03 December 2009

Mrs Neo needs snowtires

As a longtime truck/SUV owner... I confess I don't have a lot of experience with snowtires. Between 4WD, my big-lugged, stiff-walled light truck tires and my admittedly outsize opinion of my wheeling skilz... I don't usually... blizzard be damned... have problems going wherever I wanna go.

But this one isn't about me.

Mrs Neo... after a sustained period of happily doing Miss Daisy... is back on the road in her latest acquisition... a snazzy, much loved Japanese sub-compact we have dubbed "the Koala."

To Mrs N, the Koala is not just a car... it is a talisman. This car fits her in a way that our SUV never did. It is the vehicle some good friends very generously sold to us after Mrs N realised its magical properties.

Alas... the one thing it lacks is serious rubber. So we are now on a mission.

Anyway... any advice anyone might have about winter boots for the new ride would be greatly appreciated.



Anonymous said...

Hacapolita or blizacs(don't hold me to the spelling). My bro in law is manager of a tire shop so the whole clan runs these. You shouldn't use them in the summer as they are really soft rubber.
Rob C

Anonymous said...

Well, same thing with my wife's car: we just got winter tires for the old one two years ago, but they are now useless and ready to be sold. But that means...we are also in the winter (NOT snow) tire acquisition mode.

One thing we did learn: the new car is a Fusion and it has (of course) an electronic sensor for tire pressure. According to the dealership, they legally have to install a sensor in each winter tire they install. Maybe a load of crap, so we are likely going with our local mechanic. Something you might need to think about.

Neo Conservative said...

with the suv... i just usually power my way through stuff.

the thing is, things can get pretty deep & snowy around here... so for the koala we're looking to be maximise traction.

on the plus side, mrs n is way more sensible than my male self... she doesn't regard inclement weather as a challenge from the gawds... she just wants to keep the shiny side up.

going brand name seems like a good idea... i guess studs are still illegal in ontario?


ChrstphrR said...

A coworker of mine used to work at a tire shop, and he'd said the best tires (read, expensive too) were Nokian Hakkapeliittas.
Apparently, the rubber compounds allow it all the winter benefits and good wear on dry pavement.

You're looking at $200 a tire or better, however, that route.

My past two cars, I went the ultra frugal route: Goodyear Nordics, on my Jetta, which I've run for 18-22 months now (I didn't rotate enough, and the fronts wore too bare after 50-60 thousand km).

The backs are almost worn to the higher wear bars that winter tires have, so they're really, truly, only fit as summer wear now.

But, don't be swayed by all the arguments about running winters year round, if her summer/all seasons are too far worn. Eat the tire disposal charge, and just go and re-shoe the car's normal rims with winter wear.

There will be more noise on dry pavement, but there's more noise from all the snow and slush and crud that hits the wheelwells during winter months anyway.

The poorest of the winter tires still outperforms any all season tire I've encountered, for winter traction.

Mileage isn't all that appreciably different - my diesel Jetta's gotten 45-60mpg tanks wearing half or all winter tires in summer, and less in winter, due to the cold and winter fuel blends.

You can always steer away from my wear-winters-all-year advice, if the current tires still have plenty of tread left. Then, you could either shod the winters on a second set of rims, or swap tires on the rims come spring, and look into new rims, or steelies* come NEXT winter season.

* My cars all had steelies, so if I weren't so cheap, I could've sprung for a second set of rims, and switched out with the seasons. You have to have storage room for 4 tires, year round this way, however.

In any case, I don't think the Mrs. will be disappointed with winter rubber, whichever brand you opt for.

BDFT said...

Get a reasonably priced set of winter tires, any brand, and get them studded. Maximum traction for the best price. Spring for a set of rims and you can change them yourself spring and fall.

Anonymous said...

Count yourself lucky: when my wife got the winters in the last car, she wanted to "test" them as much as possible. Nothing holding her back from a snow-filled street...

I don't think she'll feel the way with the new car, though.

FredfromBC said...

mrs n is way more sensible than my male self... she doesn't regard inclement weather as a challenge from the gawds...

I can relate to that. Last winter I made a point of going out every night to cruise the back alleys of Shaughnessy in my van, looking for the deepest snow. Must be a guy thing...

Anyway...tirerack.com is where you need to look. Find the 'tire survey' where people rate the various tires (separated by type) and once you've narrowed it down enter your tire size to see what's available (this was a problem for me...might not be one for you...).

Neo Conservative said...

thx for all the feedback.


Anonymous said...

Here's the APA's recommendation:

I wouldn't rely on tirerack.com ratings; here in eastern Canada we need alpine type tires, not the squishy Japanese compound type tires favoured by Americans who see little snow.

I deal with an APA approved shop here in Montreal: www.talontire.com. Any tire they sell would be good at that price point. Their pricing should not be too far off what you'd find in Ontario.

2 years ago got an earlier incarnation of the present Yokohama IG20's for my Passat. Very satisfied.


Alex from Manitoba said...

BDFT: Studding tires is illegal in Ontario (though they're legal here in Manitoba). But yeah, a decent set of winter tires will make a huge difference for Mrs. Neo.

ChrstphrR said...


Actually, studded tires are still just not permitted in Southern Ontario. They're permitted Oct 1st to April 30th in N. Ontario, so long as they're legal (lightweight) studs