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Discussion Starter #1
This is going to be my first winter with an AWD car, do I need winter tires or should I be good with the ones I have. I think they're just regular Yokohama tires on there now.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I live in Cleveland, we usually get a decent amount of snow. I'm about 6 miles west of downtown so my area doesn't get smacked as hard as the east side of the city due to relation to the lake but we get our share. And I've driven for many years with FWD and RWD cars in this snow and haven't died yet, so I guess I should be fine. I've been doing a lot of reading and read some stuff about how you'll get much better performance with an AWD car if you had snow tires on it.

And my tires are almost brand new.
 

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I'd say it's worth trying what you have in the first snow. I realize that can get tricky as some snow tires are hard to get right after the first snow, but the fact is that some all season M+S rated tires are brilliant in the snow, and some are worthless.

You can also look up your current tire on a tire store website and read reviews. I've never rolled on yokos, so I have nothing to offer there.
 

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A lot of people have a problem... they think "Pfft. I have AWD/4WD, I don't need snow tires...". This is why you see so many SUVs with all seasons tires upside down in ditches along the side of the highway during snowstorms, while a FWD vehicle with four snow tires flies by them, with no problem at all.

AWD helps you go... that's it. On ice and snow it does nothing to improve handling/steering or most importantly: braking. That, comes down to the tires. I work in sales for a local chain of tire stores. Every day this time of year I have customers who are shocked that we still sell winter tires. And I get asked "Wow, does anyone still use winter tires?". Yes, they do -- I do. I currently have 4 Vanderbilt/Cooper Arctic Claws installed on my Outback. Good aggressive blocky snow tread. They work well.

Do I "need" snow tires? Probably not. But I like having that extra layer of protection. I slid off the road in my old 1995 Pontiac Grand Prix coupe a couple winters ago. There was about 2 inches of snow on the road, I was on my way to work. I had about half worn all seasons on the car at the time. I made it up one side of a hill in my neighborhood no problem... coming down the other side, however, was more of a problem. I had no braking traction at all. Pedal went to the floor, the ABS kicked in and started pumping the pedal like crazy, and my "LOW TRAC" light was on the dashboard. I slid all the way down the hill and through a fence into someone's front yard. Fortunately there was little damage to the car (bent fender and a lot of broken body cladding), and the home owner didn't care about the fence because the township owned it (it was just a little chain link fence). But from then on I decided I'm going to use winter tires in the winter, no matter what kind of car I have. It just so happened that by the next winter I picked up a Subaru Outback.

If you are going to go with just all seasons... go with the Nokian WR-G2. Or at the very least a set of Goodyear Assurance Triple-Tred All Seasons if you want the best traction. If you want to forget the forecast and never have to worry about where you have to go in whatever kind of weather... pick up a good set of dedicated winter tires.
 

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This is going to be my first winter with an AWD car, do I need winter tires or should I be good with the ones I have. I think they're just regular Yokohama tires on there now.
Which Yokhamas do you have? AVID Touring S? AVID TRZ? AVID Ascend? AVID Envigor? Geolander? They make a lot of tires. They are all decent tires - In fact I LOVE my set of Ascends... I run those in the summer. In the winter, winter is the way to go.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
A lot of people have a problem... they think "Pfft. I have AWD/4WD, I don't need snow tires...". This is why you see so many SUVs with all seasons tires upside down in ditches along the side of the highway during snowstorms, while a FWD vehicle with four snow tires flies by them, with no problem at all.

AWD helps you go... that's it. On ice and snow it does nothing to improve handling/steering or most importantly: braking. That, comes down to the tires. I work in sales for a local chain of tire stores. Every day this time of year I have customers who are shocked that we still sell winter tires. And I get asked "Wow, does anyone still use winter tires?". Yes, they do -- I do. I currently have 4 Vanderbilt/Cooper Arctic Claws installed on my Outback. Good aggressive blocky snow tread. They work well.

Do I "need" snow tires? Probably not. But I like having that extra layer of protection. I slid off the road in my old 1995 Pontiac Grand Prix coupe a couple winters ago. There was about 2 inches of snow on the road, I was on my way to work. I had about half worn all seasons on the car at the time. I made it up one side of a hill in my neighborhood no problem... coming down the other side, however, was more of a problem. I had no braking traction at all. Pedal went to the floor, the ABS kicked in and started pumping the pedal like crazy, and my "LOW TRAC" light was on the dashboard. I slid all the way down the hill and through a fence into someone's front yard. Fortunately there was little damage to the car (bent fender and a lot of broken body cladding), and the home owner didn't care about the fence because the township owned it (it was just a little chain link fence). But from then on I decided I'm going to use winter tires in the winter, no matter what kind of car I have. It just so happened that by the next winter I picked up a Subaru Outback.

If you are going to go with just all seasons... go with the Nokian WR-G2. Or at the very least a set of Goodyear Assurance Triple-Tred All Seasons if you want the best traction. If you want to forget the forecast and never have to worry about where you have to go in whatever kind of weather... pick up a good set of dedicated winter tires.
Thanks for the input. I found a set of four for as much as $750 and as little as just under $400. If I do go ahead with some snow tires I'll have to go the cheaper route for sure. I don't have 7 hundy to drop on tires right now.
 

