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When do we put our winter tires on

Maybe this might make us think differently.

No doubt. If they wanted to test them on ice and snow they could have just come around here earlier this week. Thing is still after a day, the roads were bare.

Did you notice though the passenger side door (or I guess the driver’s door) is a different shade of silver? Is this Ford again not matching paint or has it been refinished I wonder. Just the kind of thing that drives me nuts to have paint that doesn’t match. I used to notice it a lot out east before they came up with the computer matching. Manufacturers used to have a problem too when panels were painted at different times with different batches so they went to painting doors and everything at the same time to avoid it. Maybe the UK does it the old way yet.

We had 12 to 14 inches last week which is gone now in most areas. I never thought of putting the winter tires on sooner then the middle to the last of Nov. thinking, “why ?” They don’t help in non snow conditions. I am wrong ! It seems though they could be worthwhile in temps cooler then 45 degrees F as they help in wet, cooler weather as well.

Never noticed the different panels.

What most people (especially those who persist in using the term “snow tires”) don’t realize is that winter tires have a different type of rubber compound in the tread area, and this compound allows the tread to stay flexible even in very low temperatures. A typical “all-season” tire will become too stiff in low temperatures to be able to match the grip of a winter tire–even when snow or ice are not present.

In Minnesota, most people install winter tires right after Halloween.

Because after Halloween, anything can happen.


What I got from the film is; low temps aren’t really that low. We are talking about 40 degrees F (at least not for me as I still play golf at 40degrees F) and the winter tires with their special compounds can perform better in bad weather. At least, vs the tires they used in the tests, the temps were not that significantly low for the tested tire to be significantly harder making the tire a very poor wet road performer … Theoretically, you could go an entire winter and never get temps low enough to produce snow or ice during storms, and still may be better off with snow tires in cold rain. There are tons of variables including the obvious. These are just two tires from the same car maker. But, the compounds used for winter tires are similar for all brands I would guess with few exceptions.

Throw studs in there, another untested variable, and all conclusions are out the window.

@dagosa–IIRC, the temperature point at which winter tires (or at least Michelin’s superior winter tires) begin to outperform so-called “all-season” tires is approximately 45 degrees Fahrenheit.

Sorry I know nobody that puts winter tires on living in WI. My on demand 4wd works fine, and wifes fwd works fine, course we might only get up to a few feet of snow at a time, but the city does a fine job of plowing, though living in ND MN And WI has never necessitated winter tires. Sure they are better no doubt, but never found the need.

I found the need for winter tires when my wife was in labor during a snow storm and I had drive to the hospital 20 miles away at 2:00 AM.

The snow was coming down so hard and with the drifting the plows couldn’t keep up with keeping the roads cleared. There were a few times I didn’t think we were going make it even with the winter tires.

But I do know we wouldn’t have made it without them.


I can only say this about everyone I know in this area who does not use winter tires but uses all seasons year round. Everyone of them, with out exception on cars they drive in winter conditions, replace their tires way before they have too. They buy tires more often, with fewer total miles then I do with two sets because their 50% to 60% worn all seasons just can do well in snow. It was always that way with my friends and neighbors when we lived in a development. They spend more, not less on their tires over the life of their cars then we and they are less safe doing it. If you just avoid snow altogether, maybe you can do better. In this area of our state, it is impossible to do. I see the tires they dump because they can’t drive in snow with them and some are buying new tires every other year on some of their cars.

“Did you notice though the passenger side door (or I guess the driver’s door) is a different shade of silver?”

@Bing …that different color is just the shadow from the dark pavement, especially when it’s wet. I’ve owned silver and gray cars and trucks and they all look like that. I use “all season” tires year round and never have a problem. If I lived further north I would have a set of Michelin winter tires on hand.

November 1 here is a good time to switch, although we had a freak heavy snow fall at the end of September. We take them off at the end of March.

