November 17, 2010

New Real Snow Tires

If you've been following my blog, you'll know I've gotten by with all season tires for the past 4 years. (wow, I've had this little Fit for just over 4 years now!) The first two years were with the stock Dunlops 14" on factory steelies. Then 2 years ago I only had the worn Kumhos that came with my used EM1 rims. That was also the year wih the huge snow dump, so I the Fit was pretty much parked. Last year, I managed to find a set of stock 14" wheel/tire combo to replace the ones I traded, and at least I could drive in light snow.

However, with the light weight of the Honda Fit, it's really not a great winter car, and to really be useful in the white stuff, you want proper winter tires. I mentioned in a previous post that I bought a Toyota Sienna in anticipation of my growing family. Well, this also means I need to make my vehicles ready for winter since my wife is due in early January. Luckily, The Sienna came with a spare set of winter tires. But the Fit still needed help.

While looking around online, I found JC Whitney. I already knew of the company because I had lived in the States when I was younger, and would request some of their mail order catelogs even though I was still too young to own a vehicle. However, I never thought of purchasing from them here because normally shipping anything from the US to Canada, especially larger items, are prohibitively expensive. However, it would seem from their page here that they only add $11.99 to your order to ship to Canada. This, along with their regular shipping charge, supposedly covers for all taxes, duty, and brokerage fees. I was skeptical, but other canadians have ordered and said that it was legit. and as long as the tires are 16" and under, this works.

So I decided to place an order for a set of General Altimax Artic in the stock 175/65/14 size. And since I'm now getting dedicated winter tires, I decided to also order a new set of summer tires in the form of Yokohama S.Drive in 195/55/15 size to replace the factory Michelins I got last year for the EM1 rims. It would seem that the one tire that had some camber wear was because there was a nail in the tire, and the seller must have driven with it flat or low for a while. The last time my car was up on a hoist, I noticed that tire, which luckily I placed in the rear, is now starting to show a couple of bubbles on the inner side wall; a sign or sidewall failure. So that tire is no longer safe. The price for the two set of tires was much better than what I could have gotten locally. So I'm just waiting for these to come in so I can mount them on the Fit.

In the meantime, I went in today and put the winter tires that came with the Sienna on the van. I didn't pay much attention to them when I bought the car. but as it turns out, they are also General Altimax Artic tires. Same ones I had ordered for my Fit. A copy of the Gislaved Nordfrost 3 tires from Sweden, the General Altimax Artic (both under the Continental umbrella) had fantastic reviews and are a good value. I feel better that the van, and soon the Fit will have proper winter tires on this season. With pregnant wife now, and kid later. I think it's money worth spending.

No comments: