Author Topic: Snow Tires? Worth it?  (Read 3827 times)

Swat

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 48
Snow Tires? Worth it?
« on: December 11, 2017, 07:15:42 PM »
Random question for the group. I currently have 4 wheel drive Honda CRV with all season tires. However, we just moved to a cold weather location with longer winters and I have a longer commute now than before. My questions:

-Does anyone recommend snow tires, even if a 4 wheel drive care? I have a wife and a one year old son if that matters at all.

-If yes, what tires would you recommend? Where would you buy them (I’ve heard good things about Costco)?

-How long do your snow tires typically last (how many seasons)?

Thanks!

MayDay

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3907
Re: Snow Tires? Worth it?
« Reply #1 on: December 11, 2017, 07:35:12 PM »
Depends what conditions you drive in, IMO, as well as your location.

I live in Minneapolis. Yes we get a lot of snow, but I'm in the city, so roads are cleared promptly. And I can WFH if we have really bad snow. For those reasons I decided not to get snow tires.

4 wheel drive won't help as much as snow tires, but if you can stay home when it is bad out, you probably don't need them.

If I lived in outstate MAN where roads weren't cleared as fast or there was more snow or more blowing snow, or if I HAD to get into work,I'd get them. If I went into the mountains in the winter I would get them.

Goldielocks

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 6178
  • Location: BC
Re: Snow Tires? Worth it?
« Reply #2 on: December 11, 2017, 07:43:51 PM »
Snow tires stick to the ice better, and stop sooner in slippery conditions.  The 4 wheel drive and clearance (and a heavy vehicle) are what gets you through deep snow/ deep snow on rough icy gravel roads.

I switched to better quality all seasons, which helps a lot, but I still park my small car during ice conditions.  It is a short ice season here, and transit is an option.

If you drive on shiny / icy roads, I would get the winter tires.

ixtap

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1512
Re: Snow Tires? Worth it?
« Reply #3 on: December 11, 2017, 07:49:53 PM »
I live in San Diego, so I am going to go with a no.

It really does depend on your local climate, as well as the type of car and existing tires.

Frugal Lizard

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1681
  • Age: 52
  • Location: Southwest Ontario
  • One foot in front of the other....
Re: Snow Tires? Worth it?
« Reply #4 on: December 11, 2017, 07:55:45 PM »
Snow tires is a bit of a misnomer. They should be called winter tires  The rubber in winter tires is softer at a lower temperature so they're designed to have more traction when the road surface is cold.  The treads are also beefier but are louder when you're driving. 
In Quebec winter tires are required by law.  Here in Ontario you can get a discount on your car insurance if you have winter tires on your vehicle.   
Both our vehicles have a second set of rims and tires so that my husband can change them himself in our driveway.  As soon as spring comes he gets them off because one they are louder and 2 they wear out faster in the warmer weather because they're not designed for the hot asphalt. 
I don't know if if we get the same amount of mileage switching them out as we do.   But once I got used to having winter tires I will never not have winter tires.

Syonyk

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3667
    • Syonyk's Project Blog
Re: Snow Tires? Worth it?
« Reply #5 on: December 11, 2017, 08:37:09 PM »
Where do you live/how much snow do you get/what are winter road conditions?

Ask people who've been there a while.

If you have a lot of snow, I strongly suggest snow tires.  They make a huge, huge difference on snow and ice.

If you have intermittent snow and a lot of frost glaze or light ice layers, studless tires are the way to go.  They grip ice better, grip glaze really well, and you'll get 3 winters (maybe 4, but... you'll notice the difference by the end of the 3rd) out of them.

If you have a lot of snow, and the snow stays packed on the roads, get studded tires.  They grip ice well, clear snow better than the studless kind, but are basically worthless on glaze ice, and are a bit sketchy on dry pavement sometimes.  You can get 5 years out of those.

jeninco

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 958
  • Location: .... duh?
Re: Snow Tires? Worth it?
« Reply #6 on: December 11, 2017, 08:50:31 PM »
Definitely depends on where you are, and what conditions you expect.  We do a fair amount of winter driving (although we're still waiting for winter in our fair state) to ski/backcountry ski/get kids places, and we have one big heavy vehicle with studded tires, and a smaller vehicle with winter tires. Both are mounted up on a second set of rims, so it's no big deal to change.

I had an experience driving our Euro-van over Raton Pass on snowpacked/icy/snowy roads with cars and trucks off both sides of the interstate. My vehicle never skid at all. I am a winter tire believer, big time.

