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I think what you need to consider is this: Do you want to spend money on winter tires for normal winter driving + snow chains for those freak times of massive accumulation of snow (Do not drive with chains on pavement!), or do you want to buy an AWD/4WD vehicle + winter tires. Either way you are going to need to buy winter tires to drive in any temp below 40F.

Below 40F all-season tires start to become hard, like a chocolate bar in your fridge, and because of that they loose traction. Winter tires stay soft at much lower temperatures. So even if you never go near a snowflake, if you really want traction in freezing temperatures, winter tires are the way to go. In your case you're going up a mountain in the winter, best traction in ice/snow/slush is winter tires. :)
That may be the most idiotic and worst tire advice I have ever read.

I live in New England where it (shockingly) gets below 40F quite often. It even snows! I have never owned an AWD car or snow tires. Often times, M+S all-season tires will be good enough to get you where you need to go. There were a few storms this year I didn't attempt to drive in due to not having snow tires, so this season I think I will get snow tires if I wind up still having my current Ford Fusion (FWD). With snow tires, it should be plenty good enough in almost anything... unless the snow is too high where ground clearance becomes an issue. And when that happens, the state usually issues a "State of Emergency" where legally you are not to be out on the roads.

Next car we're looking at will most likely be an AWD/4WD SUV and might just go ahead and get a set of snow tires for winter. At that point, it'll handle just about anything New England has to offer weather-wise.

We don't get the storms like some of you guys out West and don't have chain laws at all. When we were out in Colorado and saw those signs for the first time, it was quite interesting!

I will say, if I lived out West, I'd have an AWD/4WD SUV or truck with snow tires for the winters... because why not?
 

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That may be the most idiotic and worst tire advice I have ever read.

I live in New England where it (shockingly) gets below 40F quite often. It even snows! I have never owned an AWD car or snow tires. Often times, M+S all-season tires will be good enough to get you where you need to go. There were a few storms this year I didn't attempt to drive in due to not having snow tires, so this season I think I will get snow tires if I wind up still having my current Ford Fusion (FWD). With snow tires, it should be plenty good enough in almost anything... unless the snow is too high where ground clearance becomes an issue. And when that happens, the state usually issues a "State of Emergency" where legally you are not to be out on the roads.

Next car we're looking at will most likely be an AWD/4WD SUV and might just go ahead and get a set of snow tires for winter. At that point, it'll handle just about anything New England has to offer weather-wise.

We don't get the storms like some of you guys out West and don't have chain laws at all. When we were out in Colorado and saw those signs for the first time, it was quite interesting!

I will say, if I lived out West, I'd have an AWD/4WD SUV or truck with snow tires for the winters... because why not?
Yup yup,

This season, my brother and I made a number of NE trips in silly conditions in his AWD/4WD Tacoma with all season tires and had no issues at all. That's not to say that winter tires aren't beneficial in certain conditions but they are definitely not necessary.
 

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FWIW I drove all over interior BC for the last 3 years in a FWD, Hyundai Santa Fe with a pretty wimpy 4 cylinder engine, decent clearance, a manual / stick transmission, and good snow tires in the winter (studless)

Drove it on everything from gnarly logging roads in the summer to mountain roads in the winter. I only got stuck twice in the mud on a steep hill, after a rainfall. My guess is AWD would have helped in these situations.

Personally love the stick shift in the winter since you can easily gear down on hills etc.

That said, next car will have AWD and enough power to tow something decent
 

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M+S all-season tires will be good enough to get you where you need to go
kriegs13 said:
That's not to say that winter tires aren't beneficial in certain conditions but they are definitely not necessary.

And this is the worst possible advice on tires. @ OP Google "winter tires vs all-season tires" or "AWD vs FWD" and make your own decisions based on facts and science not what anyone here is saying.
 

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And this is the worst possible advice on tires. @ OP Google "winter tires vs all-season tires" or "AWD vs FWD" and make your own decisions based on facts and science not what anyone here is saying.


