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Are snow tires worth it?

Discussion in '5th Gen 4Runners (2010-2024)' started by Skadi4r, Feb 10, 2024.

  1. Feb 10, 2024 at 6:12 AM
    #1
    Skadi4r

    Skadi4r [OP] New Member

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    Recently bought a new 2024 4runner TRD Pro. Currently have the stock Nitto Terra Grappler tires. I live in Colorado and often drive into the mountains to ski. Wondering if the stock tires are good enough for driving on heavy snow days or if I should invest in some winter tires. I've seen mixed opinions on how the stock tires perform in heavy snow.
     
  2. Feb 10, 2024 at 6:17 AM
    #2
    Borracho Loco

    Borracho Loco My 4Runner identifies as a Prius!

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    Oooh look, another mod.....


    I don't live in a snow-ish area, but from all the guys on this site that do, they will insist you get winter tires. I know Blizzak (did I spell that right?) are preferred.
     
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  3. Feb 10, 2024 at 6:20 AM
    #3
    semprenissart

    semprenissart Mèfi

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    dedicated snow tires will most definitely perform better.
    I've driven several times with the stock nitto in snow. Never got stuck, but they are not as stable and braking distance will be increased. I found them to be better than a regular all season tire though.
    I plan on getting a 3pmsf tire like falken wildpeaks when the nitto are due for a change.
     
    Tank010 likes this.
  4. Feb 10, 2024 at 6:48 AM
    #4
    Tooly

    Tooly New Member

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    I have dedicated Continental winter tires that I run 4 or 5 months of the year vs the Toyo AT3 all terrain tires I run the test of the year. Even though the Toyo's have the 3 peak mountain symbol, the winter tires are all around better in the snow for traction and for braking. The tire compound on the winters when the temperature is below freezing is still soft and pliable compared to the all terrains. I have no regrets paying the extra money for dedicated winters
     
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  5. Feb 10, 2024 at 6:48 AM
    #5
    jgalt

    jgalt New Member

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    Snows offer the best traction, acceleration, braking, and steering in snow/cold weather/ice. Cheap when compared to an accident.
     
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  6. Feb 10, 2024 at 7:05 AM
    #6
    Ripper238

    Ripper238 New Member

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    It depends. Snow tires will always do best in snow, but how will they do on dry, wet on not as cold days? I have has some pretty good all seasons that did better across the many variables than just snow alone. Snow tires are soft, so though they may do great in cold/snow it's not like that every day in the winter and that soft compound changes handling on dry and warm days.

    That said you have 4wd which is ideal for bad road conditions and with the right tire you wont need snows. My Duratracs do great all year round, even in deep snow and ice (They can be studded).

    I'm not a Blizzak fan, they were terrible on my Expedition, but i did love my Vredestein snowtracs on my 2wd vehicles. Best snows by far.
     
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  7. Feb 10, 2024 at 7:09 AM
    #7
    CO RUNNER

    CO RUNNER New Member

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    I live in the Aspen area, drive on Nittos and some winters I don't switch to winter/snow tires as most of my driving in the winter is local. However, if you are driving I70 up into the mountains to ski and back, I would certainly invest in a dedicated set of winter tires.
     
  8. Feb 10, 2024 at 7:11 AM
    #8
    packetcollision

    packetcollision New Member

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    They are absolutely worth it. I've lived in Michigan, Minnesota and Colorado (and driven everywhere in between) dealing with a variety of winter conditions. I got my first set of snow tires 20 years ago and I'll never not have them in these climates.
     
    Steve Berman likes this.
  9. Feb 10, 2024 at 7:23 AM
    #9
    achtung6

    achtung6 New Member

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    This is the most sensible take. Driving in winter conditions does require suitable tires though unfortunately, not by law so it's left up to us to make the decision which leads to many avoidable accidents. There are places in the world where winter tires are mandated and that's that.

    That being said, I had a Subaru Outback for many years that had Continental Pro Contact all season tires on it. It did great in the winter around Lake Tahoe. I've only been back once in the winter with the 4Runner on its stock Terra Grapplers.....the 4Runner is far less confidence inspiring on snow and ice than the Outback was by a long shot. I'm sure the vehicle has an influence here but I suspect the tires are a great factor.

    In short, if you are driving on snow and ice for more than a weekend here and there as I do, you'd be doing yourself, your passengers and other motorists a great service by putting your vehicle on the best tires for the conditions.
     
  10. Feb 10, 2024 at 7:59 AM
    #10
    OffroadRunner77

    OffroadRunner77 Navy Veteran

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    Snow tires are great and all, but if accident avoidance is your key concern, having the skills to drive various road conditions trumps any tire upgrade! I don’t say this to discourage anyone from purchasing the right tire, but to encourage more driver training, especially for drivers with less experience.

    I have been trained by some of the best driving instructors out there, with over 29 years of professional driving experience. The skills learned in a formal school, combined with practice on the road in different environments, makes for the safest driving experience.

