Say it ain't so -- Minivan Snow Tires?


Those who have to drive when there are adverse road conditions (as opposed to retired folks who can pick and choose their travel times) need to be able to avoid accidents which are 10-100-1000 times more costly (hospital charges are insane!) than the purchase of studded snow tires. I live in far Northern California where icy roads on mountain passes are the hazard encountered most often. Late night and early morning frost and black ice confront commuters on a daily basis with snows in between. Throw in the incline of the roads, low-medium driving skills of many people … along with the cold and darkness of winter compounding the difficulties of experiencing accidents … for these circumstances, deploying snow tires make sense just like writing checks for insurance premiums each month. It’s true that it seems stupid (98% of the milage & time) until that singular moment when you ABSOLUTELY NEED THEM ! Then, it’s not stupid at all and you’ll congratulate yourself for enhancing your minivans traction (i.e. stopping and steering) to safeguard your families most precious resource … your health !!!

Ford Windstar for the last three years
I put 4 Bridgestone Blizzaks on it and go anywhere. I leave for work at 0400 before my 400 foot driveway is plowed and before most of the roads are. I haven’t been late nor stuck. Did “plow” a bit of snow with the bumper when we had 18 inches though.

BTW I paddle out of the Esopus in Saugerties, as does the rest of my family. If you are around next year, let me know. Check out my webshots for the place. Address is in the profile.

What is missing from that stud testing is the behaviour of studded tires on dry pavement.

Studded tires (especially if you use really long studs) will side on dry pavement and espcially concrete more easily than the same tire without studs.

If you live somewhere where ice or hard packed snow on the roads is common for long periods, then go for studs. If the roads get plowed well and you most often have dry or wet pavement, then I’d suggest no studs.

FYI. Hakkapelitas ARE Nokians

– Last Updated: Dec-03-04 12:22 PM EST –

Hakkapelitas are models within the Nokian tire line, like Blizzaks are a model in the Bridgestone line. The last snows I bought are Nokian Hakkapelita 1's.

I've heard good things about Gislaveds, but have never owned them. I have owned Vredesteins and they're good, too. It's hard to beat snow tires made in northern Europe.

I’ve never owned either.

Most people dont…
…but it’s probably mostly a case of cost and/or ignorance of the benefits. The tire companies push all season tires pretty hard, and with this stupid SUV/4WD craze, most people figure they’re covered. Personally, I’ll take a FWD car with a set of good snows over 4WD with all season tires any day. I see far more SUV’s off the side of the road during snowy conditions than any other type of vehicle. That means something.

I’ve talked a few people into trying snows and NONE of them have ever gone back to using all season tires year round.

Saugerties, NY

I swear by the Blizzaks as well; have 'em on all my vehicles. They’re great for the snow/ice mixtures we often get. In fact, just about time to mount 'em up now. Perhaps I’ll run into you on the Esopus some time. My in laws live in Barclay Heights, and I paddle the creek every time I visit. Nice flatwater time trial stretch. Also put in on the Hudson up in Malone, and paddle down past Saugerties Light into Kingston. Look for a purple/cream QCC700, or Mark 1 surf ski. I don’t imagine you’ll see many surf skis on the Esopus. :wink:


Its easier hearing it from others
Bought four steel wheels at the Toyota dealership that someone took off a new car for $240 and ordered four Blizzaks. I’ve used them for years on my old Benz diesel and they are astounding. I was hoping that I didn’t need them for a front wheel drive though. In the end I did the right thing.

I got the second set of wheels so I can do the switch myself. In the third year I’ll be money ahead. Plus, I manage the timing of the soft Blizzak usage more closely. Keeping 19 year olds with air guns away from my car is also a plus. You may be shocked how tightly they will hammer down your lugs; to the point where there is no way you can get them off to change a flat tire along the road.

Thanks for the sound advice.

BTW, I also did the Esopus after a good rain in early October from four miles above Phonecia to Boiceville (I think). That stretch was a sustained II requiring constant maneuvers for the entire 9 mile run. What a blast! Can’t wait to go back and do it again in the spring.

19 year olds with air guns
> Keeping 19 year olds with air guns away from my

car is also a plus. You may be shocked how

tightly they will hammer down your lugs; to the

point where there is no way you can get them

off to change a flat tire along the road.

And that’s not the worst of it. The likelihood of warping brake disks became so serious that the manufacturers started to come down hard on the tire shops. It’s getting hard to find shops that don’t take it very seriously. If your shop doesn’t, go somewhere else. Make SURE the shop guarantees they 1.) won’t overpressure the air wrench when they install wheels or will use a torque limiter, and 2.) will use a torque wrench to tighten lugs to the manufacturer’s specs.

Blizzaks rule.

Unless you have an all wheel drive Previa with studded snows. It goes and steers and stops like a tank.



Thanks for the clarification. Wonder if they were ever separate divisions though, as I seem to (mistakenly?) recall separate references years ago. Had Gislaveds on my autocross prepped Civic Si’s for many winters (WAY before Too Fast, Too Furious wannabes…), and they were superb. The Blizzaks have a superior compound for ice, but not quite the aggressive tread block/pattern for serious snow.

I third Trilobyte
Had a early model voyager…The snows made all the difference in the world. I’ve got a 2wd ranger now and it has studded snows…'course I live in Buffalo NY…need em 6 mos out of the year.

Blizzaks “sold out” Michellin X-ICE?
When I called around about Blizzaks, a good price was around $106 per tire. Another dealer wanted $128. So, I ordered from the less expensive dealer. He called back yesterday and said that he had “reached his quota” and could not get any more. The higher priced dealer can probably still get them. I don’t think I want to pay that much for tires though. Does anyone have experience with the Michellin X-Ice. They are also around $106. Thanks.