Sorry, I wasn't clear. My "not necessary" statement was in reference to "anything below 40 degrees". I'm not going to act like I know more than people who have decades of experience with tire manufacturing/sales/development/etc. but to say that anything below that temp will be a problem is ridiculous.


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And this is the worst possible advice on tires. @ OP Google "winter tires vs all-season tires" or "AWD vs FWD" and make your own decisions based on facts and science not what anyone here is saying.
You conveniently cut off where I said "most times" at the beginning of that statement. Of course M+S tires aren't going to cut it all the time for Winter driving.
"Facts and science" like needing snow tires when the temps get below 40F? Come on man.
 

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You conveniently cut off where I said "most times" at the beginning of that statement. Of course M+S tires aren't going to cut it all the time for Winter driving.
"Facts and science" like needing snow tires when the temps get below 40F? Come on man.
Here you go:
Snow Tire FAQ - All You Need To Know About Snow Tires - Automobile Magazine
https://www.theweathernetwork.com/news/articles/debunking-winter-tire-myths/17094
Buying Winter Tires | Dunlop Tires
winter tires guide | 1010Tires.com Discount Online Tire Store
When to Put on Winter / Snow Tires - Tire Talk & Improve Vehicle Performance By Colin | Tire Rack
Winter Tires vs. All Seasons vs. All Weather
5 Myths about All-Season and Winter Tires
Winter Tires keep you in-control when the temperature drops ? Be Tire Smart
https://www.mccluskeychevrolet.com/science-snow-tires-winter-performance/

(fyi : 7C = 40 F)


Try to find an article form a reputable source saying the opposite of what everyone else is saying. You personal "experience" and luck or skill is not science.
 

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i think you're right here. This is what I want to do. Only thing that worries me is the law requiring chains. So no matter what I got to get them. The hassle of taking them on and off sounds terrible. Even if it is just for one season.

Unfortunately I am. I love the one I have now and I don't think I'd own any other vehicle the rest of my life unless it's a second vehicle to the Rav4. I'd consider Subaru, but they're just as expensive and their parts aren't as cheap as Toyota.
Kust keep it, amd get good winter tyres - even an AWD is useless with bad tyres - and a pair of chains to use them when needed. You probably need a special set to fit the RAV4, IIRC somethin to do with the clearance between the wheel n suspension, at least it was the case with my '05. Chaining up is easy, IDK why ppl make such a fuss out of it.

If you find a good deal on a AWD RAV4 however? I'd swap. After making the swap from FWD to AWD I'd never go back anymore. It's a brilliant thing to drive with such ease on snow. Uphill.

Downhill, however, all those AWD won't help you anything. Only good traction from good tyres will help. I've driven the little road to Crystal. It's not a Swiss mtn pass, nut nonethelesd I wouldn't want to drive there on snow with bad tyres (all-year tyres are bad ones).

And no need at all to get stick gear shift. One can switch to low gears also with an automatic gear box to use the motor break downhill.
 

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The law states that a tire with m/s (mountain snowflake OR mud/snow) is classified and acceptable for the winter driving. I have driven around 250k miles with mountain snowflake tires on my truck with 4x4 on about 100k of it. We travel for competition in winter through snow to mountains. I have been stopped during chain enforcement in WA, OR and CA and the troopers say the same thing. I use goodyear duratrac on ny truck year round. Unlike most of the people commenting, I ride 100 days a year and travel ALOT in northern states/canada(45k miles on my truck alone in the last year).

If you can afford it, get awd. If you cant afford it get good snow tires and suffer through chains. I CAN afford it and will never have a 2wd as my vehicle. My wife likes her car and since she doesnt need to drive herself to the mountain fwd and studded tires are great for around the town. I'm guessing people spouting off about how great 2wd is would upgrade in a heart beat if money wasnt a determining factor.
 

