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I put them on but , surprisingly, we haven't had any measurable snow here yet in the infamous Lake Erie snowbelt. I do suggest that if you do put them on, do all 4 wheels. I did this to my Echo and it was totally awesome in all depths of snow. Also did this on my wife's Corolla and she had absolutely no problems last winter with 180 inches of snow last season. I'm thinking that the Prius should be pretty good in the snow since all the weight is centered over the front and rear axles. I think they would be a good investment in NH.
 

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Jerry P said:
I put them on but , surprisingly, we haven't had any measurable snow here yet in the infamous Lake Erie snowbelt. I do suggest that if you do put them on, do all 4 wheels. I did this to my Echo and it was totally awesome in all depths of snow. Also did this on my wife's Corolla and she had absolutely no problems last winter with 180 inches of snow last season. I'm thinking that the Prius should be pretty good in the snow since all the weight is centered over the front and rear axles. I think they would be a good investment in NH.
Jerry P,
Would you mind stating which snow tires you put on your Prius and why you selected them? I'm considering buying some myself and would appreciate any guidance or advice you could share.
Thanks,
Moo :)
 

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Snow tires......

I put Bridgestone Blizzaks on my 03 Prius and have been more than pleased. We are having a big snow year here in Anchorage and I'm really impressed with the traction. Hope this helps. Larry
 

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Re: Snow tires......

lw said:
I put Bridgestone Blizzaks on my 03 Prius and have been more than pleased. We are having a big snow year here in Anchorage and I'm really impressed with the traction. Hope this helps. Larry
Thanks, lw, I'll look into these tires.
Moo :)
 

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My snow tires are Mastercraft Ice Grips....apparently made by General Tire since that is the dealership where I got them. Nothing overly special about them except that the tread is very aggressive. We do not deal with a lot of ice here but LOTS of 6-12 inch overnight snowfalls, at least until Lake Erie freezes. The 4 tires cost me $285 total, mounted, balanced, etc. Not too bad in my opinion. Had a heavy snowfall Saturday morning and the Prius had no problem with it at all.
 

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Jerry P said:
My snow tires are Mastercraft Ice Grips....apparently made by General Tire since that is the dealership where I got them. Nothing overly special about them except that the tread is very aggressive. We do not deal with a lot of ice here but LOTS of 6-12 inch overnight snowfalls, at least until Lake Erie freezes. The 4 tires cost me $285 total, mounted, balanced, etc. Not too bad in my opinion. Had a heavy snowfall Saturday morning and the Prius had no problem with it at all.
Thanks, Jerry P. I'll be taking the Prius into the mountains pretty regularly this year, so I'm keen on gleaning as much info as I can before making a decision.
Drive happy,
Moo :)
 

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Standard tires are good too!

For winter traction in Canada (albeit Toronto), I do not use a second set of tires or anything on my 2001 and have found the existing original set just fine even in deep snow or black ice. One just has to practice how to drive in the stuff (it can be a little bit like handling grades and the brakes with stealth!).
I think the wear issue sucks for these tires, but traction has been very good! Love the Prius!
Jim
 

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snow tires

Tomorrow I will shoe my red 04 wth Nokian WR's product code Y443432. These are the only allseason tires to meet Finlands strict ice/snow standards. I hope this will allow me to use the tires year round without the hassle of changing wheels. I know from past experience with Nokians they will be squirrely for the first couple hundred miles till they wear off the parting compound and the nipples and take a "set". I'll let you know later. $436 out the door in NY.
 

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Snowtires

I would recommend getting snow tires if you plan on any serious winter driving with steep grades involved.

Despite that, we have had our Prius for a few winters here in Vermont, and have yet to put on snow tires. We use our Prism with snow tires for the more serious stuff - I guess mostly because we've been too cheap to get winter tires for the Prius. We use the Prius for commuting in winter along a valley roads, and are fine sticking to main roads and Interstate highways. I agree with the driver from Toronto that says the original tires do fine on ice and snow - at least if it's flatter.

However, if you add a significant grade, that narrow tire with significant weight suddenly turns into a negative. One winter I had to turn around on a steep mountain gap road (Roxbury Gap) because the tires couldn't get enough traction to pull the vehicle up the hill. There wasn't too much snow, it was mostly just icy. Once the tires began to spin, the traction control would stop the spinning and suddenly the tires weren't doing anything to pull me along. This was a surprise for someone used to using mild S-turns to keep spinning a car up an icy slope. This technique was not an option with the Prius. From years of driving gaps and steep roads to ski areas, I am certain I would've made it farther without that traction control - though I still may not have made it. On steep slippery roads, the only way to go is snow tires.

Of course, traction control - or at least antilock brakes - just saved us coming back from Boston this past Friday. We were descending perhaps the steepest hill on I89, with horrible road conditions (constant misting rain with temps around 26 degrees F), and were suddenly faced with cars stopping in front of us because an SUV went off the road and flipped. I thought with the black ice and the car's momentum we were going to nail the vehicle in front of us, but the antilock brakes kept is in a very controlled skid (no feathering brakes!) that stopped us well short of collision. We had an issue with the other car, so had to take the Prius for the trip despite weather prediciton.

The upshot, I believe the tires do fine in snow and ice, but add a significant grade and forget it.
 

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Snow tires

Oh yes, I had one other thing to add. On more than one occassion, my wife and I have gotten stuck or had to stop driving and walk on Vermont back roads in winter. This was always related to steeper grades and either icy conditions or deep snows. With winter tires we probably would've been fine.

Yes, some of you are probably wondering why the heck we haven't gotten snow tires yet. I actually walk to work, so we almost never need a second car. So if the weather is really bad, or we're going into more difficult terrain, it's usually fine to take the car with snow tires. Of course, we've been burned a few times now...

- Stubborn in VT
 
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