No need to trade in your car, just get a set of snow tires.

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Jan 01, 1995

Dear Tom and Ray:

Help! Our beautiful blue Saturn--which we think is the best car made in America--has turned on us. As soon as the snow hit, the car turned into some kind of snow monster. It goes all over the road. Everybody else goes better than we do. The car has the larger engine and P195 60 R 15 tires with front wheel drive. Is there anything we can do, or should we trade it in for a Japanese car?

TOM: A Japanese car won't help, Peter. What you need is a good set of snow tires.

RAY: First of all, even front-wheel drive cars can be lousy in the snow if they're small, light-weight, and have too much power. And your Saturn fits at least two of those categories (I wouldn't call it "over-powered," but it certainly has plenty of power with that larger engine).

TOM: Second, the tires you've got on there are "performance" oriented tires. The numbers tell us that they're relatively low and wide, and designed to maximize handling on dry roads. And like most performance tires, they probably stink in the snow.

RAY: So what you need are four, high quality snow tires. You'll be amazed at the difference they make.

TOM: If you get good snow tires, it'll cost you about $400. But that's a heck of a lot cheaper than a new Japanese car....and the $400 worth of snow tires you'd have to get for THAT car, too.

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