Winter Tires for SF Bay Area - Lake Tahoe Weekend Warrior

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Originally Posted by tiredguy
Originally Posted by SubLGT
Originally Posted by tiredguy
Hello Next season I plan to do about 11 weekend trips from San Mateo to Incline Village (Highways 80 - 267) between mid December and mid March. I will be transporting precious cargo (my 7 & 9 year old children). I was thinking of getting another set of rims and winter tires and leaving them on for 3 months Dec-March.
Will there be ice on the roads during these weekend trips? If the answer is yes, either stud your tires or get a studless tire like the WS80, Xi3, etc. Icy roads are much more treacherous than snow covered roads. If ice will be a rare occurrence, then the tires you listed will be OK. Another option for snow covered (but not ice covered) roads is an All Weather tire.
Thanks for the insight on icy roads. In general the east coast has much icier roads than 80 in California. The reason is that out here it snows, then clears and warms up which usually results in the roads drying out. Back east it can start cold for extended times and the snow on the roads gets compacted to ice. Hope this helps.
Keep in mind also, when you hit the road from San Mateo to where it starts to have winter weather, you still have stretches of I-80 that will be moderate temperatures, so in an emergency situation, tires that grip the warm weather would be better than a pure winter tire, especially a soft studdable tire. The east coast doesn't have an overprotective Department of Transportation like Caltrans and their chain controls. East coast won't tell you to put chains on, nor will they enforce it. In CA, if the conditions are bad enough, whether it's ice or snow, then they'll institute chain control for that section of road. At least with some form of winter tires, you'll be ahead of the curve, since the Caltrans definition for snow tires is very relaxed. Over in Mammoth, I noticed they don't like to salt the roads, so the snow will get packed into ice, which is why they have chain controls for all of Mammoth during those conditions. So you should still carry chains and know how to install them, especially during a R3 condition, such as during March of this year when the Tahoe area was under a R3 chain control.
 
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Here's another tire to consider: Nitto SN2. A tire no one has heard of, gets good reviews based on the total number of reviews https://www.tirebuyer.com/tires/nitto/nt-sn2-winter/p/tv154000305 Then it's new, the tread is very squirmy and doesn't react well to emergency steering inputs (guess how I found that out) when conditions are warmer. There is a high pitch noise on the highway. But does well in the white stuff. Cornering in the snow, my experience completely mirrors what this YouTube video says: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LbkNDrWhbOs It breaks cornering traction slightly and grabs again... not a great feeling imo.
 

tiredguy

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Originally Posted by SavagePatch
Originally Posted by tiredguy
Originally Posted by SavagePatch
I would run Falken Wildpeak AT3W's in size 235/70r16. They are only 1/2" taller than 225/70r16. We live off of i80 in the snow and these are what we run all year on our Mazda CX-9 in size 245/65r17. They work great in all conditions and especially well in the ice and snow. The three W's stand for Winter, Wet, and Wear and they are All Terrain tires that are also Severe Snow Rated with the three peak snowflake symbol on the sidewall. You could run these all year like we do or swap them. The good thing is that you won't have to worry if you have a hot spell of get a little busy and have to wait a few extra weaks to swap back to your summers. This specific size is XL rated like ours are and I think you'll appreciate the slightly firmer sidewall that provides a bit more stability driving through the curvy mountain highway when loaded with your family and gear.
thanks I would have to confirm any change in width with the tire size as well. The rear tires are really close to the struts in both directions.. why do you recommend a larger size it is because that tire is not made in my size? Thanks!!
Ya, I looked up their sizes and they don't make a 225/70r16. I figured 235/70r16 would be closest to your original choice.
Another RX300 ran 235/70R16 without an issue: I used to. I ran 235/70/16 Michelin CrossTerrains for about 15 years and only recently went back 225/70/16 Falkens about a year ago. You will notice the different when you drive as it feels a bit more like a tank. They fit just fine and will never rub.
 

