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Snow Tires ... Necessary or Not?

Discussion in 'Off Topic [BG]' started by tplyons, Oct 14, 2009.

  1. tplyons


    Apr 6, 2003
    Madison, NJ
    I'm looking at a set of OEM HHR take-offs with only a few thousand miles on them with Firestone Affinity tires that came with the car for about $900. Not bad when the tires are $150 apiece and the rims are about $550 each from GM.
  2. Selta


    Feb 6, 2002
    Pacific Northwet
    Total fanboi of: Fractal Audio, AudiKinesis Cabs, Dingwall basses
    When I was moving myself out to Washington from Pennsylvania, I had all of my "stuff" moved out here on truck, and drove my Mustang GT myself. I don't mind driving, and it was very fun.
    It was March... I was driving through Montana, Idaho and Washington as the last three states of my trip. In Montant, I obviously had to corss some mountains to continue. As I was going up said mountains, I was seeing signs of severe weather, and there were plow trucks EVERYWHERE.
    Neat... this could be fun!
    So, I get to the summit. At the summit, there were police vehicles everywhere, and 90%+ of the cars pulled off the road on this giant spot to stop. As I look, I see that *every* vehicle is putting chains on their wheels. So I stop to take a look around and chit chat.
    Apparently, I picked about the worst time ever to drive over that mountain. It had just gotten done snowing for 2-3 days, and they suspected heavy ice underneath the snow :-/. Well dang, my only other option is to back track, head south, then west, then north. Not something I was very fond of doing.
    I get back into my car and begin my trek down the hill.

    About 1000' farther, I see one of those blinking warning signs:


    Before I continue, let me let you know something. I never intended my Mustang to see even frost, let alone snow and ice. It has summer sports tires on it, not all seasons. Even in the rain these tires can be ... interesting to be driving with.

    Regardless, I begin my trek down this mountain. Luckily, for the most part, it was straight with just a few sweeping kind of curves, nothing sharp (I made sure to find this out before I went on). Also, everyone was driving smart and giving everyone more than plenty enough room (I could just barely see headlights in my rear view, and never saw another car in front of me). Well, I'd be lying if I said I made it down just like that :). I kept my car in 2nd gear (hurray manual!) so that I didn't have to use breaks, and more or less used 2 or 3 lanes around each bend :rolleyes:.

    So I get to the bottom of that mountain, only to find myself looking at having to go UP a very similar situation :(. Once again, thankfully everyone was driving very smart, and there wern't too many people treking UP, so, I got a nice head start and just kept the throttle constant and made it up.

    Had a very similar situation happen in Idaho, but not near as bad (no sign telling me I "must" have chains/snow tires).

    Needless to say, that was interesting, and I never knew that summer sports tires could grip that well on snow :).
  3. silverburst

    silverburst Commercial User

    Aug 22, 2007
    Los Angeles
    You could have a tire shop put all of the sensors inside the spare tire.
  4. Selta


    Feb 6, 2002
    Pacific Northwet
    Total fanboi of: Fractal Audio, AudiKinesis Cabs, Dingwall basses
    It's a different PSI than the real tires. TPMS would still throw a fit.
  5. Amazing...

    I grew up driving a rear wheel drive, 1979 Ford Thunderbird - with a hopped up 351 Windsor putting out about 300hp.

    I never had any problems getting around in the snow with it. I can't imagine having a hard time in a Volvo 240 with sandbags in the rear.

  6. I drove a Mazda RX-7, running 205/40/R17 Kumho Ecstas, for two winters in Michigan.

    That is not something I'd recommend though - especially if you don't have a lot of experience driving a rear wheel drive car in snow.
  7. SteveC

    SteveC Moderator Staff Member

    Nov 12, 2004
    North Dakota
  8. You're my hero. :)
  9. Selta


    Feb 6, 2002
    Pacific Northwet
    Total fanboi of: Fractal Audio, AudiKinesis Cabs, Dingwall basses
  10. silverburst

    silverburst Commercial User

    Aug 22, 2007
    Los Angeles
    Temporary spare tires are usually higher pressure (60psi or so). The light will come on if the lower threshold pressure is reached, not if it sees an overinflation condition. Putting all of the sensors inside the spare tire is a very common practice.
  11. Selta


    Feb 6, 2002
    Pacific Northwet
    Total fanboi of: Fractal Audio, AudiKinesis Cabs, Dingwall basses
    Werid. People on the AFM forums said it wasn't working for them. Oh well. My solution works, and I didn't need to pay someone to do it, or pull my spare or anything.
  12. Mike N

    Mike N Missing the old TB Staff Member Supporting Member

    Jan 28, 2001
    Spencerport, New York
    May as well just pull the bulb out of the cluster, or put a piece of tape over it. Easier to to than dismount a mini spare and try to cram four tpms sensors in, imo.
  13. Selta


    Feb 6, 2002
    Pacific Northwet
    Total fanboi of: Fractal Audio, AudiKinesis Cabs, Dingwall basses
    hehe, next time your out my way, I'll let ya reach in there and take a gander at doing that in my Mustang ;)
  14. Ziltoid

    Ziltoid I don't play bass

    Apr 10, 2009
    Depends on the weather where you live...here without snow tires your pretty much dead.
  15. My 4wd Pathfinder - I run all terrains year-round, in the winter I shift into 4wd when the roads are really bad.

    My 2wd Frontier - I put on the studded snows every winter (already mounted on rims, I do it myself). Drives great in mild snow / ice. They're Cooper Weathermasters, and they make a huge difference. But, when the roads are heavy with snow, I drive the Pathy ;).

    Snow tires, studs, 4wd, Awd, ABS, etc. can make a huge difference in winter driving. But..... experience and technique are also a huge part of the equation.

    BTW - Spokane received a total of 96" of snow last winter.
  16. Hi.

    Depends of the location obviously.

    Like Tsal pointed out, over here the law requires us to have M+S tires for certain months and always if the weather requires.

    We had our first icy condition over here at south last monday (north has about 20 cm of snow already). If I'd taken my camera along, I could've taken some pics to prove why exactly the winter tyres are an exxellent idea.
    AFAIK if You crash your or someone elses car in icy road having illegal tyres for the conditions over here, the insurance company flat out refuses to compensate you. Obviously they pay the second party damages but bill You for them.

    I've driven rear wheel drive vans for the most part of my life and I wouldn't imagine using anything but studded tyres during the winter months.

  17. How much snow do you get there? I know my hometown gets lots of snow (110"/2.8m) per winter - and no one uses snow tires... but it isn't a super hilly area, and that can make a difference also.
  18. Mike N

    Mike N Missing the old TB Staff Member Supporting Member

    Jan 28, 2001
    Spencerport, New York
    Usually easier to pop the cluster out to remove the bulb than it is to reach up from underneath. And with today's electronic speedometers there's no cable to worry about detaching from the back of the cluster.
  19. There is no substitute for snow tires when you need them. I've driven in snow, ice and on mountain roads for 40 years, and there simply is no substitute.

    Having said that, a good set (NOT an old set) of all-weather tires on a 4wd vehicle will get you anywhere you have any business of going.

    BUT - that's not the case. I strongly suggest buying a second set of wheels (Ebay is good) and mounting the snows on them, or on the less-valued wheels, and put your summer tires on your best rims. If your summer tires are worn out, buy the snows and rims now, and delay buying the summer tires until next spring. Once you have two sets of wheels and tires, you can change them in your driveway. I did this last weekend for my daughter's Camaro...the tires she's not using get stored above the garage in a rack I built in the rafters.

    There are fantastic reviews of many tires at both Discount Tire online and Tire Rack online.

    Spend the money and just switch the wheels to change seasons. As noted above, this also reduces wear on your summer tires - usually the more expensive set - and extends their life.

    I wouldn't pay that for tires or wheels, but I'm cheap. There are plenty of great tires out there for $100 give or take. I once spent $115 per corner and felt like I had spent the farm. Wheels? Ebay - Ebay - Ebay - ought to be able to buy them (or other attractive wheels) used for under $100 each.
  20. NJL


    Apr 12, 2002
    San Antonio
    in San Antonio, you have to be prepared at all times. I just bought some chains for my truck and am driving around in them in case we get a bad snow storm. it can happen anytime down here.

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