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Hope everybody had a great Thanksgiving. I live in Texas and will be driving the interstates in January to Long Island and then spending 6 weeks there this winter.

My tires are in pretty good shape - 6/32" rear and 5/32" front. They were on my van when I bought it. Mileage is 53,000

Do I need to buy and install snow tires and then pack them away in my Texas garage this spring, probably never to use again?

Or are chains the way to go? Just put them on when the need arises?

I have very little experience driving in snow (none in this minivan) and am looking for some guidance. Thanks.
 

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I'm about 30 miles SE of Detroit.
I've lived here all my life (75 yrs) and never owned snow tires.
Commuted from here to Windsor daily in my working career.
Are snow tires a big asset in the North East - YES. Absolutely necessary - NO

You could buy a set of winter tires/rims and sell them to the locals when you leave NY

I'm one granddaughter behind you.:)
 

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Two Grandsons here. :)

Winter traction is somewhat about tread depth, less than 4/32" is concerning, but more about tread pattern. The 225/65R17 OE Michelin Energy tires on my 2016 are a great tire three seasons of the year. They wear well and evenly across. For winter use they are next to useless. The spaces between the tread blocks are too tight and fill up rather than bite.

You have many choices but chains isn't one of them, unless you will be trekking through deep snow.

Some new AS tires make half descent winter tires if the tread blocks are open enough to bite the snowy /wet/icy road surface.

All Season: General Altimax RT43 looks good, especially when new: https://www.tirerack.com/tires/tires.jsp?tireMake=General&tireModel=AltiMAX+RT43+(H-+or+V-Speed+Rated)

Ice Tire: Michelin X-Ice XI3 is a good performer on ice but note the lack of space between tread blocks for bite: https://www.tirerack.com/tires/tires.jsp?tireMake=Michelin&tireModel=X-Ice+Xi3

Snow Tire: Firestone Winterforce 2 has a very open, aggressive tread block pattern: https://www.tirerack.com/tires/tires.jsp?tireMake=Firestone&tireModel=Winterforce+2

All Around Winter Tire: General Altimax Arctic 12 should be great: https://www.tirerack.com/tires/tires.jsp?tireMake=General&tireModel=Altimax+Arctic+12

Bridgestone Blizzak WS80 is a proven performer as well: https://www.tirerack.com/tires/tires.jsp?tireMake=Bridgestone&tireModel=Blizzak+WS80&sidewall=Blackwall

All Weather Tire: This is a newer idea that may serve you well: The Goodyear Assurance Weatherready Tire comes to mind: https://www.tirerack.com/tires/tires.jsp?tireMake=Goodyear&tireModel=Assurance+WeatherReady

I would say you are looking at a General Altimax Arctic RT43 or Goodyear Assurance Weatherready.

A cheaper alternative is the Walmart Weathermaxx Arctic 225/65R17 (if that's your tire size) SUV Tire (has an extra tread ply and higher load rating) like so: https://www.walmart.ca/en/ip/weathermaxx-22565r17-102-q-arctic-suv-tire/6000193609303 I have these for both my vehicles.
 

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Lots of good information, Thanks!

I was thinking couple of days ago that those all weather tires may be the way to go. But you know Texas highways in summer are hotter than fill in the blank. Hard choice, but I'm terrified of sliding off the side of a highway vs. having to change out tires for Texas weather.

I called my local goodyear dealer who is trying this best to talk me into these Kumho Crugen HT71 that he "put on his wife's car and she drives to Colorado". Says those are very comparable to the Goodyear Assurance Weatherready but cheaper.

Maybe you could look at the treads on those and let me know what you think? Not much history on those.

Many thanks!
 

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Hope everybody had a great Thanksgiving. I live in Texas and will be driving the interstates in January to Long Island and then spending 6 weeks there this winter.

My tires are in pretty good shape - 6/32" rear and 5/32" front. They were on my van when I bought it. Mileage is 53,000

Do I need to buy and install snow tires and then pack them away in my Texas garage this spring, probably never to use again?

Or are chains the way to go? Just put them on when the need arises?

I have very little experience driving in snow (none in this minivan) and am looking for some guidance. Thanks.
Your best bet is to keep an eye on the weather . If you take your time you generally dont need snows unless you plan to drive where there is 8-10 inches of snow on the road. They salt the **** out of roads up here and generally keep them in pretty good shape . "good" all season tires work fine , been driving 40 years here in upstate NY with just all season tires . You're hardest part will be if you get caught out in a snowstorm and the wind is blowing which will make it hard or near impossible to see . Avoid this scenario at all costs . Keep an eye on the weather and take your time getting to your destination and you will be fine . As always use common sense in your driving . We drive slower up here in the winter and the idiots that don't are usually the ones off the road waiting for a tow truck .
 

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Lots of good information, Thanks!

I was thinking couple of days ago that those all weather tires may be the way to go. But you know Texas highways in summer are hotter than fill in the blank. Hard choice, but I'm terrified of sliding off the side of a highway vs. having to change out tires for Texas weather.

