  • avatar
    labelnerd

    Nokian WRG4’s on my RWD Stinger do me just fine but I never will experience that kind of snow in NC. Thet are considered an all weather tire so can take the heat as well. Only had them on for a few months this winter so we’ll see what they ultimately do.

  • avatar
    ajla

    “What say you, Best and Brightest?”

    Here’s a family member’s Outback after last week (fortunately no one was injured):

    i.ibb.co/fk1q4xR/rps20190125-081706.jpg

    All it took to put a low-powered, 2016MY ‘ZOMG Subaru’ with all-season tires on its lid was getting on the brakes a little too quickly.

    I’m not stating as fact that winter tires would have avoided the accident and I guess I don’t really have an answer. I’d say the best advice is to keep an eye on the forecast just stay off the road if you’re dealeing with blizzard/whiteout conditions, but I know a lot of people don’t like that sort of thing.

    Modern technology is great and you might have supreme confidence in your abilities but I can’t think of any circumstances where driving in heavy snow conditions isn’t dangerous.

    • 0 avatar
      dividebytube

      Lots of people think that AWD is “all you need”. When I mention winter tires, I get blank looks and the “but I have AWD!”

      Braking performance would have been better with some dedicated snow tires but hard to know what would have happened; ie I have winter tires but today hit a patch of ice that made the ABS kick in. I didn’t “stop on a dime” but slid a bit. It may have been worse with all-seasons.

      • 0 avatar
        trackratmk1

        +1

        It’s always hilarious when SUVs with out of state plates try to climb the road to the base lodge at Killington and can’t make it up the first hill, let alone the next 3 miles.

        • 0 avatar
          random1

          ++1

          Sounds like you were there this past weekend, which was particularly nasty, to be fair! Even funnier to see people stuck in the flat parking lot. I’ve seen some really low speed slides there, big ass SUVs with crap ass tires.

          • 0 avatar
            PrincipalDan

            @random1

            You made me think of someone I know with a FWD Pilot with the cheapest nastiest Chinese brand tires on it.

            (For someone who I KNOW makes $80K.)

          • 0 avatar
            gtem

            I’ll never not shake my head at people skimping and getting those off-brand tires. And I’m not some kind of brand-snob, I like good quality, safe, high value tires! It’s just a lack of awareness for many people I think.

    • 0 avatar
      jalop1991

      “All it took to put a low-powered, 2016MY ‘ZOMG Subaru’ with all-season tires on its lid was getting on the brakes a little too quickly.”

      I call BS. That’s not “all it took”.

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        ¯_(ツ)_/¯

        That’s what my BIL told me, but I wasn’t there. I’m sure there was some degree of counter-steering involved too (if that is what you mean), but getting on the brakes hard is what he blamed. I do know that the vehicle flipped over and he didn’t get a citation or anything over the accident. I suppose he might have been hot-rodding it through the snow, but he’s not me so I doubt it.

  • avatar
    PeriSoft

    I have Vredestein Quattracs on my ’15 Genesis sedan, and am pretty happy with their performance in snow (upstate NY). I usually go for Blizzaks but decided not to this time for a few reasons; my experience suggests that the Vreds offer about 70% of the snow/slush performance of dedicated snows. BUT: They’re garbage on ice, whereas Blizzaks are stellar. I don’t go out in icy conditions with the Vreds; it’s not worth it.

    If all you need is tolerable snow/slush performance once in a while, snow-biased all seasons are probably fine. But I can only do that now because the Genesis is AWD: These tires with front drive wouldn’t make it out of my driveway for 3 months of the year!

  • avatar
    hubcap

    Big difference traveling from Houston to Decatur versus coming from Canada, through the Rockies, and ending up in Arizona.

  • avatar
    trackratmk1

    Hard to fault Nokians or Blizzaks. Definitely worth the price, and remember by installing snows you are extending the life of your OEM tires. This could be important if you are in a 3 year lease, I know a lot of people had to pay for tires for the NEXT owner when they turned in their leased car.

