Many people I know have considered buying winter tires for their vehicles, however after calculating the initial up-front cost, they decide to spend their money elsewhere. The reason for this really boils down to two things. First, they have probably never experienced the advantages of winter tire driving and therefore this type of purchase does not rank high on their priority list. Second, they haven’t done a basic cost analysis for the purchase.
Ask yourself this: What is the most dangerous activity that people do day in and day out? Driving? Yep! I won’t spend another hour or two trying to find statistics on this but it’s a reasonable assumption to make. You’re not likely to get seriously injured sitting at your computer all day plugging away in your tiny cubicle. Sure some jobs do have a higher hazard risks but safety standards have come a long way since the good old days.
So why would you put yourself, your family, friends, and the general public at greater risk of injury by driving on crappy all-season tires every winter? To save how much?
Let’s use a mid-sized car as an example:
Cost for a new set of OEM hub-centric steel rims: $400
Cost for a new set of winter tires: $800
Installation costs are usually included. Grand total: $1,200.
Now consider the savings from not wearing out the all-season tires as quickly. Keeping things simple, assume the all-seasons are also new. The all-season tire life will nearly double with winter storage. Not spinning the all-seasons on snow and ice in winter will also extend tread life. This basically offsets the purchase price of the winter tires ($800).
So the total cost of ownership over 5 or so years works out to $400. If you have no way to change your own tires twice a year, add another ~$80 per year for a tire shop to do it.
Ultimately, winter tire costs are minimal, and usage can drastically reduce your chances of being involved in a collision. Another added benefit is how much more fun you’ll have driving on snow and ice worry-free every winter.
Seems like an easy decision to make.