tiredguy

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someone who lives close to me and is a serious skier and knows the roads well sent me the following: all of this is overthinking, 80 and 267 are heavily monitored and will be shutdown before it gets bad that your choice between winter tires are going to make that little bit of difference. Unless your specific house you are staying at has very steep approaches (like some of the Tahoe Vista properties ), any winter or even the new category of 3PMSF hybrid 4season/real "allweather" is adequate for what you will encounter. And as other people say, replacing them after you wear through the good part is more important than the specific choice. Your efforts are better spent on purchasing escape mats, shovel, chains (or even 2x chains), sand and other escape gear.
 

tiredguy

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Originally Posted by UG_Passat
Originally Posted by tiredguy
Originally Posted by SubLGT
Originally Posted by tiredguy
Hello Next season I plan to do about 11 weekend trips from San Mateo to Incline Village (Highways 80 - 267) between mid December and mid March. I will be transporting precious cargo (my 7 & 9 year old children). I was thinking of getting another set of rims and winter tires and leaving them on for 3 months Dec-March.
Will there be ice on the roads during these weekend trips? If the answer is yes, either stud your tires or get a studless tire like the WS80, Xi3, etc. Icy roads are much more treacherous than snow covered roads. If ice will be a rare occurrence, then the tires you listed will be OK. Another option for snow covered (but not ice covered) roads is an All Weather tire.
Thanks for the insight on icy roads. In general the east coast has much icier roads than 80 in California. The reason is that out here it snows, then clears and warms up which usually results in the roads drying out. Back east it can start cold for extended times and the snow on the roads gets compacted to ice. Hope this helps.
Keep in mind also, when you hit the road from San Mateo to where it starts to have winter weather, you still have stretches of I-80 that will be moderate temperatures, so in an emergency situation, tires that grip the warm weather would be better than a pure winter tire, especially a soft studdable tire. The east coast doesn't have an overprotective Department of Transportation like Caltrans and their chain controls. East coast won't tell you to put chains on, nor will they enforce it. In CA, if the conditions are bad enough, whether it's ice or snow, then they'll institute chain control for that section of road. At least with some form of winter tires, you'll be ahead of the curve, since the Caltrans definition for snow tires is very relaxed. Over in Mammoth, I noticed they don't like to salt the roads, so the snow will get packed into ice, which is why they have chain controls for all of Mammoth during those conditions. So you should still carry chains and know how to install them, especially during a R3 condition, such as during March of this year when the Tahoe area was under a R3 chain control.
Thanks for the insight, good stuff. In the Tahoe area they don't salt the roads they use some type of sand mixture. One thing about the Tahoe area 80 & 267 they always close the roads to all traffic when it goes to R3. Often times they hold the trucks at R2. Often times regardless of R level if spinouts and accidents occur and there is a good bit of traffic they close the roads. Also on days with fresh powder and storm conditions they close the roads as all the powder hounds want to go up there. They will often close them from around 6pm to 11pm to keep all the bay area people from rushing. Last season they issued statements in teh news and media telling people not to come up.
 
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Nokian WR series tires coupled to AWD work pretty well. Occasionally get a flicker of the traction/skid system. I drive in nutty snow storms midweek typically at night to get fresh powder skiing next day. I accidentally went to wrong parking lot at ski area in NH(Cannon Tram-could not see signs blowing so hard) and ended up driving thru snowbank followed by in 14" of fresh powder and my 07 MDX with SH AWD did not sneeze or struggle in. I run them year round about 10k/year and they wear well. Although majority(70%) of driving that vehicle is colder/school months. If things get insane maybe chuck some cables/chains in the trunK?
 
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Colorado Springs
Originally Posted by tiredguy
someone who lives close to me and is a serious skier and knows the roads well sent me the following: all of this is overthinking, 80 and 267 are heavily monitored and will be shutdown before it gets bad that your choice between winter tires are going to make that little bit of difference. Unless your specific house you are staying at has very steep approaches (like some of the Tahoe Vista properties ), any winter or even the new category of 3PMSF hybrid 4season/real "allweather" is adequate for what you will encounter. And as other people say, replacing them after you wear through the good part is more important than the specific choice. Your efforts are better spent on purchasing escape mats, shovel, chains (or even 2x chains), sand and other escape gear.
That is not serious skier. If he is, he would know that people who cannot stop are the ones that are the problem, not going forward. I ski 2-3 times a week here in the Rockies, and never seen anyone being in accident for not going forward fast enough.
 