    There are a number of articles floating around about how much abuse snow tires can take in warmer weather, including a torture test on a track. They definitely won’t melt or suffer from aggressive wear. Heck most of the winter people have their snow tires on dry pavement anyway. I’ve ran my snows well into Spring and it’s great… the ride is more forgiving and quieter than stock, just at the expense of grip.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    The OP mentioned they used ‘all season’ tires. There is a considerable difference between ‘all season’ and ‘all weather’ tires. All weathers are rated for snow/ice and also for a ‘winter tire’ rebate from your insurance company. Yet they are also suitable for ‘summer’ driving. Theoretically, all weather tires are exactly what the OP’s family should be using for this type of trip.

    This spring for my mother’s car, I purchased a set of ‘all weather’ tires. Since she was driving less than 8,000kms per year and never in ‘bad’ weather, these tires in theory would suffer ‘dry rot’ before they wear out. Unfortunately, she recently stopped driving altogether, so I have ‘inherited’ her car, with the all weathers.

    Personally, I find the all weathers to be a bit of a compromise. And they will wear quicker than dedicated winter/summer tires. Meaning that at a certain tread level, although safe for ‘summer’ use, they would no longer be suitable for winter conditions. From my understanding the ‘softer’ compound which is what is required for cold weather driving, eventually wears down, leaving only the harder, underlining, summer suitable compound near the end of the tire’s life.

    Finally, I am a convert to dedicated winter tires. After spending 30+ years driving all types of vehicles (air cooled RW drive VW’s, cargo vans, domestic PLC’s, a C4 Corvette, Caravans, etc) when my eldest child got her license, I immediately purchased our first set of dedicated winter tires, and was soon convinced of their superiority.

  • avatar
    Flipper35

    “Imagine making the journey safely only to not stop quick enough to avoid an accident once there with snow tires!”

    Imagine not stopping in time to avoid the accident in the mountains because the traction was not there! Or worse yet,going off the road and down the mountain.

    I believe there was a track test with winter tires on a Focus and it wasn’t that much slower on the track than the OEM tires when they put dedicated winter tires on it.

    I bet the difference in stopping between all seasons and winter tires on a 90* day is much smaller than the stopping distance between all seasons and winter tires in the mountain winter roads, especially if there is snow or ice. 30 feet at 30mph is a fair distance.

    https://www.tirerack.com/tires/tests/testDisplay.jsp?ttid=103

    at a speed of 30 mph, gave both drivers a braking signal at the prescribed mark and compared the distances it took them to come to a complete stop. The winter tire equipped car stopped in a distance of about 59 feet, while the all-season tire equipped car took an additional two car lengths, or about 30 more feet.

  • avatar
    crazyforwheels

    “car wiggled a bit this way and that”

    Well isn’t that the whole point. I live in a winter area, and I’m a firm believer in snow tires on all 4 wheels. I learned this because my job required many winter road travels.

    I keep hearing people say – no worry, it’s AWD. This is a false sense of security.

    If you get stuck due to lack of traction, so what, a tow truck can pull you out, So NOT going ahead, is not necessarily a life changing experience.

    BUT good steering and braking are definitely necessary once underway.

    Imagine not stopping and sliding thru a intersection to get T boned.
    Imagine not stopping, and running over a predestrian at a cross walk.
    Imagine turning the wheel, and going straight into someone else.

    All the above can cause permanent life altering physical injury. And lets not talk about the lawsuits of you actions.

    • 0 avatar
      TE Lawrence

      Exactly! I run dedicated snow tires on both family vehicles, one is 4WD and the other is AWD. Huge difference in MN. I’ve tried blizzaks, x-ice, etc. and have found that the generals are best. The arctic max are incredible and don’t wear down as fast as the blizzaks. They can be a little squishy when the temp is around 50f, but given the weather here is below freezing for months, it’s no biggie. You wouldn’t get me trekking through the Rockies in winter without snow tires. No way.

      It’s all about the ability to stop. I’ve had brand new all seasons on and slid for a good fifty feet and into an intersection. Doesn’t happen with the arcticmax, unless it’s pure ice out there.

      • 0 avatar
        gtem

        I run Altimax Arctics on my 4Runner in a narrower 245/75R16 and have been very pleased. My brother runs them on an ’02 XL7 and his Mercury Mystique, as well as his wife’s AWD Rogue. Nothing but positive comments. Good on snow, decent on ice (as far a sunstudded tires go), clear water well, and aren’t too noisy.