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Not at all saying these facts aren't true. But keep in mind that most of these statements are made by those with interest in selling tires.

Are winter tires going to improve a tough driving situation? Yes

Are chains going to improve a tough driving situation? Yes

Is AWD/FWD going to improve a tough driving situation? Yes

Are winter tires for anything close to/below freezing entirely necessary? No way in hell

If such things were true, more than half of the states would have mandatory winter tire regulations. Los Angeles has its brief stretches below such temps (especially at night) but you don't see CHP tire checking on every highway after 8 pm during the winter.


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Discussion Starter #51
I'm looking at 4WD Rav4s right now. Apparently it's a rare thing to find in the south. I am probably going to suffer through chains for a season too see how bad it is and then try and switch the AWD. I'm an outdoor guy and like camping so to me if I'm gonna buy my last car I shouldn't have to put chains on it everytime I drive.




Just a quick thought about all the arguing.......Mountain passes seem a lot different than driving in the snow in the Northeast. I grew up there. I know how bad it gets, but there isn't mountains and they're not like out west. I think I would survive getting to the mountains in FWD with good tires or chains, but I want to get there any day that wouldn't be dangerous for an AWD. Best pow is then!
 

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Not sure why people deal in absolutes in these posts. Plenty of cars that make it through every winter that don't come close to meeting what previous posts say should be required. And plenty of cars decked out with what they 'should' have that end up on the side of the road.

Using your head while on the road is the best tool for the job. And sometimes that may mean waiting it out a day regardless of what you have spent.
 

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I'm looking at 4WD Rav4s right now. Apparently it's a rare thing to find in the south. I am probably going to suffer through chains for a season too see how bad it is and then try and switch the AWD. I'm an outdoor guy and like camping so to me if I'm gonna buy my last car I shouldn't have to put chains on it everytime I drive.









Just a quick thought about all the arguing.......Mountain passes seem a lot different than driving in the snow in the Northeast. I grew up there. I know how bad it gets, but there isn't mountains and they're not like out west. I think I would survive getting to the mountains in FWD with good tires or chains, but I want to get there any day that wouldn't be dangerous for an AWD. Best pow is then!


True story that mountains out west are very different than any driving here in the east. I grew up in Southern California and even the big bear (summit, bear mtn, etc) roads are tough.

I don't think the arguments are about whether or not extra safety features are a good idea. The answer is always yes. Whether or not someone can afford awd is aside from the fact. I was just arguing the idea that anything 40f or below requires winter tires.

FWD cars in a dangerous pass should most definitely use winter tires and or chains. AWD/4WD cars should also probably use such things on a dangerous pass.

One point being made is that all the safety features in the world won't change the fact that trips like these DO IN FACT require a level of caution or skill to make things as safe as we would all like.


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The law states that a tire with m/s (mountain snowflake OR mud/snow) is classified and acceptable for the winter driving. I have driven around 250k miles with mountain snowflake tires on my truck with 4x4 on about 100k of it. We travel for competition in winter through snow to mountains. I have been stopped during chain enforcement in WA, OR and CA and the troopers say the same thing. I use goodyear duratrac on ny truck year round. Unlike most of the people commenting, I ride 100 days a year and travel ALOT in northern states/canada(45k miles on my truck alone in the last year).
In California I probably wouldn't run winter tires either, pretty sure All-Seasons are fine there. :)

In Canada you must by law have winter tires in certain provinces during winter and even in those where it's not, any mountain road in winter has a requirement for winter tires, regardless of fwd, or awd/4wd (or rwd). If you drive in Canada with all seasons in a mountain pass you can/will get a fine. So be careful.
Winter tire rules take effect on B.C. highways as snow flies in the northeast - British Columbia - CBC News

In Washington State by law you can use M+S tires in winter. However beyond the law, if you are driving up mountains and in bad snowy roads and you want to get your vehicle safely, winter tires are what you want.

