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topdog1961

Whew........:I made it.

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topdog1961

Now that it’s warmer out, I hope I’ve made it through the winter (knock on wood) driving on the most white knuckle set of tires I’ve ever owned.  I’ve driven 125 miles round trip to work for 24 years, wide open rural NW Ohio roads.  I’ve always driven a small 4 cylinder front wheel drive car on all but the worst days, when I take my 4x4 truck.  Typically a front wheel drive car and a decent set of all season radials does very well in moderate snow.  But last July I bought a 2013 Mazda 3, front wheel drive, from the south and it came with a set of Bridgestone Turanza Serenity Plus tires.  I love the car.  It drives great and the tires ride and handle very well in dry and wet conditions.  They are a pricey tire with an 80,000 mile warranty, and they had probably 75% tread when I bought the car.  But I was suspect of the tread design for snow, it has very narrow lateral tread, see below.  But if you remember some of my posts on the frugal threads, I abhor throwing something away until it us used up.  And still being a front wheel drive car, and me an experienced driver, on flat land, I still should do OK, I thought.  

 

I was fine I believe until January, we didn’t even get any snow.  Then when the first light snow came, I pulled onto an untreated rural road and even though I drove slowly and gave myself plenty of time to stop, slid completely through the first intersection.  Fortunately the road was deserted.  That snow didn’t last long and I figured I’d made it this far, there can’t be much winter left. I’d hate to throw otherwise great tires away and have it not even snow again.  But then the rest of January and all of February came.  It was extremely cold and it seemed every day there was some chance of snow forecasted. I didn’t want to drive the truck and get 15MPG vs 40 for just a chance of snow.  Several times I ended up driving through snow in the car, and it was like ice.  I felt like posting about my stress at the time, but knew I’d get called an idiot by some and heaven help me if I crashed and proved them right.  But it was very white knuckle.  I had to leave ridiculously much room to stop, and there were days when I got stopped by a light on an imperceptible upgrade, and could barely move.  Cars behind me honked and waved fingers. But I just knew the day I trashed the tires the snow would stop.

 

One thing this nerve wracking experience taught me is how important good tires are to any vehicle when driven in the snow, because I couldn’t imagine one could be this bad.  Even though I was too cheap to replace tires on my car, upon realizing this, I promptly put brand new Douglas All Season tires on both my teen’s cars even though theirs still had life in them.  Below is a pic of my son’s tire track (vertical) and mine (diagonal) in our drive.  Snow packs into the Bridgestone’s tread, won’t eject,and they become slicks, having no bite at all in the snow.  I’ve put 20K on them since July, and now that hopefully the snow is done, will put at least that many more on them before next winter.  I will be glad to see them go before the first snow flies next winter. And I vow never to start another winter on iffy tires.

 

edit. If u see this Brad, I meant to put it in automotive. 

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CptSydor

Why not just buy a cheap set of all seasons (or even winters) for Dec-Mar? Then use the other tires for the remainder of the year, no need to scrap them.

 

You can get used tires (and usually on rims) for pretty darn cheap. So just the cost of getting them mounted or doing a wheel swap yourself. 

 

I'm not very old and haven't driven very much compared to some, but I've learned, in the north, if you include a fraction of safety in the prices, it's far more cost effective to have two sets of tires/wheels.

 

 

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terrym

This is a no brainer. If you live in the snow belt buy true winter tires on steel rims. Install/remove them yourself. No biggie.  The only thing keeping you from the ditch or injury are 4 contact patches not much bigger than the palm of your hand. 

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topdog1961

I've done well for many many years on good all season tires on front wheel drive cars 12 months of the year. That's why I was so shocked at how bad these tires are, and so hesitant to invest in another set of rims and tires. I knew if I just could make it through this winter, actually only the last half of it,  I could put another 20-25k on them before the next snow and buy a good set that will do it all. But anytime it snowed a little, it was a big pucker factor. 

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Tony Moore

In the great white north, all-seasons don't cut it in winter, might make it if strictly city driving, otherwise you need a summer set, and a winter set.

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WPG Gizmo

Dedicated snows are all you need put them on in the winter take off in the spring.  It is far cheaper to get a good set then it is to repair your body and car all season tires are at best a compromise for each season.   I see all types of people out driving in the winter the ones with Snow tires have no issues the ones with All Season tires get stuck more often then not and in the worst places. 