  • avatar
    formula m

    My parents left western Quebec for Florida yesterday morning in the midst of a snow/ice/rain storm here in Ottawa, ON. Reading their email last night, it took 12hrs straight to reach Winchester Virginia. 10hrs of which was “white knuckle” driving conditions. They drive a 2014 CRV AWD. My father used the stock OEM tires the first year but said he would not make the drive without proper winter tires going forward. They stay in Florida for 8 weeks before returning. He bought Michelin Latitude X-ICE and they have held up and were used for this the 4th year in a row without premature wear from driving for 8 weeks each winter in the Florida heat before returning to Canada. 2 weeks in Arizona will not damage a good quality Michelin tire, they seem to hold up to heat in the dry but also stay soft in extreme cold/ice conditions.

    I have seen generic low cost winters melt off the front of a ford focus in 4 months of summer driving.

    • 0 avatar
      Fordson

      No offense to your dad, but if he was driving in western Quebec that first year with OEM tires, he was in violation of the law – Quebec requires winter tires on passenger vehicles this time of year.

      • 0 avatar
        formula m

        None taken, my parents have an Ontario address, plates and doctor. Why would they get caught up in Quebec political BS when they worked and paid taxes in Ontario for 45 yrs. They just spend 90% of their time at the cottage when they aren’t in florida during the coldest part of winter.

  • avatar
    turbo_awd

    All modern cars (that I know of) have 4-wheel brakes. AWD doesn’t magically help you brake faster. Snow Tires do in snowy conditions. And all cars now have ABS – after experiencing even “simple” ABS (1994 Corrado VR6), I would NEVER AGAIN drive a car without ABS in the snow. Our 1987 VW Fox spun almost 360 on a street with “just some snow” and a light touch on the brake and snow tires. My B-I-L spun his Jeep Cherokee on a winter rally with really knobby tires. ABS really is worth it.

    AWD helps with not spinning one tire when on ice, but even there, not AWD systems are equal. Some will help more than others.

    After driving 16 Canadian winters (some worse than others) and surviving my very first one (with lots of snow) on Comp TA HRs and having to get pushed up a hill by a truck, I always got snow tires after that. Some better than others. Usually, the better the tire in snow, the softer / mushier the handling. Until the last couple of years when I found my favorite snow tire ever: Michelin Pilot Alpin. NOT to be confused with the MUCH WORSE Arctic Alpin (had those too – those sucked!). Pilot Alpin was 85-90% of the best snow tires I’d had (best I personally tried was, IIRC, Uniroyal Tiger Paw or something else from Uniroyal – had an employee discount deal with BFG/Uniroyal). Pilot Alpins were very good in the snow and as good as cheaper summer tires on dry pavement, even in the summer. And they wore amazingly. I think I got 30K+ miles out of ’em. I ran them the last summer before moving at the wear bars all summer and they were still good for aggressive cornering. The winter before, even just above wear bars, I just took it a bit easier and they were good. When new, I took ’em winter rallying and they were awesome. I haven’t needed snow tires in 15 years now, but if I did, first thing I’d do is go back to Michelin Pilot Alpins..

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      I honestly find ABS to be a pain in the a$$ in most snow situations around here but that’s because the ABS makes it darn near impossible to stop on a down-slope if it is slippery.

      • 0 avatar
        turbo_awd

        Hmm. Haven’t run into that situation, so I can’t argue with you there.

        • 0 avatar
          PrincipalDan

          Had that issue with my F150 (four wheel disc brakes + ABS) and I have that issue with my Highlander (4wd) unless I hit the “Descent Acceleration Control” switch witch disables the ABS below 20 mph. It lets me lock the brakes.

          • 0 avatar
            Land Ark

            I had that happen in my Legacy a couple winters ago. On a VERY slight decline I was crawling up behind a truck that had stopped at an intersection. The way was clear but they weren’t going. I was still slightly rolling, slow enough that it didn’t register on the speedo. I realized they weren’t going to go so I hit the brakes, the ABS went nuts, and they did nothing to slow the car. I started honking to warn them I couldn’t stop and I nosed into their trailer hitch. I was pretty pissed at my car – and I still don’t know why they didn’t go.

          • 0 avatar
            gtem

            I’ve definitely dealt with this issue, locked up wheels will ultimately allow snow to build up in front of the tire and aid in slowing you down. Before we got snow tires, we’d always chatter our way precariously close to 40mph traffic sliding down hill in our 4wd ’98 Mazda MPV. My 4Runner disengages ABS in 4wd-low, which makes sense in my mind, but I wish it did in 4Hi as well.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    I’ve got a 2010 Highlander with 4wd (50/50 default torque split) and run Hercules Terra Trac AT2 tires. They are M&S rated and have sipes that run the tread depth along with a high silica content for cold weather flexibility.

