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March 12, 2019


I remember the seasonal ritual of changing to "studded" tires at Les Schwab when we lived in the Medford/Ashland area. These tires made the impossible possible sometimes, but not always.

We had a very steep road leading up to our house that became treacherous in winter. There were times when the studs were not enough even with our 4x4 vehicles. I had to put on chains in miserable conditions with the vehicle about to slide at any moment. Situations like that place you squarely in the moment. You either get it done or you're screwed.

I remember one icy morning driving the kids to school and literally sliding sideways down the road out of control despite studded tires and being very careful. Another time my wife called me at the gym while I was in the middle of a workout. She was on black ice on the steepest section of the road afraid to attempt moving one inch. She thought she would slide into oblivion. I got my sweaty ass in the Blazer and got there as fast as I could. Somehow I was able to urge the Suburban extremely slowly to a flatter section and safety. Without studded tires her call would have come from a deep ravine instead of the icy road.

Later, I replaced the Blazer with an all wheel drive Subaru WRX. This seemed to fare better on the ice than the heavier, clumsier 4x4 vehicles.

Ah, those were the days back at the turn of the 21st century.

You could save yourself a BUNCH of effort by buying a floor jack and large "T" wrench.
It takes about 15 minutes or less and you don't have to leave home.
When we buy a new car we get the most aggressive studded snow tires available mounted on rims.
Then when we need them we throw them on the car.
As soon as the weather clears up they come off. Some times changing them as many as 3 times per year. Only once this year, but they were on for a few weeks which is unusual.
This keeps the tread and studs sharp and in new condition, and reduces needless stud wear on the HWY.
Besides, every time you drive all the way to Les Schwab you are contributing to 100% man made and 100% man curable global warming!

I am an avid winter tire fan too. I have used Michelin Ice and Hankooks. Worth the every penny. Even without deep snow the softer rubber stays soft at 40 and below. Great post and pics. Thanks.

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