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I realize this is probably a loaded question with no clear-cut "line in the sand" answer, but I'd still like to see what people say. I live 3 hours from Tahoe area, so in the winter it is nice to have true ice/snow tires for going to the ski resorts on the weekends. BUT... my Mon-Fri drives around home are done at sea level, on completely dry (or rain wet) pavement, usually in the 45-65F range.

I know why it's not a good idea to drive winter tires year round, but I don't see any published specs from tire mfr's regarding what max temp they suggest their tire be used in. I'm faced with the options of:

a) leaving tires on all winter which at best will cause faster wear on them, and at worst will be a safety concern if I give up traction on wet "warm" pavement

b) swap tires every weekend, which is obviously a PITA, though I know at least one person living nearby who does this

I'm aware that performance winters may have been a better solution for my situation compared to ice/snow tires, but I do not want to even give up a tiny fraction of ice performance, after a scary incident I had on ice last year.

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3 Answers 3

up vote 5 down vote accepted

I live in New England. It can snow anytime from Haloween until April 1st. Depending on the year we can get five or twenty-five significant storms a year. Most of the winter the average daytime temp is in the twenties, but can easily hit forty for a few days. Most roads are bare two days after a storm. Everyone I know that does use winter specific tires put them on and leave them on all winter. In your case I would leave them on for the ski season. No maker that I am aware of has an absolute number when they should be removed. You are going to put wear on one set or the other. Although the chance is ,swapping the tires every weekend may be risky. Think in terms of you're running late, your in a hurry,it's dark, did I torque all the lugnuts? Yea sure I did I've done this every weekend for the last 12 weeks.

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Here in Ohio we get 30 degree days and snow for awhile, then can suddenly get near 80 again early on in the Winter. Also it's pretty standard to use snow tires for our Summer gravel/dirt road rallye events. Wear is accelerated at higher temperatures, especially if you corner hard on paved roads. Other than that I can't say I've ever witnessed any other issues. One concern is overheating the tire to the point of failure though. On light sportscars, it hasn't seemed to be a problem, but if I had a truck loaded to the max gross, well, that's another story entirely...

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Winter tyres are usually rated for use when ambient temperatures are below 45F, so if you are going above that you will shorten their lifespan.

You also need to realise that above that temperature they will not be as good at stopping you as normal tyres.

As long as you take these factors into account, you can certainly use them all winter.

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