Do I need winter tires?

Discussion in 'Prime Accessories and Modifications' started by ezrastiles, Dec 13, 2020.

  1. ezrastiles

    ezrastiles Junior Member

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    Hi everyone,

    Thanks for your advice on this. I've got a 2020 Prius Prime, 6500 miles on OE tires (Dunlop Enasaves). I am writing because I've been contemplating getting winter tires but honestly have no idea if I need them for my situation, and would appreciate some insight.

    To be clear: I understand the value proposition of winter tires for those who live in very wintry climates. My issue is I live in southwestern Connecticut, which is sort of wintry but not very. Some years we'll get 4 or more feet of snow, some years we get almost none. Some years we'll have long cold snaps, but some years it'll be above 45 degrees for long stretches of time (the temperature above which I've read it is no longer useful to have winter tires). Especially in recent years.

    I don't drive a lot, as the mileage on my car indicates. I worked from home even before the pandemic, go to the grocery store maybe once every 7-10 days, and between my homeowners association and the state highway department most of the roads around here are plowed pretty quickly. Obviously I want to do the safe thing, but honestly not sure I live in an area that demands switching over twice a year. Thoughts?
     
  2. Tideland Prius

    Tideland Prius Moderator of the North
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    In your case, it almost seems better to switch to all-weather tyres once your OEM tyres are worn out. Tyres such as the Nokian WRG4 which can be driven all year but still have the "mountain and snowflake" symbol, indicating it passed the standard for "severe winter weather" performance.
     
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  3. AldoON

    AldoON Junior Member

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    I normally don't like "all weather" tires but I agree that for your situation, that are actually a good option. Lots of compromises with them but you get added safety. Since you don't drive a lot, the compromises are ok.

    I think people underestimate the importance of winter tires in transitional weather (temperatures near freezing with lots of fluctuations). This is when you are most prone to get precipitation and unexpected icy conditions.

    Once it gets really cold it doesn't rain or snow as much and the roads are most often clear and salted. Not saying you don't need winter tires then too... Just that I think winter tires are just as or more important when the weather is between cold and warm
     
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  4. Tideland Prius

    Tideland Prius Moderator of the North
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    This.

    One only has to look at the Coquihalla Hope to Merritt segment to see why.
     
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  5. Salamander_King

    Salamander_King Senior Member

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    For many years living in MA and the northern Midwest including a year in ND and a few years in MN, I never had snow tires. Yeah, I had a few snowstorms I wish I had tires with better grip in snow, but I managed. I never had a snow-related accident, although I have had many times the car was stuck in a parking lot or driveway due to heavy snow. After moving to the current northern NewEngland location, I did without snow tires for a while. Even in our rural setting, driving on snow-covered roads is rather rare. Roads get plowed very quickly after each accumulating snowfall and they salt the road very heavily so that any snow remaining after a plow quickly dissolves and gone. I would say my actual number of days I have to drive on snow is less than 10 days/season. That being said, after my first snow tires on Civic Hybrid which was studded snow tires that came with the car when I purchased the car used, there was no question to my mind that snow tires do give far better grip and shorter stopping distance than any all-season tires I have had before. On that very rare occasion of driving on snow, snow tires gave me confidence driving on slippery road surfaces. So, ever since that experience, I prefer to use snow tires on my car during the winter months.

    It really comes down to risk and benefits analysis. In most cases safety costs, so I took a risk and drove my 2017PP without snow tires for a couple winters after purchasing. With plenty of treads on a newly purchased car, I felt it would be OK to keep driving without snow tires. I had another car (HCH) that had a snow tire on which was passed to my son, so I could have driven a car with snow tires if I had to. My work is fairly flexible and if the weather is bad, I can just call in and work from home. But after the OEM tires were worn somewhat, I did finally purchase separate wheels and snow tires for 2017 PP, Micheline Xice-Xi3. I used the same model snow tires on my Gen3 before, and they were very comfortable, quiet, and fuel-efficient as well as being very good on snowy roads. I still have the same Xice snow tires I used on the 2017 PP for only two seasons. When I purchased the set of wheels and tires, I also purchased a floor jack and jack stands, as well as a few tools to change tires DIY. I can swap the tires in a short time now at home. For my new 2020 PP, I have a choice of swapping them this winter, but for now, I am working from home and driving the car only once a week or less. Thus I have not changed the tire yet. If I plan to drive the car on snow, I will swap them on-demand, but if not I will just keep the OEM all-season tires for this winter.
     
    #5 Salamander_King, Dec 14, 2020
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2020
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  6. Glenn G

    Glenn G Member

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    My feeling is that ~$500.00 for a set of snows ..er winter tires is cheap, compared to having an accident.
    Plus it give your other tires a rest. I had to make an air port run at 4 am once during a snow storm, and the roads hadn't
    been plowed. I still had to go 50 -60 mph to keep from being run off the road.

    The "tank" made it with flying colors. I remember many other times that I was glad I had my Michelin X Ice tires
    on. With winter tires it goes through anything unless it gets hung up.
     
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  7. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Sunday driver DIY’r

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    Within a week of getting our 2010 (nov, 2010) I’d had a set of Michelin X-Ice (mounted on steel Corolla 15” rims) installed, with plain valve stems. They’ve seen fairly light use; to date the car only has 89K kms, and the snow tires maybe a third of that (30K kms).

    They’re currently on the car, for the eleventh winter. Yeah I know, but still have at least 7/32” remaining tread depth, and no cracking. I will pack it in for the them, replace next fall, and maybe run them late this spring, get the most out of them.

    But yeah, 11 years use for about a grand (tires and rims), and next set I only need to buy the tires.
     
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  8. Salamander_King

    Salamander_King Senior Member

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    While there is no denying the ability of dedicated snow tires to grip the road and stop the car on snowy or icy roads, they are not perfect. Slowing down during inclement weather is much more effective in preventing accidents. Better yet, not driving during such conditions, if that is an option, would be even safer. Sometimes having snow tires can give a driver a false sense of security. My son totaled my car with snow tires in an accident on an icy road.
     
    #8 Salamander_King, Jan 26, 2021
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2021
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  9. srivenkat

    srivenkat Active Member

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    I had WRG4 on my Camry Hybrid and after they wore out, replaced them with Michelin Crossclimate+ (also an "all-weather" tire). No complaints with the Michelins. The WRG4's needed RoadForce balancing to fix twitchiness on the highway but otherwise they were fine. Planning to go "all-weather" on my other cars too.
     
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  10. Old Bear

    Old Bear Senior Member

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    This is our fourth winter with our 2017 Prius Prime and its OEM tires. We live in the Boston area and do mostly urban driving similar to what you describe. We've driven in a few nasty snow storms, notably when we had to go to some event on an evening when snow was predicted. The OEM tires did fine -- although some other things like snow blocking the various proximity sensors was very annoying. Also, you really need the gasoline engine to provide enough heat to keep the cabin comfortable and the windows free of ice and fog when driving in heavy snow.

    I've had to charge out of my garage through a moderate berm of snow churned up across the driveway by the city plow, and the Prime seemed to do OK for a car of its size, weight and clearance.

    Of course, your situation may vary, but I think you'd be OK with the OEM tires and, if you feel they're marginal for your driving, consider an all-weather tire at some future time.

    If we lived in a rural area and had to drive frequently on snow-packed surfaces, I might feel differently.
     
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  11. srivenkat

    srivenkat Active Member

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    Are your OEMs Dunlop Enasave or Toyo Nanoenergy?
     
  12. Glenn G

    Glenn G Member

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    Agreed, I used the same tires on my 11 - 15 and the 1st year on the 18, so 7 years. I didn't buy rims, so I had Town Fair tire do their free change over every spring and fall, I think I drove them crazy. I tired of Town Fairs constant pressure to buy new tires, so
    I bought the current set at Costco.

    I bought some used Corolla rims from Santa Ana tire in LA on line. I found some Toyota badges on Amazon to pop in the center with a rubber mallet, and they look pretty cool (the wheels covers don't fit) I bring the Prius to Firestone for a changeover and its usually $20, this year it was $9.95, I have no idea why it was less this year. I don't have them fiddle with the sensor.
     
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  13. Old Bear

    Old Bear Senior Member

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    They're the Toyo nanoenergy.

    So far the only issue has been the tire sensor warning coming on to indicate low pressure when the weather starts to get cooler in the fall. This has happened all three years since we've had the Prime. I usually just drive into the dealership which is not far from where I live, and they add air and check all four tires -- no appointment and usually no waiting. They do it right in the service area drive-in, Because the Prime has no spare tire, I make it a point to attend to it immediately so that I can confirm that it's a temperature thing and not any kind of leak.
     
  14. srivenkat

    srivenkat Active Member

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    Perhaps setting the tires to 40PSI will avoid the issue for you. Also, I heard running high PSI will make the tires less susceptible to getting punctured. Anyone know if this is actually true?
     
  15. srivenkat

    srivenkat Active Member

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    You might find the second link in the below pertains to your situation:
    #28
     
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