    I’ve been very happy with them and know that they are closely related to the latest Cooper All Terrain tires (Hercules brand is owned by Cooper.) However I don’t experience Canadian conditions – just a good messy storm 2-3 times per month from late December to late February. Afterward the sun comes out and almost everything is gone with 24-48 hours. But my job requires that I be there heck or high water, no snow days for the principal.

    I have been very happy with them for the last 60,000 plus miles (rotate every 5,000 miles) and a snow tire would make sense because 4 days after the snow storm (even an 8 in one) it might be 60 degrees.

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      I think the biggest problem with tires is cold weather flexibility, when it’s near zero tires are hard as a rock causing reduced traction, softer tires turn to mush in the hot summer. Trying to find a good compromise is difficult. I’m always looking, because today it’s -2 degrees F, but come July it can easily be a 100 degrees F

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        @Lie2Me

        Take a good look at Cooper and what they’ve got for an Escape. They’re still headquartered in the USA and still have factories here FWIW. I’m not MAGA hat wearer but do try to buy American when possible, especially when the product is good.

        And I do believe in the high silica tires as being superior. I tested out the Hercules on my old F150 for a few thousand miles before buying another set for my Highlander. I was THAT happy.

        • 0 avatar
          Scoutdude

          I don’t see how that jives with your other comment. “Had that issue with my F150 (four wheel disc brakes + ABS) and I have that issue with my Highlander (4wd) unless I hit the “Descent Acceleration Control” switch witch disables the ABS below 20 mph. It lets me lock the brakes.” Because that to me sounds like a tire issue and not an ABS issue since apparently they had the same model tire but entirely different ABS systems and programming.

          • 0 avatar
            PrincipalDan

            Eventually I put the same tires on the vehicle and both behaved the same way with the ABS engaged. Only on the Highlander could I turn off the ABS.

            Why do so many vehicles with off-road intentions include a way to turn off the ABS?

            In slick conditions were you are trying to HOLD a vehicle on a non horizontal surface, ABS is a pain in the butt.

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            There is something seriously wrong with your car and/or tires if you can’t hold the vehicle on a incline. Once all speed sensors are reading 0 revolutions the ABS won’t be active.

          • 0 avatar
            PrincipalDan

            I need to stop arguing with people on the internet.

          • 0 avatar
            gtem

            I get what Dan is saying, no need to get overly pedantic scoutdude. An aggressive ABS system with older all seasons on snowy hills can really be scary in a heavier vehicle, it just feels like it just keeps chattering away down hill, you’re not losing speed as quickly as you would if the wheels just locked up and let snow build up in front of them.

          • 0 avatar
            SPPPP

            Oh no, PrincipalDan is right on the money. There are definitely certain situations in which overly-sensitive ABS programming will effectively disable your car’s brakes and make it impossible to stop on a downhill, even in light snow. Yes, grippier tires will minimize the problem. But in certain slippery scenarios, a slight amount of tire sliding (say, below 10mph) is sometimes necessary to make a complete stop.

            I have had the same experience in a W-body with ABS and decent all-season tires. In a half-inch of snow, my car rolled down a hill and through a 4-way stop with the ABS pulsing the entire time. Just to clarify, I was able to drive back up the hill with TC turned off. The thing is, the overly-sensitive TC came with an off switch. The overly sensitive ABS didn’t.

            (The hyperactive TC nearly got me in 2 or 3 other accidents, but that’s a separate issue.)

          • 0 avatar
            DC Bruce

            The principal value of ABS is that it allows you to steer the car while braking hard on a slippery surface because it keeps the wheels from locking up, Only in the rain does ABS stop you more quickly than without. On dry pavement and snow, it offers little braking help.

          • 0 avatar
            PrincipalDan

            SPPPP & gtem have it right on the money. Pedal to the floor, ABS chattering away pulsing the pedal and it just keeps going. In some ways it was most annoying to me in the F150 (2004 Heritage) because there was no manufacturer provision to compensate for it AND given the way trucks are used it seemed like a issue that would pop up often for the owner.

