Sunday, November 11, 2007

Forced expenditures

The car we have has All-Season tires on it. I was under the impression that four season tires would be adequate during winter since winter counts as one of the four seasons. Our friend Dan informed me that no, we will be needing winter tires. I did not want to believe this because were I to, I'd have to go spend $650. I spent all week grilling people about the necessity of winter tires. I couldn't believe that even though the marketplace is rife with various models of all-season radials, that they are basically useless here in the winter. Why would they be selling them if this were true?

I was like the giant pharmaceutical company telling the labs to run the tests as long as they arrived at the result specified.

Person after person shot me down. "Yeah, I thought like you until I had that terrible accident." "Oh yeah, those four season tires, that's what made me do a 360 on the Papineau bridge." "Those tires turn your car into a death trap. You must get winter tires."

Finally forced to face facts, I spent a couple days hunting for the best deal on new tires. I looked at private party ads and big box store prices. I priced out shipping them from the states, which would be a hundred cheaper, but customs delays cannot be ruled out. And snow is imminent at this time of year.

I found a deal to go to Cuba during my research (I got waylaid a bit) One week, plane, hotel on the beach, all inclusive meals and booze for $699 tax included. Hmmm, a set of tires or a week on the beach in Cuba? If I were younger, I'd opt for Cuba. Being the responsible adult, sigh, I will be getting the tires (this morning at 8 o'clock). Luckily I have spouse though, so maybe we can do both.

22 comments:

The Wisdom of Wislon said...

mmm Cuba..bugger being responsible and do it all!

Lemuel said...

If your present tires are good, you might consider buying four "inexpensive" rims and have the new winter ones mounted on them. Then you can easily switch from "winter tires" to "summer tires" each year and get a whole lot more wear out of the winter ones.

The "all year tires" that are sold now seem sufficient for all year around here (but we do not get the severe winters you get) - but back in the 70's and early 80's I had separate winter tires and summer ones and had each mounted on rims. I would just "change the tires" late each fall and early each spring.

BTW, are you allowed to have studded tires up there? They can be helpful, if they are allowed.

Patricia said...

winter tires??? i vaguely remember people here used to get "snow tires" when i was a kid but i haven't heard mention of those in ages.

getting them at 8 a.m. on a sunday is just wrong, by the way.

Ed said...

If you don't plan to drive outside the city during winter then I don't think you really need snow tires. If it snows deep in the city just wait until they clear the snow away. It is not like you need to drive every day. Save the money and plan a winter vacation to a warm place like Belize.

wayne said...

Cuba?? Don't you have a USA passport?

Maurice said...

Yeah, those all-seasons tires are only good for places that don't have harsh, snowy and slushy winters like we do. Plus, I believe the law of the land in Quebec is that you must have winter tires. They do make a difference, even in the city. But studded tires aren't necessary in the city, and I believe they're even illegal in some jurisdications, though don't quote me on that.

I understand the temptation to go to Cuba instead, but it sucks being an adult, eh? The fact is, there will be more winter to get through after your week down there, and we all want you to be safe driving.

dbv said...

We don't have the need for snow tires down here, it was 86 yesterday. I think if it snows, they just shut down all of Houston and that's just for flurries. If you want to get away for the winter, check the link in my old blog to my new one. If you know anyone, there's a referral fee involved!! If not, you guys seem like fun, I'm going down for 6 weeks around the 1st of May and you and Serge are invited!! I bet that's cheaper than $699 to Cuba, but it won't help for the winter!! Sorry!!

Cooper said...

You do need winter tires. All season radials are for places that don't actually get snow. Why they are marketed that way, I will never understand. If I didn't have winter tires, there are times I wouldn't even get out of my own street. The first day we had snow here this year, the sides of roads were littered with cars sporting All-season radials. Okay, I've added enough yes, you need them anecdotes ... Cuba sounds way more fun, though.

Kevin said...

