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#4710351 - 03/29/18 09:23 AM Chicago area winter tires
tigrpal Offline


Registered: 11/27/06
Posts: 217
Loc: Illinois
I've been driving for over 40 years around here and never put on a set of winter tires and never had a problem managing with all seasons. I'm older now and losing my confidence. I'm thinking about winter tires for safer driving starting next winter. The communities I drive through are good at plowing and salting for rush hours but there is regularly snow and/or slush on the road. I worry mostly about my wife driving early in the morning before the plows get out or later in the evening when the plows are waiting for the roads to clear of traffic. Anyway, I have these questions for Chicago area drivers or anyone who wants to chime in:

1. Do many of you put on winter tires in the Chicago area or do you manage with all seasons like I've done?
2. Do you have a set of dedicated wheels for winter also or do you swap tires on the same wheels? Is it bad for tires to often mount and dismount?
3. When do you generally put your winter tires on and then take them off?
4. Do you mark your tires for rotation purposes? How?
5. Do you keep track of the miles you put on each set?

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#4710371 - 03/29/18 09:41 AM Re: Chicago area winter tires [Re: tigrpal]
pandus13 Offline


Registered: 08/12/11
Posts: 3309
Loc: Chicago,IL,USA
1. managed with all-season fine in the first year/brand new tires when there was enough "meat" to bite in snow. completely useless on ice!
1a. when not enough thread on all-season tires, well it became interesting......
2. winter tires on same wheels (all-seasons had enough thread 8/32, but had cracks at 3 years old, so didn't feel safe). my first winter set on the Yaris.
3. Around November
4., 5. I have not rotated tires on the last 3 cars I own. It allow me to replace tires in sets of 2 if needed (elantra). 2 cars (Yaris and Mazda5) replaced in sets of 4 because the wear was constant between front and back (mazda5 same thread depth, 3/32; Yaris 7/32 front, 8/32 back)
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#4710373 - 03/29/18 09:44 AM Re: Chicago area winter tires [Re: tigrpal]
BrewCityR Offline


Registered: 09/13/02
Posts: 368
Loc: Slinger, Wisconsin
Chicago area was hit harder than us up here in southeastern Wisconsin this year.

We have had 2 mild precipitation winters in a row now...

I've had winter tires on various vehicles for the past 20 years and it really gains confidence even on light snow days.

To answer your numbered questions...

1. already answered... it's such a good investment in confidence, safety, peace of mind.
2. dedicated wheels make life so much easier. You (or a friend/relative) can swap out 4 wheels in about an hour.
3. It varies, but just keep an eye on ugly weather coming in October or November. My dad just removed his winter set last week. Hopefully we are in the clear! smile
4. I label my tires with a strip of painters tape and a Sharpie... "from LR, from RF, etc." then rotate accordingly.
5. I don't as most winter sets only accumulate 4-5k miles per season, but you can log it if you choose.

Just do some shopping on Tire Rack for brands and models. Bridgestone Blizzak is a premier brand tire that most everyone loves, but there are cheaper alternatives that are nearly as good. My Dad has General Arctic Altimax on his Mazda 6 which work great.


Edited by BrewCityR (03/29/18 09:46 AM)
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#4710407 - 03/29/18 10:11 AM Re: Chicago area winter tires [Re: tigrpal]
Char Baby Offline


Registered: 05/25/05
Posts: 10084
Loc: ROCHESTER, NY
Now that I too have been driving for almost 50 years and even though vehicles are waaaay better in every way, I much prefer either winter tires or really good all season tire that are known for doing well in the snow & ice.

I remember driving RWD cars with regular bias ply tires or snow tires ONLY in the rear. Snow tires back then left a lot to be desires. And we still got stuck with those old style snow tire of the 1970's and RWD. Always getting out of the car to push or help others push their cars. Not anymore for me, I want security! It seemed to be expected back then.


