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Real Word Example: Snow Tires

For those of you who live below the Mason-Dixon line, this post won’t do too much for you, but for those of us, who live at the whim of Mother Nature during the Winter, this is an interesting question.

In Ottawa, I continually have discussions and sometimes heated arguments with folks about whether you need Snow Tires in the winter. I espouse the use of Snow Tires highly because I drive a van, and have found that “all season” radial tires are, well, useless in snow (again this is only my opinion here). In a real snow storm (my definition is 15 centimeters of snow or more with high winds), you may as well be driving on ball bearings than All Season tires.

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The arguments I have heard against snow tires vary but are usually:

  • I only need snow tires for 5-10 days out of the winter
    • My response to that is call me when you are in the ditch or spun out on the highway during one of those days, let’s discuss it then.
    • If you plan on “turtling up” in your home during those days, then I guess you don’t need snow tires.
  • I get worse gas mileage with snow tires on
    • True, can’t really argue that too much, but how much is safety worth to you?
  • My car is noisier with snow tires on.
    • Also true, again, your stereo doesn’t have a volume knob?
  • They cost too much
    • Maybe, but again, what is the cost of safety? My guess would be about $400-$500 for a set of four snow tires. Another $200-$300 for rims too.
  • All season’s get the job done most of the time
    • Maybe

So if All Season’s don’t do much good in the real winter, and don’t do that much good in the summer, what are they good for?

Another good question was do you put TWO or FOUR snow tires on? Another opinion issue, I put on FOUR, but other folks are happy with two, that is a judgement call on your part.

It all comes down to where safety fits in your family budget.

Feel Free to Comment

  1. two years later I am posting a comment on this one 🙂 my fiance and I bought our first car last summer & did NOT put snow tires on in the winter. boy did we regret it. we got into an accident (probably would not have been prevented by snow tires though) and our car was in the shop for all of December and half of January.

    We are getting snow tires this Saturday and even at $900 for tires + rims it will be worth it.

  2. Hey we turtle it up everyday at our house. That aside, I really don’t get all the hype about snow tires. If you live in the city they just aren’t necessary.

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