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Old 11-18-2010, 10:40 PM
 
Location: Southern California
3,455 posts, read 7,587,545 times
Reputation: 1412

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I'm from Chicago but have spent the last two years in Texas. I can handle winter....what is new to me in Washington is the elevation changes. Snow + ice + hills are a bit more intimidating than the flat lands I'm used to. That and I don't have a sense of how often there is ice on the roads...and/or what they use to melt the ice or snow.

I drive a litte mazda 3 with decent all weather good years. Can I get by with chains only?
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Old 11-18-2010, 11:04 PM
 
Location: Washington State
67 posts, read 187,412 times
Reputation: 93
If you are going to be going up and down hills frequently, i would strongly recommend them. If you live, work, and spend most all of your time in the flatter areas (downtown, valley, gonzaga area, east central, west central etc.) than you can probably get by with whatever you used in Chicago.
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Old 11-18-2010, 11:07 PM
 
Location: Southern California
3,455 posts, read 7,587,545 times
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the worst hill I have to deal with is the hill coming down to Spokane on I-90. I drive from Fairchild to Hwy 195. The ramps on 195 look like they could get hairy, as does the hill between 195 and the exit for Airway Heights....not sure.
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Old 11-19-2010, 12:04 AM
 
Location: Spokane, WA
21 posts, read 74,782 times
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We're from Southern California, not much snow by the beach where we used to live... Chains are for getting in/out of residential areas that are unplowed, like where we moved into near Audubahn Park. Once you got out onto the arterials where the city plowed snow (traction) tires were fine. That was 2 years ago, last year Hoosier racing slicks would have done the trick, there was hardly any snow! SO, who can predict!?
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Old 11-19-2010, 08:56 AM
 
Location: Kentucky
470 posts, read 965,515 times
Reputation: 278
Forget snow tires, invest in a Subaru.
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Old 11-19-2010, 05:07 PM
 
Location: Eastern Washington
15,122 posts, read 47,852,197 times
Reputation: 14372
You can get by with all-seasons particularly if they have more than about half tread depth. Spokane has one of the best boneyards around, Spaldings - go get 4 plain Jane factory steel wheels for your car and put some good snow tires, for example Blizzaks on them, if you have a place to store 4 wheels and tires this has to be the best way to go.

I personally prefer a studless snow like the Blizzak. Tire Rack has good prices and can ship directly to an installer if you want.

Agree that chains are for extremes, not everyday use. You will probably see many days of bare dry or wet pavement.

If you grew up driving in Chi town, you probably know what you are doing, but at the same time a snow tire will give a lot more grip, that's indepentent of technique.
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Old 11-19-2010, 07:15 PM
 
Location: Southern California
3,455 posts, read 7,587,545 times
Reputation: 1412
Quote:
Originally Posted by M3 Mitch View Post
You can get by with all-seasons particularly if they have more than about half tread depth. Spokane has one of the best boneyards around, Spaldings - go get 4 plain Jane factory steel wheels for your car and put some good snow tires, for example Blizzaks on them, if you have a place to store 4 wheels and tires this has to be the best way to go.

I personally prefer a studless snow like the Blizzak. Tire Rack has good prices and can ship directly to an installer if you want.

Agree that chains are for extremes, not everyday use. You will probably see many days of bare dry or wet pavement.

If you grew up driving in Chi town, you probably know what you are doing, but at the same time a snow tire will give a lot more grip, that's indepentent of technique.
I wish all you said didn't seem so intimidating and like a foriegn language to me. I wish my dad was here. Tires are like a foriegn language to me.

And that is part of my problem, I don't have a convienint place to store wheels or tires for that matter.
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Old 11-19-2010, 07:30 PM
 
Location: Eastern Washington
15,122 posts, read 47,852,197 times
Reputation: 14372
Well, a good mini-warehouse would be OK for storage, maybe you have enough other "stuff" that you can justify renting one?

Take a look at your current tires - take a quarter and put George Washington head-first into the tread. If you can still see the crown of his head, if these are all-season tires, they probably won't work all that well in snow. You don't want to throw them away, you can at least get the tire place to put them in big plastic bags for you.

Read up at Tire Rack's website, I was not born knowing this stuff.

Sir Jackie Stewart wrote several good "owner-driver" books, they are not at an intimidating level, he does not assume Jedi knowldge at the start.

If you are going to live in-town, consider a place where you can use public transport when the weather is bad.
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Old 11-20-2010, 03:22 PM
 
Location: WA
93 posts, read 306,879 times
Reputation: 40
I lived in Chicago for a period of time. Never needed snow tires because Chicago streets are plowed and taken care of very well during the winter. Driving in Chicago during winter is very different here - the hills are indeed a factor.

It's a different story here. Snow tires will be beneficial; Will probably need them this year. I would not use chains except to "get unstuck" as mentioned. I get my snow tires from Costco - selection is limited, but their service is decent. Lifetime balancing and helium inflation is included with your initial fees. After the winter season it's $40+ tax to get your regular tires put back on. They'll place your current tires in plastic bags and once stacked cleanly in the bags will not take up much space.

This winter's going to be rough I think, but I'm gonna see if I can hold out against purchasing an AWD or 4WD at this time. Subaru's are popular and thereby expensive in this town; No discounts necessary for the dealerships - in fact they often add a $2K premium just cause they can to MSRP. Odd.
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Old 11-20-2010, 08:20 PM
 
Location: Southern California
3,455 posts, read 7,587,545 times
Reputation: 1412
thanks Mitch, my dad just told me about blizzaks too.

Does costco do installation too?
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