Edited by Char Baby (03/29/18 10:24 AM)
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#4710446 - 03/29/18 10:41 AM Re: Chicago area winter tires [Re: Char Baby]
tigrpal Offline


Registered: 11/27/06
Posts: 217
Loc: Illinois
Originally Posted By: Char Baby

I remember driving RWD cars with regular bias ply tires or snow tires ONLY in the rear. Snow tires back then left a lot to be desires. And we still got stuck with those old style snow tire of the 1970's and RWD. Always getting out of the car to push or help others push their cars. Not anymore for me, I want security! It seemed to be expected back then.


I have the same memories of pushing people out of snow as a kid even before I could drive. We enjoyed helping and felt good about. Of course there were a lot more kids in the neighborhoods back then and together we could easily push those big heavy cars out of the snow.

I can't do that anymore.

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#4710478 - 03/29/18 11:17 AM Re: Chicago area winter tires [Re: tigrpal]
EdwardC Offline


Registered: 11/14/13
Posts: 1889
Loc: Chicago, IL
I live in the city and have snow tires. I've lived here for many years before that and had no issue with regular all seasons, but I do feel more confident with them. Similarly, my wife works odd hours occasionally, so the roads may not be cleaned yet when she's out.

1) Yes
2) Spare wheels. I watch Craigslist for OEM takeoffs, never paid more than $200 for a set of 4 16" alloys. If you have a somewhat common car, odds are good that manufacture has used the same bolt pattern, offset and hub bore for many vehicles. An additional benefit of a second set of wheels is that you can down size (say 18" or 17" down to 16") and get better ride over our winter pot holes while protecting your larger wheels. 16" tires are usually less expensive than the low profile tires as well. I wouldn't worry about mounting and dismounting, for me, it was more for convenience, so I can swap the tires whenever I want, and I don't have to pay someone to dismount, mount, balance. TPMS sensors can add a wrinkle to that, but not a big deal either way.
3) Typically Thanksgiving, and approximately Easter for switch overs.
4) I number each wheel with a small sticker 1-4, then every switch over, I do the standard rotation. I don't rotate the tires any other time of the year.
5) Yes. I keep track in the same spreadsheet I use to track the tire locations. I don't really use the mileage data for much though, my tires are likely to age out before they wear out.


With some of the new "All Weather" tires (the all seasons with the mountain snowflake rating), I've considered switching to those when it's time to replace tires. I still think there's value in having a second set of tires though. I would guess that even if the compound was great for ice, a worn All-Weather tire would still be no good in snow. No replacement for deep tread in some cases. From memory, there are the Nokian WRG3 and Toyo Celsius, but I recall Goodyear and others make them as well.


Edit: Also FYI, I have Firestone Winterforce on my Honda Element and new General Altimax Arctic 12 on the Nissan LEAF. Both are low to mid range snow tires, but they're more than adequate.

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#4710488 - 03/29/18 11:25 AM Re: Chicago area winter tires [Re: tigrpal]
Kestas Online   content



Registered: 06/04/02
Posts: 12397
Loc: The Motor City
I have a dedicated winter car with winter tires for the past 4 years, so I don't have the changeover issue. I can't remember the last time I went slipping and sliding as in decades' past.

I would seriously consider all-season tires. I have no experience, but looking at the treads I see lots of sipes which should be a tremendous help on winter roads. But I doubt they have the soft compound that winter tires have.

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#4710514 - 03/29/18 12:11 PM Re: Chicago area winter tires [Re: tigrpal]
bullwinkle Online   confused


Registered: 10/09/04
Posts: 7740
Loc: Cincinnati, OH, USA
Don't get anything studded-they're ILLEGAL in Illinois! I had my MGM up in Rockford a few weeks back, my Goodyear Tripletreds actually did OK in the 2-3 inch snowfall they had when I was up there.
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#4710523 - 03/29/18 12:20 PM Re: Chicago area winter tires [Re: tigrpal]
SubLGT Offline


Registered: 01/31/06
Posts: 2647
Loc: Idaho
Originally Posted By: tigrpal
...there is regularly snow and/or slush on the road...