Linea_Norway

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4892
  • Location: Norway
Re: Snow Tires? Worth it?
« Reply #7 on: December 12, 2017, 05:40:29 AM »
Cars with 4x4 don't stop any better than a car without 4x4. For that reason, all cars need winter tires on winter conditions.
Where I live you must have suitable tires for the circumstances, otherwise your insurance doesn't pay out fully.

If the roads at your location are often icy and not treated well with gravel or salt, you might also consider spike tires. But this is not very good for bare asphalt roads. Spike-free winter tires are usually sufficient on snowy roads, just not on slippery icy roads.

If you are moving to a climate that has some winter, but also a lot of rain in the winter, you might want to use some intermediate winter tires. Because specialized winter tires are not very good on a lot of water. They might lead to aquaplaning. In wet countries different kind of winter tires are popular.
« Last Edit: December 12, 2017, 07:50:16 AM by Linda_Norway »

Laura33

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2265
  • Location: Mid-Atlantic
Re: Snow Tires? Worth it?
« Reply #8 on: December 12, 2017, 07:44:41 AM »
100% worth it IME.  Much better grip and control.

Based on FWD, though.  Before I got snow tires, I tended to slip on start, because acceleration shifts the car's weight toward the back and de-weights the front.  After I got snow tires, I never had a problem.  But I don't yet have experience with AWD (first winter with replacement vehicle).

I found Tire Rack (online) very easy, and prices seemed good compared to shopping around locally.  YMMV of course.

SilveradoBojangles

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 318
Re: Snow Tires? Worth it?
« Reply #9 on: December 12, 2017, 07:53:25 AM »
This thread is helpful. I just moved somewhere snowy, and we've decided to take the plunge and get snow tires (and a second set of rims. I'm pretty attached to being able to stop, so I think it's worth it.

aperture

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 464
  • Location: Colorado
Re: Snow Tires? Worth it?
« Reply #10 on: December 12, 2017, 08:02:15 AM »
-Does anyone recommend snow tires, even if a 4 wheel drive care? I have a wife and a one year old son if that matters at all.
If you are driving through snow/ice, these will increase the safety of your ride significantly (physics still applies).  I have driven on snow tires in winter for the last 14 years.  In a few instances I remember weaving among cars that were sliding through an icy patch.  These make a huge difference in traction on ice.

-If yes, what tires would you recommend? Where would you buy them (I’ve heard good things about Costco)?
I have tended to use Michelin X-ICE, but if another brand has a lower price, I will go there. I have never tried studded tires as 95% of the time we are driving in winter on dry pavement.

-How long do your snow tires typically last (how many seasons)?
This is very dependent on how long you leave the tires on.  Winter here can start in October and go to May and we get 4 seasons from winter tires. 

Frugal Lizard

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1681
  • Age: 52
  • Location: Southwest Ontario
  • One foot in front of the other....
Re: Snow Tires? Worth it?
« Reply #11 on: December 12, 2017, 08:04:59 AM »
We had a good snowfall overnight and it is very slick underneath the snow.  The Cop on the radio said - AWD will only help you accelerate in snow - it won't help you stop. 

GuitarStv

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 13111
  • Age: 37
  • Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Re: Snow Tires? Worth it?
« Reply #12 on: December 12, 2017, 08:12:01 AM »
Yes, worth it.  Winter tires are the single best thing that you can get for driving cold, icy, and slippery conditions.

I will just do some price shopping and comparison to find the best ones when I'm purchasing.  Michelin X-Ice and Bridgestone Blizzaks are usually pretty well rated though.

On important thing to remember . . . you can save a lot of money sometimes by sizing down your tires when getting winter tires.  If you have 17 inch rims, try getting 16s with a bigger tire (so the wheel diameter is equivalent).  There is no benefit at all to having a large wheel in the winter.  Smaller wheels have cheaper tires as a general rule.  More rubber means you get more padding/cushioning, you can run them at lower pressures (which means that they'll need less topping up because less air will leak out), and thinner tires mean that they'll punch through snow better.

Syonyk

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3667
    • Syonyk's Project Blog
Re: Snow Tires? Worth it?
« Reply #13 on: December 12, 2017, 10:09:01 AM »
Cars with 4x4 don't stop any better than a car without 4x4.

That's a common and, usually, quite false quip.  All my 4WD vehicles stop better in slick conditions in 4WD vs 2WD, because the front and rear are locked together, which means the front brakes can slow the rear wheels as well, whereas the rear wheels won't be doing much in 2WD for braking in slick conditions.  On the flip side, if you lock the wheels up, you lock up all 4 and lose all directional control instead of just locking up the front and turning downhill.  So there's that...

