Results 1 to 15 of 15

Thread: Studded Tires...

  1. #1
    Member G3_Guy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Kasilof, AK
    Posts
    91

    Default Studded Tires...

    So as my previous posts have indicated, we have just moved to AK. I've talked to several folks over the past 6 months or so who have hinted that studded tires are a necessity here in AK in the winter. With that being said, I am wondering if this is true for all vehicles or not. I have a 08' F250 4x4 Crew Cab Diesel and will be living in the Soldotna area. Do you think I will need studded tires for my vehicle? If so, what's a reasonable price to pay? Also, when would I need to switch over to the studded tires? When would I need to switch back? I've probably ask a lot of rookie questions here but you don't know unless you ask... right.

    Thanks in advance!

    Brian M.
    G3 Guy
    "...with God all things are possible." - Mark 10:27

  2. #2
    Member JOAT's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Soldotna, ALASKA since '78
    Posts
    3,720

    Default

    No, you do not need studs. With a 4x4, just throw it in 4WD when there is ice/snow on the roads and leave it there. Four wheels getting locked up power will beat a one-wheel drive studded tire every single time. And before some jackwagon jumps in claiming you'll ruin your transfer case if you use it... hogwash! I've got over 203,000 miles on my current Dodge and I leave it in 4WD all winter, every winter. Did the same thing with the Dodge before that which racked up over 160,000 miles before I replaced it (still in great running condition BTW).

    If you do want to get some dedicated winter tires, go with sipped tires instead of studs. Sipping gives you tons more traction than any stud on the market. Again, 4WD is going to give you better winter performance than everything else.

    Much more important than your tires is the way you drive. Driving on Alaskan ice/snow is a unique skill and cannot be compared to any driving you will ever do down in America. For one thing, the colder it is, the more traction you will have. Conversely, the closer you get to melting point, the less traction you will have. Adjust your driving accordingly.

    Here are the winter driving rules...

    Leave early and never, ever be in a hurry to get somewhere

    Use 4WD as much as the roads will allow

    Don't drive in the ruts - the 2 black tire lines that form down the main driving lane are the slickest part of the road. Learn to put your tires on the snowy edge and the center patch, especially when braking. Snow has far more traction than ice.

    If the temperature is below freezing, the road is slick even if you can't see the ice. Drive accordingly all winter long.

    Increase your following distance to the vehicle in front of you. Pay attention to the road and the traffic. Brake early.

    There is no such thing as a panic stop in the winter. Apply your brakes early and slowly. If any wheel locks up and skids, let off the brake pressure until the tire is rolling, find the traction area at the edge of the road and use it.

    Same thing when the light turns green. If you apply throttle and the tires start to spin, let off the throttle until they slow down and get traction. Spinning them faster does not make you go faster. It just makes you look like a total moron. The funniest (and often scariest) thing to see in the winter is a phat chic giving her pinto full one-wheel drive spin-out to try and get the car moving at an icy intersection. If you pull up to the intersection so that you have your tires on the snow line instead of the glazed over driving lane, then just let off the brake and ever so gently ease into the throttle, you'll beat that tire spinning pinto off the line every single time.

    Good luck and remember to watch out for the other guy!
    Winter is Coming...

    Go GeocacheAlaska!

  3. #3
    Member 6XLeech's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Eagle River
    Posts
    2,162

    Default Depends...

    Welcome to Alaska, G3_Guy,
    Plenty drive without studs and when in FBX, it seems to me most drive without studs.

    Around town however - I live in Eagle River and commute to Anchorage - I find the notorious "black ice" the most troublesome to predict and too often, it's on a downhill stretch leading up to a stop sign or stop light. I also load my camper (3/4 ton, 4WD GMC) up a few times each winter and appreciate the added security of studded snow tires whether its heading out the Glenn toward Glenallen, or down south. With 4WD AND studded snows, I have every equipment advantage - the rest is just, like The open highway isn't usually a problem. New snow over unpaved roads isn't a problem. But the few spots with fresh snow over ice can be. In unfamiliar areas, I just don't enjoy surprises like I used to maybe !