    If you’ve never been to a formal driving school (one that includes skid pan and race track work), check out what’s available in your area and sign up for a class. You won’t be disappointed.

    Not affiliated but something like this is what I’m talking about:
    https://radfordracingschool.com/
     
  11. Feb 10, 2024 at 8:16 AM
    #11
    Too Stroked

    Too Stroked New Member

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    I've lived and driven in a place that averages 100" of snow each year for my whole life. I can absolutely assure you that 4 true (3 peak rated) snow tires make all the difference in the world in snow and ice driving. (I run 4 Blizzaks on each of my vehicles and swear by them.)

    One thing nobody has mentioned is that the tire is your only contact point between your vehicle and the pavement - or snow or ice. That said, having a tire properly matched to the conditions you drive in makes a ton of difference. Don't let anybody tell you that an All-Season tire is the best because they work in all seasons. What you really end up with is a tire that's at best a compromise in all seasons - but not the best in any one season or condition.

    On the other hand, single focused tires (like Blizzaks) are awesome on hard packed snow and ice, but they don't do nearly as well on hard, dry pavement. This is the same as a high-performance summer tire which is awesome on dry pavement, but hopeless in snow.

    So, I guess what I'm saying is that a true snow tire is indeed better in snow. How much driving you do in snow and ice should determine how far you tip the scale to a single focused tire - of any type. Me? I have 3 complete mounted and balanced sets of wheels / tires for each of my vehicles. Nice, fat sticky summer tires for April thru November, Blizzaks for January and February and then all seasons for the transitions. Yea, I'm nuts.
     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2024
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  12. Feb 10, 2024 at 8:30 AM
    #12
    achtung6

    achtung6 New Member

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    This is the correct answer. Nobody likes it because it's expensive, takes up lots of storage space (for the extra wheel/tire sets) and these tires whether on the vehicle or not are aging every day so they are less fresh the next time they are fitted to the vehicle than when last used.

    Every tire is a compromise at best and most people aren't going to go the way Two Stroked has; also, most drivers don't encounter the extended climate condtions that require dedicated winter tires which is good. The bad is that most drivers don't have the education to know just how compromised their tires are.
     
    Too Stroked[QUOTED] likes this.
  13. Feb 10, 2024 at 9:33 AM
    #13
    Too Stroked

    Too Stroked New Member

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    One could also argue that there are probably two types of common "snow" driving. One is deep snow where one is breaking trails. In these conditions, you want a wide tire with large, deep lugs that allows you to float over the top and not sink in. Tread compound is of lesser concern here. Then there's hard packed snow and ice that you commonly find on roads where you want a narrow tire with lots of sipes and a soft tire compound. Pick the type of winter driving you do the most of and get the proper tire for it. Then realize the compromises that come with that choice.
     
  14. Feb 10, 2024 at 9:34 AM
    #14
    kmeeg

    kmeeg LionRunner

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    Winter tires for CO?
    • In my non expert opinion living in Denver with high fluctuating temperatures winter tires are not my choice.

    Stock Nitto Terra Grapplers -
    • I notice that they don't have 3 peak mountain snow flake symbol. So I don't feel comfortable having them on a day like today which there will be ice under the snow with sunny weather yesterday.
    • The main reason I changed Nitto Terra Grapplers was traction issues with mud during April-May time with lot of rain.
    Especially with TRD Pro -
    • I absolutely hate the non matching spare tire. So I had to decide to get a matching 1 tire or change all 5. I went with change all 5 option.

    Heavy snow -
    • With my experience heavy snow is not the most challenging driving conditions. Its the light snow after sunny day forming ice on road or on trails under fresh show the a thick layer of ice. It get sh#t out of me when I start sliding back when I stop.

    My fav tires -
    • My fav non dedicated winter tire is Goodyear Wrangler Duratrac. They were really good to me in winter traction department but I wasn't a fan of the noise level.
    • But Duratrac was not my taste for rocky terrain or gravel/sandy road. For example driving fast on roads like Rampart range road KO2 has excellent grip than Duratracs. Why I still love KO2s to be my fav off pavement tire. I've taken KO2 on deep snow on trails like Switzerland trail. Love the deep snow grip they have. But on pavement light snow and ice, not very good.
    • Right now I'm running Toyo OC AT3. Not good as Duratracs but very decent. Like them over Falken Wildpeak AT3W. There are few new tires like BFG KO3 and Falken AT4W.

    Return a tire if not satisfied?
    • I don't know whats the return policy of Discount tire but atleast for me they agreed to take back and install my old tires if my new tires have rubbing issues and I want to return them. I'm not sure if they would take back and give a full refund if you drive for a week or so testing on i70 on a snowy day and hit some ski resorts.

    Final thought (personal) -
    • There is no perfect do it all tire. Have to balance the needs.
     