On most vehicles, the rear brakes aren't doing much at low brake line pressures.  The design is that the front wheels lock before the rears so you still have directional control (fronts locked, rears rolling will keep the car heading forward, fronts rolling and rears locked will try to swap ends, violently, and all 4 locked is zero control and you'll probably slide downhill and rotate a bit).  Try it.  Lock up the fronts on ice, I can guarantee your rears will still be rolling.

With 4WD engaged, the whole drivetrain rotates together, so the rears will slow down as well.  Since there's almost no weight transfer in slick conditions, they have plenty of traction as well, and can slow the vehicle significantly more than they usually do in slick conditions.  You just have to be careful to not lock everything up (it's super obvious when this happens, so just release a bit of pressure, though I think modern antilocks solve a lot of this).

For a maximum effort stop in snow, modern antilock systems may be a bit better about letting all four use full traction without 4WD, but I don't own a vehicle that has 4WD and modern antilocks, so it hasn't been something I've tried.

On important thing to remember . . . you can save a lot of money sometimes by sizing down your tires when getting winter tires.  If you have 17 inch rims, try getting 16s with a bigger tire (so the wheel diameter is equivalent).  There is no benefit at all to having a large wheel in the winter.  Smaller wheels have cheaper tires as a general rule.  More rubber means you get more padding/cushioning, you can run them at lower pressures (which means that they'll need less topping up because less air will leak out), and thinner tires mean that they'll punch through snow better.

The only thing you have to keep in mind is brake clearance - on some cars, smaller wheels simply don't fit.  So check that before you rely on downsizing.

But, you definitely want the thinnest winter tires you can find.  The idea would be pizza cutters.  The difference in snow penetration between 185s and 165s is very noticeable - I've run both in the past, and the 165s were a lot better.

TravelJunkyQC

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 467
  • Age: 32
  • Location: Québec City, Canada
Re: Snow Tires? Worth it?
« Reply #14 on: December 12, 2017, 10:57:37 AM »
I live in Quebec, where, as someone above mentioned, the tires are mandatory between December 15th and March 15th. I used to have an all-wheel drive vehicle, but now I don't. For all the reasons mentioned above, I'd take a non-4x4 car with winter tires over a 4x4 car without any day. If you can have both, even better.

I say yes, if, as you mentioned, you have a lot of snow and do a fair bit of driving.

Linea_Norway

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4892
  • Location: Norway
Re: Snow Tires? Worth it?
« Reply #15 on: December 12, 2017, 11:26:15 AM »
Cars with 4x4 don't stop any better than a car without 4x4.

That's a common and, usually, quite false quip.  All my 4WD vehicles stop better in slick conditions in 4WD vs 2WD, because the front and rear are locked together, which means the front brakes can slow the rear wheels as well, whereas the rear wheels won't be doing much in 2WD for braking in slick conditions.  On the flip side, if you lock the wheels up, you lock up all 4 and lose all directional control instead of just locking up the front and turning downhill.  So there's that...

On most vehicles, the rear brakes aren't doing much at low brake line pressures.  The design is that the front wheels lock before the rears so you still have directional control (fronts locked, rears rolling will keep the car heading forward, fronts rolling and rears locked will try to swap ends, violently, and all 4 locked is zero control and you'll probably slide downhill and rotate a bit).  Try it.  Lock up the fronts on ice, I can guarantee your rears will still be rolling.

With 4WD engaged, the whole drivetrain rotates together, so the rears will slow down as well.  Since there's almost no weight transfer in slick conditions, they have plenty of traction as well, and can slow the vehicle significantly more than they usually do in slick conditions.  You just have to be careful to not lock everything up (it's super obvious when this happens, so just release a bit of pressure, though I think modern antilocks solve a lot of this).

For a maximum effort stop in snow, modern antilock systems may be a bit better about letting all four use full traction without 4WD, but I don't own a vehicle that has 4WD and modern antilocks, so it hasn't been something I've tried.

On important thing to remember . . . you can save a lot of money sometimes by sizing down your tires when getting winter tires.  If you have 17 inch rims, try getting 16s with a bigger tire (so the wheel diameter is equivalent).  There is no benefit at all to having a large wheel in the winter.  Smaller wheels have cheaper tires as a general rule.  More rubber means you get more padding/cushioning, you can run them at lower pressures (which means that they'll need less topping up because less air will leak out), and thinner tires mean that they'll punch through snow better.

