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Winter tires?

The all-season tires on our 2006 Hyundai Sonata are 40% worn out, so a car mechanic recommended winter (snow) tires. They are expensive (ca. $500 for 4) and a hassle, since you have to take them on and off every year, and store them. We leave in an urban area (a college town in the Midwest), where the streets are usually plowed and salted pretty quickly. Sure, there is this occasional snowstorm when the plows can’t keep up, but then everybody goes 15 miles an hour. Almost all of our driving is done in town, to and from work, rarely more than 8 miles one way. Finally, my wife is the primary driver, and she’s very careful. We’ve been living in this town for 20 years. This is our third car and we never used winter tires before. The only accidents we had (fender benders) were other people driving into us, and all of them happened in good summer weather…

I know that Tom and Ray recommend winter tires, but are they really good investment in our situation? Wouldn’t a set of new all-seasons be a better choice and less of a headache? I also read somewhere that the winter tires, due to their softer rubber, will make a difference only the first year, since they wear out much more quickly. This makes sense: even if we put them on in November and take them off in March, most of the time in that period there will be no snow on the ground, just hard pavement. Last but not least, no matter how good the tires, they offer no protection against others bumping into our car. I’d appreciate your opinion on that, especially people in states with serious winters.

Winter tires do provide better traction on slippery roads, however to be honest I’ve been using exclusively all-season tires on my cars (I did use winter tires in the rear of my pickups however) here in NH without problems for many years. If I lived in the Monadnock mountain range, however, I think I’d get winter tires. They have lots of hills, curves, and general horrible driving conditions.

Modern all-season tires really are good. It sounds like you have 20 years of evidence that they work fine for your application. Don’t feel intimidated.

Watch the video and decide if you think they’re worth the extra benefit.


In your case I would buy all-seasons biased for excellent winter traction. Some tires that come to mind are Nokian WR(actually rated winter tire but works yearround), Goodyear Triple Tread and Michelin has a model too.

Winter tires work fine multiple years.

Nothing beats experience. You can make a decision based on what you already know. I would have kept my full size van if there weren’t so many hills around here. I can’t walk in snow anyway and hills are impossible when slippery. I have 4WD now. Tires that are 40% worn out aren’t the worst thing; slippery when new are the worst kind. I knew people who drove in severe winters without snow tires. All weather tires may be perfect for your situation. Knowing when not to drive is also good.

I Had Snow Tires Once, But They Melted! Sorry, just joking.
You ask, “Wouldn’t a set of new all-seasons be a better choice and less of a headache?” I would say that in the situation that you describe, all-season tires would be perfect.

Where I live we average over 200" of snow each winter and I live 20 miles from town. I live 37 from work. I never had a problem in over 20 years commuting 74 miles, round-trip and I use all-season tires. You’re right about the faster wear of winter tires and the trouble with changing and storing them. Save the money and use it to keep fresh tires on your car.

Tester, That Is An Interesting Video !

However, since I have made it all these years driving carefully and planning ahead and not rushing, I will continue to run all-season tires. This applies to others in my family. We operate too many cars in our family to screw around with winter tires, anyhow. I don’t have room to store 10 or 20 extra tires. I used to run snow tires, even studded ones.

Another problem comes with being overly-confident in one’s vehicle and not cautious in poor driving conditons. This is just my observation, but where I live, I am passed by 4X4’s going too fast for winter conditions, frequently.

Also, according to observations, TV News, Local Newspapers, and listening to our police scanner, there are an inordinate number of these vehicles involved in running off the road and also roll-overs.

The problem here, I think, comes from being overly confident with excellent snow traction and then encountering ice! We get over 200" of snow, temperatures to 30F below zero, and lots of freeze/thaw, slushy roads, freezing rain conditions, and this goes on for up to 6 months. There is no substitute for driving cautiously and within the limits of what a vehicle may encounter, unexpectedly, not just presently.

I fully agree that winter tires can make a big difference in traction, but they are not for me.
You won’t hafta worry about exchanging tires every so often with something like those.

We use winter tires each year on separate rims and they are well worth the investment. But. we drive on snow EVERY day during the winter. For your use, I would consult tire reviews on year round all weathers, and get 4 that showed ood winter traction. Buy new tires when the tread is suspect on all weather and you should be fine. Remember, if you have front wheel drive, expect diminished traction with a load in the back or driving up hills.

have been using allseason tires for over 15 years.have no problem in the snow.take your time. drive slow but at a steady speed you will get to were you want to go saftley

I have owned three sets of winter tires. They last 35k-40k in my experience per set if driven during on the during winter months and not driven on in summer heat.

Newsflash, when you drive on your winter tires your all-seasons do not wear so they last longer timewise…There is not really any wasted money with them except the $50-$100/rim for extra set of wheels.