Winter tires saved the day

Discussion in 'Fred's House of Pancakes' started by Stevewoods, Dec 24, 2022.

  1. Stevewoods

    Stevewoods Senior Member

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    This is hearsay, so it is perfectly appropriate for PriusChat.

    A friend was terrified of tire chains. He went to the mountains during the winter, so instead of chains, he got the pricey NAMEBRAND tire socks. Weather went to bleep, bleep.

    So, he ended up using them. He had all-season tires on the car. The socks did the job, but they were basically destroyed.

    I can't say he misused them or abused them or not. Maybe he did, maybe not.

    WHAT I DO KNOW -- in the Pac Northwest, we get an odd assortment of snow. People from the Midwest often move here and wonder why everyone freaks when it snows -- until they try to drive on it -- and I have had numerous folks tell me the same. The snow in the PNW is NOT the snow from the MidWest or East USA, At least usually.

    I have heards lots of reasoning behind it. And, you can try googling -- but in the PNW what often falls is called Cascade Concrete -- wet, heavy and icy, It is often more ice than snow and bedevils drivers from the east when those drivers find themselves spinning into the ditch.

    It is also very abrasive and some folks say it is not the soft powder they are used to driving in -- in say -- Minnesota. Also, West Coast states don't do the plowing and sanding and salting that Midwest or East Coast residents have learned to love.

    Anyway, my winter tires saved the day again this morning when I had an early medical appointment and hit freezing fog through most of the drive.

    My two cents: if you really do not want to spend money on winters (or all-weather tires) and don't want to put chains on your all seasons, the socks are probably a good compromise -- if you can afford them.

    Oh, the whole thing about not driving on bare pavement with tire chains or cables. Yeah, you should not -- but I have done it often at 20 mph or so for three or four miles at a time and never had a problem -- because once again -- in the PNW you might hit an area where they actually plowed -- not likely -- but in a few miles you are back to non-plowed roads.

    Never had chains or cables break and I do not recommend my actions to anyone else. I also always carried a chain repair kit with me,
     
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  2. Salamander_King

    Salamander_King Senior Member

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    I think that fact alone differentiates the tire chain practice. I live in the second snowiest state in the US. Yes, more than Alaska. And in our region on average, we get more than 100 inches of snow accumulation. But unless I am driving on an unplowed private road or go up on mountain roads where sudden unexpected snowfall is possible, the road is usually plowed and salted/sanded within hours of snowfall. Yeah, the chain would not work for us on most of the public roads.
     
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  3. fuzzy1

    fuzzy1 Senior Member

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    It changes in a much shorter distance than that. The snow in western Washington and Oregon is usually different than the snow on their east sides.
     
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  4. fuzzy1

    fuzzy1 Senior Member

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    Population density also makes a difference. Low density rural areas often don't have the resources or budgets to get as much of the road network plowed or sanded that quickly, so locals have much more opportunity or need to drive on un- or less-groomed roads.
     
  5. Salamander_King

    Salamander_King Senior Member

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    Well, at least that theory does not hold for our state. Maine is 38th on the ranking of population density of the states. Just above Oregon (39) but well below Washington (25). I certainly live in a low-density rural area. Yet, our town is very good at plowing and salting/sanding the road on every snow that falls.
     
  6. fuzzy1

    fuzzy1 Senior Member

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    I'm an immigrant to Washington. My roots, and most of my tire chain experiences, are from Idaho and Montana, which make Maine look like high density.
     
  7. Todd Bonzalez

    Todd Bonzalez Member

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    What are your thoughts on studded tires as opposed to chains in these conditions?
     
  8. Isaac Zachary

    Isaac Zachary Active Member

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    There are lots of great posts here!

    Personally, I use all seasons in the non-snowy months and dedicated winter tires in the snowy months.

    Also, one of the reasons we got the Avalon is that the manual says it's ok to put tire chains on the front. I always carry around a set of tire chains and use them more liberally than most people. I wouldn't mind having an AWD vehicle, but aside from climbing a slick driveway or two (not mine) I put chains on my AWD in the same places I'd put them on a 2WD.
    Chains are much better. I got studded tires now, but I feel that the Blizzaks I've had in the past may have actually been even better than these studded tires (Firestone Winterforce 2). If the tire has holes for studs expect it to not do good on ice without the studs.
     