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            “I get what Dan is saying, no need to get overly pedantic scoutdude. An aggressive ABS system with older all seasons on snowy hills can really be scary in a heavier vehicle, it just feels like it just keeps chattering away down hill, you’re not losing speed as quickly as you would if the wheels just locked up and let snow build up in front of them.”

            You sort of just made my point there if you preface it with “older all seasons”.

            Fact is he didn’t say it wouldn’t stop he said it wouldn’t hold it on a hill, two different things.

            I guess I just must be more conservative that either of you with my winter driving, especially if I’m driving something heavy.

        • 0 avatar
          Featherston

          @ Dan – Cooper CS5 “no seasons” are on two of the vehicles in the family fleet, and they’ve been perfectly fine. Huge grains of salt, as (a) I’m kind of a 4/10ths driver and (b) Coopers are what a family friend stocks at his shop. The brand seems to fly under most people’s radar for whatever reason. Agree with you on the American-ness aspect as well.

          • 0 avatar
            FormerFF

            I have CS%’s on my Fusion as well. I think they’re fine, but are more in the luxury/comfort end of things.

        • 0 avatar
          Lee Wilcox

          My 4Runner automatically disables abs when 4wd is selected. Btw living in the Houston area is a good choice for winter driving

  • avatar
    WallMeerkat

    Where I live even a ‘bad’ winter is usually a dozen non-consecutive days of snow at most.

    I went for all weather tyres – Michelin CrossClimate+. I’ve fitted them to my last, current and wife’s car. (All FWD) They are not a full winter tyre, though in continental Europe they are rated as a winter tyre.

    They seem fine, I’ve driven (carefully!) through heavy snow and up hills and they never let me down.

  • avatar
    Fordson

    I guess to me the question is not what to do in Phoenix on winter tires (take it easy, try to keep unnecessary trips to a minimum), but what is he doing driving around in Canada, on all-seasons, in March? Why would he even have those tires on the car there, at that time of year?

    As has been said many times, using winter tires in winter keeps mileage off of your regular tires, so that’s pretty much a wash cost-wise, except for the extra steelies and TPMS sensors, but in most Canadian provinces, insurance companies give a discount if you use winter tires in winter, so that helps wipe out the steelies/TPMS cost.

    And anyone with the scratch to spend ~$35k CDN last year on a new CRV should be able to manage a set of real winter tires.

    You asked what his plan should be for that trip to AZ this coming March – ?

    That’s it – hope your dad now has winter tires on his CRV.

    • 0 avatar

      I can answer this: Canada yes, but Vancouver. So far, zero snow on the roads all season, and if you’re retired, well, you also don’t have to go anywhere.

      That said, I live nearby but 1000’ ASL, and my car (FWD) has snow tires.

    • 0 avatar
      formula m

      The current generation Honda CR-V doesn’t require TPMS to be purchased for the rims. Still the steel 17’s with toyos for winter cost $1145 +tax cdn to be installed. Insurance isn’t doing working miracles to subsidize the cost

  • avatar
    Scoutdude

    A/S tires when new can do pretty well in snow, but their usefulness in deep snow goes away fairly quickly as the min recommended depth for snow is 6/32″. You’ll find many winter and a couple of A/S tires that have some sort of winter use wear indicator that is exposed at that depth. The thing is that the winter tires will usually start out with 13/32″ of tread instead of 10/32″ you’ll find on many non-winter tires.

    As far as what to choose for the trip I’d suggest the Goodyear Ultra Grip Ice WRT. That is the tire my state patrol, and many other police agencies run year round on many of their vehicles. They seem to hold up to E. WA winters and summers just fine. I’ve got a set on my CVPI and I ran them last summer because I put my summer tires on my daugther’s car instead of mine.

    • 0 avatar
      Flipper35

      On our sedan we use BFG Comp-2 AS and they do OK in the light snow as most A/S tires can, but it is freezing rain or ice that is the problem and that is where a winter tire makes a huge difference. They are a great tire for most situations, but if the weather is bad I take the truck with Blizzaks, like today in the midwest. They have the highways cleared but in town is a mess.

