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2012 xlt and snow Chains vs winter tires

thespacecowboy

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Hello

We are picking up our xlt this Sunday, hooray!

Anyway. We live in southern California but have a small cabin in the mountains.

I'm looking for advice on winter tires versus snow chains. As th snow starts coming in, snow chains and or winter tires become mandatory on the mountain

Iirc from last season, winter tires were ok as an alternative to the snow chains for 4x4 cars. The police stop each car to check

Clearly winter tires are more convenient that putting on and driving in chains, but what is the compromise here?

Our xlt is 4x4 and 18" wheels. Should I get winter tires and leave them on all season? Any issues in driving on them in southern california roads and changing them back to stock when the scow finishes? It doesn't get that cold in OC but does in the mountains.

Thanks in advance
 



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peterk9

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Hello

We are picking up our xlt this Sunday, hooray!

Anyway. We live in southern California but have a small cabin in the mountains.

I'm looking for advice on winter tires versus snow chains. As th snow starts coming in, snow chains and or winter tires become mandatory on the mountain

Iirc from last season, winter tires were ok as an alternative to the snow chains for 4x4 cars. The police stop each car to check

Clearly winter tires are more convenient that putting on and driving in chains, but what is the compromise here?

Our xlt is 4x4 and 18" wheels. Should I get winter tires and leave them on all season? Any issues in driving on them in southern california roads and changing them back to stock when the scow finishes? It doesn't get that cold in OC but does in the mountains.

Thanks in advance
Although I'm not a Hankook fan (replaced them the day I picked up the Ex) they do make a tire that is advertised as a true all-season tire and has the ' mountain/snowflake' emblem on it indicating it is rated as a Winter tire. I assume that it must have some compromise in the rubber compound and will likely wear a bit quicker when used in summer.

BTW, welcome to the Forum thespacecowboy. :wavey:

Peter
 






thespacecowboy

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Thanks for the reply and the welcome!

I don't mind changing them over each year, if they give a lot more tracts in snow. Really trying to see if I can live with winter tires and no snow chains, and at what cost from a grip in the snow perspective.
 






robr2

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Thanks for the reply and the welcome!

I don't mind changing them over each year, if they give a lot more tracts in snow. Really trying to see if I can live with winter tires and no snow chains, and at what cost from a grip in the snow perspective.

Winter tires are more than just for snow. Winter tires are designed to also perform better at temps below 40F. Regular all season tires tend to get hard below those temps and lose some of their traction and handling capability.

Hankook and Nokian offer "all season" tires with the snowflake designation. I presume that they are designed not to wear as fast as straight winter tires over 40F.

If I were you, I'd get a set of those all season winter tires mounted on a set of 17" rims and run them during the time you visit your cabin in the winter. I'm awaiting a set of Michelin X Ice tires on 17" alloys to put on the Explorer for our trips from Boston to the mountains this winter. Too bad it's 60F right now....
 






kcdave

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Hey Spacecowboy,

I work in the tire industry and I can assure you that modern snow tires will give superior traction to chains. If you are going to use the stock wheels I would highly reccomend the Bridgestone Blizzak's. I have them on my wife's car and they are oustanding. If you have any questions shoot me a message.
 






bad_dog

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I just purchased studded Hankook snow tires. That + AWD and I can go over the passes, no chains required. We get a lot of ice here, and wouldnt be without the studds.
 






thespacecowboy

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Thanks for the great replies. I will take up the pm option kcdave.

I just want to put some tires on over the winter and not change them each weekend we go to the mountains!
 






thespacecowboy

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Follow up question.

my tires on the '12 are P245/60/R18

The Blizzak's only seem to be listed on tirerack at 245/60/R17? Could it just be they're out of stock in the R18s?
 






peterk9

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Follow up question.

my tires on the '12 are P245/60/R18

The Blizzak's only seem to be listed on tirerack at 245/60/R17? Could it just be they're out of stock in the R18s?
Not exactly the end of the world. There are quite a few good winter tires out there.
www.1010tires.com shows the 245/60R18 as "call for availability". You could try going to the 235/60R18. It would be a little narrower which is better for a Winter tire. It means a 1.59% diameter difference.Your speedo would read 60.9 mph when you are actually doing 60.
If you went with a 245/65R17 you would only have a 0.14% difference and really no change in actual speedo readings.

I replaced my OEM 255/50R20's with 245/65R17's for Winter tires.

Peter
 






joecrna

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Just a couple thoughts about CA laws. Though I agree that modern snow tires such as the Blizzaks are extreamly effective, many CA laws do not take common sense or actual real world function into account. Our snow laws are amoung them. First, any Mud and Snow tire counts as a snow tire. They just must be labeled M&S and do not require the snow flake on mountain symbol. Second, chains means any traction device as defined by law (studded tires don't count but other possibly less effective things do) but cables and auto deployment devices do count. Third, if you are pulling a trailer on snow, regardless of posted requirements, it must have chains on one axle but only if it has brakes.