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  9. Salamander_King

    Salamander_King Senior Member

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    I have been happy with Michelline X-ice snow tires on our cars, Gen3, PP, and Pathfinder got them and they were all good. For our new Escape PHEV, I wanted Michiline X-ice, but it was substantially more expensive than other brands. I ended up buying a set of Bridgestone Blizzak Ws90. I have had them on our Escape for a bit over a month now, but have had the chance to drive on ice, snow, slush, rain, and dry pavement on both in town and highway. I absolutely love this tire. It is responsive, and has very good traction on snow/ice/slush but is very quiet and comfortable on dry pavement. Of course, I have not had other snow tires on this car, so I can't do a direct comparison. But so far I am happy with the decision to switch to Blizzak. The only thing I have to wonder about Blizzak is the tread-life. I have read some reviews of Blizzak not lasting very long. X-ice was excellent in that measure. But chances are that I will be trading in the car before the end of the warranty period for the car, so I don't think I will be seeing the end of the tread-life on the Blizzak in three winter seasons or less.

    As for the studded tires, my very first snow tires were studded. Yes, it does give a very good grip on the icy road, but that was about the only good thing about studded tires. It was very noisy, uncomfortable tires on dry pavement. It lowers mpg a quite bit, and on soft deep snow or slush and regular rain, they were no match to quality studless tires like X-ice or Blizzak in my experience. The fact that studs cost extra on top of the tires, they are also quite a bit more expensive than studless tires. And by law in our state, we can't use them out of the season, so they have to be changed outside of winter seasons. I don't think I will ever buy studded snow tires again unless we move to a lake cabin or somewhere I drive on the ice regularly.
     
    #49 Salamander_King, Jan 25, 2023 at 11:17 AM
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2023 at 12:38 PM
  10. farmecologist

    farmecologist Senior Member

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    Although "not quite as good" as a snow tire, I will continue to plug the Michelin CrossClimate 2's for those who can't/won't do a dedicated snow tire set.

    We have them on our Hyundai Sonata and I have been driving it much more in the snow this year. And I've been very, very impressed with the CrossClimate 2's. No...not as good as the a top of the line snow tire....but very, very good for winter driving.
     
  11. Salamander_King

    Salamander_King Senior Member

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    I actually thought about putting All-Weather tires on our Escape PHEV in lieu of getting a set of dedicated snow tires. CrossClimate was one of the options. But in the end, I decided not to get All-Weather tires. For one thing, I bought the car at the end of Nov. If I get new All-Weather tires, I would be wasting the OEM tires that came with the car. Also, most All-Weather tires are very expensive, especially for the size of the wheel the car came with (19"). It was actually cheaper to buy a set of used 17" wheels and fit them with dedicated 17" snow tires. So, that's what I ended up doing.
     
  12. farmecologist

    farmecologist Senior Member

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    Yeah...I can't believe how expensive tires are once you get up into the 19"+ wheel size range. While the CrossClimate 2's were not cheap for our Sonata, they were reasonable...at least from Costco. (y)
     
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  13. Stevewoods

    Stevewoods Senior Member

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    I think the State of Washington's requirement says it all.

    Studded tires do not satisfy state chain requirements. If chains are required on your vehicle, you'll have to install them even on studded tires.

    Also, studded tires on bare pavement are a special kind of torture. And traction on bare pavement with studs can sometimes be a little "differrent."

    The advantage to studded tires is you put them on at the start of "winter" and take them off at the end of "winter." Just like studless winter tires.

    With chains you are taking them off and on all the time. Once you have done it a few times you can be pretty quick., but it is still not something I love to do.

    There are different types of "chains" though -- some less hassle than others.

    Diamond chains give the best traction and are easier to put on than the ladder-style
    [​IMG][​IMG]

    But diamonds cost more. Diamond cables are easier than diamond chains, but I think chains offer superior traction. Ladder cables also somewhat easy to put on, but diamonds give better traction.

    But my second generation tire guy -- who just retired said to me a few years ago:

    "Steve, with the (Subaru) Outback all-wheel drive and the Michelin X-Ice Snow Tires, you can go anywhere; you don't need chains."

    I think he was exaggerating a bit, but as I said, if I need chains on top of AWD and winter tires -- I ain't driving unless it is a severe emergency -- like I am out of beer during the Super Bowl.

    So, again, don't pretend to be an expert but here are my thoughts:

    1) The various "socks" seem to work, but depending you may not get more than one use -- or you may get dozens uses, guess it depends on how you drive and on what type of snow/ice. You still have to get out and put them on, but it seems pretty easy.

