Chains/Winter Driving Help Needed (SoCal)
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This is a discussion on Chains/Winter Driving Help Needed (SoCal) within the New Member Hangout forums, part of the Community - Meet other Enthusiasts category; Thanks in advance for any advice given... This weekend I'll be planning to take my new WRX to Big Bear ...

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    Registered User Rmurphy_22's Avatar
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    Chains/Winter Driving Help Needed (SoCal)

    Thanks in advance for any advice given...


    This weekend I'll be planning to take my new WRX to Big Bear for a couple nights. As of now road conditions look ok, but if weather goes south chains are required or All Season tires for AWD cars. Ive read in many places on the internet and in the Subaru manual that chains are a No-No for the WRX. My car is equipped with the standard summer tires and Ive heard that even though it's AWD, on summer tires its more dangerous to drive than a FWD or RWD...is this true? Im not going to purchase All Season tires for a just a weekend trip especially since my car/tires only has 700 miles on it. Is it wiser to just take the wifes Acura (FWD) and get a set of chains for that, or can the WRX on Summer Tires potentially handle driving on light snowy roads? Thanks

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    \_(ツ)_/ Rambo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rmurphy_22 View Post
    Ive heard that even though it's AWD, on summer tires its more dangerous to drive than a FWD or RWD...
    Any drivetrain, regardless of configuration, is useless without tires that can maintain traction. Think about it: if you're wearing flip-flops on ice, will adding more feet help you? No, you put on hiking boots.
    Same concept with tires: summer tires offer sticky traction in warmer temperatures, but harden and get brittle in temperatures below 40 degrees. This compromises their material properties and tread pattern, which in turn compromises grip.

    AWD will NOT help you stop, which IMO is the most dangerous part of using summer tires in cold temperatures. Your summer tires absolutely will not be safe to use in any amount of snow. Period.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rmurphy_22 View Post
    Is it wiser to just take the wifes Acura (FWD) and get a set of chains for that, or can the WRX on Summer Tires potentially handle driving on light snowy roads? Thanks
    Take the wife's car and have chains just in case. See above about summer tires.
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    Registered User Rmurphy_22's Avatar
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    Thanks Rambo, much appreciated

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    Registered User RichD514's Avatar
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    Follow the manual; no chains on a wrx. Summer tires on snow and ice will potentially put your 700 mile old wrx into a ditch.

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    Registered User Chief_WRX's Avatar
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    How much is a little bit of snow? Here in Colorado or Antarctica as its being called we have had snow on the ground for a week or so now. My summer tires are doing just fine in approximately 1-3" of snow. Don't drive like a douche, increase your stopping distance and don't accelerate suddenly or turn the wheel super sharp and you'll be fine. Pretty much drive like a grandma.
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    Registered User RichD514's Avatar
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    ^ worst advice I've heard yet about summers on snow. They are called SUMMER tires for a reason.

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    Master Baiter EJ257's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chief_WRX
    How much is a little bit of snow? Here in Colorado or Antarctica as its being called we have had snow on the ground for a week or so now. My summer tires are doing just fine in approximately 1-3" of snow. Don't drive like a douche, increase your stopping distance and don't accelerate suddenly or turn the wheel super sharp and you'll be fine. Pretty much drive like a grandma.
    This is absolutely idiotic advice. What you're advocating is extremely dangerous, and should not be listened to by anyone with 46 chromosomes...
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    Registered User RichD514's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chief_WRX View Post
    ...Here in Colorado or Antarctica as its being called....

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    Registered User cogito's Avatar
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    I can see the school of hard knocks may come into play here, hopefully without dire consequences.
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    Registered User Soobvirgin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chief_WRX View Post
    My summer tires are doing just fine in approximately 1-3" of snow. Don't drive like a douche, increase your stopping distance and don't accelerate suddenly or turn the wheel super sharp and you'll be fine. Pretty much drive like a grandma.
    Quote Originally Posted by EJ257 View Post
    This is absolutely idiotic advice. What you're advocating is extremely dangerous, and should not be listened to by anyone with 46 chromosomes...
    Actually, if you have to use your summer tires, this is very good advice. I grew up in England where we'd get 1 - 3 inches of snow that might stay for a week or two. Nobody changed their tires for two weeks of snow. You just deal with it and drive very carefully. Is it the best solution for someone's who's specifically planning a trip where there's snow? No, of course not. But it's not impossible to drive in a little snow with summer tires.

