Focus on those other 362 days, Charlotte!

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | May 01, 1991

Dear Tom and Ray:

I have a 1989 Acura Integra with a 5-speed manual transmission and 21,000 miles on it's original tires. It's a great car and handles beautifully 99% of the time, but the tires have poor traction in fresh snow. It was a problem again this past winter. I've gotten conflicting advice...four snow tires, two snow tires, four narrower all-season tires. I'd like your advice on the best way of dealing with this problem next winter without sacrificing driving pleasure.

TOM: Well, Charlotte, this is a case in which you really can't have it all. The kind of tires that would be best on fresh snow would be lousy the rest of the time. They'd be loud, they'd have poorer traction, especially in rainy weather.

RAY: Moreover, some cars are inherently better than others in the snow. And the Integra is not one of the better ones. It's lightweight and relatively powerful, so its wheels slip easily when there's snow on the ground.

TOM: If you absolutely must drive in the snow, and it really makes you scared, you should get four good snow tires--and perhaps a nice Jeep Cherokee to put them on. That's the best way to improve the car's snow handling.

RAY: But since you say the car is fine 99% of the time (which would mean it only snows 3 or 4 days a year where you live), it might make more sense to concentrate on the other 362 days. Your best bet , in that case, would be to keep a very good set of regular radials on the car, and use your "personal days" when it snows.

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