    2) Cables, ladder or diamond, easiest "steel" to put on, price usually less than chains, but traction is usually not quite up to chains -- although highway departments accept cables as appropriate subs for chains. And only once did I ever lose traction with ladder cables.

    3) Chains, ladder or diamond. Diamond better traction and easier to put on, but cost more. And, only once did I ever lose traction with diamond chains. Lost traction several times with ladder chains.

    Finally winter tires -- see quote above from my tire guy. Love the Ice-X. My daughter just wore out a pair of the Firestone use them all year "all-weather tires" and was very happy with them and now is running the "all-weather" Michelin CrossClimate 2s.

    I may go with the "all-weather" in the future, but think I will stick with the "winter tires."
     
    #53 Stevewoods, Jan 25, 2023 at 1:48 PM
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2023 at 1:54 PM
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  14. jdenenberg

    jdenenberg EE Professor

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    As I've indicated before, I have used All weather tires for many years (Nokian WR series, I will conside the Michelin CC2 next time) and they have provided the needed winter traction for my Prii. The OE all season tires were far from satisfactory in many ways including poor snow/ice traction. Good winter tires (Nokia Hakkapeliitta (preferred), Xice, or Blizzak) and good all season tires are great except for when bad weather is an early season surprise.

    JeffD
     
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  15. Leadfoot J. McCoalroller

    Leadfoot J. McCoalroller Senior Member

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    Winter Day Saves the Tires

    Today was one of those days where we just went home once the flakes started flying, and canceled the afternoon stuff, just stayed in and enjoyed the show.
     
  16. Isaac Zachary

    Isaac Zachary Active Member

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    I do belive that a really good all season tire is as good, if not better, than a cheap winter tire.

    Another thing to keep in mind, there are no miraculous tires. Engineering Explained did an episode that they put "the best winter tire" on a Subaru and found that on snow pack it still stopped the vehicle in 6 times the distance the best summer tire could stop the same vehicle on pavement. And these were not road legal winter tires with really long studs.
     
  17. jdenenberg

    jdenenberg EE Professor

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    Isaac, All season tires are nowhere as good as good Winter tires. You want additional traction to avoid getting stuck in snow. You do have to slow down for safety in Winter conditions, I found that All Weather tires are significantly better than All Season tires for traction (if not as good as a Winter tire) as my FWD Prius could get up my driveway in harsh conditions with the Nokian WRs whereas it couldn't with the OE Toyo tires.

    JeffD
     
  18. Isaac Zachary

    Isaac Zachary Active Member

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    What's an "all-weather" tire and what's the difference with an "all-season" tire?

    All I know is I don't feel much difference between my General Atlimax all-season tires and my studded Firestone Winterforce tires. But I've had Blizzaks before and will go back to them as they felt much better than both. But I would never buy Firestone Winterforce tires ever again, because, as I've said, I don't feel they add any more traction than the General Altimaxes.

    And I say that after driving 4 winters using both at times and have permanent snow pack I drive on every winter.
     
  19. Salamander_King

    Salamander_King Senior Member

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    We had an unusually mild and snowless December. It was a snow drought up until last week. Then, we just had a second of back-to-back-to-back, three storms on Monday that dumped a foot of snow. The first one was last Friday with snow and ice. Now, the third in the sequence is coming tonight with a forecast of 6-12" of snow. Yet, the road is now completely dry. No snow on the pavement. I don't think I am going out tomorrow, but should be fine to drive even without snow tires by Friday.

    upload_2023-1-25_16-30-22.png
     
  20. Stevewoods

    Stevewoods Senior Member

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    There are all-seasons that are better in snow and ice than "other" all-seasons. One being the aforementioned General Altimax RT43. I found the RT43 to be pretty good in winter conditions -- of course not up to Blizzak etc. But TireRack tests agree on the RT43 as well as my local guy,

    The "newish" "all-weather" tires are not quite as good as dedicated winter tires, but you can keep them on year-round without worrying about wearing them out in three months of warm weather driving. I suggest if interested google "all-weather tires" and learn all about them.

    Funny though the all-weathers do qualify for the mountain peak symbol -- https://www.tirerack.com/tires/tiretech/techpage.jsp?techid=125.

    Something about how to get symbol, tires only have to meet one standard, which the all-weathers meet, but real winter tires also meet several other criteria. My daughter was impressed with Firestone's all-weather tire. https://www.firestonetire.com/tire/weathergrip-weathergrip/195-60R15/#section-tech-specs
     
    #60 Stevewoods, Jan 25, 2023 at 4:49 PM
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2023 at 4:56 PM
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