Author Topic: Snow tires & long distance driving  (Read 12589 times)

TheGadfly

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Snow tires & long distance driving
« on: December 08, 2014, 08:53:07 AM »
I just put a set of snow tires on my car a few weeks ago and they're fantastic, especially since I rarely drive more than 20 miles at a time (I expect them to last for a few seasons).

BUT

I'm going to be driving a total of 1,500 miles in the next month to visit family for the holidays (mostly highway driving).  Will this completely ruin my snow tires?  How will this impact my MPG?

Am I better off switching back to my warm-season tires?  I'm reluctant to do this because it would require me to buy a new set of rims (an expense I wasn't planning to absorb until the Spring).  Advice?


Greg

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Re: Snow tires & long distance driving
« Reply #1 on: December 08, 2014, 09:01:41 AM »
If your vehicle has a good alignment, and you don't drive aggressively, and it's relatively cold, it won't harm your snow tires.  Also make sure the pressure is correct.

But if your alignment is bad, or you do drive aggressively, it will wear the tires more than usual.  Snow tires are usually designed for colder weather, so they will work better in the cold than in warmer weather.  And the wear may be less if it's colder as well.

If you're talking about studded snow tires then you're just wasting them unless you'll be on hard pack for most of the trip.  Not to mention wearing the roadway.

BlueMR2

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Re: Snow tires & long distance driving
« Reply #2 on: December 08, 2014, 09:56:28 AM »
I just put a set of snow tires on my car a few weeks ago and they're fantastic, especially since I rarely drive more than 20 miles at a time (I expect them to last for a few seasons).

BUT

I'm going to be driving a total of 1,500 miles in the next month to visit family for the holidays (mostly highway driving).  Will this completely ruin my snow tires?  How will this impact my MPG?

My current sets of snow tires are multiple years old and I drive much more than you do.  :-)  As long as you don't abuse them/drive around on them in hot conditions, they should wear just like normal tires do.  As far as MPG, I get the same MPG Summer and Winter.  That's even though the car sucks more gas during initial warmup in the Winter, so I'm guessing my snow tires are actually more efficient than my Summer tires.

lizzzi

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Re: Snow tires & long distance driving
« Reply #3 on: December 08, 2014, 10:03:58 AM »
I just drove 1300 miles on my new snow tires (had already put about 200 miles on them). I drove to upstate NY and Vermont, just before and after the big Thanksgiving nor-easter. The ride was fantastic--loved how those tires held the road in cold temperatures--although I was on the black the whole time. Getting in and out of unplowed areas (driveways, or parking in yard) of around 5 to 6 inches of snow was soooooo easy. As far as I could tell, the cost of gas was about the same as always. (I've traveled this route quite a bit.) I would not dream of putting all-seasons or summer tires back on, unless you are really going to go to a hot climate.

Bob W

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Re: Snow tires & long distance driving
« Reply #4 on: December 08, 2014, 10:21:13 AM »
I'm thinking this is a no worry thing.    No need to worry about switching them.   

I'm doubting there would be much MPG difference.  Or at least not enough to justify the money or time to switch them.

For fun,  getcha a tire tread gauge or stop by a tire shop and see just how much tread is used in the trip.

From Click and Clack -

Tom: Sadly, yes, Larry. You have to change to summer or all-season tires during warmer weather.

Ray: Noise isn't so much the issue anymore, as snow tires have gotten a lot quieter. The issue is the rubber compound. The rubber used in winter tires is designed to stay soft and pliable in cold temperatures -- from, say, zero to 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Staying soft allows them to conform to whatever's on the road and give you a better traction footprint in snow and ice.

Tom: But when the weather gets warm, winter tires get too soft. That creates two problems. One is that they wear out very quickly. So if you keep them on all summer, you'll burn through $400 worth of snow tires in no time.



Ray: The second problem is that your handling is compromised in warm weather. Imagine if you need to make an emergency maneuver, and your tires are kind of soft and squishy. You're not going to get the kind of crisp handling you would need.

Tom: So, if you live in a place where you need winter tires for part of the year, you really have to replace them in the spring with something better suited to the warm weather. Or you have to move somewhere that's cold in the summer, too. Like the North Pole. Or San Francisco

nereo

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Re: Snow tires & long distance driving
« Reply #5 on: December 08, 2014, 10:33:14 AM »

Tom: So, if you live in a place where you need winter tires for part of the year, you really have to replace them in the spring with something better suited to the warm weather. Or you have to move somewhere that's cold in the summer, too. Like the North Pole. Or San Francisco
Ah... "the coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco"

Also - as long as you aren't driving someplace very warm (as in >60F), I'd definitely keep the snow-tires on.  Our "big-trip" of the year is visiting both sets of relatives around xmas (round trip ~1,000 miles), and we do it all with snow tires.  In fact, I'd worry what might happen if we took them off and had a snowstorm come up.  The wear we get on our snow-tires is wear we don't have on our summer tires, so it comes pretty close to balancing out.