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It's not the go, it's the stop that's most important with snow tires in my opinion. $750 for a set with winter tires with wheels is well worth it. Yes, they have lower mileage life than summer tires, about 1/2 if you buy the x-ice 2 vs defender and about the same price. Cost per mile extra is then just about 1c/mile. Not an insignificant cost, but $350 every 80,000 miles (1/2 with winter tires on) is worth the extra safety in my opinion.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Which Yokhamas do you have? AVID Touring S? AVID TRZ? AVID Ascend? AVID Envigor? Geolander? They make a lot of tires. They are all decent tires - In fact I LOVE my set of Ascends... I run those in the summer. In the winter, winter is the way to go.
Avid touring-s
 

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Do you have to commute downtown or is it all local driving on the West side? If you stay on the West side and don't have to travel on fast (40+mph) multi-lane roads when it's really snowing out, you could probably get through alright.

I run snow tires now, but my first winter 2 years ago on brand new stock continentals (that winter was one of the worst in recent years), I had an hour commute through the snow belt (South->North). Driving with other people on the roads when snow is around is always scary no matter how much traction you have, so I started leaving at 4am on days where heavy snowfall was predicted (often before the snow plows were out in force) to avoid being on the roads with all the people who know their cars are impaired after the 10% of "invincible" drivers learn the hard way that they have the same limitations as everyone else and make for an awful mess. I never had an issue getting going or stopping when I was on the road before the plows were out in force--but then again, I made sure there were significantly fewer people to hit or be hit by. I do run snows now though for the added security and ability to better perform evasive maneuvers when an "invincible" driver in a Cavalier without snow tires decides to pass me and the line of cars in front of me at highway speeds in the third lane that no longer exists (due to not being plowed or driven on for the past half-day with constant snow fall) and... I'm sure you can imagine what would probably happen next.

In summary, the issue is not so much getting stuck (though it is certainly possible) as it is the added ability to perform an evasive maneuver when you need to (including stopping, which tdelker mentions). Well worth the money in my opinion.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
It's not the go, it's the stop that's most important with snow tires in my opinion. $750 for a set with winter tires with wheels is well worth it. Yes, they have lower mileage life than summer tires, about 1/2 if you buy the x-ice 2 vs defender and about the same price. Cost per mile extra is then just about 1c/mile. Not an insignificant cost, but $350 every 80,000 miles (1/2 with winter tires on) is worth the extra safety in my opinion.

I don't worry about stopping. The car in front of me usually helps me with that part. :29:
 

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After sliding around town today (somewhat on purpose to test the tires on the car), I took the plunge and bought a set of Michelin X-Ice Xi3's. I've always been a believer in good all-seasons, and if it were only me, I would still be, but the wife (who grew up with studded tires in winter) is nervous on ice, and I guess a little peace of mind isn't bad. $70 rebate + another $70 off (matched by store) helped. I hope it's worth it.
 

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If you do get winter tires, I suggest getting them mounted on wheels. Tire rack mounts and balances a package set for free, making it a very good deal. That costs about $50-70 each swap, plus the first time. The wheels pay for themselves after 2 years, you can resell them when you're done AND you don't have to wait 4 hours at the tire shop to swap them on that first day of snow fall :)

Tom
 

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If you do get winter tires, I suggest getting them mounted on wheels. Tire rack mounts and balances a package set for free, making it a very good deal. That costs about $50-70 each swap, plus the first time. The wheels pay for themselves after 2 years, you can resell them when you're done AND you don't have to wait 4 hours at the tire shop to swap them on that first day of snow fall :)

Tom
I was going to go that route, but I decided against it, at least for now. The shop I got my tires at will do the swaps for free for the life of the snow tires if you buy from them, so I couldn't justify the extra cost of a second set of wheels. They were a little higher in price than tires+wheels from Tire Rack, but including the time/cost of changing wheels spring and fall; having working, calibrated TPMS without having to buy a second set of sensors; plus supporting a local shop was worth it to me. I'm told removing/remounting the tires on one set of wheels won't hurt them enough to make a difference. Owner of the shop only has one set of wheels on their personal OB using snow tires.

Here's to my learning curve being new to snow tires. :)
 

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If you do get a set of winter rims eventually, I highly recommend looking for people dumping OEM rims that they don't want on here/craigslist/eBay during the months where fewer people think about snow tires (such as the summer). I picked up a set of 16" alloy '04 Impreza rims for $227 including shipping in great shape off eBay a few months ago (cheaper than you can get 4 16" steel wheels new on tire rack before shipping). If I could have done local pickup, I'd have gotten them for even more of a steal at $102.
 

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The shop I got my tires at will do the swaps for free for the life of the snow tires if you buy from them,
SNIP
I'm told removing/remounting the tires on one set of wheels won't hurt them enough to make a difference.
Hooray for the first part. That alone is worth at least $120 per year - dismount, mount and balance.

The second statement is not true. The tire machines put a lot of wear and tear on the wheels, twice a year, and the tech rips off the old weights and installs new ones, which also affects the finish. Although if the wheels are old you may not care if the finish gets hurt. Also there is risk of damaging your TPMS sensors, and I doubt that they will replace a damaged one for no charge.

If your wheels are nice they are going to get a lot of deicer damage, one advantage to a set of cheap dedicated winter wheels.

OTH you have bought an excellent set of tires! I just bought a set of those for my Acura TL and they are so new I can't tell how the traction is. When the mold release compound is worn off the tread, they will no doubt be as competent as the older version. Be careful on yours for the first couple of hundred miles.

John Davies
Spokane WA USA
 

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Actually the more a tire is mounted and demounted the weaker the sidewall and bead of the tire gets they have more of a propensity to rip. A ripped bead is no fun. If installed a ripped bead can lead to a sidewall bulge and possible blow out.
 
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