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Old 11-24-2009, 02:26 PM
 
Location: Southern California
56 posts, read 130,006 times
Reputation: 37

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I am considering coming to the Portland/OOB area within the next few weeks to live. Having spent my adult life in California, I am wondering if I will be able to get by with All season tires on a rear drive car. Here in California, the few times I ventured into the mountains for winter, we put tire chains on. I want to be prepared before making the trek.
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Old 11-25-2009, 05:43 AM
 
Location: East Boston, MA
10,230 posts, read 18,343,841 times
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I survived on all-season radials on my rear-wheel drive sports sedan. The key word is "survived." While you can do it, it won't be easy to get around on the actual snowy days. Snow is pretty much permanently covering the ground from mid-late december through mid-april. However, the plowing is good enough (especially on the primary roads) so that the snow on the roads is really only a problem during the actual duration of a significant storm. The amount of days that there are significant storms probably numbers under 10 (of course it can vary) in total so you can expect to have about 10 or so days where it's going to be extremely difficult to drive.

The problem with the RWD (I found) was the hills. Without momentum, it was nearly impossible to get up even the slightest incline (and inclines are everywhere even on Maine's coast). That's tough because momentum isn't necessarily a good thing while driving in treacherously slippery conditions. Braking in the snow is almost the same in any car... you need to be careful.

I did it. I could do it again, but it could be quite difficult at times. I had to make sure I had an hour or more on snowy days to dig out my car and get to work (about 10 minute drive away in normal conditions) or school. You CAN do it. I would just try to make sure you know what you're getting into and get ready to have a few days each year that it's going to be REALLY difficult to drive.
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Old 11-26-2009, 04:51 PM
 
Location: Forests of Maine
33,163 posts, read 54,378,421 times
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Driving through the mountain passes of California is entirely different from driving in Maine. The Sierra Nevadas do require chains, nothing less is legal and nothing less will work. I am from California [near Yosemite].

In Maine the roads are plowed routinely. It would be very rare to drive on a public road in Maine and see 8 inches of fresh snow on the road.

If you plan to stay in an urban area, then regular tires may work for you.

Once here you can then best decide if you need to switche to winter tires. Depending a lot on where you are driving.

There are folks in Maine who do spend a lot of time off-road, or on roads that get a lot of ice. But those are not the normal circumstances for folks down South in Portland.

We live about 3 hours North of Portland and have been here since 2005. So far we have been fine with regular tires.

However we are in a location where there is a lot of fog, which settles, forming ice on the roads. So we may be shifting to studded tires. But this ice is not a common occurance everywhere in Maine.

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Old 11-26-2009, 06:10 PM
 
Location: Maryland not Murlin
8,315 posts, read 23,709,278 times
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Three years in Maine and ten years in Minnesota and I always used 'regular' tires through out the year on mostly rear-wheel drive vehicles. I am also from California. I do not recommend this set-up, but really if you don't drive like a jerk during the winter you will be fine. It won't take you long to get the feel for it.
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Old 11-26-2009, 10:36 PM
 
1,962 posts, read 4,450,939 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by K-Luv View Post
Three years in Maine and ten years in Minnesota and I always used 'regular' tires through out the year on mostly rear-wheel drive vehicles. I am also from California. I do not recommend this set-up, but really if you don't drive like a jerk during the winter you will be fine. It won't take you long to get the feel for it.
Agreed, as long as you stay on the turnpike and major roads. However, if you live out in the country or want to go hunting or adventuring, I would not use regular tires, jmho.
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Old 11-27-2009, 03:43 AM
 
Location: 43.55N 69.58W
3,231 posts, read 6,979,890 times
Reputation: 2983
In my opinion, most Mainers own at least one pick up truck or SUV with 4WD. As the rest of you move there, you'll find at least 100 reasons / excuses to own one. They aren't all weather related. Dump runs can be lame w/o a pick up!
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Old 12-01-2009, 01:49 PM
 
Location: Portland, ME.
11 posts, read 28,046 times
Reputation: 18
Default Driving in Maine in the Winter

Practically every other passenger car in Maine is a Subaru which are all awd.

The reason is simple - with all of the excellent plowing in Maine the roads are still snow covered for some 5 months and dangerous due to ice patches etc. I strongly recommend winter tires or a tire like the Nokian WR G2 which are all season with a severe winter capability. I have used the Nokian WR's the last 3 years in Maine and they handle the snow extremely well.

I think to do otherwise is playing russian roulette in the Maine winter.
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Old 12-15-2009, 10:41 AM
 
Location: Southern California
56 posts, read 130,006 times
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OK...looks like I may be leaving for Maine in the next few days. Should I get all season tires before I leave, or do you think it will be OK to make the drive from California on normal tires and then get new ones after I arrive?
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Old 12-15-2009, 10:43 AM
 
Location: Southern California
56 posts, read 130,006 times
Reputation: 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by K-Luv View Post
Three years in Maine and ten years in Minnesota and I always used 'regular' tires through out the year on mostly rear-wheel drive vehicles. I am also from California. I do not recommend this set-up, but really if you don't drive like a jerk during the winter you will be fine. It won't take you long to get the feel for it.
I will be coming from California and the car is a BMW 328i. Perhaps all seasons at minimum?
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Old 12-15-2009, 11:48 AM
 
Location: East Boston, MA
10,230 posts, read 18,343,841 times
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^I drove a similar car (Mercedes c240 rwd) while living in Maine, I would tell you all seasons at minimum. I did it with all seasons. A set of snow tires would serve you best, but depending on your budget, All season tires would get the job done.
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