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Old 11-04-2011, 02:26 PM   #1
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Snow Tires Yes or No

To preface my question, I have lived here in Wisconsin for the past fifteen winters, prior to which I have never driven in snow and have never put snow tires on any previous car.

I have just purchased my 2012 Focus and was pondering the benefit of getting snow tires. The questions are: For day to day commuting (45miles), do I need them and if I did would I see a benefit and, please dont laugh, do I need all four tires or just on the front. Thanks in advance for any input.


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Old 11-04-2011, 02:33 PM   #2
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I'm going all-seasons (Baltimore). Had to swap off the summer tires that came with my Ti + sport pkg.
I'd imagine that your highways are probably kept pretty clear up in Wisconsin. I don't know how urban/rural a setting you live and park in though (or where you work for that matter).
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Old 11-04-2011, 02:40 PM   #3
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I say "Yes" and "All four tires."

$900 (assuming you buy separate rims, TPMS, and a quality tire) is a small investment for a new car. Plus, they’ll last you a couple of winters – which will extend the life of your current tires! I just bought my set 2 days ago.

My last car was an SUV with 4x4 (all-season tires); I rarely had problems getting going / out of the snow because of it, being that my car was so heavy I didn’t encounter many problems with braking, handling, hydroplaning, etc. While the two front tires will help you move, handling will be hurt without rear tires (think tokyo drift) – in addition, all cars have 4x4 braking, which is why you really need winter tires.

After spinning 360 degrees in my parents' ZX5 in all-season tires while turning at 7 mph, I figured I should buy some winter tires.
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Old 11-04-2011, 02:37 PM   #4
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In PA we just had that freak Snow storm in October and the Focus handled it like a champ.
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Old 11-04-2011, 02:50 PM   #5
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I am a huge believer in winter tires....I even put them on my subarus (awd). Not only do they provide better traction in snow...they stop so much better in cold temps because of the rubber compound. If my winter tires keep me from one minor fender bender they have paid for themselves (they cost less than my insurance deductible), and if they keep me from a more serious incident...they'll be a wise $800 investment.
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Old 11-04-2011, 02:50 PM   #6
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Winter tires are definitely worth it. Just don't run them til July like I see people around here do.
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Old 11-04-2011, 03:09 PM   #7
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snow tires are the best investment i've made to my daily driver hands down. i feel so much more safe when commuting too and from work. i work pretty early in the morning, sometimes before the plows hit the street so they are a must for me.
get all 4, i can see just two up front being bad news.
not only is the grip better in the snow, but they also have a better compound for the colder weather.
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Old 11-04-2011, 04:47 PM   #8
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Winter tires are a must for anyone that lives in a cold climate, not just a snowy one. They have been shown to be more effective when the temps drop below 45 then all-seasons. Even the cheapest winter tires would be better then running all-season through the winter.

If you do a lot of highway driving though I would strongly suggest getting performance snow tires, they handle higher speeds better and keep the car more stable by have firmer sidewalls. I went all out with mine and put the Michelin Pilot Alpin PA3's on my car with 17" Momo Winter 2 rims. You can go a much cheaper route you could get Michelin Primacy Alpin PA3's or the Dunlop Winter Sport 3D's. Both come in 215/55R16 size and you could find a set of steelies that will work.

I also recommend Discount Tire Direct as they have free shipping opposed to Tire Rack which requires your first born.
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Old 11-04-2011, 07:45 PM   #9
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Depends on WHERE you drive. IF your driving is entirely on freeways and city streets, then no, you do not need Winter tires.
IF you have a unpaved drivway, or a two lane road which is in the country you travel on regularly.. then yes get snow tires.

I live in the big city. I NEVER buy snow tires. They are a total waste of time and money for me. I am 62 years old and have driven in snow every Winter since i was 15 years old.
Snow tires are for SNOW, not for plowed streets.
Around me, snow tires might be needed a few times all Winter, and THAT only if you have roads that do not get plowed often.

I would never pay for snow tires in S.E. Wisconsin.
Up North it may certainly be a different matter.

Funny how a LOT of folks who post here are big on snow tires.. I guess they can rant and rave all they want about the benefits..
I would not bother to use them if I got them FREE!!!!!!!!!


(As i have mentioned previously.. my last car i had 12 Winters, and all 12 Winters I left the 'Summer Only' ultrahigh performance tires on all year round. I NEVER had a single problem with using them in Winter. And yeah they had poor traction when the snow is just right, no problem in my mind. They still stop just as good.)

And a good task to perform every time first snow: Go find a BIG empty parking lot, go crazy driving around in circles, skid, brake hard, spin out, Have a BALL. This gets you back to remembering what it is like in snow fast.
And then adding in remembering not to drive too close and you are set.
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Old 11-05-2011, 12:32 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Elizabeth View Post
Depends on WHERE you drive. IF your driving is entirely on freeways and city streets, then no, you do not need Winter tires.

Wow where did you get your degree from. I guess this is just a big scam from the tire companies to get us all to buy winter tires to make the oil companies rich.


IF you have a unpaved drivway, or a two lane road which is in the country you travel on regularly.. then yes get snow tires.

I live in the big city. I NEVER buy snow tires. They are a total waste of time and money for me. I am 62 years old and have driven in snow every Winter since i was 15 years old.

