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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am in the process of buying a Metris Passenger van. I haven't driven RWD in decades... My first thought was 4 studded snow tires (Buffalo, NY)! Having been reading some posts on the subject I am a little less concerned...however.. for those who do put snow tires on in the winter are you doing just the rear tires or all four and does anyone prefer studded tires?
 

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Do you like to stop and steer as well as getting going in the snow and ice? Put winter tires on all four wheels.
 

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Certainly 4 winter tires.

But, the critical element is the lack of weight above the power delivery axle. I will be experimenting with my passenger van this winter but I am estimating it will need about 300 pounds (6 bags) of play sand. It is $6 per bag and makes more difference than a set of winter tires. I won't be shocked if its 400 pounds. At 4800 pounds it might take that much.

But, why go half way. Studded are best. Ignore faked supposedly scientific research that says Haps or Blizzaks are close to studded performance. They aren't unless you are only driving in deep white snow.

I hated the Nokians I had on my MB sedan and they are sitting in the corner of the garage if anyone wants them. The Blizzaks are pretty good when they are new.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the info... did you put studs on all four? Decades ago I had a Mercury Capri that was helpless in winter... I put 4 studded tires on it and I had a Tank instead of a car ... not sure if it can damage the vehicle at all.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Also.. why are people buying extra wheels and mounting their winter tires instead of just having tires switched around twice a year (hate having to go back to that but I expect it will be worth it.) does it save on time/cost at the garage or make it possible to do yourself? Or??

Oh.. and the reason there are two posts on this is because I decided to switch topic to put it under and couldn't figure out how to delete the other one.
 

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@924 I live in NYC I bough an extra set of steel wheels off eBay and made them dedicated snow wheel I did all 4 and went with goodyear wrt ultra grip ice studless last year bc in NYC your not allowed to have studded tires these tires have mad a big difference for me help out a lot. I do believe this year many companies have put out snow tires with the right load weight we need. Keep us update with what you do.
 

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What ever you do, put the same type of tire on all 4 wheels. Its important for the ABS to work correctly. Most tire shops won't put on dis-similar tires.

I prefer the soft rubber ice type tires for winter driving. I can't stand the noise that studs make and the studs only last a couple of seasons. Studs are certainly better if you have a lot of icy roads. If your temperatures are generally below the freezing level, the ice type tires do just fine. However, with their softer rubber they wear out faster if the roads do not have a snow or ice cover on them most of the winter.

I have a separate sets of rims for my summer and winter tires- it makes the change over easy to do in your drive way.

I live in Anchorage, AK so we see our share of snow and ice.
 

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This again? Ok, winter tires are a personal preference, and I have never seen the need for them, despite the fact that I will drive anywhere the wind is less than 50mph and or precipitation is falling less than .5 inches per hour in rain.

There are four major factors in snow driving when it comes to car design: weight distribution, drive wheels, suspension of the drive wheels, and the function slip for the drive differential. And these variables are completely independent.

A Mercury Capri is either a Fox chassis or a European Ford Capri. Either car had heavy cast iron engines driving the rear wheels through a live axle and often an open differential. Yeah, that would suck in the snow.

Weight distribution: you do not want your weight over the drive wheels- that is a load of BS. If all you were ever doing in your car was accelerating in a straight line, that might be true. But since you steer the car, accelerate the car, and decelerate the car, what you actually want is a weight distribution as close to 50/50 as possible. Oddly, the Metris Passenger Van has a weight distribution of 52/48. Which is damned close. With cargo in back, you will almost definitely have more weight in the back than in the front. This weight distribution is courtesy of the heavy rear deck construction and the tiny lightweight aluminum turbo four that is, in fact, technically a front amidships mounting, since the engines centerline is actually aft of the front wheels centerline.