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California
Originally Posted by tiredguy
In the Tahoe area they don't salt the roads they use some type of sand mixture. One thing about the Tahoe area 80 & 267 they always close the roads to all traffic when it goes to R3. Often times they hold the trucks at R2. Often times regardless of R level if spinouts and accidents occur and there is a good bit of traffic they close the roads. Also on days with fresh powder and storm conditions they close the roads as all the powder hounds want to go up there. They will often close them from around 6pm to 11pm to keep all the bay area people from rushing. Last season they issued statements in teh news and media telling people not to come up.
I think Caltrans and Nevada DOT use a mix of brine and sand on 80 and 50 as to help the lake. 50 also gets snarled up, although not as bad as 80 which can be bad between Donner Summit/Truckee and just before Colfax towards Sacramento. I've seen Caltrans turn on their signs between Oakland and Sac advising trucks about chain controls in Tahoe to give them enough warning to carry chains or plan ahead. I've been in my fair share of traffic stoppage in Meyers and Emigrant Gap this season. Even if you leave South Lake by 9-10, if there's a storm it will be a 10-12 hour drive back home. I drove up to Truckee on a whim, stayed at a friend's place in Grass Valley and went to N* in the morning for my birthday. I was at a disadvantage in a Prius, still carried chains but a storm was on the way. I left at 2:30 just to buy me enough time to make it over the summit.
 
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Originally Posted by madRiver
If things get insane maybe chuck some cables/chains in the trunK?
By law, you have to carry chains. Of course since it's the law, not everyone follows the law and doesn't want to spend the money on chains.
 

tiredguy

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I do have a pair of chains, just one pair, I believe the AWD needs them on all 4 wheels. I am considering a winter tire of overall better performance in winter conditions, not just getting through chain control on the pass/ summit The Truckee CHP made the following statement: "Ice is always a factor up here. We are on average a temp swing of 40 degrees between day and night. So having a good ice rated tire in the winter is a must." I am not sure where the Truckee CHP gets the 40 degree temp swings as the average winter months temperature in the Tahoe area is 17-43F.
 
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Originally Posted by tiredguy
Hello Next season I plan to do about 11 weekend trips from San Mateo to Incline Village (Highways 80 - 267) between mid December and mid March. I will be transporting precious cargo (my 7 & 9 year old children). I was thinking of getting another set of rims and winter tires and leaving them on for 3 months Dec-March. So the questions is tires. Am thinking of getting a winter tire that is studdable but I do not have plans to ever put studs in them. The vehicle is a 2000 Lexus RX300 AWD with tire size 225/70-R16. I am leaning towards the following two tires: General ALTIMAX ARCTIC 12 STUDDABLE (I heard these are made in Germany by Continental) https://www.discounttiredirect.com/buy-tires/general-altimax-arctic-12-studdable/p/35936 and Cooper Evolution Winter Studdable https://www.discounttiredirect.com/buy-tires/cooper-evolution-winter-studdable/p/36797 I might also consider: Hankook I PIKE RW11 STUDDABLE https://www.discounttiredirect.com/buy-tires/hankook-i-pike-rw11-studdable/p/10762 and Cooper DISCOVERER M+S STUDDABLE https://www.discounttiredirect.com/buy-tires/cooper-discoverer-m%2bs-studdable/p/27275 I understand that General and Cooper are two excellent tire manufactures that are under the radar compared to the big popular brands. Not sure it is worth paying the extra $$ for the Bridgestone Blizzak DMV2 or Michelin tires. Looking to confirm I am going in the right direction for the type of tire and also looking for specific tire recommendations. I plan to buy in late November. Thanks!!
I didn't read all the replies but how about a Goodyear or Michelin all season with the 3 peak mountain snowflake? Kind of a compromise between all season and snow but I believe should cover all the state laws about snow tires through passes...
 