The "big city" wow and the rest of us live where?


Snow tires are for SNOW, not for plowed streets.

Where do these facts come from I have been driving in Toronto, New York Montreal, Vancouver and Seattle. All known for rather quick response to snow removal of the travelled portions of the roads but not the side streets, parking spots, malls or other no so well travelled area's


Around me, snow tires might be needed a few times all Winter, and THAT only if you have roads that do not get plowed often.

I would never pay for snow tires in S.E. Wisconsin.
Up North it may certainly be a different matter.

Funny how a LOT of folks who post here are big on snow tires.. I guess they can rant and rave all they want about the benefits..
I would not bother to use them if I got them FREE!!!!!!!!!


You know really I see good advice in most of these posts but not in this one.


(As i have mentioned previously.. my last car i had 12 Winters, and all 12 Winters I left the 'Summer Only' ultrahigh performance tires on all year round. I NEVER had a single problem with using them in Winter. And yeah they had poor traction when the snow is just right, no problem in my mind. They still stop just as good.)

And a good task to perform every time first snow: Go find a BIG empty parking lot, go crazy driving around in circles, skid, brake hard, spin out, Have a BALL. This gets you back to remembering what it is like in snow fast. And then adding in remembering not to drive too close and you are set.
Oh and have your wallet and drivers license because that what you will loose for driving without reasonable consideration, and also for driving without due care and attention.


I have seen this discussed many times and 99% of the people advising are using very good common sense, then there is always a person who comments on how they drove for 15 years with bald tires on their rear wheel drive vehicle and never had a problem.

Since January 1976 I spent over 32 years in Policing starting in traffic, switching to I&P back to traffic then organized crime, plains clothes and drugs and finishing in traffic.

Of 32 years I probably spent a little over 12 year in accident investigation, not because I was forced but because I liked to. I ended up as a traffic analyst and was qualified as an expert witness all the way to the Supreme Court.

Now back to snow tires. There are over 4 types of tires which we commonly drive on, that being summer only tires, all season tires, 4 season tires and dedicated snow tires or ice radials.

Summer tires are really good in dry or wet conditions and at temperatures over 40 degrees fahrenheit.

All season are really 3 season not allowing for the fourth season that being winter.

4 season tires are generally for all 4 seasons and can be distinguished from all season by the snow flake on the sidewall

snow tires or ice radials are generally a winter only tire due to their soft rubber compound and the sypes in their treads. They are soft rubber compounds with various additives that will quickly and I mean quickly wear off in temperatures above 50 degrees.

Now one thing that people often overlook is the road or what accident investigators commonly look at think about the co-efficient of friction.

Friction is what gives the tires the ability to accelerate or stop. We need friction, otherwise we would all fall off the road as most roads have a 2.9 to 3.9 degree crown on them to allow for water to quickly flow off the road.

To determine the ability of a vehicle to stop we use the formula of

speed=15.9 times the square root of friction times distance plus or minus elevation.

In english this means that it takes about 40-45 feet for a vehicle to come to a stop at a stated speed of 30 miles per hour. As speed increases the distance to stop increases significantly.

Now in the formula I mentioned friction is determined by 2 things the road and the tires. We calculate f by the force necessary to drag the tire divided by the force necessary to lift the tire.

In plain english you get less friction as the road gets colder or becomes slippery, as in winter conditions.

An example is warm concrete has a "f" of .80-1.00
New asphalt is .70-1.00
old asphalt .40 to .60
wet asphalt .35 to .60
snow covered asphalt .20 to .40
ice or black ice asphalt .00 to .20

You will notice that black ice which occurs around 34f and that your co-efficient of friction is only upwards of .20

Now as I stated before there are 2 factors affecting your ability to stay on the road, the first I discussed above was the road and the second are tires.

Simply put the better you have the ability to obtain friction on these surfaces the better traction you will obtain and the incurred ability to start and stop which are absolutely necessary in driving, which consists of starting, stopping and turning.

Studded tires possibly give you the best traction but they also behave like skates on a skating rink, and thus the invention for ice radials.

Ice radials use silica in their compound with numerous sypes which allow them the ability to gain traction on ice or compacted snow which quickly turns to ice.

Dedicated snows otherwise known as lug tires are great for deep snow where massive clearing of snow from the tires is necessary.

4 season tires are good where there is dry snow or powder but not in excessive depths.

all season are generally the specified tires unless high performance is required in warmer conditions.

summer tires are just that, summer tires and not to ever be used where the temperature drops below 40 degrees.

Now as for driving with bald tires for over 15 years and never having a problem, I have seen people driving out of control and causing accidents for everyone else attempting to avoid them.

The DOT/MOT mandates a minimun tread of 3/32" for winter tires and 2/32" for summer or all season tires as a minimum tread depth.

People advocating that they have so much driving experience, and that winter tires are not necessary in area's where the temperature drops below 34f are accidents waiting to happen.

There is no scientific justification for making such comments, let alone believeability in what they are saying.

I have seen and investigated 132 car pile up's that could have been avoided by people having the right type of tire for the road and weather conditions (1979 401 Highway London Ontario)

Your car is your primary or secondary major investment in your life and the proper tire can possibly save your life or the life of a loved (or Hated) person in your vehicle or another vehicle you might come in conflict with.
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