Snow tires

Are snow tires needed for a Subaru Outback in

Wisconsin or are highly rated all season tires ok?

Highly rated by WHO?? If you have $450 you don’t know what to do with, why not? But most people somehow live without them…That’s why they spent the bucks for the Outback,

Winter tires are superior to all-seasons in stopping and cornering by a far margin beyond getting moving. And despite the detractors on price realize your non winter tires do not wear while sitting in storage.

Few people actually need them. However it is a relatively inexpensive safety item that that you have to personally justify. Some people own Lexus or have leather seats, do they need them no but they have them.

The difference is winter tires can save your life. They also make winter driving a pleasure.

I have driven 20 years and driven with AWD(Subaru), FWD, RWD with and without winter tires.

If you decide on a tire fits all(-season), I highly recommend the pricey but very good Nokian WR G2’s. I find them on par with winter tires in some aspects. The only downfall is average on ice and price.

There are few all-season tires that have winter traction equal to real winter tires.
Even with AWD, winter tires provide an incredible boost in safety by allowing the driver to STOP, and to corner more safely, in addition to being able to get going more easily.

I first became a fan of winter tires because my Outback came equipped from the factory with Bridgestone Potenza RE-92 “all season” tires that were essentially useless in winter conditions.
Even after replacing those pathetic Bridgestones with superior B.F. Goodrich “all-season” tires, I still mount a set of Michelin X-Ice tires each winter.

I have always used studded snows on my AWD Subarus. That combination is as safe as it gets for winter snow and ice. And yes, factor in your other set is taking a 6 month rest. Get them mounted on their own set of rims (about $200 one-shot for the four) and save yourself $120+ each year on two changeovers at $15+ a tire. If you’re their customer, many shops do the on-rim changes free and store the other three. I say three because one of the off set is your spare. Tire shop will get sizes matched up for you. I drive Montana, Wyoming and Dakotas, but also know winter roads in Wisconsin and Minnesota - lots of snow pack, ice, traffic and endless curves. If anyone needs them, you do. Too bad you can’t have the studs, but winters will serve you well and give you safe driving. Not the time to save a few hundred.

I install winter tires on my Legacy AWD station wagon each year when the snow season arrives. My snow season is NOTHING compared to Wisconsin. I can’t imaging trying to get through a real winter without winter tires.

All season tires are really THREE season tires. Winter tires offer so much better traction on snow there’s really no comparison.

“Highly rated all season tires?” Keep that in mind when you slide into a ditch.

I am going to guess that you believe that with AWD you don’t need Winter tyres as much as someone with 2WD.

Consider this. AWD helps you move, but it does nothing to keep you from sliding off the road or reduce your stopping distance on snow or ice.

Getting stuck in the snow is usually a real inconvenience, but not being able to stop is a killer.

Buying winter (snow) tires is like buying insurance. You will never know if you should have bought winter tires or more aggressive winter tires until it’s too late.

I’m in the northern Mass, southern New Hampshire area. Years ago my wife left work at 5:00 PM in a snowstorm. The car only had all-season tires and she got stuck. In hindsight, I wish I had put good winter tires on her car that season. I have ever since.

Good winter tires help you to stop more quickly on slippery roads. If that improved stopping power saves you from one accident, then the tires will have more than paid for themselves.

Update: I just saw what Joseph Meehan posted about getting stuck being an inconvenience, but not being able to stop is a killer. That is the biggest reason I buy four aggressive winter tires. OP: It’s your judgment call.

Snow tires will help in snow, the drawback is they wear faster (especially in warm weather). Studs will help on ice, but not for any other conditions. Gas mileage will be poorer, -10-30%. How often do you drive on snow covered roads? How fast do you want to drive on snow? In CT, that happens about twice per winter for me. I just wait at home for the plows. Most of the time the roads are clear and dry. Most of my winter driving problems are with the bozos who think they know how to drive in the snow, (really slowly going up hills, braking on the way down). I used chains once in 35 years (winter of 1978, roads were closed for three days). Haven’t carried them since.

If you are a doctor and need to get to the hospital in the middle of the night regardless of the blizzard raging outside, then you need winter tires. If you are retired and can sit out the storm and venture out after the plows have come out to clean the roads then you can live without winter tires.

You will get both sides of the story here. You have to make the call based on where you need to go (hills or flat terrain), how urgently you have to go, and how well you handle a car when it slips and slides in the snow.

I had an AWD Volvo wagon and it did OK with all season tires, but it was an unstoppable snow machine with Nokian winter tires. The difference was amazing and most notable when it came time to hit the brakes. The all season tires seemed to get me going fine, but took more than twice as long to stop the car and didn’t hold in turns nearly as well as winter tires.