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Discussion Starter #1
A very Happy New Year to everyone. This is a wonderful forum. Thanks for all the useful info.

Here is my question. I am planning to get snow tires for my Ody. Should I get 2 front only or all 4 tires?

With 2 front only, I can save money. This may create different tread wear between working vs. vacationing all seasons.

With all 4, I have to spend more money and hopefuly get better safety from snow tires. It will also help keep tread wear same on
all seasons.

What is your experience with buying snow tires from Tire Rack vs. the local tire shop?



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Don't be cheap about it. When you put snows up front and regulars on the rear, you change the handling characteristics of the vehicle--sometimes dramatically.

With snows in front, you'll get better grip in front than in back. This leads to a greater chance of oversteer (a condition which most manufacturers carefully engineer out of their cars, because it's pretty damned dangerous in unskilled hands). Better to have the two snows on the rear, believe it or not. Doesn't do much good for driving traction, though, does it?

(I'm not the only one saying that, though: http://cartalk.cars.com/Info/WinterDriving/ )

OK, some quick terminology here: oversteer is when the back end of the car arrives at the scene of the accident first. Understeer is when the front end of the car arrives at the scene of the accident first.

Just put similar performing tires on all corners, and retain the handling balance that was designed in by the Honda engineers. Tires are fifty, sixty bucks. Spend the extra money and just do it. This is no place to cheapen out--especially on a minivan where you put your family's life at stake.
 

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1st question has an easy answer: If you are looking at real snow tires (i.e. Blizzak, Arctic Alpin, etc) then you MUST install these in sets of four. That is unless you want to make your driving experience very exciting. These winter tires have substantially greater traction on snow than normal M&S tires. If you you were to install winter tires only on the front (assume a front drive vehicle), consider what will happen when stopping or turning on a snowy/icy surface. The snow tires by definition have greater adhesion and provide greater stopping power (friction) than do the rear tires. Simply put the rear tires will continue going while the fronts stop - and when they are on the same vehicle this results in the rears attempting to pass the fronts. This is not good.

As to your question on where to buy: I have purchased three sets of Blizzaks (in my opinion the best of the bunch). One set from Tire Rack and the other two sets from local dealers. Generally the reason you would buy from Tire Rack is to save money - and the price per tire is very competitive. However, you must add shipping to the price - and then once you get them you have to get them mounted and balanced. By the time you get them on the car, any savings from mail order is wasted on shipping and mounting. The local Firestone dealer also offered free mounting and remounting for 3 years (6 on/offs) - making the Tire Rack unreasonable.

At the end of the day I think your best bet is to buy an entire tire/wheel package (even from Tire Rack) and plan on putting the set on yourself. This allows you to do it on your own schedule and eliminates the cost of mounting and balancing.
 

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Get all four. The above responses detail why.

As for tirerack vs local - I got the Michelin Arctic Alpins mounted on steel LX rims from the tirerack last year. They ran about $525 complete. They came mounted and balanced ready for install. All I had to do was get other lug nuts (for steel wheels) and hubcaps. It takes me less than 1.5 hours to do the change over.

I checked out 3 local places. First was BJ's. They wanted about the same per tire. They had to special order them and I had to chase down rims. Second, was a local chain that wanted almost $1,000 for the same setup. Lastly, I tried a local boutique purveyor of fine vulcanized automotive treadware products just for kicks - they wanted $1,200 if I really wanted "to be cheap about". They had better packages with other brands for "just a little bit more". None were the least bit interested in meeting tirerack's price. I didn't bother checking out NTB as I have not had great luck with them.

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I've been considering snow tires myself. I put Blizzaks on my "old" car (which had rather wide performance tires on it) and the difference was absolutely amazing. It went from being downright dangerous in the snow to better than average. Can anyone comment on the difference snow tires have made on their Ody?
 

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Yes, snows on all four, for sure!! I remember when one of the auto magazines wrecked a test car which had snows only on the drive wheels (I think it was an MR2). They were quite embarrassed over the incident and warned their readers not to make the same mistake.

The comment re the rear getting "loose" and uncontrollable is well taken and applies to non-snowtire set-ups as well. It is most important to have good tread on your rear tires to keep from hydroplaning in the rain. If you have a mixed set of tires, those with the deepest tread should be on the rear, since in most cases, the lightly loaded rear of the vehicle will rise up on the water first and you will end up in the weeds......

Jerry O.

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks everyone. I'm planning to buy a set of 4 tire+rim set from tire rack.

<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Jerry O:
Yes, snows on all four, for sure!! I remember when one of the auto magazines wrecked a test car which had snows only on the drive wheels (I think it was an MR2). They were quite embarrassed over the incident and warned their readers not to make the same mistake.

The comment re the rear getting "loose" and uncontrollable is well taken and applies to non-snowtire set-ups as well. It is most important to have good tread on your rear tires to keep from hydroplaning in the rain. If you have a mixed set of tires, those with the deepest tread should be on the rear, since in most cases, the lightly loaded rear of the vehicle will rise up on the water first and you will end up in the weeds......

Jerry O.

</font>


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"Can anyone comment on the difference snow tires have made on their Ody?"

I just put 4 snows on my 2002 EX and the difference is night and day... see my post in 'Problems and Concers' concerning my thoughts on traction control (unless my T/C isn't working correctly)...

PP
 

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The local tire stores won't even install snow tires for only two tires. It's either four or nothing, safety reasons being cited...
 

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I learned the hard way, I tried putting studded snow tires on the front of my Accord, (trying to save a little money)I had a lot of the problems with the "rear end" breaking loose.
In my opinion put 4 snow tires on or none.
 

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I put 4 Arctic Alpins on my Ody EX. So far I haven't experienced any backend looseness that other van owners seem to have.

I also bought 4 Honda steel rims -- mainly because I didn't want the road salt to attack the alloy rims.

As usual PriceClub/Costco had the best price, but at least in this market ( Ottawa, Canada ) the tire stores weren't that far behind. I saved about $80 going to Costco.

The main problem I had was finding after market steel rims - Costco didn't carry _any_ 16" rims and the tire store's prices ( if they even carried them ) were the same as genuine Honda rims that one dealer had on sale for $75 ea ( regularly $90 ). Ouch! Obviously I went with the Honda rims.

Another interesting thing -- one tire store claimed that the tires that Costco carried were factory seconds ( ? ). It would seem to me with the recent Ford Exploder(sic)/Firestone fiasco no one would even think about selling "seconds". Anyone else heard this ? Is there such a thing in the tire market? Should I be concerned ?
 

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by banner:
I put 4 Arctic Alpins on my Ody EX. So far I haven't experienced any backend looseness that other van owners seem to have.
I also bought 4 Honda steel rims -- mainly because I didn't want the road salt to attack the alloy rims.
Another interesting thing -- one tire store claimed that the tires that Costco carried were factory seconds ( ? ). It would seem to me with the recent Ford Exploder(sic)/Firestone fiasco no one would even think about selling "seconds". Anyone else heard this ? Is there such a thing in the tire market? Should I be concerned ?
</font>
I have the same setup (from tirerack) and they work great. Now if we would only get some real snow.

Tires seconds would be akin to slightly defective dynamite!! I think no one would even consider that especially with the Firestone debacle. Do you really think that Michelin would risk its reputation?? Some retailers will say anything.

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i have the four artic alpins on my 2000lx, and drive between vancouver and kamloops b.c. on the coquihalla highway. a highway with long steep grades up to 12%, and severe winter conditions. i have never had a traction problem, regardless of road conditions. four quality snow tires give me the confidence and security i need to make the road trip with my family in the van.

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I've never had snow tires (not much need here in NOLA), but spent a snowy year in Boston ('95-'96).

I had a Ford Probe with 4 all-season tires that was more predictable in the snow than my friend's Jetta with 2 studded snow tires in the front (he worked at a ski resort).

Just for kicks, we'd drive his car in empty parking lots, go into a slow turn, tap the brakes, and -- instant 180 or 360 with the fronts firmly planted and the rears sliding around in a nice circle.

Great for fun, but not when you're surprised by it. Glad to see you're getting all four!
 

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I had snow tires for the Ody since before the first winter (last year).
I had nothing but extreme pleasure in the snow and on ice since I have been buying Nokian Tyres since 1991. Right now this is my 4th set in over 10 winter seasons and should I mention that I work with my vehicles (I am a district sales manager for eastern Canada).

Currently the Ody is wearing Nokian's Hakkapeliita Q Snow & Ice tires. This is a studdless tires with great tread wear. They will last twice as long as the Blizzaks. They costed $135CDN each in 215R65-16 plus taxes.

When I first bought the tires last year, I had asked the dealer for OEM Rims but got played and they had installed Jobber wheels.

Do not get played with Jobber's Wheel, I had nothing but frustrations with those. I had the wheel balanced over 5 times last winter. They would go out of balance within days. The problem is that Jobber's wheels have 2 bolt patterns and an oversized pilot hole (the hole in the center of the wheel) This hole is supposed to fit pretty snuggly on the Ody's hub to garantee the they will run true and not out of round. With the Ody Spec's wheel nut's torque at 80 Lbs/ft, it has to rely on the pilot to run true.
Another minus for Jobber's wheels for our Ody, the OEM hubcabs will not fit correctly.

Save yourself some griefs and buy the OEM Steel wheels.

Best regards from Montreal

RobertC

<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by banner:
I put 4 Arctic Alpins on my Ody EX. So far I haven't experienced any backend looseness that other van owners seem to have.

I also bought 4 Honda steel rims -- mainly because I didn't want the road salt to attack the alloy rims.

As usual PriceClub/Costco had the best price, but at least in this market ( Ottawa, Canada ) the tire stores weren't that far behind. I saved about $80 going to Costco.

The main problem I had was finding after market steel rims - Costco didn't carry _any_ 16" rims and the tire store's prices ( if they even carried them ) were the same as genuine Honda rims that one dealer had on sale for $75 ea ( regularly $90 ). Ouch! Obviously I went with the Honda rims.

Another interesting thing -- one tire store claimed that the tires that Costco carried were factory seconds ( ? ). It would seem to me with the recent Ford Exploder(sic)/Firestone fiasco no one would even think about selling "seconds". Anyone else heard this ? Is there such a thing in the tire market? Should I be concerned ?

</font>
 
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