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Advice RE: driving to the alps

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Just pricing up winter tyres and had a thought do those of you who get winter tyres regularly, get 4 or 5? Or get 4 run flats?
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
papajc wrote:
Just pricing up winter tyres and had a thought do those of you who get winter tyres regularly get 4 or 5? Or get 4 run flats?

We get 4 normal. It's all about percentages and conseqences isn't. So what are the chances of getting a flat and what are the consequences.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
We have four winters.
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 You need to Login to know who's really who.
You need to Login to know who's really who.
for a FWD car would 2 do?
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Jonny996 wrote:
for a FWD car would 2 do?


yes, just so long as you dont go round corners Cool

some people do. its far from best practice though.
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 You'll need to Register first of course.
You'll need to Register first of course.
Quote:

So what are the chances of getting a flat and what are the consequences

I had a flat tyre in a hired car from Gva, en route for the airport to pick up a friend at 9 pm, last October By the time I reached the airport it was gone midnight - fortunately my friend is not a panicking type! That cost quite a lot - all ultimately repaid through my separate car hire excess insurance, except the "loss of use" charge which wasn't covered. Last year I had a flat tyre in my own car driving into my garage in Les Saisies. Consequences and cost were minimal (tyre repair, 25 euros) because I had a spare wheel (not a winter tyre, but got me down to the garage in Albertville OK) and knew how to change it.

Had I not had a spare wheel the consequences would have been FAR more expensive and as it was pretty snowy, it was late in the afternoon and I had to go to Gva airport the following day, would have been a whole heap of hassle. As it was I got the punctured tyre repaired and back on the car, en route.

A few years ago, leaving the apartment on a Sunday, we had a flat tyre when we went to get into the (fully packed) car in the garage. Unloaded, changed the wheel, loaded up again, got underway with little delay. Without a spare we'd have been seriously delayed. As it was, we discovered that it's well-nigh impossible to buy a new tyre in France or Switzerland on a Sunday!

About the same time, bad puncture (not repairable, for sure) in stupid hire car with stupid aerosol of goo, at dusk, on a snowy road, with small and tired kids in the back. Because there was another car in the party immediate consequences were minimal. But arranging a tow to a (not very nearby) garage and paying for two new tyres was a big hassle, big upfront costs (ultimately repaid through insurance) and lost me a day's skiing - not that that mattered as I was there for the season.

I wouldn't want to drive a car with no spare wheel - just goes against the grain. But I don't think it's vital to have a spare winter wheel - though obviously that's ideal, if you can manage it.

These flats were mostly caused by hitting one of the (many, and often sharp-edged) potholes in mountain roads. Not repairable. The one driving into my garage was a nail - hence cheap to repair!
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Spare winters is a rather tricky question. I have 4 runflats and one spare winter tyre, but this is a new long-term vehicle so I'm anticipating replacing the winters at least once, when I'll use the spare.

Winter tyres are generally produced by the factory as a short run in the autumn, to provide stock for the big autumn change-over and some reserve stock for replacements and late purchases. If it's a performance or more SUV tyre it can be difficult to get a replacement exactly the same after, say Christmas. For example, when I got my winters in October I bit the bullet and ordered a spare in November and got the last one of that exact brand/type/size in the area.

Runflats typically have a 50Kms nominal driving distance (when flat). So they should get you off the Autoroute, to a garage/tyre fitter OK. If you then need a replacement and it's after Christmas and you're en route but not in an Alpine area, then the odds are they won't have your exact model/size in stock and you'll have to hang around 24-48 hours. They may have another brand in your size, which would be sort-of-OK, but just like with summer tyres, if you have a performance car then it's not really ideal to mix brands on the same axle.

So I take my spare tyre with me but it doesn't use up that much space - I fill the centre with loose stuff, which works quite well. This on a small convertible.

But as mentioned, this is very much a risk/cost/benefit analysis and for most people it is hard to make the case for a spare winter, especially if they're runflats. For me, I did it because my performance car has a more limited choice of sizes and I'll use the spare when I change tyres in a couple of years.
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Never mix winter and summer tyres on the same car. They must all be winters or all summers.
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Your other option is All-seasons. As implied thse stay on the car all year and are much better in winter and snow than summers. Some of these are also certified Winter Tyres (with the 'mountain-and-snowflake' symbol). I didn't go for them on my performance car as all-seasons (even winter versions) are not as good as summer tyres in the summer, or winter tyres in the winter. On my performance car that difference is big enough to matter. But on our little Peugeot 206 run-about we do have Michelin Cross-climate all-seasons and if it was used for Alpine trips, I'd be happy to use these, with the spare carrying a one too.

Here's a chart I did to help summarise all this (apologies it's so big - I must do a smaller version):



Basically, it ranges from hot/dry summer (left) through wet and cold (middle) to snow (right) and attempts to (approximately) show what options cover what conditions. It perhaps needs revising to show that even with socks-on-summers, all-seasons and winters, there's still a point where you may need chains. Winters take you as far as you can go before you need to get your chains on. But you may still need them.

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TRACTION: And always worth reading-up on the right setting for traction control in the snow, if you have it. Our Owners Manual is a really confusing mix of acronyms and poorly-translated text that actually needed some web research to understand correctly.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Previous car had a space saver spare. My solution was to put 4 winters on the car and one of the summer wheels in the spare wheel well. In summer I put 4 summers on the car and one winter in the spare wheel well. Always had a full size spare if needed but a mismatch if used. That's a risk I was prepared to accept.
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