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January 23, 2009

Is It Dirtball To Run Snow Tires Year-Round?

By Jen Dunnaway


Okay, so say you’re down and out, you’ve got four cars, and more than one of them needs a new set of tires. You know that “all season” tires don’t really cut it in hardcore snow and ice—you need a set of real honest-to-goodness snows on your winter car. Say this winter car gets driven only occasionally in the summer (you’ve got other toys), and you can’t afford a whole new set of summer tires for it in addition to the snows. So what’s the harm in running snow tires on it year-round? Of course, snows are made of much softer compounds, and they wear down fast if you’re clocking a lot of miles on warm summer roads. But if you’re talking about a winter workhorse that doesn’t travel more than a few hundred miles in the summer, it’s not like the tread life is going to take that much of a beating. Besides, there’s something kind of satisfying about the handling characteristics of sticky snow tires on hot asphalt, their grippiness in the wet, the meaty stance they give to your ride, and if applicable, their “diggability” in soft-surface four-wheeling conditions. Sure, it’s a little trashy to still have snows on your car in July, but only if they’re there due to sloth and negligence. Right?



Chris Bicknell
Jan 26, 2009 at 9:40 am

Dirtball or not I think it’s a great idea. Between living in the rainy PNW and having other cars for summer cruisin’ I say you’re good to go! Winter wheelin’ here we come!

Jan 26, 2009 at 5:54 am

Wait, are you telling me that it will actually stop snowing? Will it it ever get warm again too?

I don’t see a problem with it if it’s only occasionally driven. But I run AT s all the time so I wouldn’t know. They can go with the look of the car too, like your Eagle.

Jan 25, 2009 at 1:07 pm


I know i’m on the debate about Snowies too. Have to see what I can find at the end of season sales…

Jan 25, 2009 at 10:28 am

Not broke, don’t own snow tires, but how can you own 4 vehicles and then plead poverty? Something doesn’t add up – sell a car, buy some new tires – simple, isn’t it?

Jan 24, 2009 at 11:48 pm

i run camber worn summer tires all year around,up in canada-snow rain shine they seen it all.

Jan 24, 2009 at 6:57 pm

AHHH, you need your cop car wheels back on there! I don’t see any problem running the snows on the Eagle year around, and as you said, most snow tires make the cars look ultra-tough.

Jan 24, 2009 at 9:56 am

Hey Jen -

I use a sticky Pilot Sport 2 tire year round on many of my cars. While the tire doesn’t last long (6k-9k miles), it grips well in all weather allowing me to drive my cars like they are stolen. =)

Two years ago I ended up putting a different style of tire on my Volvo as I was tired of replacing the tires every year. I got an all weather tire with a stiffer compound and they still have half their life left. The performance differences are suttle, but my wallet is a lot happier because the stiffer compounds were half the price, and have lasted twice as long.

Jan 24, 2009 at 8:20 am

No, half of the population up here run snows all year round on there work trucks.

Jan 24, 2009 at 7:06 am

Welcome back Jen!

I had non-studded snow tires on my ’93 Sentra year around. Living in Wyoming, where it can snow all 12 months, it’s just a lot easier to have snows on all year around, then switch them out for 2 months of summer, or to get caught in a freak summer storm. I had something like 30k miles on the tires before I sold the car, and they were wearing just fine, too.

Jan 24, 2009 at 6:37 am


Jan 23, 2009 at 10:52 pm

Assuming they’re not studded or, obviously, chained, it wouldn’t hurt too much as long as you took it easy. But as has already been mentioned, you’d probably save more money having two sets of tires, as winter tires are likely to wear much quicker in the summer heat.

Jan 23, 2009 at 10:21 pm

Down in south Louisiana it never snows. Except for that one time. Or maybe 2. Anyway i don’t think i’ve ever seen a snow tire. All i know are normal car tires, all terrains and MT’s haha. But seriously just looking at the pic i like the burly look it gives the eagle.

Jan 23, 2009 at 8:13 pm

As you said, winter tires will wear a lot faster than four-seasons or summer tires, but for a couple of hundred miles you should not burn them.
Something to note though is that yes, the rubber is a lot softer, to you do get good grip on hot tarmac but remember that the tire walls are made from rubber that’s made to stay bendable at -35°c so you’ll get a lot of wall deformation if you corner hard
I don’t know if someone could pop a tire out of one side of the rim while cornering really hard on a hot day?

Jan 23, 2009 at 7:51 pm

I think it gives it a nice burly off-road look :)

Jan 23, 2009 at 4:53 pm

As long as you have the hubs on them, the vast majority of people wouldnt be able to tell.

Jan 23, 2009 at 2:33 pm

When you’re in a beast ass Eagle, who cares?

Jan 23, 2009 at 2:15 pm

I dont see an issue, just lack the sidewall stiffness for my applications.

Josh Quick
Jan 23, 2009 at 1:23 pm

I run snow tires on the front of my Model A hot rod year round. It’s so light in the front they don’t wear any more than summer tires.

Jan 23, 2009 at 12:26 pm


Jan 23, 2009 at 11:46 am

Kudos on the tires you’re all ready for the mud. Eh? Isn’t that why they call them mud and snow tires anyhow? Nice to see an article from you again I was growing a bit weary from the same old stuff!

Jan 23, 2009 at 11:38 am

It’s pretty common to see snow tires on cars all year around here(WI) Most people go with snows or at the very least all season type tires……Whats a summer tire???…..lol
Glad to see you’re back Jen!

Jan 23, 2009 at 11:29 am

its cool glad ur back

Jan 23, 2009 at 11:25 am

I don’t see the problem in running snow tires during summer, it would be more of a problem having summer tires on winter. I learned that the hard way. It doesn’t snow in Southern California (maybe once) but it does rain and is not a great idea to have “dry” tires on a rainy day, specially if the car is 4000 pounds. You’ll be sliding everywhere!!! And I mean everywhere!
Glad to have you back Jen!!! :)

Jan 23, 2009 at 11:21 am

Oh and glad to see you’re back!

Jan 23, 2009 at 11:21 am

Hey look, we’re all broke, so fuck it. Do what you gotta.

Jan 23, 2009 at 11:19 am

YAY! You’re Back!!!! :)

Jan 23, 2009 at 11:17 am

Whats the point in running snow tires all year, It would end up being cheaper to have snow, and summer tires. You wouldnt go through tires as fast.

Jan 23, 2009 at 10:56 am

Studded yes… non studded, no not really

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