The only thing you have to keep in mind is brake clearance - on some cars, smaller wheels simply don't fit.  So check that before you rely on downsizing.

But, you definitely want the thinnest winter tires you can find.  The idea would be pizza cutters.  The difference in snow penetration between 185s and 165s is very noticeable - I've run both in the past, and the 165s were a lot better.

Thanks for explaining. I can't try it out, because we only have a Subaru and a Suzuki, both 4x4. The Subaru which is our main car has several modern stabilizing features. We have slided several times with the Subaru, due to the road being unexpectedly more icy than the earlier strech amd due to that we use spike free tires. I sometimes slide when I break and hear the car make a lot of correction noises.
What I wanted to explain above it the a 4x4 doesn't mean you are automatically safe.  You just get more easily up hills than other cars in winter time. And you don't spin as much when you start driving.
« Last Edit: December 13, 2017, 12:18:41 AM by Linda_Norway »

Syonyk

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3667
    • Syonyk's Project Blog
Re: Snow Tires? Worth it?
« Reply #16 on: December 12, 2017, 11:43:33 AM »
What I wanted to explain above it the a 4x4 doesn't mean you are automatically safe.  You just get more easily up hills than other cars in winter time. And you don't spin as much when you start driving.

Right, but the claims commonly made about 4WD and braking performance simply aren't accurate.  In typical slick conditions, a 4WD vehicle will slow down faster than the same vehicle in 2WD (simulating a 2WD car).  I've had a number of vehicles where I could do this, and it's very noticeable on all of them.

drudgep

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 64
Re: Snow Tires? Worth it?
« Reply #17 on: December 12, 2017, 11:50:51 AM »
If you have $500 to get them, I would. Worth it in my opinion to be safe- cost a lot more in time or headache of skidding into a ditch, or another car. Better grip, less slip- more peace of mind for me- worth it!

clutchy

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 339
Re: Snow Tires? Worth it?
« Reply #18 on: December 12, 2017, 11:56:26 AM »
Generally if you live in a wintery area that snow stays on the ground for longer than a week I would say yes. 

Otherwise AWD w/ all seasons is a decent compromise, just being aware that it doesn't help you stop faster. 



I live in SW Ohio and I have a set of winter tires but it doesn't snow here enough and it will get above 50-60F sometimes which causes winter tires to destroy themselves.  I've found that AWD w/ good all-season is a great compromise.

WootWoot

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 365
Re: Snow Tires? Worth it?
« Reply #19 on: December 12, 2017, 12:01:24 PM »
I live in NE Pennsylvania and I vote yes.

We have a joke in our household though: If we put the snow tires on, it will not snow that winter. If we don't, it will snow. This has actually happened.

GuitarStv

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 13111
  • Age: 37
  • Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Re: Snow Tires? Worth it?
« Reply #20 on: December 12, 2017, 12:39:02 PM »
Important to note . . . they're not really 'snow' tires.  They're 'winter' tires.  You get better traction in cold conditions on completely bare pavement as well as on ice/snow.

Dr.Jeckyl

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 143
Re: Snow Tires? Worth it?
« Reply #21 on: December 12, 2017, 12:49:28 PM »
What a timely post. I've been thinking about winter tires for years and I finally purchased them for my wife's car. My car is still running all season Goodyear triple treads. I'll probably opt for the winter tires for my next car but as my current car is getting a bit old I'll hold off for now. I'm getting them on Friday from Tire Rack along with rims. I downsized from 19" to 17" and saved some money that way. I also made sure that the same size fits on the replacement vehicle that we are thinking about purchasing in the next couple of years since they will probably last 4-5 seasons. I also found a cheap $35 rack to mount in my garage to get the tires out of the way.

I'm in the midwest and we get some unpredictable weather. I went with the Blizzaks and can't wait to see if the experts are right about winter tires.

TrMama

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2838
Re: Snow Tires? Worth it?
« Reply #22 on: December 12, 2017, 01:06:22 PM »
Yes, worth it.  Winter tires are the single best thing that you can get for driving cold, icy, and slippery conditions.

I will just do some price shopping and comparison to find the best ones when I'm purchasing.  Michelin X-Ice and Bridgestone Blizzaks are usually pretty well rated though.

