3 snow tires

I have 3 snow tires for my car (last year one of them got slashed). I live in Denver but am moving to Phoenix in 4 weeks. I wanted to put them on my car so I can run up to the ski slopes maybe a total of 5 or 6 times and for the drive to Phoenix in case I hit bad weather conditions. It just doesnt make sense to me to buy a brand new 4th snow tire for 3 weeks of use. Is it ok to just put the 3 on?

You should get a 4th tire that matches the other 3. You are asking for trouble with 3 snows and a regular tire. Unless the 3 snows are relatively new getting a match is going to be tough.

I wouldn’t. Could be very unstable in a corner, the last place you’d want to discover that.

Isn’t putting snow tires on a mini cooper just a little bit like putting lipstick on a pig?

I’m thinking one of two things: first, I grew up in NY state and spent my life on all season radials. I never owned a set of snow tires yet I drove in plenty of snow. I’m not talking Buffalo though. Just an occasional snowfall area, sometimes severe but often just light to moderate. The all seasons are not as good true, but if you know what you’re doing the once in a while snowy drive is not such a big deal.

Second, if you just know you want to be on snows, start combing places like eBay and craigslist for a similar 4th tire in decent shape.

Actually the mini does very well with snow tires. It is not like “putting lipstick on a pig” at all. I am not interested in buying all seasons, the whole point is to avoid spending more money, I am on a very limited income.

Yes, little cars do fine in the snow…up to a point. The cars I drove around in were little front wheel drive econoboxes and I would go anywhere in them. (Ok don’t get insulted again. I’m calling my cars econoboxes, not the mini. I’m just making a point about size). My thought was that if the conditions are mild enough for such a little car to get around in then dedicated snows are not necessarily needed. By the time you get to serious snow you need more clearance anyway and the little cars don’t cut it.

And I wasn’t saying go out and buy a whole new set of all season radials. What’s on the car now? Most people these days are already driving around on them, though I suppose a mini may not be.

So fine, you want snows. Driving on 3 of them is nuts. Find a cheap, used 4th that matches up to the other 3 pretty closely).

It sort of depends on how much wear they have. However I would suggest buying an new tyre and having the shop “shave” it to match the wear on the other three.

Measure the tread on the other three. Chances are they are not the same. Front and back wear at different rates.

You want to end up with two sets of closely match tyres.  Two for the front and the two best on the back.  Yea, on the back.  [b]  With the two best on the front, you risk having the back end loose traction and sliding around so you are looking where you have been and not where you are going.[/b]  You don't want to do that.

Small cars can be GREAT in the snow…Especially a good fwd vehicle. A bigger heavier car doesn’t mean it’ll be good in snow…if they were then tractor trailers should be fantastic in the snow (they aren’t). Small cars run into trouble when the snow gets real deep and it lifts the car enough where the tires loose traction. But I’ll take a small fwd vehicle over a mid-size rwd vehicle in snow any day of the week.

"Small cars can be GREAT in the snow…[but] run into trouble when the snow gets real deep Right. That’s exactly what I was saying. Unless snowy driving is a routine and everyday thing by the time you get to needing dedicated snow tires you might as well be in something with more clearance. I survived just great in small FWD cars with all season radials. I never hesitated to go out and never hesitated to take it anyplace I wanted or needed to go.

This happens to be someone who will be in Phoenix! Taking the occasional drive to the ski slopes. I think worrying about snow tires is a little over the top.

Can you do it, yes. Should you do it, no. The tread on the odd 4th tire won’t match and thet will negatively affect the handling, and braking of the car. It might seem fine in normal driving but could be unstable at higher speeds and in a situation like a panic stop due to a deer in the road.

Just as you can wear a running shoe on one foot and a snow boot on the other, you can drive a FWD or RWD car with mismatched tires. However, as Uncle Turbo stated, there is a difference between something that you can do and something that you should do.