      As a side note, the OEM tires were the worst tires I have ever had for an “all season”. If it was dry and above 60* they were good. If it was damp or cold then they were horrible. If there was a light dusting of snow you were screwed and that is not an exaggeration. There is an off ramp that I take everyday on the way home and I can take it 70 in the truck (2000 Durango in the summer with summer tires – NOT the Blizzaks) without the tires squealing and with the sedan’s OEM tires I was going 43 (I can always feel it downshift at 43) on that same ramp when it was damp and the temps were in the low 50*s. The car started sliding and the stability control engaged. I hated those tires.

  • avatar
    scott25

    I’ve noticed that in my part of Ontario it’s increasingly common for people to have winter tires on their car 365 days a year. Often, that’s the choice people make if they can only afford one set, rather than having all-seasons in winter. Despite the fact it’s 85+ degrees Fahrenheit during the day most of the summer.

    • 0 avatar
      gtem

      That’s the case on seemingly 50% of the cars I see driving around in Siberia. They have long and cold and snowy winters though with an extra month or so on either end of cold enough temperature where you’re not “burning up” your snow tires.

  • avatar
    Add Lightness

    Watch long-term weather and road reports.
    Pick the departure day carefully.
    Make a run for it.
    Continue monitoring.
    Hole up if weather does not work out.

    This will put at least a bit of adventure into a boring interstate trip.
    I look back on winter trips that I could have done on slicks.

  • avatar
    TooManyCars

    My suggestion is all weather tires. The Nokian WR is a good tire but expensive in western Canada as it is handled by only one dealer. My Mom has a set on her Buick and they are wearing well. We also purchased BFG Advantage T/A Sport LT tires for my wife’s CX-5 recently, much cheaper than the Nokian and still has a 60k km tread wear warranty. Bit noisier than the Nokians but more aggressive tread for snow. The Toyo Celsius also looks good, if they make one in your size.

    Strongly suggest that you carefully drive to AZ in March and buy your tires there. Tire prices in Canada are just ridiculous, even with the exchange on our Hudson Bay Pesos.

  • avatar
    Lightspeed

    Blizzaks and Michelin Xice3 will wear out pretty fast in summer conditions. If I knew I was making a similar trek on a regular basis, I’d go with an all-season that has a blocky tread, as opposed to the type that have three wide rain channels down the middle.

  • avatar
    Stumpaster

    Michelin are quieter than Blizzaks and more focused on the ice, while Blizzaks are better in the snow. I have both. Michelin are quieter on highways. Nothing will happen if they drive 2 weeks in Arizona. In VT many people drive year round.

  • avatar
    volvo

    Looking at the end of the question

    “what should they do when they head to the Vintage Stunt Championships in March 2019”

    You have received lots of good information on tires but if they are going to be in Phoenix two weeks or less and do not have friends/relatives to visit along the way they might consider flying and renting a car in Phoenix. They could run the numbers (gas/hotels/meals/auto usage) vs. (airfare/car rental) and perhaps that helps them make a decision if it is just based on cost.

    • 0 avatar

      Not a bad recommendation. I think part of their motive is they enjoy the road trip, and part is that they’re transporting model aircraft. Start with something that is about as fragile and space-hogging as a double bass, then make it reek from residual alcohol/nitromethane fuel. You could surely ground-ship them if you packed them right, but the hassles start to mount up.

      Those motors though…5-digit redlines, insane specific output, frequently custom finished guts…

      • 0 avatar
        volvo

        Silly me. I thought perhaps your mom or dad were retired stunt performers for the movies or rodeo.
        It must be great to fly an RC in that type of competition.
        And I certainly would not trust something like that to any transport company.

  • avatar
    finderskeepers

    Years ago I used to work for an airport shuttle company that would routinely put 250,000km/year on each vehicle and their vehicle of choice was a Dodge Ram van. No fancy traction control or AWD, just rear wheel drive. They needed a tire that could handle any weather condition that also had decent wear resistance also. After trying everything from Michelin LTX to Bridgestone Duallers to Goodyear Forteras, they finally found Cooper Weather Master and Cooper Discoverer M+S. They found that they could both be driven year around on both 100+ degree July days and-26 days in February. What was truly impressive is that many sets were lasting to almost 150,000km! Since then my whole family has been on coopers, I drive an Infiniti G37x, my dad has a Chevy Montana, my wife a JEEP Grand Cherokee and My sister a Volkswagen. All of them running year around on Coopers. My Expedition Limited was unstoppable in snow with the Cooper Discoverer M+S, and strangely never got flat tires, which was an ongoing problem with the Original Equipment Continental Conti-tracs (they would pick up nails like they had magnets in them). I’m not a rep for Cooper, I’ve just had great results with them. I currently have over 112,000 km on the Cooper weather-masters on my Infiniti and they are just getting down to the wear bars now…they handle really well on a high performance car which is rather shocking (although if I’m really pushing the car hard I have a summer only set of low profile pirelli p-zero that will out-corner them, but for 3x the price)