Now the fun part;

R1= chains or snow tires on drive wheels.
R2= chains or 4WD with snow tires on all 4 wheels.
R3= All vehicles require chains

R3 is rarely imposed, they usually just jump to a full closure. Notice they don't care if you can turn or stop. Just be able to go. No chains on turning wheels etc. As I said, common sense is out the window. Rear wheel drive car with bald tires and chains on the back and you are good to go anywhere. In my Explorer with off road tires and lockers all around, 1 inch of snow on the road and they wanted to see the M&S designation on the side wall, make sure I could put it in 4WD (they actually checked) and that I had at least one set of chains with me. Cars with cables on the rear wheels only were good enough too. They could see them on as they drove through the control point, so they went on by without stopping.

If you are in a chain control area, you must carry chains for one drive axle. This applies no matter what the R level is or whether you have 4WD with snow tires on all wheels. Additionally, locally Caltrans or the CHP can impose any rules/requirements they want and all published requirements are moot.

From my own experience driving the high areas in winter in CA, Snow tires and 4WD will always get you by with rare exception. They will absolutly check if you have chains with you though. They will not check to see if they are for your vehicle. If there is a control point on the way to your cabin, they will likely stop you to make sure you have chains with you. You are unlikely to be required to use them if you have snow tires.
 






forouza1

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Anyone have experience with Snow Socks? Reviews are good from the link below. Looks like model 698 is compatible with the tire dimensions.

http://amzn.com/B001NCHVK6
 






markls8

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Congrats!

Some good info above in this thread. Winter driving means different things in different locations in different conditions at different times :D. So, of course, what's good for the conditions today might not be good for conditions tomorrow. It's a pick yer' tires and take yer' chances type of situation. And YOU are the one most familiar with what conditions you are most likely to encounter, and what your priorities and comfort level with your choice is. Whatever that choice is, be ever mindful and aware of what the limitations of the tire is.

Keep in mind the difference between winter tires and snow tires. Snow tires are winter tires with a more aggressive tread meant to perform in deep snow, but will not perform as well in other winter conditions. A straight winter performance tire will have other advantages in other conditions (ice, wet, dry pavement) but perform not as well in deep snow.

Tirerack.com is a good place to get technical info on various tires, if you haven't already checked it out. Some of the personal reviews there can be taken with a grain of salt, be forewarned.

;)
 






peterk9

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The term 'snow tires' is out dated and rarely used any more. The term 'Winter tires' is what they are more commonly referred to now. Dedicated Winter tires are built with a different more flexible compound that is safer and has more grip on cold bare pavement once the temperature falls below 44 degrees. That is why the term 'snow' seems to have been dropped because people thought they were only for snow. Winter tires like so called all seasons, come with various tread patterns.

Peter
 






markls8

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Hi Peter --

I don't think it's unreasonable to call a winter tire that has been made with the intention of excelling in deep snow a "snow" tire, where the distinction is made above. Maybe calling it a "deep snow" tire instead might help quell any confusion? :D What nomenclature would you propose for the tire? ;)
 






peterk9

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I have the Blizzak DM-V1 which I don't think has that very aggressive deep grooved appearance that I believe you are referring to but yet on Tire Rack it is rated #1 in its class. 9.6 rating in light snow and 9.4 in deep snow. I heard at one time that these tires should be called "Cold Weather' tires to dispel the notion that they are only required for snow. I'll stick with 'Winter tires'. That is how 90% of the tire dealers and commercials here refer to them. I'll see how they perform soon enough. We are supposed to get around 10" of the white stuff in the next few days.

Peter
 






Halwg

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Hi Peter --

I don't think it's unreasonable to call a winter tire that has been made with the intention of excelling in deep snow a "snow" tire, where the distinction is made above. Maybe calling it a "deep snow" tire instead might help quell any confusion? :D What nomenclature would you propose for the tire? ;)

I propose you call it what it is...a winter tire, and drop the outdated "snow" tire from your vocabulary.
 






markls8

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Yeah, the "winter tire" designation was not in question, that's logical and sensible, and not what I was referring to.

It's the name as I referred to it as a way of distinguishing those winter tires that are designed with deep snow performance in mind from those that are not. With the passage of time that difference is becoming less and less well-defined as newer technology (like the Blizzaks mentioned) is introduced, and better classifying systems for tires evolve. Hence the term, partly tongue-in-cheek, of "deep snow" tires, to avoid confusing those who might be less well versed in tire terminology.;)
 






langla4

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I'll throw in my two cents here. I too live in So Calif (it's about 75 degrees as I write) but drive to Utah every year for skiing. Last year I found the limits of the oem tires. Sadly, they just don't do the job, even on light snow. This year I purchased five spoke wheels and Cooper Weathermaster tires recommended by someone on this forum. I plan on using them during the trips to Utah and then during our rainy season, assuming we have one. There is an excellent YouTube video demonstrating how much more effective winter tires are in rain.

Also, since my original wheels are 20 inch, I technically could not use chains. Buying 18 inch wheels I now have the best of all worlds.
 






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Halwg

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I do have them. Seem to be a good tire, but I don't think I'd run them much in 75 degree weather. They are going to wear more rapidly for you. If you switch them out for your trips, though, they should do a good job for you.
 






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