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Originally Posted by tiredguy
I do have a pair of chains, just one pair, I believe the AWD needs them on all 4 wheels. I am considering a winter tire of overall better performance in winter conditions, not just getting through chain control on the pass/ summit The Truckee CHP made the following statement: "Ice is always a factor up here. We are on average a temp swing of 40 degrees between day and night. So having a good ice rated tire in the winter is a must." I am not sure where the Truckee CHP gets the 40 degree temp swings as the average winter months temperature in the Tahoe area is 17-43F.
That's a very odd statement by the CHP and could absolutely apply to the summer months but definitely not the winter. I'd agree that there are times when it might go outside the winter range you reference but not that often. A 40 degree spread in winter doesn't happen as far as I'm concerned, so I'm not sure where that's coming from...
 
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Originally Posted by tiredguy
I do have a pair of chains, just one pair, I believe the AWD needs them on all 4 wheels. I am considering a winter tire of overall better performance in winter conditions, not just getting through chain control on the pass/ summit
Depends on what the owner's manual says. it's likely Lexus is going to say front wheels only due to issue with clearance with the rear suspension
 

tiredguy

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I'm the OP - Thanks for all the discussion, I learned alot in the last week or so. As a result of the comments I had two questions and thought they are worth asking and was thinking of starting a new thread however thought it would be best to capture it here for historical content. I'm sure these will create a bit of discussion and opinions so here they are: At what ambient temperature is the tire compound of a winter tire compromised in terms of wear? At what ambient temperature is the stability of a winter tire compromised?
 
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Originally Posted by tiredguy
I'm the OP - Thanks for all the discussion, I learned alot in the last week or so. As a result of the comments I had two questions and thought they are worth asking and was thinking of starting a new thread however thought it would be best to capture it here for historical content. I'm sure these will create a bit of discussion and opinions so here they are: At what ambient temperature is the tire compound of a winter tire compromised in terms of wear? At what ambient temperature is the stability of a winter tire compromised?
I want to say most I've read online say above 40° start heading toward high wear. If it's sunny and 50°, road temps are probably higher, too. That's why I'd go all-weather instead of winter. 3 peak mountain snowflake still but year round.
 
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Originally Posted by tiredguy
I'm the OP - Thanks for all the discussion, I learned alot in the last week or so. As a result of the comments I had two questions and thought they are worth asking and was thinking of starting a new thread however thought it would be best to capture it here for historical content. I'm sure these will create a bit of discussion and opinions so here they are: At what ambient temperature is the tire compound of a winter tire compromised in terms of wear? At what ambient temperature is the stability of a winter tire compromised?
Usually 40-50 degrees
 
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Originally Posted by tiredguy
I'm the OP - Thanks for all the discussion, I learned alot in the last week or so. As a result of the comments I had two questions and thought they are worth asking and was thinking of starting a new thread however thought it would be best to capture it here for historical content. I'm sure these will create a bit of discussion and opinions so here they are: At what ambient temperature is the tire compound of a winter tire compromised in terms of wear? At what ambient temperature is the stability of a winter tire compromised?
Depends on tire. Hardcore snow tires like Nokian Hakka R2 or R3, will start to show lack of eprformance and higher wear at some 40+ degrees. Cheaper snow tires, Cooper, General etc. will do same. Michelin in my experience is good up until 60 degrees, and even bit above it does not show some drastic weakness. Also, Michelin Xi2 is only winter tire that comes with warranty. For those conditions, Michelin is best bet.
 
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Does CA allow for tire studs? If there was serious ice, I would get studded Hakkapeliitas and call it a day. Sliding on an icy hill is one of the least fun experiences I've had, that's for sure
 
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Originally Posted by Miller88
Does CA allow for tire studs? If there was serious ice, I would get studded Hakkapeliitas and call it a day. Sliding on an icy hill is one of the least fun experiences I've had, that's for sure
Yes, from Nov 1 to April 30. But do you really want to be driving on studs from SF Bay area to Lake Tahoe area during conditions when it's not needed? A good set of cables or chains will take care of the going down the icy hill scenario
 
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If ice traction is not the highest priority, and you will not use the tire year round, an alternative to an all-weather tire is a V speed rated or W speed rated performance winter tire. One of the best is the Continental TS860 (not for sale in the USA unfortunately). If you want an idea about warm weather performance of winter tires, look at Nov (or Oct?) 2018 issue of Consumer Reports. Their tests of dry braking, wet braking, and handling are done under warm conditions, even for winter tires.
 
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