I called my local goodyear dealer who is trying this best to talk me into these Kumho Crugen HT71 that he "put on his wife's car and she drives to Colorado". Says those are very comparable to the Goodyear Assurance Weatherready but cheaper.

Maybe you could look at the treads on those and let me know what you think? Not much history on those.

Many thanks!
No bite to those tires. They would become slicks pretty fast. Have to think slush, hydroplaning, wet grip, forward grip. They certainly aren't comparable to the Goodyear Assurance Weatherready in any way. The Guy's bananas. The General Altimax RT43 would leave them behind in a snow bank. Walmart would likely have pricing for the RT43.

General tires are well respected. They are a division of Continental Tire.
 

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I've been driving 45 years in worse conditions and have only used winter tires for the last 10. It is about more than tread. Winter tires use a compound that is more pliable in cold weather than all seasons. That said, if you drive cautiously, remember that braking distances are longer, and stay off the road in really bad storms, you'll be ok.

Sadly, while winter tires offer more safety, lots of people negate it by driving like they would in summer. When we had our first storm this year, the TV news showed lots of footage of crashes. Most of the crashed cars had winter tires.
 

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I've been driving 45 years in worse conditions and have only used winter tires for the last 10. It is about more than tread. Winter tires use a compound that is more pliable in cold weather than all seasons. That said, if you drive cautiously, remember that braking distances are longer, and stay off the road in really bad storms, you'll be ok.

Sadly, while winter tires offer more safety, lots of people negate it by driving like they would in summer. When we had our first storm this year, the TV news showed lots of footage of crashes. Most of the crashed cars had winter tires.
How much more pliable in comparison numbers, I wonder? That's what they say in their marketing but I have had winter tires that wear as long as AS tires. The compound changes as the tires wear, I guess. The sipes make a big difference, if they are full depth, in making the tread more pliable.
 

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Compounds have improved dramatically over the years. Winter tires used to wear really fast but no more. I have a set of Michelin X-Ice with 80k km on them and there is lots of life left.

Winter tire rubber is much more pliable in the cold. You can feel it with your finger. Winter tire tread blocks are soft while cold all seasons are rock hard. Winter tires will hold small stones in the tread while all seasons don't (because they are so hard).
 

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The more I read about the Goodyear Assurance Weather Ready tires, the more I think those are my best bet. The reviews are very strong. I called around and found another Goodyear dealer who gave me really good pricing and has them in stock, so that's a go.

Thanks for the responses and advice, I really appreciate y'all taking the time to share your knowledge.
 

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How about buying used? Look on craigslist or facebook marketplace to find your size, maybe even mounted on wheels that will fit! Look for them in areas you will be travelling up through, to but on the way and have put on. Use for 6 weeks, change out to your regular wheels and sell off the snow tires to make some money back. Some shops will even buy gently used tires for resale. Just putting the option out there, because I've read of how quickly tires in Texas wear out in the summer and I think an "all weather" tire will wear out even more quickly.

Yes, the rubber compound is different in snow tires. There is regular all-season rubber at the base of the tire, and the tread layers are the special rubber (sometimes infused with fiberglass/silicate for ice grip). Once they are worn down to 1/3 tread depth they are like used, regular all season tires. This will be the first winter in quite a while that I'll be running all season tires instead of blizzaks (because I have an AWD 4th gen) to save money on buying winter tires. My old blizzaks are pretty close to worn out. With caution and driving experience I should be okay.

Black ice is scary! Hit some at night doing 60 mph in a Toyota 4x4 extra cab truck (but was in 2wd). Rear wheel suddenly lost grip and rpm's spiked, rear end started going sideways (still at 60 mph). I was fear-stricken but kept my wits about me as I stabbed the clutch pedal and let the tires find grip again, then coasted/swerved to regain control and straighten out. Gently let out the clutch and rev-matched the engine for smooth re-engagement, and cautiously continued. If I had been in a short SUV I probably would have hit the ditch sideways and rolled right into the power poles and trees. The highway appeared dry and snow/ice free, but black ice is invisible.
 

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Yes, the rubber compound is different in snow tires. There is regular all-season rubber at the base of the tire, and the tread layers are the special rubber (sometimes infused with fiberglass/silicate for ice grip). Once they are worn down to 1/3 tread depth they are like used, regular all season tires.

Black ice is scary! Hit some at night doing 60 mph in a Toyota 4x4 extra cab truck (but was in 2wd). Rear wheel suddenly lost grip and rpm's spiked, rear end started going sideways (still at 60 mph). I was fear-stricken but kept my wits about me as I stabbed the clutch pedal and let the tires find grip again, then coasted/swerved to regain control and straighten out. Gently let out the clutch and rev-matched the engine for smooth re-engagement, and cautiously continued. If I had been in a short SUV I probably would have hit the ditch sideways and rolled right into the power poles and trees. The highway appeared dry and snow/ice free, but black ice is invisible.
How about ground up walnut shells? :)

Black ice is bad regardless of the tires being used. Hit some on an overpass once (overpasses freeze quicker than roads), while driving my short wheelbase Jeep in 2WD. At 110 kmh and passing a truck, wasn't a good venue. Turned around and around and around several times, getting closer to a guardrail each time. Eventually stopped with the right rear corner colliding with the guardrail enough to cause some minor damage. Didn't spoil my ski day though. :) I had half decent off road tires on the vehicle but they were worn enough that the rubber was hard. Wheelbase makes a big difference for handling/recovery in slippery conditions.
 