Suspension of the drive wheels: you want an independent suspension of the drive wheels, unless you are looking for bizarre axle articulation off road. That means that if one wheel is bumped (this reducing traction) the other wheel is not affected. Older, inexpensive rear drive cars had solid axles, so when one wheel hit a bump, the other responded to it and had reduced traction as well. The Metris has a semi trailing arm independent rear suspension, which is not as good as the Mercedes Multilink found in other Benz products, but it is still a full independent suspension and does not suffer from bump interruption traction loss.

Differential slip: most older American cars had open rear differentials. This meant that when one wheel lost traction, it would become the path of least resistance for the power, and all power would be routed to the wheel that had no traction. The Mercedes Metris, in fact, also has an open differential. It also, however, has computer controlled traction control, which acts effectively as an active diffential: if one wheel loses traction, brakes are applied to it, routing the power to the wheel that has traction, while also reducing power output to stop from overwhelming the remaining wheel.

Finally:

Drive wheels: In adverse conditions, ideally, you want four wheel drive. However, excluding that, if your vehicle has a well balanced chassis, a fully independent suspension, and traction control, you want REAR wheel drive. When you accelerate, weight is transferred to the REAR of the car, away from the front, so you want the drive wheels to have the weight at the moment of acceleration- in the rear. This is why front drive cars more readily spin wheels in acceleration- you are lifting weight off of them when they need it the most. When you are braking the car, the drive wheels are basically irrelevant, and the weight transfer to the front is ideal- putting the weight on the less burdened, non driven front wheels. When steering the car, it is preferable that the steering wheels not be powered, and that the weight transfers roughly equally, rather than having plow when the weight is in front, or oversteer when the weight is in the rear.

VW and others extolled the virtues of their FWD offerings back when everything but Fiat/Alfa had cast iron engines. Compared to the front heavy dinosaurs that American and Japanese companies were peddling at the time, they were better in the snow- if your vehicle is going to have 500-1000lbs of cast iron boat anchor in front (say a 305 cubic inch Ford V8) then yeah, front wheel drive is superior. But in today's day and age when the lowest output of MBs 2.0 aluminum four can spank a Ford 5.0, and the highest output (CLA45AMG, 375bhp, 350lb-ft, 0-60 in 4.1 seconds) can spank a C5 Corvette- yes, same basic engine as the Metris- that is really not true because it is very easy to balance the chassis.

You were asking in another thread about the turbo's durability- keep in mind that this engine is used in 4 main ratings- 200 (181 bhp, 221lb-ft), 250 (208bhp, 258lb-ft), 300 (241bhp, 273lb-ft) and 45AMG (375 bhp, 350lb-ft).

The AMG version is somewhat modified, but does use the same basic block and architecture. The 250 engine we get in the Metris is actually an under stressed unit.
 

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@OP,
I find it a lot easier to switch winter/summer tires by having two sets of rims- One winter/one summer.
One of the benefits is that the winter tires can be sized smaller and narrower than the summer. It aid in traction and lowers the cost of the tire.
I also own an Audi TTS, having dedicated snows is a must. Performance summer tires won't go anywhere, even in the lightest snow, as the rubber and tread are not optimized for cold and wet/frozen precipitation.
I don't know where you live, but here in NYC area, you can get away with all seasons 90% of the time, but if you live where it gets very cold or gets heavy/prolonged snow, getting dedicated winter tires is the way to go.
Tire Rack should give you good recommendations as well as inexpensive rim options.
B
 

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I've had good results with Continental VikingContact™ 7 - having had to replace NOISEY Pirelli studded prematurely (may not have been the tire's fault for premature wear - b/c of COVID-19 could not change them at end of winter and so ended up driving on winters long into summer....)

In any case, rather than just replacing a couple of the Pirellis that had lost many of the studs and were very NOISEY (did I say that?) - I researched the VikingContact™ 7 and have been quite happy with them so far this winter season - although not driving much b/c of COVID-19.

I have them on steel rims which I have a tire shop swap out for summers on alloy rims seasonally.
 
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