I have a friend who keeps his winter tires on year round and just rotates them every 3k miles. Of course, he only drives the “winter car” from Nov to April and leaves it in storage the rest of the time. We should all be so wealthy to have seasonal cars…other then our Miatas. Up to a few years ago, I had two floor jacks, several jack stands and the compressor all poised in the garage ready to change over the tires in 30 minutes according to the forcast. Then, I got the bright idea that I would store three boats in the garage instead of tarp them outside. Now we make appointments. When you’re retired, have have more time to “re tire”.


You can count me as a contrarian data point. I just replaced the Michelin Pilot Sport A/S Plus tires on my TL after 5 years and 50,000 miles, which is 5,000 miles past the treadware warranty and considerably longer than the OEM tires lasted me. I could have gotten probably 5k more out of them, too.

Winter tires are great to have, and if you have the kind of job where you absolutely must be there no matter what the weather does, then they’re an absolute necessity. But they are not 100% required for 100% of people.

If people with all seasons are wearing their tires prematurely in the winter, it’s usually because they’re driving stupidly. If the tires are spinning, let off on the gas. I’m always amazed at how many people I see who, when the car doesn’t go forward because the wheels are spinning on ice, floor it thinking that will make them go faster, when all it does is spin the wheels faster and wear the tread down.

If you drive within the limits of the traction you have, you won’t wear the tires any faster on snow than on dry pavement.

It’s about time for me to make the switch. Here on the right coast, we get far more ice conditions than snow and that’s where winter tires really shine IMO. I was convinced the day I first installed them and compared the performance even just in my driveway covered with ice. Night and day difference. What were white knuckle corners on my usual commute turned into mildly concerning corners :wink:

In northeast PA my winter tires go on in mid Nov.

I guess you missed my point. I too keep my all season “summer tires” right down to the legal limit wear bars, usually well past 40k. But, if I am the least bit late on the change over, they are ridiculously poor during the last third of their life which is easily two years of driving. My all season only friends are running in to get them replaced at this stage when they depend upon them winter travel. I like you, don’t. Your solution is to avoid driving much in snow, and not knowing where you live, it’s the same strategy employed by my son and my daughter and their families in Middle NE while living in town.

But then, even when we lived in town in northern NE, I always had to travel in the winter, nearly everywhere and always had winter tires. Because of my obligations, I often put more miles on in winter then summer. I don’t know what it is like to spend an entire winter in all season tires and I feel absolutely panic stricken when I have to drive another car in snow and ice with them…and that’s a good thing. Regardless of the weather now, I get up and go where I want, when I want in relative safety, in no small part to having the appropriate vehicles with the best tires fr the task. And the kicker is, once I buy the extra rims, I pay less for tires then my friends who run all season tires year round.

@dagosa I live in MN, which gets a lot of snow, but also gets a lot of plows and road salt. It’s fairly rare to have non-bare pavement on the major arteries here. I certainly don’t object to people having winter tires - the safer you can make your car the better, but as long as your all season tires are good and you yourself are not a bad driver, it is possible to get through a winter safely with them on. For me, it’s a matter of diminishing returns. It would cost around $1200+ for me to get winter wheels/tires for my car. That’s a fair chunk of change.

I think location and conditions account for a lot of the variation in perception of what is safe. I grew up in the upper mid-west area and never once thought about buying snow or winter tires. That changed when I moved out east. Why? They leave trees growing right up next to the roadway! Not little saplings, 150’ oaks! Two feet off the road and you’re wrapped around a trunk. Talk about white knuckle driving… There was a lot more margin for error where I grew up, they actually cut trees back well off the roadway…

    "That changed when I moved out east. Why? They leave trees growing right up next to the roadway! Not little saplings, 150' oaks! Two feet off the road and you're wrapped around a trunk."

That’s part of the driver’s license test here in the East, avoiding the 150’ oaks…helps weed out the worst drivers right off the bat. :wink: