I have an ' Toyota Celica GTS I have been...

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Aug 01, 1994

Dear Tom and Ray:

I have an '87 Toyota Celica GTS. I have been told by three different mechanics that even if I put snow tires on the car, my car will still not perform satisfactorily in the snow because the car is too light. I have trouble getting traction and stopping in the snow. Right now I have 60 series all season performance tires on the car. What is your opinion?

RAY: It's true that this car is light and powerful, so even though it's front-wheel-drive, it's not very good in the snow.

TOM: But those meatballs who told you that snow tires won't help are wacko, Robert. You SHOULD use snow tires on this car. And I'd use four of them. If I could, I'd use six or seven of them.

RAY: "Performance" tires--like the ones you've got on now--are designed to do best on dry pavement. They tend to have a relatively smooth tread pattern, a wide contact patch, and rubber compounds that work best at moderate to high temperatures.

TOM: Snow tires are just the opposite. They have long contact patches, and tread patterns with sharp edges that bite into snow when the wheel is spinning. They also use rubber compounds that are specifically designed to perform well on snow and ice at low temperatures. Some directional snow tires even have grooves that open up when the tire is spinning to give you even more starting traction.

RAY: All season tires are a fine year-round compromise if you live in a place where it only snows once or twice a year, or you're the boss, so you can stay home and watch The Weather Channel when it snows. But if you have to drive in the snow on a regular basis, nothing, except well-fed sled dogs, beats four, good quality snow tires.

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