Yes, winter tires are absolutely worth it. AWD or 4WD is not a substitute for winter tires. Even a 2WD vehicle will run just fine in winter, as long as it has winter tires. I find that trying to use all season tires in winter makes a car handle like it's got banana peels for tires, regardless of the drive system. When all 4 wheels are on ice, you want them to stick to the ground as tightly as possible.

The above recommendations for brands are good. Also Nokian is supposed to make great winter tires. I have a set of off brand Nokians (Avalanche something or other) on my Subaru. As for price, the cheapest tires here come from a private shop that's just a little ways out of town. Even Costco can't beat them.

My other recommendation is to slow down, especially going around curves and coming to a stop. If your car has paddle shifters, or some other means of gearing down, learn how to use them. One of the reasons I stuck with standards for so long was because they give you 2 different ways of slowing down (brakes and gearing down). Gearing down forces the wheels to roll more slowly and therefore prevents the tires from sliding.

sparkytheop

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 757
Re: Snow Tires? Worth it?
« Reply #23 on: December 12, 2017, 01:16:11 PM »
I live where they often require "chains or traction tires" on the freeways/highways.  "Traction tires" are anything with the snowflake on the tire, but most here use studs (we get ice and black ice, so very dangerous driving conditions).  On top of that, salting the roads is illegal and the de-icer they use in its place doesn't work.

So, minimally, I have the tires with the snowflake.  The tires on my truck (4WD) do not have studs (got great tires cheap, had the studs pulled so I could use them year round).  Last year was the worst ice I've ever driven on, but I only slide once.  The 2WD Escape did fine with studs.  This year I have a Subaru with studs, and hoping it kicks ass (still have the truck with the same tires though, my son can drive it if he needs to).

For me, it's worth it.  While I can get to work avoiding the freeway, I'm required to be there, no matter how bad the weather (we are the only crew that is 24/7).  After 15 years of a 45 mile commute with lots of black ice, I know studs have saved my ass more than once.  I don't miss that commute at all, especially in winter!

BDWW

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 459
  • Location: MT
Re: Snow Tires? Worth it?
« Reply #24 on: December 12, 2017, 01:27:47 PM »

jeninco

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 958
  • Location: .... duh?
Re: Snow Tires? Worth it?
« Reply #25 on: December 12, 2017, 01:59:31 PM »


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GlYEMH10Z4s

That is so cool -- thanks! I'm going to share with a bunch of teenaged drivers (and possibly their teachers).

HipGnosis

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1576
Re: Snow Tires? Worth it?
« Reply #26 on: December 13, 2017, 10:02:20 AM »
We're missing some key info needed to give a truly valid answer.

How experienced and/or good at winter driving are you?
What kind of winter weather does your new location get?
How good is your new location at clearing the roads during or after a winter storm?
How important is it to you to get somewhere at any specific time in winter?

I learned to drive in rural Minn.  My aunt had a baby in Feb.  The ambulance that was taking her to the hospital when she was in labor got stuck in a snow drift on a county hwy.   They had to send another ambulance to take her to the hospital (and a tow truck for the stuck ambulance). 
I was in OK for 14 years.  When I moved back north, I put deep lug mud and snow tires on the back of my pickup.  I didn't need them after two winters - just all season tires as I'm now in Milwaukee with decent salting of icy roads and plowing of snow.

Most cars now have ABS and traction control which helps considerably. 
All season tires have gotten better over the years - but some are definitely better in winter conditions than others.  TireRack gives very good info on more tires than I knew existed, and the user reviews give even more.   I got my tires from them 4 times now and will from now on.

I have a semi-performance car now with a turbo that will go 150 mph.  I have 2 pairs of all season tires on it.  One pair is performance tires, the other pair has better traction on winter roads.  I rotate them front to back, putting the traction ones on the front (drive) in late fall.  I put the performance tires on the front in late spring.

Winter tires degrade - getting harder which means less traction - after about 5 years (regardless of mileage).
« Last Edit: December 13, 2017, 10:05:42 AM by HipGnosis »

GuitarStv

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 13111
  • Age: 37
  • Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Re: Snow Tires? Worth it?
« Reply #27 on: December 13, 2017, 10:37:25 AM »
We're missing some key info needed to give a truly valid answer.

How experienced and/or good at winter driving are you?
What kind of winter weather does your new location get?
How good is your new location at clearing the roads during or after a winter storm?
How important is it to you to get somewhere at any specific time in winter?

