My tires have been getting less and less grippy lately, even though they're well within their warrantied number of miles. And I'm going to be driving a few hundred miles on them over at least one, if not more, of the upcoming holidays. So it was time to get new tires. Coincidentally, the day I finally had enough information and decided where to buy them from and what set to buy was also the day of the first snowstorm. I called the place, and even though I wasn't one of the masses getting their summer tires changed out for snow tires, they could fit me in. My boss kindly offered me a ride from the tire place back to work, then back to the tire place after my car was done.
So, that was that. I got new, grippier tiers. Of course, the employee who helped me assumed I was there for snow tires, but I said nope, just bad timing deciding to get new all-season tires. A few hours later, my car was ready, I paid for the tires (great price!), and went back to work. I noticed that they had put two tires in my backseat (and later saw that the other two were in the trunk), but figured they were so busy they hadn't asked me to approve the disposal fee, and just decided to give them back to me instead. Whatever. The tires did, indeed, feel grippier on the snow, but of course I didn't take any chances.
Then there was freezing rain overnight, and my boss called a snow day, so I didn't drive anywhere for Friday or Saturday. Sunday night, I drove a couple miles to get Nathan's hair cut and go to dinner, entirely on packed snow and ice. Again, the tires seemed grippier, but not surprising considering the non-grippiness of the old tires. I tried demonstrating to Nathan how dangerous in can be to slam on your brakes in those conditions, but my anti-lock brakes kicked in and I came to a safe stop. Similarly, hitting the accelerator didn't result in much action either. Whatever.
Today, I headed to work. After driving on packed snow and ice on the surface streets, I was relieved to see that the highway was clear, so I made good time to work. As I started accelerating to highway speeds, it felt and sounded like my car was revving harder than it should be, like I'd put the shifter in second, instead of drive. But nope, it was in drive, and the tachometer only read 2,000 RPM. Hm. The vibrations and sound really felt like the engine was working harder than it was, but I chalked it up to the new tires being nubbier and grippier than the old ones, and figured I'd get used to it. Then tonight, I went to Shar's house to check on Arya (oops--I said this wouldn't be horse-related; but basically, I hadn't seen her in almost a week, so I went to say hi to her and to Shar), and again, once I got off of the snowy and icy side streets, and onto the bare pavement on the highway, the sound annoyed me and made it seem like the car was stuck in a lower gear than it should have been. Maybe it would take more than a couple drives to get used to the sound and feel of the new tires?
I went to Shar's parked in the (plowed and packed down from driving) street rather than venturing up her not-plowed driveway. Messed with Arya, went inside for some hot cocoa, and Shar's "husband," R, came home. I told them both about my new tires, how nice and grippy they were, but the road noise sure was annoying. R said that was totally weird--new tires should have LESS road noise, if anything. Shar had had an interesting adventure with new tires this weekend, and agreed that the new tires had been quieter than the old ones. Weird. R suggested that maybe I call the tire place tomorrow and see whether they were installed backward, or not balanced after the installation, or something... Hm, makes sense, okay.
R disappeared for a few minutes. I barely even noticed, figured he'd gone to the bathroom or something. He came back in and said "I know why your tires are noisier now--they're studded snow tires!" WHAT??? That explains everything actually, they're grippier (on packed snow) but I did still slide once in them (on bare hard ice), and they hum annoyingly on bare pavement at high speeds. I haven't driven at low speeds on bare pavement with them, because all the side streets and parking lots are covered in snow, so I hadn't noticed the telltale crunching grinding nails-on-a-chalkboard sound of studs on pavement at slowish speeds.
I HATE studded tires. Mostly because of the annoying sound they make, partly because they're no better than regular tires in all but very specific conditions, and slightly because they tear up the roads and make those awful ruts. I don't want to drive in them for those reasons, and don't want to deal with them long-term, because I don't want to have to be one of those people that has to get them swapped out twice a year. What a hassle. Which is exactly why I'd requested all-season tires and joked about my bad timing.
Guess I have to call them tomorrow. It is slightly tempting to go to a different tire store to get the tires I want, and then sell these, since they did only charge me for the regular tires I wanted (on sale!), but I'm too honest to do that. What is NOT tempting is keeping them on for the rest of the winter, though it is slightly tempting to keep them on until this packed snow melts, as they ARE rather grippy. :-)
|Not my actual tires--just did an image search|