If the OP was going to occasionally drive very slowly and very carefully on snow-covered surface streets with these mismatched tires, it is possible that he could do so without incident, but to think about driving up to ski areas in the mountains with mismatched tires is just…not a smart thing to do.

I can understand someone having a “very limited income”, but choosing ski outings over safety does not seem like a good use of that limited income.

If your non-snows are all-seasons and same size I would not purchase another tire for three weeks. If you have a summer tire (non-all season) I would never mix with 3 winter tires. There is a serious traction imbalance.

Make sure the mismatched tires are not on the driving axle as it can burn up the differential if it is limited slip which is likely in performance mini.

I live in Denver, too.
Please don’t drive around with 3 snow tires, and 1 either all season, most likely, a summer performance tire. If you are on snow, and you have to apply the brakes firmly, 3 tires are going to do all the braking, while the fourth is going to be fighting with your ABS system, to try and keep it rolling, which is going to not only lengthen you stopping distance, but also make your car completely unstable if you need to do this braking in a curve.

Driving in the snow in Denver is NOT the same as driving in the snow in Upstate NY.
I’ve done both, and in NY, they actually plow and salt the roads. Here in Denver, they are very conservative with plowing, and they hate salt with a passion. If they throw down anything on the road, its basically a gravel sand mixture, which then destroys paint jobs and windows with reckless abandon all winter long.

So, splurge for that fourth tire.
Ask a friend/relative for half the money.

Better yet, how about you skip one day up at the ski resort, and buy your tire with that money you saved. You ski bums have some strange priorities here in Denver. “I can’t afford 1 snow tire, but I can afford to go skiing 6 times?” You’re not the first person I’ve heard those words from up here, before, either.


I put best at time (Blizzack) winter tires on a 95 Honda Civic coupe with all of about 4" of clearance tops. I used to be die hard skier going in any driving conditions seeking powder.

I had no issue in deeper snow as long as front tires got some traction. If they did not I would back up in my own tracks and bash forward until momentum would take over.

I found myself passing likely all-season equipped SUV’s on steep inclines struggling.

I currently own winter oriented all-seasons and the difference is astounding between decent winter tires and all-seasons irregardless of vehicle. If you never have experienced you really don’t know.

I love that…
Ski bum’s logic. :wink:

they can afford skiing; lift tickets, motel, travel, meals, drinks, equipment rental etc.
– but ‘‘can’t’’ afford a fourth tire ? –

Then mount TWO snows and go ski.
Either 4 or 2
not 3

Snow tires are a thing of the past. You want 4 all season tires

Note: Skiing does not have to involve Motel,meals,drinks or rental equipment. Just thought id throw that in

I don’t know about that.

I would much rather have 4 Blizzak WS70 tires on my car in 3 inches of snow than 4 Continental ContiProContacts, which are the OEM all season tires, on my Nissan Altima.

Currently, I have the A/S Goodyear Assurance TripleTred on it, which have the Mountain Snowflake designation on them, and they work really well in 3 inches of snow.

I think that is the ticket.
An A/S tire with the Mountain Snowflake emblem is going to do a heck of a lot better than an A/S without it in snow conditions.


Yes, SNOW tires are a thing of the past, but they have been supplanted by the newer technology winter tires.

Since there is absolutely no standard whatsoever for “all-season” tires, a tire manufacturer can sell any tire as an “all-season tire”, no matter how crappy it is in terms of winter performance. Trust me–I have owned some of those all-season tires (made by major tire manufacturers), and that is why I opted to replace them for the winter with…winter tires.

Truthfully, I think it is irresponsible to tell people that all-season tires are a good substitute for winter tires, simply because it is rarely true.

Giving false confidence to people can lead to driving too fast for conditions. “But…that guy on the Car Talk website told me that all-season tires are just fine for the winter. How did I manage to manage to spin out on that curve and wind up in a ditch?”

Driving skills?