I learned to drive in rural Minn.  My aunt had a baby in Feb.  The ambulance that was taking her to the hospital when she was in labor got stuck in a snow drift on a county hwy.   They had to send another ambulance to take her to the hospital (and a tow truck for the stuck ambulance). 
I was in OK for 14 years.  When I moved back north, I put deep lug mud and snow tires on the back of my pickup.  I didn't need them after two winters - just all season tires as I'm now in Milwaukee with decent salting of icy roads and plowing of snow.

Most cars now have ABS and traction control which helps considerably. 
All season tires have gotten better over the years - but some are definitely better in winter conditions than others.  TireRack gives very good info on more tires than I knew existed, and the user reviews give even more.   I got my tires from them 4 times now and will from now on.

I have a semi-performance car now with a turbo that will go 150 mph.  I have 2 pairs of all season tires on it.  One pair is performance tires, the other pair has better traction on winter roads.  I rotate them front to back, putting the traction ones on the front (drive) in late fall.  I put the performance tires on the front in late spring.

Winter tires degrade - getting harder which means less traction - after about 5 years (regardless of mileage).

It's possible to drive carefully in the winter and still end up in an accident.  Sometimes things outside of your personal control happen.  Snow tires will stop faster, and be able to control your car better in all winter conditions.  There are no all season tires that function as well in the winter as even the cheapest winter tire.  ABS does not provide the same stopping power that winter tires will.  Traction control does not provide the same amount of grip that winter tires will.

I'm saying this as someone who grew up deep in Northern Ontario, in a place where we regularly got more than twelve feet of snow in an average winter, and who was able to avoid any accidents while driving around with all-seasons.  Yeah, you can do it.  It's not safe though.

BigHaus89

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 210
  • Age: 30
  • Location: NW
  • Ride the Spiral to the End
Re: Snow Tires? Worth it?
« Reply #28 on: December 13, 2017, 12:50:36 PM »
We're missing some key info needed to give a truly valid answer.

How experienced and/or good at winter driving are you?
What kind of winter weather does your new location get?
How good is your new location at clearing the roads during or after a winter storm?
How important is it to you to get somewhere at any specific time in winter?

I learned to drive in rural Minn.  My aunt had a baby in Feb.  The ambulance that was taking her to the hospital when she was in labor got stuck in a snow drift on a county hwy.   They had to send another ambulance to take her to the hospital (and a tow truck for the stuck ambulance). 
I was in OK for 14 years.  When I moved back north, I put deep lug mud and snow tires on the back of my pickup.  I didn't need them after two winters - just all season tires as I'm now in Milwaukee with decent salting of icy roads and plowing of snow.

Most cars now have ABS and traction control which helps considerably. 
All season tires have gotten better over the years - but some are definitely better in winter conditions than others.  TireRack gives very good info on more tires than I knew existed, and the user reviews give even more.   I got my tires from them 4 times now and will from now on.

I have a semi-performance car now with a turbo that will go 150 mph.  I have 2 pairs of all season tires on it.  One pair is performance tires, the other pair has better traction on winter roads.  I rotate them front to back, putting the traction ones on the front (drive) in late fall.  I put the performance tires on the front in late spring.

Winter tires degrade - getting harder which means less traction - after about 5 years (regardless of mileage).

It's possible to drive carefully in the winter and still end up in an accident.  Sometimes things outside of your personal control happen.  Snow tires will stop faster, and be able to control your car better in all winter conditions.  There are no all season tires that function as well in the winter as even the cheapest winter tire.  ABS does not provide the same stopping power that winter tires will.  Traction control does not provide the same amount of grip that winter tires will.

I'm saying this as someone who grew up deep in Northern Ontario, in a place where we regularly got more than twelve feet of snow in an average winter, and who was able to avoid any accidents while driving around with all-seasons.  Yeah, you can do it.  It's not safe though.

Yes. Sometimes other drivers slam on their brakes at a stop sign, slide through and run into you head on. Ask me how I know.

Snow tires are necessary in snowy areas IMO. We use the Blizzak tires are they are excellent. I can't even get my car to break traction even when I try in the ski area parking lot. 4-wheel drive is totally unnecessary.

Laura33

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2265
  • Location: Mid-Atlantic
Re: Snow Tires? Worth it?
« Reply #29 on: December 14, 2017, 07:50:55 AM »
[snip]

+1

Obviously, many of us have survived years of winter driving without getting into an accident.  But as they say, past results do not guarantee future performance. 

AWD, 4WD, traction control, stability control, antilock brakes, automatic braking -- these are all good things that can help you manage winter conditions more safely.  But they are all improved by the addition of winter tires that are designed for your particular conditions.

Watch that video.  'Nuff said.