Snow tires


I just bought a 2001 Miata and I love it. Two different car dealer guys pointed out to me that I have winter tires I the car. The car did not come with another set.

I think the car drives fine with these tires, but I don’t know any different. Why would it be bad to keep these tires on the car? I actually don’t intend to drive the car in the winter, but I don’t want the expense of a new set of tires because these look practically new (I don’t think the previous owner drove this car in the winter either). Is it bad to just keep these tires on the vehicle or should I get another set?


You can drive your Miata with snow tires in the summer. I have done it with no problem with old fashioned bias ply tires and have never heard of a restriction on this. The tires may not look good and may wear a little faster than regular tires but otherwise, no problem in my view.

They will tend to wear faster and they may not handle quite as well under some conditions.  Assuming they still have good tread on them, I would want to save them for winter.  Just this last winter I bought a set of winter tyres and a set of four wheels.  It was not all that expensive and switching is not much trouble. I would suggest the same, except you buy summer tyres.


Of course you can drive the car with the tires that are on it. If they are, indeed, winter tires they should be designated as such on the sidewall. As others have said, the winter tires will wear faster than summer or “all-season” tires, and make a bit more noise, but those are the only negatives I can think of.


You can drive on them however stopping distance and handling is significantly compromised. The compounds of winter tires turn to mush in warm temperatures as they are optimized for cold temperatures.


Also, if they’re studded winter tires, it’s bad citizenship. Studded tires wear the pavement much faster, which is the reason why you can get a ticket in most states for driving with them in the summer and some states ban them altogether.


Thanks for your replys. They are not studded, and since I don’t intend to drive the car in the winter, I didn’t see any reason not to use them, but wanted to make sure. Appreciate the advice from everyone.


Just be careful driving in wet conditions. My 83 Mustang GT with radial snows (in the back) had no traction in the rain. Hopefully the weight distribution on your Miata is a little better than mine. I would be cautious about spirited driving until I got a feel for the car in different weather situations.

Ed B.


Summer (performance tires) are best for summer. Snow tires are best for winter, where there is significant snow. All season tires are best for no season. Your Miata came with performance tires. I would not drive it with snow tires. They are a significant detriment to handling, ie. less safe.


It won’t hurt to wear out the snow tires by driving on them during the rest of the year. Just remember that they won’t perform as well as all-season or summer tires. (If the previous owner didn’t drive the car during the winter, why did he/she put snow tires on it?)

When you need new tires, use the TireRack web site to find suitable summer tires. Even if you don’t buy from them, you can get a list of good candidates.


I think there is something everyone has forgotten;

Winter tires were designed to operate in conditions below 40F. That mean the tire will have higher operating temperatures when the ambient air is higher.

For example: If the temperature is 90F, the tire is going to operate 50F above its designed operating temperature.

Since heat is the tire killer, this involves a certain amount of risk. I don’t want to be alarmist, but no one asked what part of the country you are in, and what the maximum temperature your tires will experience.

The risk is that the excessive operating temperature will cause the rubber to degrade more rapidly and eventually you will get a tire failure. Some tire failures result in tragic results.

If you can afford to get new tires, you should and sell the snow tires.

I don’t