    Like JOAT posted, and learning from other local drivers, I agree it pays to:

    "Leave early and never, ever be in a hurry to get somewhere...Increase your following distance to the vehicle in front of you. Pay attention to the road and the traffic. Brake early...Apply your brakes early and slowly." [This is especially good advice - and gives following traffic ample warning that you are s-l-o-w-i-n-g to a s-t-o-p.]

    One comment I'll add, which has nothing to do with studs or tires: expect moose. I came to AK with the military, which takes pains to introduce newbies to unique local hazards, including some slides of winter moose on winter roads during winter darkness. Their thick dull brown coats absorb light. Their eyes don't seem to reflect headlights. Even looking for moose habitually, I was surprised while driving home after a night shift one early winter morning and just did miss a moose on the road - his nose inches away from my outside rear view mirror whizzing by. Yikes.

    Good luck, man.

  4. #4
    Member AK Ray's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    South Central
    Posts
    2,541

    Default

    I use my studded tires to stop so that I don't hit the idiot(s) that pulled out in front of me, who then comes to a stop due to their spinning wheel(s) lack of traction.

    My old Toyota does not have manual hubs, but has the auto locking front differential for shift on the fly 4WD. It spends about half the winter in high and presents no issues.

    The best way to get studded tires is to buy them on craigslist already mounted on rims for half (or less) than new. Used studs on rims should be about $400 for the set or less. New will depend on the brand. You can spend $1000 on Finnish made ice tires or $500 for some US made rubber.

    The one thing you will notice is that AK snow is "drier" most of the time and provides decent traction compared to the high moisture content stuff they have in the states.

    The state decides when you can switch to/from studs. I recommend putting them on before it snows. The huge lines at the tire shops the first snow day is really funny to watch, so are the ditch divers.

  5. #5
    Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Eagle River
    Posts
    372

    Default Studs

    Plenty of good advice so far. My ford pickup seems to go well in the winter on all -weather tires for the first half or so of their useful life. I utilize the 4 high function and it does great. Especially so with the traction control systems the 09 and newer fords have. If you do decide to go with studs, I would step up and get the LT rated Blizzak W965's and mount them on a spare set of wheels so you can change them over yourself. The long lines at the tire stores suck and will make the hassle of winter even worse for ya.

    I don't recall if the Superduty's had TPMS in 08. If so, there is another good reason just to run the same tires all year. It's so crazy expensive to buy snow wheels, bands and TPMS sensors and a set of new tires, mounting balancing. $1600 later......

  6. #6
    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Anchorage
    Posts
    5,594

    Default

    I've driven 4X4 pickups since we moved up here, first a toyota and then a ram 2500 diesel. I ran the toyota on all season tires and it did fairly well. The all seasons that came on the dodge were horrible, and after the freezing rain we've had the last few years I decided to get studs for the dodge last year. Since going to studs I rarely have to put the truck into 4wd. In freezing rain the best thing to do is stay off the road, but that isn't an option then IMHO the only way to stay on the road is studs or chains. But, a new set of E rated studded tires runs around $1000 and an extra set of rims runs $600-800.

    I'd say unless you know you'll be driving alot no matter the conditions, pick up one or two sets of chains. If you can swing it, studs are definately a noticable improvement over all season tires, but not an absolute necessity.
    Those that are successful in Alaska are those who are flexible, and allow the reality of life in Alaska to shape their dreams, vs. trying to force their dreams on the reality of Alaska.

    If you have a tenuous grasp of reality, Alaska is not for you.

  7. #7

    Default

    I agree with Paul that you don't necessarily need studs. I run my Titan w/o studs with no problem.

    However, my old ford was as squirrelly as can be on ice, so it was definitely a requirement for that truck. And for my wife's car running the kids around town, studs are just extra safety that we see as necessary.

    I would recommended driving for a while this winter and see how you/ your vehicle does on the ice and snow before investing the $$$ on studs.

    -hiker

  8. #8
    Member G3_Guy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Kasilof, AK
    Posts
    91

    Default

    Lots of good advice here folks! I really appreciate it!
    G3 Guy
    "...with God all things are possible." - Mark 10:27

  9. #9
    Member 6XLeech's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Eagle River
    Posts
    2,162

    Default True dat!

    Another pearl for sure:
    Quote Originally Posted by Paul H View Post
    "...In freezing rain the best thing to do is stay off the road..."

