4-Wheel Drive or Snow Tires?

Discussion in 'The Garage and Car Talk' started by TheHitman, May 1, 2018.

  1. TheHitman

    TheHitman Booting up Skier

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2017
    Posts:
    63
    Location:
    Fort Collins, CO
    Looks like I'll be moving to the Ft Collins, CO area in the next couple months.

    So I need to figure out the best vehicle to get me up to Eldora and Winter Park every week or two during the winter.

    I currently have a front wheel drive Toyota Highlander that does pretty well in snow of North Carolina and West Virginia, which actually has steeper and more twisting turns.

    I'm wondering if I need to trade it in for a 4-wheel drive?

    Or should I just get snow tires? Or a good, true all weather tire.

    If tires are a good choice, what brands are recommended?
     
    coskigirl likes this.
  2. Philpug

    Philpug Enjoying being back on two wheels. Admin Pugski Ski Tester

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2015
    Posts:
    17,214
    Location:
    Reno, eNVy
    Ideally 4WD and snow tires but start with at least 4 dedicated snow tires for the winter months. Sorry, but there is no such thing as a "Good, true all weather tire".
     
    Banzaibikes, chilehed, Alexzn and 9 others like this.
  3. tromano

    tromano Goin' the way they're pointed... Skier

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2015
    Posts:
    828
    Location:
    Layton, UT
  4. surfsnowgirl

    surfsnowgirl Instructor, newbie Subaru driver and winter lover Skier

    Joined:
    May 12, 2016
    Posts:
    2,990
    Location:
    Soon to be part time Vermont resident
    TheHitman likes this.
  5. coskigirl

    coskigirl Making fresh tracks Skier

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2015
    Posts:
    2,199
    Location:
    Lafayette, CO
    Get rid of the front wheel drive SUV in non-snow country unless you plan to drive it into the ground once you get it here. Regardless of whether it will do the job here it will be very low value when selling later. Most dealerships around here don’t even stock non-AWD SUVs.
     
    Alexzn, Mendieta, Sibhusky and 2 others like this.


  6. Ken_R

    Ken_R Living the Dream Skier

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2016
    Posts:
    1,951
    Location:
    Littleton, CO
    I have AWD and Snow Tires (Blizzak DM-V2) on our Subaru and AWD and AT Tires (Cooper Discoverer AT3's) on my SUV (Honda Pilot) and have had great results in the MTNs this winter during heavy snow. But if you put good Snow Tires on the Highlander for the winter months you should have no issues getting to any ski resort in Colorado during a snow storm. But yeah, resale is going to be very difficult.

    AT tires and 4WD are great for non paved roads and deeper snow off the beaten path.
     
  7. CalG

    CalG Getting off the lift Skier

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2017
    Posts:
    703
    Location:
    Vt
    four wheel drive won't do a thing for you while sliding off an icy curve. Nor will it help one iota while your vehicle becomes number three in a four car, rear end pile up.
    TIREs will help!

    Both my wife and I drive 25 miles each way to "the Valley" in winter. 'Over "Hog Back", about 1500' up and then down. Often the weather up high is more troublesome than down low. The road follows the river. Twisty is an understatement.
    We look at new WINTER SNOWS every other year as cheap insurance. Summer tires go on in summer. ;-)

    The best part of winter snows is the first 4 mm of tread depth. Running snows until "worn out" is foolish.
     
  8. Magi

    Magi Instructor Instructor

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2017
    Posts:
    294
    Location:
    Winter Park, Colorado
    This ^^^^


    Snow tires help you stop, turn, and go. AWD/4WD help you go. Having lived *in* the CO mountains for the last 3 winters (and having the driveway voted "worst" by the guys who plow most of the county), with a front wheel drive car and four non studded snow tires... I can tell you that its the tires that matter,
     
    pete, Mendieta, Scruffy and 2 others like this.
  9. Thread Starter
    TS
    TheHitman

    TheHitman Booting up Skier

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2017
    Posts:
    63
    Location:
    Fort Collins, CO
    Okay. I like my Highlander a lot. Heck, it's paid for and only has 60k miles on it. So I'll probably keep it for several years and just run it in the ground up and down the mountains. So I'm leaning toward keeping it and getting snow tires.
     
    Ken_R and coskigirl like this.
  10. Philpug

    Philpug Enjoying being back on two wheels. Admin Pugski Ski Tester

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2015
    Posts:
    17,214
    Location:
    Reno, eNVy
    Oh, get a 4 Wheel Drive badge for the back..for chain control. ;)
     
    x10003q likes this.
  11. tball

    tball Unzipped Skier

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2015
    Posts:
    1,263
    Location:
    Denver, CO
    Oh, if we only had chain control. I know, be careful what you wish for, but don't they have an express pass for chain control yet?

    You'll be fine with good snow tires you swap out each winter/summer. Michelin Xice or Nokian Hakkapeliitta if you want the best. Non studded is probably the way to go from Fort Collins given how much dry pavement you'll see.
     
    TheHitman likes this.
  12. jzmtl

    jzmtl Intermidiot Skier

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2017
    Posts:
    238
    Location:
    Montreal
    x-ice is better for highway cruising, but deep snow/slushy performance isn't the best. Since you have FWD it's probably better to sacrifice some handling and gas mileage and go for a more aggressive winter tire, like WS80 or Hakkapelitta.
     
    pete likes this.
  13. François Pugh

    François Pugh Out on the slopes Skier

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2015
    Posts:
    1,594
    Location:
    Great White North (Eastern side currently)
    Hakkapelitta. Done.
     
    Sibhusky and Scruffy like this.
  14. Monique

    Monique bounceswoosh Skier

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2015
    Posts:
    8,561
    Location:
    Colorado
    As @Magi said - 4WD only helps you go. It's no help for stopping. That's where tires matter. I've had X-Ices on four AWD cars in the winter. That's for highway driving. If you spring for a dedicated set of wheels, Discount Tire will swap them out for free. Note they'll do it even if you bought the wheels and tires elsewhere.

    If you didn't expect to drive into the mountains to ski, you wouldn't need snow tires. So an option would be to keep the Highlander as is, and have a second AWD or 4WD car for winter fun.
     
    pete and Philpug like this.
  15. Bill Miles

    Bill Miles Getting on the lift Skier

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2015
    Posts:
    236
    Location:
    Hailey, Idaho
    One thing to note. Most shops won't do the swap if your car has tire pressure monitoring and your snows don't have sensors. If they do have the sensors there may be a charge for resetting the system. I do the swap myself.
     
  16. Tom K.

    Tom K. HRPufnStf Skier

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2015
    Posts:
    1,745
    Get a set of Hakkas and move on to the next moving-related hassle!
     
    Sibhusky, Ken_R and SShore like this.
  17. Monique

    Monique bounceswoosh Skier

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2015
    Posts:
    8,561
    Location:
    Colorado
    I buy the sensors. They're cheaper than buying a full set of expensive tires (which, depending on who you ask, is what you must do with AWD). Discount Tire doesn't charge me for the reset. The Subaru dealership does. :huh:
     
  18. jmeb

    jmeb Stereotypical Front Range Weekend Warrior Skier

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2015
    Posts:
    1,733
    Location:
    Colorado
    If you don't want the mess of swapping tires, consider the new generation of silicia-compound based AT tires that are 3PMSF rated (i.e. snow tire rated): Goodyear Duratrac, Falken AT3W, Cooper ATW. All are suitable for year round use in CO, and have mileage warranties in the 40-50k range. Come highly recommended by yours truly who ski commutes on the same roads you're talking about 40+ days a year, and spends all summer exploring dirt roads around the west. Pretty sure @nay (also local) likes his too.

    If roads are open to ski resorts, you'll get there with a set of them in your FWD highlander.
     
  19. Philpug

    Philpug Enjoying being back on two wheels. Admin Pugski Ski Tester

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2015
    Posts:
    17,214
    Location:
    Reno, eNVy
    I am actually considering thse for the Alltrack next season. I am limited to what is available in 17" options. I think I have to jump to a 215 from the 205 that comes standard.
     
  20. SShore

    SShore Resident Curmudgeon Skier

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2015
    Posts:
    400
    My wife has a Volvo XC70 FWD with Hakkas. I have a RAM 1500 4X4 with Blizzaks. As long as we are talking about driving on paved or normal dirt roads, I will take the FWD Volvo with the Hakkas over the 4X4 pickup any and every day of the week. It is only when we driving on nasty dirt roads with frozen deep ruts that I would choose the pickup.
     
    Sibhusky likes this.

Share This Page


  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice