Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

Tire Dilemma

I live in Upstate NY and I’m just about to start my second semester of grad school in Upstate SC. I’m currently preparing for the drive back down south, and I’m not sure which tires to put on my car for the semester. I have a set of summer performance tires and a set of winter tires, both at about 50% wear. Whatever tires I chose, I probably won’t be back in town to change them again until early May. Looks like SC gets about 3 snowy days each winter, plus the drive down within the next few days.

So do I:
1.) Keep the winter tires on and risk reduced grip in non-snow conditions and excessive wear
2.) Put the summer tires back on, roll the dice on the drive down, and drive (very) carefully in the 3 days of snow
3.) I could keep the winter tires on and bring the summers down in the car, but I would like to avoid this option unless deemed necessary due to limited space inside the car and in my apartment.

Thoughts and previous experiences appreciated!

I would wager that the major hiways will all be cleared for general traffic.
Put the summers on and happy motoring.

I’d go with the winters, no offense to @ken green. They will wear a tad faster in the warmth but you won’t have any worries getting there. Plus they are 50% worn so the tread won’t wiggle around and get warm. They won’t be that good in the snow past the 50% mark anyway.

I’ve put winters on my wife’s car for years and that is what we drive south to escape the winter 1-2 weeks every year. Mine are a bit noisy on the trip but I never worry about getting caught in the snow in the mountains driving there or home.

Thanks for the responses. I’m leaning more towards the winters right now. They’ve already been through four winters and have definitely lost performance since new. I’m reading that winter tires begin to age and lose their effectiveness after 4-5 years anyways, so I think it’s time to use up what’s left of this set.

I would have to agree with ken green here. Driving with snow tires on a dry road is a pain in the rear.

Neither of the first two choices is wrong, but my vote is to finish up the winter tires now and toss them when you get home.

@lion9car gets my vote too.

I would tend to go with the winter tires provided, they are not too noisey and poor handling. Some are pretty decent. It is winter in SC and the wear would not be appreciably more then the summer tires. Remember, it could snow ANYWHERE in the winter.

I have General Altimax and they are nearly as quiet as the summer tires I use…so we can’t generalize about OP’s tires. Remember too that 50% worn all season tires are really bad in snow. 50% worn snows are still pretty good and I feel they actually improve as highway tires with wear depending upon the make. By rotating tire, you get more use out of the all season’s down the road, so lion9car makes lots of sense. 50% worn winter tires may be the ideal southern snow tire…plus, the winter tire is nearer requiring change then the all season. Use it up !