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The ‘mercun way is to gamble, and if you survive to say that all is well. Germans have required snow tires in winter for many years, so it’s normal to have two sets of tires for your car. The other benefit is that you can use junker wheels in the salt season and save your nice rims for the summer.

The ‘mercun way is to gamble, and if you survive to say that all is well. Germans have required snow tires in winter for many years, so it’s normal to have two sets of tires for your car. The other benefit is that you can use junker wheels in the salt season and save your nice rims for the summer.

I have a '99 Saturn SL1 that I bought winter tires for. It handled 4 times better in the slippery stuff than the summer tires. I am looking at winter tires for my '05 T & C.
 

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This will be my 10th Minneapolis winter in my ‘10 GC and I don’t recall ever getting stuck. I use all season Michelins, the base model from Costco (Defender, I think). The van handles well with the engine over the drive wheels. The main thing to keep in mind for winter driving is the extra distance needed to brake - give yourself plenty of room between you and the next car.
 

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Hope everybody had a great Thanksgiving. I live in Texas and will be driving the interstates in January to Long Island and then spending 6 weeks there this winter.

My tires are in pretty good shape - 6/32" rear and 5/32" front. They were on my van when I bought it. Mileage is 53,000

Do I need to buy and install snow tires and then pack them away in my Texas garage this spring, probably never to use again?

Or are chains the way to go? Just put them on when the need arises?

I have very little experience driving in snow (none in this minivan) and am looking for some guidance. Thanks.
i’m a New York City resident and I drive a 2012 town and country. You have not had a problem with the tires that are stock on the vehicle. We got 40 inches of snow in 2016 and The van traveled every day. You don’t need snow tires or chains the front wheel drive is a real asset because it puts the weight just where you need it. Just take your time and don’t take chances
 

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Hope everybody had a great Thanksgiving. I live in Texas and will be driving the interstates in January to Long Island and then spending 6 weeks there this winter.

My tires are in pretty good shape - 6/32" rear and 5/32" front. They were on my van when I bought it. Mileage is 53,000

Do I need to buy and install snow tires and then pack them away in my Texas garage this spring, probably never to use again?

Or are chains the way to go? Just put them on when the need arises?

I have very little experience driving in snow (none in this minivan) and am looking for some guidance. Thanks.
I have some experience with this by recommending a solution to a buddy of mine who owned a Toyota Sienna and was driving over the pass and in deep snow regularly. I'm a pretty good snow driver and the snow isn't to bad when it does come so I seldom use snow tires around here (Western Washington) but if you don't trust your snow driving abilities (like my buddy above) than I recommend a set of four Hakkapeliitta snow tires. Forget the chains. As he said when he got back from a trip over the pass and around eastern Washington in deep snow: "Man this van drives like it's on rails!! It didn't drive this good with (his old walnut snow tires and) studs!!" He was simply shocked at the high performance of the Hakkapeliitts. Apparently, the Finns know how to build a snow tire. In fact, Hakkapeliitts work equally as well in snow as on ice. The concept of them (and other tires like them) is this: The tread compound stays soft in freezing temperatures and, the biggest deal, is hydrophilic. Regular tires as you drive over the snow slightly melt the snow/ice and that creates a water film between the tire and the road./snow/ice. Snow and ice that isn't melted is actually sticky, the melt water is what makes you slide out of control. The Hakkapeliitts (and other tires that use the same technology like Blizzaks, another good snow tire) wick the water out from between and leave the sticky surface for you to drive on. If you do not want to buy special snow tires, before you go, put on a fresh set of all season tires (TireRack.com rates them for all sorts pf parameters) so that you are drivning on the highest tread you can get. Fresh tires are good insurance for winter weather but for snow or ice Hakkapeliitts or Blizzaks will outperform studs and won't shake your car to pieces like chains.
 

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I have gone many winters using all season tires that had a fairly open tread pattern, providing some snow grip. I went through one winter, that I remember, using summer tires, being very careful where I stopped and getting a run on for the hills. That was on a rear wheel drive. People drove slower in winter back then. In fact snow tires were only used on the rear wheels for RWD.

Now days people drive faster and snow tires allow them to drive faster in snowy conditions. Creeping along with all season tires with a line up behind you, can get nerve racking. Snow tires sure make for a more comfortable drive with confidence rather than driving on edge, expecting a slide at any time.

Slush is a concern as it fills tire treads and makes them slick, especially all season tires with little space between tread blocks. The tread design needs to be able to "spit out" that slush. Some snow tires have tapered tread blocks to do just that.
 
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