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Dogwood
13 minutes ago, WPG Gizmo said:

Dedicated snows are all you need put them on in the winter take off in the spring.  It is far cheaper to get a good set then it is to repair your body and car all season tires are at best a compromise for each season.   I see all types of people out driving in the winter the ones with Snow tires have no issues the ones with All Season tires get stuck more often then not and in the worst places. 

 

Boy is this the truth.

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SxSetter

Up here Insurance Companies offer a discount if you have winter tires and have them on November 1 to April 30

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topdog1961
4 hours ago, Tony Moore said:

In the great white north, all-seasons don't cut it in winter, might make it if strictly city driving, otherwise you need a summer set, and a winter set.

 

Agree if I didn't have the 4x4 F-150 as a back up. If any significant snow is forecasted I drive it to work. But around here (NW Ohio) that's a few times a year. The rest of the time when only a couple inches or less are forecasted, or the myriad of days when there is 40% chance of snow, I drive the car with all seasons and do fine, even out in the wide open country.  I have for 24 years driving 125 miles daily. But that's also all flat driving. Throw hills in, and I can see where even a front wheel drive car needs dedicated snow tires even in light snow. But around here, it's not necessary if you have a 4x4 as a back up for the bigger storms. Even then roads are typically plowed ( but still snow covered) in a few hours. That's why I don't  want the expense and hassle, including storage of two sets of tires. I don't know of anyone around here who does that.

 

I just didn't imagine a non all season tire could be so bad. But I just kept on driving, hoping each snow was the last, when it wasn't. Each time I came close to doing something about the tires, I thought "there can't be much winter left." Those ties will never see another winter, but next year I'll have one set of good all seasons like I've always done. 

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topdog1961

I'll add that I wonder and am a little worried too if the tires are 100% of the problem. The Mazda 3 is designed for "the driving enthusiast who needs an economy car."  That's me. But the suspension is very sporty. It's firm, corners flat and steering is quick and precise. I wonder if the suspension's great road grip in dry can translate to poorer grip on snow.  I know that's true of rear wheel dive cars. BMW= Barely Moves in Winter.  I guess I'll see when I put good all seasons on next year. Previously I drove Toyotas and Hyundais that weren't nearly as sporty. 

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Big Pine

I grew up in the Lake Superior snowbelt, and I used to think that regular all-seasons were fine. My whole family lives in Wisconsin, and none of them have winter tires. Well, this year the old lady convinced me to try some Blizzaks on our Honda Fit, and I won’t ever go back. The traction is nice, but the turning and stopping ability is simply incredible.

 

Anyway, I live in South Bend now, not too far from you. Maybe the plowing is that much better in Ohio (wouldn’t doubt it—Indiana has problems). Seriously though, if you already drive on high quality tires, winter tires are worth the hassle and the expense. I actually think they save me money in the long run, and I know they keep us safer. 

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Tony Moore

Big vote for Blizzaks, a world class tire in winter, wear down fast in summer, some Canadian provinces have made winter tires law, no choice..

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topdog1961

My post about having "made it" may have been premature, winter isn't done with NW Ohio. A light dusting of wet snow late yesterday about 30 miles from home turned a 4 lane state highway into a continuous sheet of black ice in the early morning darkness. The drive into work was surreal. I was driving about 35- 40 and pinching off the steering wheel, no tire works well on black ice.  Tractor-trailers were jackknifed in the median, police lights by cars upside down 50 yards into a cornfield, yet some cars were passing me going 65 like it was a warm sunny day. Others were driving 20 with their flashers on. 

 

As they say: Anyone driving faster than me is an idiot.....anyone driving slower is a moron. 

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Clueless1
On 3/16/2019 at 5:52 PM, Tony Moore said:

Big vote for Blizzaks, a world class tire in winter, wear down fast in summer, some Canadian provinces have made winter tires law, no choice..

My wife is on the Blizzak patent.  I'm a little partial to them:)

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River19

Dedicated Snow tires.  The only thing I'll run all year and trust in the snow is a really aggressive LT tire like the Grabber AT2s/ATX  BF TAs etc.

 

We run studs in the winter as we deal with lots of late night trips through eleveation in icy conditions.

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