Snow tires

Are snow tires really worth the money or will all seasonal tires do?

Depends on where you live. I navigate well in the Kansas/Missouri/Colorado area with all seasons only, even on my trucks. I am somewhat particular about ice and snow performance onthe tires I purchase, but do not believe that snow tires, for the kind of driving I do, is value added in winter. the bad weather accidents my wife and I have had other the past 30 years has been ice-related, not snow related. Living further north would change my position.

Exactly as Jay said…It depends on where you live.

Also if you have a fwd or rwd or 4wd vehicle. Standard fwd vehicle…no they are NOT needed in 95% of the country. rwd…Any place there’s more then a couple feet a year I’d get them. 4wd…not needed at all unless you live in the mountains

Actually, I have another snow tire question. I needed new tires, and was referred to a local tire retailer. I was treated very well, and the owner suggested Vredestein Snowtrac 2 --and he told me they are just fine for year-round use. All that I’ve read about these particular tires says they are winter-only tires. I live in Minnesota, where we can get plenty of snow and ice, but frankly the last few winters have been mild. Have I been had?

It also depends on the specific “all-season” tire. Some are decent on snow, and some (the Bridgestone Potenza RE-92 comes to mind) are absolutely USELESS on snow. Even though I have AWD with traction control, ABS, and Vehicle Stability Control, I had to replace those RE-92s with Michelin winter tires in order to be able to drive in snowy conditions.

The winter tires will work in summer, they just wear out very fast, since they are made of a softer rubber compound. I have a pair of winter boots with good treads on them; one spring day I wore them hiking on the rocks, and the wear from just 10 miles was considerable. You should take the winter tires off in the spring, usually some time in April when the chance of haevy snow is very low.

Its all a personal choice. However winter (snow) tires give you superior stopping ability (25-50% better) on ice/snow/slush and much better lateral stability. It really depends on your need to get out (eg work) on the worse days and also simply where you live.

That being said all-seasons vary in their ability in winter muck from absymal to pretty well(research is key). I will recommend the absolute best in winter year round tire, Nokian WR or WR G2. Its the only tire made that is severe winter rated(winter tires) yet can be run year round(all-season). Corrected, a poster above mentioned “Vredestein Snowtrac2” which also are winter tire rated but are year round also. Nokian is also excellent on wet roads. I am on my fourth set now and could not be happier.

Its as good as the less expensive winter tires but nearly as good as the top tier winter tires that exist.

My only last advice is call around for tires whatever you buy. I just had a set of Nokian WR G2’s installed and found a $35/tire difference between the two closest tire dealers. A $140 difference is quite significant.

I just read the bit on your Vredestein Snowtrac2 tire. It sounds like Nokain WR & WR G2 finally have a competitor for a winter rated tire that can be year round.

You can use them year round without worry of excessive wear etc.


Can anybody recommend an all season tire that’s adequate for a few inches of snow (<6"). I have Dunlop SP60 all season tires on a 93 Caprice and am going to replace these tires by next summer. The Dunlops are worthless in any snow. I was leaning toward the Yokohama Aegis LS-4, but any suggestions are welcome.

Ed B.

It also depends on the specific “all-season” tire. Some are decent on snow, and some (the Bridgestone Potenza RE-92 comes to mind) are absolutely USELESS on snow.

I agree 100% with that. I’ve had so-called “all-season” tires that were fine for dry flat pavment…anything else they were useless. But many if not MOST all season-tires are usually just fine in snow.

As you can see from all the “it depends” replies you’ve been getting, buying snow tires is similar to buying insurance. You can spend more for more protection, but it’s a gamble on whether you’ll really need it or not.

I’ve tended to invest more in snow tires over the years (as I am no longer interested in getting out with a shovel to dig out).

Why do I put four aggressive snows on my family vehicles?

  • Because if they save my wife from getting stuck on her way to work or shopping, they’ve paid for themselves.
  • Because if they are the reason I’m able to stop in time on slippery roads to avoid an accident or avoid hitting a kid on a sled, they’ve paid for themselves.

Again, it’s just like buying insurance. You’ll never know if you’ll need that extra protection, but you’ll sure be happy if you ever do.


I agree, my compromise is to keep all season tires on my real cars and put big nasty snow tires on my winter beater (4WD jeep). My wife uses the jeep when there’s snow on the roads. Obviously, it would suck to be stuck driving a truck all the time, but it’s hard to beat in the snow and we don’t much care if it gets a little (more) banged up.

In addition to depending on where you live, it also depends on what you drive. And on the specific tire.

On my pickups (in NH) I have always had snow tires. They are by nature light in the rear end, where the drive wheels are, and need the added advantage, even with concrete blocks in the back.

On my FWD cars I’ve always had all season tires. How well they’ve worked has varied widely depending on the tire. I’ve now had an opportunity to try my Cooper Sport A/T tires in a variety of driving conditions and I’m very pleased. While I never had any real problems with the two previous sets I had, the Coopers are much better on poor road conditions.

Whether you choose snows or all season, good traction on poor roads is a lifesaver. Literally. It’s worth a few hundred bucks. Cheapest insurance you ever buy.

I agree. My wife works in the healthcare industry and is expected/needed to be at work no matter what the conditions are. Unfortunately her 3 day/week job is 40 mins+ away on a good day each day.

We compromise a bit using year round tires that are rated winter tires. These tires coupled to our Subaru and previous FWD Honda have no issues in any weather we have encountered in NH.

As noted it depends on where you live and how you drive. For me in central Ohio the answer is YES. Get a set along with spare rims. I got mine from tire rack on line and saved a good amount over locally available prices. Shop around.

Currently I have Michelin X-radials on my MPV. Previously it had Goodyear Aquatreads. Both were fine.

I just did some Consumer Report research in anticipation of replacing my wife’s cars on her Subaru. While I never liked the Bridgestone RE-92’s on them, we had no winter issues with them, either, and my wife travels 32 miles one way to work at the time. From three years of CR, I narrowed it down to Michelin Hydroedge (noted noise problems by CR and; Michelin Exalto A/S (an ultra high performance all season); the X-radial, and Goodyear Assurance Comfortreds. All of these have a mileage warranty, which is also a prime consideration for me. Kumho Ecsta ASX appears to be a good tire, but is expensive due to the 35K mileage warranty. I think we will stick with the UHP on my wife’s car, and go with the Exalto A/S.

I may have missed some candidates, but I weighed my decision most on ice and snow performance info. My wife had a set of Aegis LS-4’s and while they were good performing tires, they wore out prematurely.

Currently I have Michelin X-radials on my MPV. Previously it had Goodyear Aquatreads. Both were fine.

Wife had the Michelin X-Radials…these are EXCELLENT tires in snow…When you get real deep snow you should stay home.

I priced snow tires and rims for my 01 Impala at a local Canadian Tire, and it came out to around $700. For that kind of money, I think the all-seasons on my car are just fine.

I don’t know if anyone mentioned them yet, but apparently there are Nokian tires that are all season, but are also rated for ice and snow. They seem to be a good compromise. Don’t know how much they cost, though.

Thanks for the suggestions. The Caprice is only driven about 4 to 5k a year so tire wear isn’t an issue. The SP60’s are 7 years old and have about 22k, the car had only been driven about 700 miles in the three years before I got it. I’ll take a look at the Kumho tires.


Ed B.

The balance sheet says it all. They do make a profit from selling replacement tires, no wonders why RE-92s are useless on snow, especially version for OEM. There might be a Gentlemen’s Agreement with the car manufacturer.