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Same as everybody used car or better tires?

I’ve been reading through the Q/As and am a little more confused than before. I have a 98 Honda Civic EX, 5 speed manual. I live in metro Denver on a hill & I cannot drive this thing in the snow/ice, I cannot get traction to start. I do have lots of snow/ice driving experience from living in upstate NY.

Here are my reasons for change:

* tight budget b/c I just adopted a baby (want to spend ~$10k total, hoping to get good tradein/privately sell the Honda

* need to be able to safely get up and down my hill in snowy weather

* car seat hits the back of the front seats even though I am only 5’3" and have the seat pulled up

* bump my head on the car when moving said child seat

* don’t want to give up on the 30-32 mpg

I had new tires the first year I had this problem so my dad and I thought it was the car being manual and lightweight. In one of the discussions someone said the same thing, no traction with a Honda, and one response was to get better tires.

In all my research I have narrowed it down to a 2006 Ford Focus SES wagon. I drove a 2005 yesterday and the only thing stopping me was the mileage on that particular car and it’s the mid-level model.

Any advice out there?

Thanks in advance!


I have an '03 Honda Civic, 5 spd manual. I live on a hill and I bought good snow tires and have no problems. You do have to be comfortable with some wheel spin, but with snow tires the car digs into the snow fine.

The Ford Escort wagon is also a front wheel drive car, there really will be no big advantage over your current Honda.

If you bought new all season tires they are not nearly as good as snow tires especially dealing with deep snow on a hill.

Nothing like excellent tires to get the maximum benefit out of a car…a FWD car on a hill is a compromise going up as the weight center of gravity shifts rearward negating the usual weight over the drive wheel bias. When starting on a hill with FWD, start very slowly to minimize this CoG shift…or back up the hill if it’s short and you’re desperate. Just “new” tires may not be enough…they should be rated highly for snow and ice. It’s not cheap to drive a car safety. you’ll have the same problem with any new FWD car you buy unless you “get the idea”.

I agree with Uncle Turbo. I drove a Rabbit 12 years in Anchorage no problem, it was much lighter than your Civic. Do you have winter tires on separate rims for your Civic? Lots cheaper than a new car.

Thanks, that’s what I was wondering. I’ll have to check to see what kind of tires I bought. I haven’t ever had separate snow/winter tires.

I haven’t ever had separate snow/winter tires.

Now is the time. Winter tyres are far different than all season tyres. (They should be called three season tyres.) A set of four steel rims will be worth the investment.

Did you try the child seat in the Focus to make sure it fits? Can you get the child seat in and out of the Focus without banging your head? Make sure before you buy something.

You have two separate issues here. The snow part can be dealt with by installing winter tires. The Focus, if you buy it, will need winter tires, too.

  • car seat hits the back of the front seats even though I am only 5’3" and have the seat pulled up

Do you put it behind the driver’s seat? Try putting it behind the passenger seat.

(want to spend ~$10k total, hoping to get good tradein/privately sell the Honda

sell your Honda privately, you’ll likely get (next to)nothing if you trade it in.

I would say look at a Subaru, but if you’re not willing to budge on the fuel mileage aspect, don’t bother. Their AWD should handle the hills nicely, but they can be pretty picky about tires and such.

You may also need a four wheel alignment. There could be a worn tie rod end or even a bent one. There will be no traction unless all the wheels are pointing in about the same direction.

Due to large feet, it has been a long time since I drove manual transmission, but when I did, we used to start off in second gear to minimize wheel spin. It made a big difference. A little more wear on the clutch, slipping it a bit, but it helped.

Thanks for the responses, I checked, and I have Fulda Assuro 185/60R14 on my car now. Two of them are now worn out, so that explains a lot. I noticed that the original tires were 185/65. Does it make much difference between the 60 and 65s? I now have to buy at least 2 more tires if not 4, any recommendations for a cheap but safe tire to put on before I sell the car privately? Thanks!

To sell the car privately I’d opt for 4 new tires, go back to OEM size of 185/65 and shop for the cheapest tires you can find. Buyers love new tires and aren’t concerned about the brand. 4 new matching tires will help you sell the car.