  • avatar
    George B

    I’d just buy the tires that make the most sense for the majority of the miles driven and adjust driving style for the short times when the tires and road conditions don’t match. Winter tires will wear faster than all season tires in Phoenix in March, but the driving conditions should be about as easy for tires as it gets. Dry pavement and moderate temperatures. Ryan’s parents could leave a little extra stopping distance if they were concerned.

  • avatar
    Gedrven

    For this situation: snow tires, full stop.

    If you could only own one jacket and lived in a 4-season climate, would you go for the unlined denim, or the hooded down?

    On snowy roads, the traction imit is much lower and more frequently encountered. You’re routinely using a large portion of available traction, and need all the help you can get. Electronic wizardry and AWD optimize the use of available mechanical grip, but only tires can increase it.

    On warm dry roads in routine driving, the limit is much higher and you rarely get anywhere near it. You’re using a small fraction of available grip, and barring a spirited drive or emergeny maneuver, you’re unlikely to notice even a 50% loss of available grip. Snow tires are not optimal for such roads, but what they lose in the summer is less than what summer tires lose in the winter, and more importantly, you can afford to lose much more in the summer than winter.

    I’ve seen people drive in snow with RWD and DOT-R tires. I’ve also seen people fix household wiring without turning it off. Just because they got away with it doesn’t mean it’s the right way to do it.

    Snow tires won’t explode or melt in warm climates, they’ll just wear out faster. I drove on various Blizzaks for four years, mostly in temperate climates and once on a drive between FL and CA in June (AZ was 44C). Even for moderately spirited driving they were fine. The soft compound lasted perhaps 20k miles (not sure because I bought them used) and was fairly comfortable and quiet.

  • avatar
    scottcom36

    The M+S designation is worthless. Get a set of year ’round tires with the mountain and snowflake symbol.

  • avatar
    ttacgreg

    Here’s my two cents worth.
    I just bought a set of Continental TrueContact tires on my ’16 Prius . They got good snow performance ratings from Tire Rack testing and crowdsource ratings, and from CR as well. They are no match for the x-ice on my Corolla, or the Pirelli winter tires on my Suzuki, but they are quite capable, and I would have no problem here in Colorado’s snow belt if they were the only tires I had for winter. I would have to ease up a bit on how “spirited” my driving on slick surfaces however. The traction control and stability control on the Prius are useful and effective, I like them better than I had anticipated.

  • avatar
    Jagboi

    If they are crossing the Rockies, than means they are going through BC. Winter tires are mandatory in BC from October 1 to March 31 on designated routes ( which is basically everything outside the Lower Mainland).

    So buy the snowtires, and drive to Arizona on them, they will be fine.

  • avatar

    In Russia I had two sets of tires – summer and winter tires. And I changed tires twice a year – in November and March typically. It is okay to drive on winter tires when there is no snow but they will be noisy and wear faster – they are too soft. In Russia it is a normal ritual – most drivers do that – it is not even disputed. Russians also dress well to not accidentally freeze when temperature is -20C – -40C. There is a reason why German army has been defeated – they did not take continental winter seriously.

    I am surprised to learn that you do not do the same thing in US and Canada.

  • avatar
    multicam

    Oh my god, I love it when the topic of winter driving comes up. Everyone comes out of the woodwork to chime in, and everyone is great at it and everyone else sucks. I notice this online and in real life. Me, I’ve lived in Florida, Georgia, Texas and Hawaii my whole life so I just sit back with some popcorn and enjoy the show.

  • avatar

    I understand they can’t compete with a true snow tire, but in northern Ohio Continental ExtremeContact DWS does great in the winter and in standing water, better than Michelin all seasons. Cheaper, more comfortable ride and longer wearing too. A bit more flex when turning quickly.

  • avatar
    ROCKIN RICHIE

    Try the TOYO CELSIUS… it seems like the perfect blend for this application.

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