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  15. Feb 10, 2024 at 10:17 AM
    #15
    backpacker

    backpacker New Member

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    For everyday on-road use, I haven't driven a car with snow tires since the mid-70's, despite commuting 2-3 days a week in snow, 4-5 months a year for 36 years. I echo the sentiment that skills matter more than the difference between snow tires and decent all-season tires for that application.

    I've done only a couple hundred miles of forest roads in snow with all-season road tires and of course I'd rather have had bigger lugs. Those were all nail-biters.
     
  16. Feb 10, 2024 at 10:54 AM
    #16
    steelevo

    steelevo Not so new anymore...

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    Welcome. Everyone has already given solid advice. I run a dedicated snow tire/ wheel combo on all of my cars in Utah and absolutely feel that it’s worth it.

    My two cents is, what is your life worth? You may not need the dedicated snow tire all of the time, but all it takes is the one time that you need them, to make it worth their weight in gold.
     
  17. Feb 10, 2024 at 10:57 AM
    #17
    CalcityRenegade

    CalcityRenegade New Member

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    I was always an AT all year guy, but I bought my first set of snow tires as my Subaru had ZR rated summer tires. The difference is night and day. I now run studded winter tires as my climate sees a lot of snow and ice.

    I could easily get away with a set of good AT's with the snow peak designation but I feel the winter's are a good investment.
     
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  18. Feb 10, 2024 at 10:58 AM
    #18
    Too Stroked

    Too Stroked New Member

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    I fully respect this opinion, but let me offer another way of looking at it. As I've already stated, I've lived in the snow belt for my whole life. I've also done my share of plowing in 4-wheel drive trucks. All of them had regular snow tires on them and I was always fairly impressed - until a couple of winters ago.

    I work at a Toyota dealership and we have one of our Service Technicians that comes in early and plows the whole lot. One day he was sick and the Service Manger - who knew I had experience - asked me if I'd fill in. The company truck is a Tundra, but it actually has 4 Blizzaks on it - which I'd never plowed with. I was absolutely blown away with how much traction that truck had due to the Blizzaks. It was actually difficult to spin a tire.

    The moral? I thought good old fashioned snow tires and good technique made for pretty good plowing. I knew Blizzaks were good based on my personal experience. But experiencing them on a plow truck totally blew me away. So yes, there is no replacement for experience, but the right tools can make anyone a lot more capable.
     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2024
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  19. Feb 10, 2024 at 12:19 PM
    #19
    Foothills

    Foothills New Member

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    The only truly safe tires while driving on black ice or hard pack snow are studded tires.
     
  20. Feb 10, 2024 at 2:29 PM
    #20
    Ripper238

    Ripper238 New Member

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    100%.

    That's why Duratracs became my choice over a dedicated snow like Blizzaks. Great AT all season and great in the snow without studs, but if black ice or hard pack snow becomes and issue just stud them for the season.
     
  21. Feb 10, 2024 at 2:33 PM
    #21
    kmeeg

    kmeeg LionRunner

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    You can have studs on Duratracs:D:D

    upload_2024-2-10_15-33-33.png
     
  22. Feb 10, 2024 at 2:37 PM
    #22
    Ripper238

    Ripper238 New Member

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    Exactly. ;)
     
    kmeeg[QUOTED] likes this.
  23. Feb 10, 2024 at 3:24 PM
    #23
    telog

    telog New Member

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    It really depends where in Colorado and type of driving you do. Grapplers are great for the majority of front range conditions/foothills and most mountain highways. Even when i had them, i was impressed with the grappler, just didn’t care for them off-roading. I live close to Evergreen and we can get some big snowfalls, coupled with a fair amount of four wheeling, I put on Wild Peaks AT 3snowflake rating tires. It’s great going up and down the I-70 hill in a storm and even better when you are going over Loveland, Berthoud or similar passes. I ended up keeping my tires on year round.
     
  24. Feb 11, 2024 at 5:28 AM
    #24
    Sin4R

    Sin4R New Member

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    Yes, absolutely, snow tires worth it. They help you stop, turn, and improve traction on ice and snow more than 4WD vs. 2WD.

    A FWD car equipped with snow tires will outperform your 4Runner on all season tires in wintery icy conditions.

    I recommend and use Michelin Ice-X. I also recommend you get a set of rims for them.
     
  25. Feb 12, 2024 at 4:59 AM
    #25
    jgalt

    jgalt New Member

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    So true! However, one has to live w/ the resulting compromises when driving on dry roads w/ studs. It is more justified the more severe your winters are. For those w/ tweener winters, Blizzaks work well, albeit w/ their specific compromises. They are soft, squirmy quick wearing, etc. For those w/ better handling needs in winter, conventional winter tires exist. So one really has to pick the tire type w/ whichever characteristics meet their needs the best. None are perfect, so choose your poison. But yeah, ice trumps all but studs.
     

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