I live in and have been driving for 22 years in one of the snowiest climates on earth (thanks to Lake Effect Snow) and I don't know of a living soul who actually buys snow tires. I even have almost the same model van as you and have never had a problem with the standard tires that came with it. However if you really wanted to upgrade, "Tiger Paws" are what my spouse and I swear by.

Snooze said...

I used to always switch between all season and winter tires when I lived in Sudbury. Maurice is dead on that all season was not meant for harsh winters. Just store the other ones in your garage until the spring.

CoffeeDog said...

I heard someone tell a story that they were looking for winter tires and many tires stores gave them a glazed look and said "There is no such thing as winter tires anymore" Who knows what to believe!

Cuba, why is the US still holding out?? We should just go in there, take over, and make it a mini-resort area! lol

Ed said...

Don't you know that Cuba is a hated Communist country? We can't have any thing to do with such a place ever! China on the other hand is a bastion of Democracy and our best friends. They would never poison our food or our pets food or our childrens toys or ...uh oh never mind!

jalishouse.wordpress.com said...

It's a sign of my immaturity that I choose Cuba!

But then I live in Georgia now where it never snows. I don't want to learn of you doing out of control doughnuts on an overpass.

Hopefully handsome and charming spouse will opt for both.

Signalite said...

What's win-ter? The more I hear about snow the less likely I am to ever experience it.

RoxRocks said...

We had ours switched over on Friday on the van. We've gone without on some vehicles but the way they were (not) plowing the roads in GP, we opted for snow tires. Plus, Hubby kept his eyes open and bought some that had been used for a winter and they only cost us 200 bucks. (Their previous owner had wrecked their van and didn't need the extra tires) I highly recommend getting the extra rims too. Makes changeouts easy-peasy.

Truthspew said...

I'm in southern New England and have never, ever put snow/winter tires on a car.

Then again, I travel mostly city and the roads do get plowed for the most part. Of course ever since they started using contractors they only scraped down until there's about 2-3" of hard pack snow on the ground because the nitwits don't want to buy the rubber blade guards.

Then you get the newbies who don't have the guards and who do plow down to pavement. The flying sparks are the dead give away there.

GayProf said...

Ugh -- Sometimes I hate car stuff.

Java said...

Ah, to be responsible or have fun? Here's my conundrum: 18yr old daughter needs to have wisdom teeth removed, and soon. Really no way around it. And oral surgeon needs $900 up front, since insurance coverage is inconsistent with these things. AND our van needs new tires. In SC we don't need snow tires, thankfully, but we do need tires, with tread, that will hold the requisite 80 psi for that vehicle.* This needs to be done very soon, as well. There is no fun option here, except maybe buying Christmas gifts. Yup, sometimes being a grown-up sucks.

*When the tire gets to the point where it can no longer maintain that pressure, it tends to release all the air pressure in a spectacular display of force. Yep, that happened to us last month on the interstate 100 miles from home, the van full of nelly boys and our dyke daughter. We were on our way home from the Asheville gay pride event. It was 11:00 pm, very dark. Thankfully, though, it was not raining. Superman and the dyke changed the tire. I tried to keep the boys from shaking the van too much while it was on the jack. Don't you love those memorable excursions?

Elizabeth McClung said...

CUBA! CUBA! CUBA! All the way!

I too am confused, can we get a refund for winter then if it actually counts as two seasons?

David said...

Sooooo glad I don't have a car. Although touch base with me again the next time I go grocery shopping on foot in a snow storm.

Mark in DE said...

I think the tire manufacturers should rename them 3-season tires, since everyone agrees they shouldn't be used in winter.

Isn't there some sort of travel restriction to Cuba? Maybe it doesn't apply to Canadians.

Mark

dawn said...

Boooo tires. Don't you take the friggin public transportation everywhere anyways?

But wait, can we go to Cuba? Do you mean Cabo? Cause um, I don't think you should be going to Cuba, that might not end well. If you do go, drink a lot of the free booze, cause you might be in for a long trip there. Or a ride on a life raft to get back (with 25 other people)