It’s always a good idea to be prepared for the environment in which you regularly drive. This year, after 55,000 miles, the original equipment tires on our 2018 Buick Regal TourX were down to the wear bars and our Nevadan infrequent rains became a sketchy proposition. The plan was always to get winter tires this season to put on the stock wheels, then in the spring get a second set of aftermarket wheels to put a more summer-appropriate compound on. I’ve been doing this since I got my license, and the trend certainly isn’t going to die now.
Winter tire evangelists like myself are always trying to convert the uninitiated to our side. Often the argument comes down to a matter of budget or inconvenience, but spending a few hundred bucks on a second set of wheels and tires is far less expensive and more convenient than getting in a fender bender. If the better cold/snow/ice grip of a set of winter tires manages to stop your 4,000 pound projectile even 20 feet shorter, that could be the difference between stopping normally or sailing through the back seat of the rusty sedan stopped at an intersection in front of you.
Even in Nevada, we always go for snow tires on our daily drivers. While it doesn’t often snow down in the valley in Reno, we frequently find ourselves driving over I-80 into California, and that route is occasionally blocked to drivers who don’t have chains or snow tires, and usually has at least a little bit of snow. So I ordered up a set of 235/50-18 Goodyear Wintercommand SLs from Tire Rack, and drove the twenty miles to Tire Rack’s Nevada warehouse to pick them up in person. I paid the full $734.48 for them, but got a discount for picking up instead of shipping, which, you know, is why I order from Tire Rack anyway.
So when we decided on a whim to pack up our shit and move back to the midwest just before Christmas, I was glad we had winter tires. And a couple of weeks ago, after a heavy dumping of snow, when we decided to spend a week at my parents’ cabin up north, I was really glad we had winter tires. It was just the right mix of carbon black, silica, tread depth, and sipes to get us three hours into the depths of northern Michigan without a single bit of trouble.
Combined with the TourX’s surefooted all-wheel drive system, it was just totally unflappable. There wasn’t a single mile of clean pavement between Kalamazoo and Traverse City that day, as we decided to take the back roads for a more scenic route. It was a lovely drive, and in something less steady would have been a white knuckler.
That’s it. There was no close call. There wasn’t a story to tell about how I got sucked into a ditch. There wasn’t a panic stop to avoid a kitty in the road. It was just a normal everyday road trip that went swimmingly because of our tire choice. It’s a public service announcement that everyone here who lives north of, say, Cincinnati, or higher than 3,000 feet, should absolutely get a set of winters. And if you’re in an area where it’s legal [Michigan isn’t one of them] maybe consider getting them studded to dominate ice.
And since our trip back from the north of the mitten was layered with road salt, it’s time for a nice touch-free wash for the old girl. She has now crossed 60,000 miles and still feels as nice as the day we brought her home from the dealership. Along with winter tires, I can’t recommend the TourX highly enough. Great car, this one.
That’s all. Thanks for reading.