If you rarely encounter ice in Chicago, then an "all weather" tire (such as Nokian WR G4, etc) or a "performance winter" tire (such as Michelin Alpin, etc) will work well on snow, slush, and wet roads. If you desire better ice traction, then look at "ice & snow" tires, like the Blizzak WS80, Nokian R3, Michelin XIce Xi3, etc.

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#4710601 - 03/29/18 01:43 PM Re: Chicago area winter tires [Re: tigrpal]
wallyuwl Online   content


Registered: 06/02/09
Posts: 1780
Loc: Wisconsin
Does Chicago even have a winter anymore?

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#4710616 - 03/29/18 02:19 PM Re: Chicago area winter tires [Re: tigrpal]
SHOZ Offline


Registered: 06/28/03
Posts: 5817
Loc: Illinois
I live 100 miles south of Chicago and have used winter tires for the last 15 years. Currently Michelin X-i3s. I live in a rural area. They wear good enough you could use them year around
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#4710619 - 03/29/18 02:22 PM Re: Chicago area winter tires [Re: wallyuwl]
pandus13 Offline


Registered: 08/12/11
Posts: 3309
Loc: Chicago,IL,USA
Originally Posted By: wallyuwl
Does Chicago even have a winter anymore?

You mean if we saw white stuff on the ground or how long it took to melt the plowed pile?

P.S. on 294 half the plate numbers I see are WI numbers....
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#4710648 - 03/29/18 03:10 PM Re: Chicago area winter tires [Re: tigrpal]
SatinSilver Offline


Registered: 01/24/08
Posts: 10341
Loc: OH
There's a newer type of tire that's slotted between an all-season and a winter tire called an all weather tire. The advantage being you can keep it mounted all year long. There's a few of them out there now and Goodyear just came out with their version. Called the Goodyear Assurance Weather Ready. I'll post a picture below. Check out tirerack, discounttire, discounttiredirect.com, etc...

Plus there's the Nokian WRG3, Toyo Celsius, Vredestein



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#4710671 - 03/29/18 03:39 PM Re: Chicago area winter tires [Re: tigrpal]
Brybo86 Offline


Registered: 10/08/11
Posts: 2956
Loc: Chicago, IL
10 years in Chicago, all seasons only with no issues.

Only time I couldn't get out was Superbowl Sunday like 5 years ago when we got 2 ft in about 10 hrs.... that was more a ground clearance issue than tire issue.
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#4710685 - 03/29/18 03:58 PM Re: Chicago area winter tires [Re: tigrpal]
Quattro Pete Offline


Registered: 10/30/02
Posts: 35969
Loc: Great Lakes
Originally Posted By: tigrpal
1. Do many of you put on winter tires in the Chicago area or do you manage with all seasons like I've done?

When I used to live there, I had winter tires for all our vehicles. Depending on which A/S tires you have specifically, you can get by on some of them, but driving on dedicated winter tires is just so much better.

Quote:
2. Do you have a set of dedicated wheels for winter also or do you swap tires on the same wheels? Is it bad for tires to often mount and dismount?

Dedicated wheels and tires for winter. This way I can swap them out in my own garage the night before the first snow storm.

Quote:
3. When do you generally put your winter tires on and then take them off?

Typically around Thanksgiving, sometimes later - see answer to previous question. They come off some time in March, sometimes April if don't have time to swap them sooner.


Quote:
4. Do you mark your tires for rotation purposes? How?
Yes. I normally put little stickers on them to mark which corner they were on last.

Quote:
5. Do you keep track of the miles you put on each set?
Yes, but in my experience age is more critical than miles. I have a set of 8 year old winter Altimax Arctics that still have majority of their tread left, but they don't perform as well anymore, most likely due to soft winter rubber compounds hardening over time.
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