    Ya know, body shops are busy winters here. I'd be curious to hear what body shop owners/workers do regarding your question! Interesting discussion. Thanks to all for posting.

  10. #10
    Member Derby06's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Wasilla
    Posts
    437

    Default

    I think it depends on your commute. I mean if you will drive the vehicle daily to work and its a short commute...probably no need. BUT if your going to drive daily on a longer commute..it might be advisable.
    My truck sits alot, so I do not stud..4x4 is enough.
    Wife has short 5-10 mile commute and I got her siped non studded tires we leav on year around.
    My commuter car has 2 sets of rims--One summer and one winter studded. I commute 70-80 miles.

    One word of caution: 4x4 is great, but on ice if you break traction while in 4x4 you likely broke traction all the way around the vehicle and its all over but the crying. In 2WD there is a chance that the front wheels aren't slidding yet giving you some control. (Crew cab long bed wheel base helps too) When at HWY speeds, I put it in 2WD. Put it in 4x4 at intersections, when pulling out, or when conditions require...
    Good luck....

  11. #11
    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Palmer, AK
    Posts
    11,415

    Default

    I am a big fan of studs! My F250 is not a daily driver so it usually goes studless but I may get a set since I plan on dragging sleds around with it this year. Our cars all have studs and they have saved our butts plenty of times.

  12. #12
    Member jay51's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    S.C. Alaska
    Posts
    231

    Default

    I've lived here all my life and I'm still debating whethere or not to put studs on my new(to me) 04' EC/SB Chevy 2500HD. In the past I have always had a set of snow tires for my rig, but I was driving 2wd vehicles then.

    The big difference to me is the traction that studs give you under braking on ice, especially when you come-up on that slippery intersection that surprised you, or that moose decides to cross the road at the last second, In fact, I think I just made up my mind! Siped & studded Cooper Discoverer S/Ts in 255/85/16 here I come! Anybody got some PY0 8-lug Chevy rims they need to get rid of?

    Best of Luck G3, I would go with a good siped M+S tire at the very least. You'll know right away if you made the right decision or not depending on how much seat material you have to remove from your nether regions after the first close-call.
    -J

  13. #13
    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Anchorage
    Posts
    5,594

    Default

    The deciding factor for me getting studs was the winter before last. We'd had a cold snap of about -20 for a week, so the road beds were well frozen, then a chinook hit and we had temps in the high 30's and rain. I was dropping my daughter off at school on my way to work, and as I came up to the school I noticed the parking lot was empty. I started to put the breaks on and it felt like the truck was accelerating. After gently trying the brakes a few more times, and as the road was starting to go from flat to down hill I decided to put the truck into the ditch. I've never been more scared putting on chains as if somebody came upon me and wasn't able to stop, I'd be squished. I finally got the chains on and backed out of the ditch. I drove home slowly, called into work and told them I wouldn't be in, and ended up taking the next couple days off until the roads improved.

    Last year we had similar conditions again, so I headed to the local tire store and had them put a set of studs on. To say they are a huge improvement on water on top of ice is an understatement!

    I've driven rwd, awd and 4X4's up here. Honestly I find all of them are predictable in winter conditions. Generally if you find the car starting to slide you just lift your foot off the gas and it'll straighten out. If you end up coming up too fast to a road you want to turn onto and the front wheels start sliding when you turn in (understeer) just straighten out the wheels, foot off the brakes and keep driving down the road until you can safely stop and turnaround. When the back end breaks out (oversteer) First take your foot off the gas, then steer into the turn. Practicing in a safe are is the best way to learn what to do, and keeping calm when traction breaks is key. The only times these techniques fail is when you are going way too fast for the conditions, or you're avoiding somebody else who is going way too fast for the conditions.

    I don't think I've ever seen the roads closed up here do to treacherous driving conditions, but there have certainly been times when they probably should have been.
    Those that are successful in Alaska are those who are flexible, and allow the reality of life in Alaska to shape their dreams, vs. trying to force their dreams on the reality of Alaska.

    If you have a tenuous grasp of reality, Alaska is not for you.

  14. #14
    Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Central Missouri
    Posts
    265

    Default

    OK ..... My turn to show my Alaska ignorance. I see several posts about 'sipping' the tires. What is that?

  15. #15

    Default

    Siping is cutting slits in rubber. It improves traction on ice.

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •