I’ve just moved from Phoenix to Northern Colorado and I am not sure what kind of tires to get for my car. Is it necessary to get snow tires? Or will all season tires work for typical city driving? Do the more expensive tires really make a difference for the average driver? Any advice or suggestions?
Need is a relative term. Do you need to drive in the worst of winter conditions (to work or for some other reason) or can you wait out the storms? Here’s one perspective published by a partner site to CarTalk. If you’ve never driven in winter conditions before now, perhaps having every advantage would be a good idea?
If you moved there for employment then your fellow workers can give you their experience . Also a local tire store will want to sell tires but still have good recommendations.
@VOLVO_V70 has good advice to ask your co workers or neighbors. If the road crews get around to clearing the roads quickly and you have the option to wait a bit you may not need snow tires. If you plan on going to the mountains a lot you will need snow tires.
Check out this link
A lot depends on where you plan to drive in the winter. “Northern Colorado” extends from the flat plains to the mountains. Do you plan to do much driving in the mountains? And is your Rav4 2wd or AWD?
Good winter tires are better than all-season tires, for sure. Just depends on what you’ll be doing with them, whether they’re worth it to you.
How do your present tires rate for snow and ice performance? tirerack.com and November issues of Consumer Reports have test results with ratings in several criteria, including snow and ice.
My first winter with my 1999 Honda Civic told me it was not as good with its all-seasons as my old Chevy Cavalier was with its. I liked the Honda and decided to get winter tires on their own steel wheels. I’ve been happy year-round now with its tires’ performance, and in the long run the only additional expense is 4 steel wheels and an hour or so every spring and fall making the switchover.
As a newbie to the state, if you do plan on driving in the mountains in the winter, carry chains. Even if you don’t technically need them, there is a chain law that can be put into effect in bad weather that would require you to have them.
As to whether you need them, @texases got it right - if you’re in the mountains, yes. If you’re in the plains, you’ll probably be fine on all-seasons.
The 2013 handles great with almost any tire. You really go in town. Five or six inches and you will have no problems. The ABS on that model will stop the car because it locks and releases. It might shake you up the first time it goes into action.
to pull the rug out from under you; I say that you should get all-season tires at a minimum, you may be tempted to go without. Sometimes you might have to drive in a foot of snow. You never know.
Up hills in Winter I had no problem with my 2013 Rav. It had AWD.
Check out what Colorado says about winter driving at the CO DOT:
I live in Northern Colorado, and we run winter tires on all four of our vehicles, every winter. The difference in stopping, turning and control versus all season tires is remarkable. It’s not just about plowing through 6" inches of snow. Let me put it another way, you never see a car with winter tires in the ditch or off the side of the mountain in Eagle County in January. All wheel drive and 4wd with summer tires, stuck and / or wrecked, see that every day in winter. I buy used rims from Craigslist and new winter tires from Tire Rack for all of our cars, and swap the rims when the weather gets below 40 degrees in the daytime. Good luck; NoCo is a great place to live, you’ll love it here.