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    Registered User cogito's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Soobvirgin View Post
    Actually, if you have to use your summer tires, this is very good advice. I grew up in England where we'd get 1 - 3 inches of snow that might stay for a week or two. Nobody changed their tires for two weeks of snow. You just deal with it and drive very carefully. Is it the best solution for someone's who's specifically planning a trip where there's snow? No, of course not. But it's not impossible to drive in a little snow with summer tires.
    Was this at near 7k altitude on a mountain pass ????
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    Registered User Soobvirgin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cogito View Post
    Was this at near 7k altitude on a mountain pass ????
    Haha, no. But I wasn't suggesting it was a good idea for Big Bear.


    EDIT: Perhaps I misunderstood. I thought EJ was referring to the driving technique. If he was suggesting that trying to drive on summer tires, in snow, on a windy mountain pass was idiotic advice, then that sounds about right, haha.
    Last edited by Soobvirgin; 12-10-2013 at 03:52 PM.

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    Registered User JimboWRX's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Soobvirgin View Post
    Actually, if you have to use your summer tires, this is very good advice. I grew up in England where we'd get 1 - 3 inches of snow that might stay for a week or two. Nobody changed their tires for two weeks of snow. You just deal with it and drive very carefully. Is it the best solution for someone's who's specifically planning a trip where there's snow? No, of course not. But it's not impossible to drive in a little snow with summer tires.
    The rationale for changing out summer tires during winter months is not only about the snow. It's about the lower temperatures. Summer tire compounds aren't soft enough as the temperature drops; as the temperature drops, you will lose traction. Add to that loss of traction some snow and/or ice, you're asking for trouble.

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    Registered User Soobvirgin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JimboWRX View Post
    The rationale for changing out summer tires during winter months is not only about the snow. It's about the lower temperatures. Summer tire compounds aren't soft enough as the temperature drops; as the temperature drops, you will lose traction. Add to that loss of traction some snow and/or ice, you're asking for trouble.
    Yeah, I understand that. But it's not something I was aware of until a few months ago. I was a tire fitter over there for 4 years and I never heard of anyone swapping out their tires for winter. I just don't think it's something we do in Britain. Unless perhaps you were running something very close to a slick tire. But England's like Seattle; it rains all the time through summer (cold, too). You'd be forever changing tires back and forth.

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    Master Baiter EJ257's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Soobvirgin
    Actually, if you have to use your summer tires, this is very good advice. I grew up in England where we'd get 1 - 3 inches of snow that might stay for a week or two. Nobody changed their tires for two weeks of snow. You just deal with it and drive very carefully. Is it the best solution for someone's who's specifically planning a trip where there's snow? No, of course not. But it's not impossible to drive in a little snow with summer tires.
    Quote Originally Posted by Soobvirgin
    Haha, no. But I wasn't suggesting it was a good idea for Big Bear.

    EDIT: Perhaps I misunderstood. I thought EJ was referring to the driving technique. If he was suggesting that trying to drive on summer tires, in snow, on a windy mountain pass was idiotic advice, then that sounds about right, haha.
    There are regulations that require chains on any 2WD vehicle due to weather conditions for a reason. He can make a decision based on weather conditions of getting up there, but what happens when he has to get back down (which is far more dangerous if you can't maintain traction than going uphill)? You know as well as I do that the weather charlatans are still trying to formulate yesterdays forecast (although, in beautiful San Diego, it may not be as much of a guessing game as here in the Northeast). Buy a set of chains, take the wifes car; if you don't use them, return them and get your money back. If you do, consider it a "vacation expense" for going up there in the winter.

    You can "get by" in some emergency situations with summer tires by driving responsible if you have to, but it's dangerous and you should be aware that your lack of expense could end up causing you a lot more than the cost of proper tires and/or severe injuries (you start to slide and head-on someone on a two-lane road). I'm not sure specifics about insurance, but if you choose to not properly equip your vehicle, an insurance company may be within their right to deny coverage on the claim (some part of me wants to say you're in the auto insurance business...are you?), and if you get into an accident, you could be paying out of pocket. Summer tires in a place that hardly ever sees sub-40 temperatures and/or snow is one thing, but if you live in a climate that does see said conditions (even if for a few weeks/year), buy A/S tires if you're not willing to buy dedicated sets.
    Last edited by EJ257; 12-10-2013 at 04:27 PM.
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