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Snow Tires!?


A starving graduate student with no money!

The setting:

I just moved to Vermont, but may leave in the spring…

The situation:

My car did not pass state inspection because the front tires need to be replaced and my question is - do I replace with all season, or snow tires, and if so, which ones? Is it a bad idea to have two all season and two snow tires on my vehicle?


Typically, most places won’t sell you just two snow tires, for fear of you losing control of your car, crashing it, and getting sued by someone in relation to your accident.

If you are going to install just two tires, install a GOOD all season tire, like the Goodyear Assurance Triple Tread tires.

These tires transformed my car’s snow performance when I installed them last winter, after 3 years of nervous snow driving on the original Continental tires that came on my car from the factory, and the Fuzion tires that I replaced the original tires with. Neither of those two sets of tires were ever very good in the snow when they were new, and were much much worse after the tires got down to 50% tread remaining when I replaced both sets.

The Goodyears were so much better, it made financing the cost of them over 6 months worth it to me, just to have the peace of mind, and confidence in being able to brake the car in the snow, and actually have the car slow down.

I was pointed towards these tires by a good friend, with his Subaru Outback.
My gf’s daughter needed tires for her Toyota Camry, and on his suggestion, we installed these on it, and the daughter said they gave her so much more confidence (important for an 18 year old behind the wheel).
Then I installed them on my car, and felt the same, immediately.


Thank you!

Don’t run two different types of tires. That can be unsafe.

Will you be driving in town or on rural roads? Can you normally wait for the plows to come by before you drive? You might be fine with all-season tires (especially brand-new ones), depending on the answers to these questions. If you do get all-season tires, check the reviews on Tire Rack’s web site and pick ones that have better snow performance, as there can be quite a range.

Until you get new tires, please drive slowly in the rain. If your current tires didn’t pass inspection, you’re definitely at risk for hydroplaning.

Thank you for your advice.
I am in the country, but not too rural - I will be driving on gravel and tarmac post-plowing, and based on responses from some locals, I also think I could get away with all weather tires. The problem is that I really cannot afford 4 new tires, and the rear ones that are currently on the car are in good condition (so I was told by the repair shop)…

Addition to the other good information you have received, I will suggest that IF you decide to replace only two tyres, make sure they are put on the back. Otherwise you may find yourself looking where you have been and not where you are going. With the best tyres on the front, in an emergency, the front will stop better than the back so the back will loose grip and the car will spin.

Additional note: All season tyres are not really 4 season tyres, they are three season tyres. You should have WINTER tyres on for Vermont’s snow season.

Go with good all season tires. I live lived in cold weather climates my whole life. im 47. Drive accordingly. Snow means slow

Your Corolla is front wheel drive so you can buy a new set for the rear wheels and move the rear tires to the front. Match tires or tread design if you can. In Vermont if the school buses are running you can drive with all season tires.

One question yet to be asked is “how much tread is on the other two tires?”. Even a good all season tire with 50% of the tread gone will not perform well in snow and if matched with brand new tires at the other end of the car will creat an imbalance that could result in a spinout.

One other critical question is your winter driving experiece. If you have none, I think you’re better off with new winter tread on all four corners. If you are experienced in winter and know enough to find a hotel when a blizzard hits driving all season tires should ne fine, but they’ll not be as good in poor conditions as winter tires would be.

In summary,

  1. all four tires have to have good tread on them, not just “passed inspection” tread.
  2. whether you’ll be fine with all season or should have winter tires depends on your winter driving experience.

All Season. You dont want to wear out "winter tires on summer roads. Drive accordingly. Snow means slow. Everybody has to learn to drive and wear your seat belt

If you were in the situation of needed four tires I would highly suggest an emerging category of tires out there called “All-Weather tires”.

These tires are rated to be winter capable to meet Canada’s winter tire requirements in certain provinces.

Nokian WR(been around for years as NRW>WR>now WR G2) I have owned and they are winter capable tires that run year round. They give up some ice traction vs true winter tires. Consumer Reports recently put them in a category called “high performance winters” for testing and they beat everything in their testing

Yokohama W-Drive - new kid on the block that is year round but winter capable. Popular in Quebec as one size fits all tire that meets winter tire requirements.

Nokian has a new tire…HT SUV All season ENTYRE…" for north american consumer"

Try Dunlop SP-60’s. For your car they should be $60-$70 each, before mounting. They’re budget all-season tires with a blocky tread design that digs through snow, but also does fine in summer months.

Yeah, of course it’s better to have 4 new tires all the same, but are you gonna die cause you only bought 2 new tires? Nah…I was a starving grad student once too, and I had an old Volare with snow tires on the rear (year 'round) and different tires on the front, and lived to tell about it.

I run my Dunlop SP-60’s year-round and they’re decent, inexpensive all-season tires that works great in winter. Go to and read their “surveys” section. It’s an excellent resource for comparing different tires.