OP: Your question of do you "need" to get AWD is solved, you don't "need to", you can use proper tires (Law says M+S or winter but for your type of use you should get winter tires). Buy some low profile Thule easy on chains and go about your merry way.

If you want to upgrade to AWD go ahead, nothing wrong with that! But it's about what you want, not what you need. :)

As for your worry of getting places safely, google images of "coquihalla snow" that is what I drive through, with a Fwd car with good winter tires, and have had no problems. I have personally witnessed dozens of 4wd trucks and Awd SUVs hit the barriers or the ditch (and a handful of fwd cars). Almost all of them were driving with All-seasons, a couple even had summer tires. It makes my trips slow to pull over for all those people to make sure they are ok. Drive carefully and equip yourself correctly.
 

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Discussion Starter #55 (Edited)

So maybe I'm judging wrong, but from what I see this just seems kind of the same as a shitty day in the east, except everyone is still trying to treat the road like a highway. I'm not there so I don't know, but from those videos I've driven in this weather with a Saturn with snow tires and couldn't get stuck when I tried. I took a seasonal road with a foot of fresh snow on it and was fine.

Is this the bad weather where chains and AWD are required? Or is is like the road is totally covered with a few inches?
 

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This is my typical winter drive. this is santiam pass in oregon. M/S tires. I have never seen a road side that I wasnt intentionally driving on... keep typing wjatever you want, reality is that your better off with awd and a snow rated tire(legally and not legally m/s is snow rated). If you cant afford it then go with your car, "real" snow tires and chains...

Thoe road in your picture is plowed and dry packed snow. Probably a colder day. There are more benefits of awd and clearence than just simple go power. The vehicle doesn't get as loose while driving either.

If you're just interested in snowboarding 5 or 6 weekends a season and dont care if you miss a good day then great. I would guess thats what these jokers do. I want to ride every day and have no barrier getting there.
 

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Discussion Starter #57
This is my typical winter drive. this is santiam pass in oregon. M/S tires. I have never seen a road side that I wasnt intentionally driving on... keep typing wjatever you want, reality is that your better off with awd and a snow rated tire(legally and not legally m/s is snow rated). If you cant afford it then go with your car, "real" snow tires and chains...

Thoe road in your picture is plowed and dry packed snow. Probably a colder day. There are more benefits of awd and clearence than just simple go power. The vehicle doesn't get as loose while driving either.

If you're just interested in snowboarding 5 or 6 weekends a season and dont care if you miss a good day then great. I would guess thats what these jokers do. I want to ride every day and have no barrier getting there.
Fuuuuuckkk man. :laughat: That shit is awesome haha. I feel ya man. It's just a struggle. Want that outdoor car with good mpg and I'm having a hell of a time finding Rav4s in 4WD for some reason.
 

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Discussion Starter #59
It just meets all the things I'm looking for in one car. It's got a full size tire on the back. It has a ton of room. It's Toyota. It still gets above 25 MPG doing all that. Roof rack. SUV crossover. The only other option is a Subaru Forester which doesn't have the tire on the back.

Thought about grabbing an old Subaru wagon once I get over there but I want reliable and doesn't have the tire on too or back.
 

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So maybe I'm judging wrong, but from what I see this just seems kind of the same as a shitty day in the east, except everyone is still trying to treat the road like a highway. I'm not there so I don't know, but from those videos I've driven in this weather with a Saturn with snow tires and couldn't get stuck when I tried. I took a seasonal road with a foot of fresh snow on it and was fine.

Is this the bad weather where chains and AWD are required? Or is is like the road is totally covered with a few inches?
The first video looks more like a lot of the traction tires required days or the days when they are only requiring chains for the last few miles to the summit. The second video looks like an average chains required day for Snoqualmie pass. That said this season I went to Snoqualmie twice a weekend almost every weekend and I had to deal with only a handful of chains required days. And I would assume you would be going to Crystal from Tacoma, not Snoqualmie and I have no clue what that pass is like during chains required conditions.
 
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