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winter tire questions

400 Views 3 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  moontan
so this is my first winter driving my car at school in rochester new york, and one of my friends made some comment like "oh, i should get a set of snow tires." i really know nothing about snow tires, so i had a few questions. (i have a 95 civic ex btw)

do i need them? sure we get a lot of snow, but they do a good job plowing around here. I figure that they will be a lot safer, but here are my reasons against getting them
1. im cheap
2. i dont drive like an idiot in the snow, plus i do have a FWD car with ABS
3. since i live on a college campus, i figure nine times out of ten if it's snowing out i can choose not to drive anywhere

im from NH, and my parents have never put snow tires on their cars, so i just never thought of it as a "necessary thing" like my friend sees it. Is it worth it? i know that it would suck getting in an accident, and i dont want to sound like a jerk, but i do consider myself to be a good driver, and i know how to drive in snow.

at the same time, im not a moron and i know that i shouldnt value money over safety. i know that if i get in an accident that could have been avoided with snow tires, i would hate myself forever. can anyone give me some advice?

also: say i do end up getting the tires. Do i buy a whole new set of wheels to go with them? do i have to get an alignment every time? i dont know much about this sort of thing.

thanks
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My winter tire purchase was definately the best thing i ever did for myself and my car. i live in MA and i've been driving in the snow for a while now too, and i also consider myself a pretty decent driver. The bottom line for me is that my winter tires provide me with peice of mind. Sure i NEEDED them because my svt came with low profile tires, but now that i have had a set of winters i doubt i'll EVER go another winter without them. Honestly, it makes that much of a difference.

just last winter my buddy and i were out late hanging out while it was snowing. there was a good foot of snow out in the parking lot. my buddy's FWD escort wasn't moving. My SVT with Nokian Hakka Q's made a path through a foot of snow for both of us to get out.

While i can't make up you find for you, and your living situation is differnt than mine i would suggest getting a set of winters.

As far as buying new rims it's up to you... i bought a set of 16" stock zx3 rims for my SVT. 16 is the smallest you can go on an svt because of the brakes, otherwise i would've gotten 15's. Another advantage to buying seperate rims is that you can keep your summer rims cleaner and in better condition.

well i hope this helps, feel free to PM me if you have any other questions.
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I guess it's a matter of how much $$ you've got. I personally can't go back to driving in snow without winter tyres.

I've had both Michelin Arctic Alpin and Blizzak WS-50 (current) and I've been happy with both. I hear the Nokian's are good too, but value/$ I couldn't beat the Blizzaks.

You will need to switch back to summer or all-season tires once the snow's gone and it starts to warm up. Winter tires generally use a softer compound that gives grip in cold weather, but wears out really fast on dry asphalt. The knobby, siped treads will also give more road noise.

I picked them up last year for $89/tire (including installation and balancing). I've got a 2000 ZX3, and I bought 14" steel rims for the winter for $42/rim at Canadian Tire. (all prices are CDN$).

If you buy separate rims for the winter tires, you shoudn't need to get them rebalanced every year. You shouldn't require a wheel alignment at all whether you mount the tires on your existing wheels or get steel ones for winter.

I found for my car, buying separate rims is the best way to go for a number of reasons. First, the smaller the wheel diameter, the cheaper the tire (generally). Second, I save money by not having to swap off summer/winter tires 2x a year (installation, balancing), I can just jack up my car at home and do it myself. Besides, tires mounted on rims don't take up any more room than just tires.

Lastly, taller, skinnier tires perform better in the snow, since they act like a pizza cutter, biting through the snow to the road surface below, wider tires float on the surface more. Some people go with a wider tire if they're mostly driving on ice, but for snow skinnier is better.

I go from 195/65r15 in the summer to 185/70r14 (I think it's 185/70r14, could be wrong on the aspect ratio) for winter.
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Well kinda depends on how much money you want to put into the car, and how long you will keep it. If you can switch and rotate 2 sets of tires they will last twice as long. You can then choose the right tire for the season. The all season tire is a compromise in both summer and winter driving. Not as good as a dedicated tire in either season. Will you get caught by early or late snow? I drive as hard as I can in winter, if I have to go somewhere my vehicle will not let me down.

So I have 2 sets of rims for both of my vehicles. I do my own changes in about 20 mins with hand tools. I'm on Nokian and Michelin Pilot Alpins but I think that any dedicated winter tire is better then the same manufacturers all-season offering.
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