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Old 09-17-2013, 05:48 PM   #11
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Regardless of what most people do, snow tires offer a serious improvement in traction over all season tires. They allow you to keep traction while stopping, accelerating and turning, and even when they break free, they still grip a lot better then non snow tires and still let you go where you need to go.

This will all be especially true if you're not used to driving in snow. You don't want to almost never have traction, when you're not used to driving like that, and you also don't want to be "that guy" who is going super slow on the freeway because your tires aren't very good and you're just not used to driving in such slippery conditions (it's dangerous, and folks that are used to it will hate you for being slow).

Yes, some of us can do alright with summer tires (or in my case bald all seasons). I made it through the season just fine, but it still doesn't mean it's OK or that everyone should do it. If you have the money, buy the snow tires. It'll be the best money you've invested all year, most likely. It's safer, it allows you to drive a little bit faster (especially when you're the only car on the road) and it keeps the stress down when it's slick outside. Driving my RWD car with bald tires wasn't an enjoyable experience for me...

Also, you can have more fun with snow tires. The fronts will grip a ton, and if you want to play around the handbrake will break the ass end loose no problem with a bit of snow or ice on the ground. With summer tires you'd just be going wherever the momentum of the car takes you in such cases...
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Old 09-17-2013, 07:09 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Elizabeth View Post
Suggestions to the op about winter snow: practice.
You really need to get some practice driviing in snow.
i suggest finding in advance some parking lot which is deserted.. First snow go there early and practice driving...
Ditto
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Old 09-17-2013, 07:38 PM   #13
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Yes get them. Snows like hell in Michigan.
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Old 09-17-2013, 08:12 PM   #14
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Thanks for the advice everyone. I was looking at some of the packages that tire rack offers since I figure it would be a lot easier to just buy snow tires already mounted on rims so I can just store them when not in use. What brands do you guys recommend?
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Old 09-17-2013, 08:27 PM   #15
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Thanks for the advice everyone. I was looking at some of the packages that tire rack offers since I figure it would be a lot easier to just buy snow tires already mounted on rims so I can just store them when not in use. What brands do you guys recommend?
For "proper" snow tires the Bridgestone Blizzak WS60/70 and General Alitmax Arctic are pretty popular. By "proper" I mean deep, aggressive treads and very soft rubber. These work extraordinary well when precipitation is on the ground, but also suffer from tread squirm (the tread moves a lot causing the car to feel a bit weird while driving) when it starts to get closer to the freezing point and above when there isn't any snow or ice. They aren't particularly nice to drive on above freezing and you'll want to swap them out with the other tires fairly quick.

Meanwhile there are also "high performance" snow tires, which are more suited for highway use and a bit less suited for snow and ice. They're still significantly better then all seasons and especially summer tires, though. What they loose in snow/ice performance they make up for dry pavement performance (at lower temperatures). Bridgestone also makes a Blizzak high performance tire, I forget the model name.

So there is a choice there...it all really depends on how much now we get, though. Last year was very tame, and high performance snows would've suited most people considering that. But it could snow like hell this year, at which point the extra grip on the regular snows might be advantageous. It also depends how you drive the car. If you do a lot of highway and inner city miles (roads more likely to be plowed, and higher average speeds) then performance snows might be the better choice. On the other hand, if you live out in the sticks and unplowed roads and lower speeds are the norm, the grip of the regular snows will probably be more desirable for you.

I don't mind the "disconnected" feeling of regular snow tires on dry pavement, so I stick with regular snows for the most part.
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Old 09-17-2013, 09:09 PM   #16
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Thanks Joeywhat, that helps a lot. I didn't really know there are different kinds of winter tires (blame it on me living in the Sunshine State)!
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Old 09-17-2013, 11:43 PM   #17
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Do your research before you buy them, there is a lot of new technology and tread compounds that make a tame tread tear through the competition.
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Old 09-18-2013, 03:59 AM   #18
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I grew up in Chicago with snow and my first time ever driving was in a blizzard. My first car I just had a good pair of all-seasons but even then I ended up curbing it a couple of times in mixes of snow and black ice. Now that I have an ST I am only doing summer and winter tires and if you can afford it this is the best way to go.

This year I got a pair of Dunlop SP Winter Sport 3D XL which is a winter performance tire. It will be my first winter in Germany and I am in a small village on a hill so I am hoping the performance tire will do the trick. Like someone else mentioned, for heavy snow the performance tires can lack a bit for the extra grip.
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Old 09-18-2013, 08:45 AM   #19
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I use Winterforce on my Focus. Certainly not the best, but they are the cheapest. I think this will be their last winter. Next year, I will get General Altimax Arctic - they are a copy of a very good Nokian tire and about the same price.

It's hilly where I live, I always get a lot of enjoyment passing stuck 4x4s and AWDs with their poor tires on hills. Or as they pass me thinking their AWD is invincible in the snow and they ditch it. Meanwhile, I can just keep on going with my winter tires.
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