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Of Blizzaks and Body Shops

This is a blog about which I have been hesitant to write. You see, it has to do with accepting my own bad judgment and the requisite payment for the same. For twenty years I have lived where it snows quite regularly and accumulates on the ground. Until maybe ten years ago, I never gave snow tires a second thought. Primarily because I was usually driving in something with very good all-season tires and either front- or four-wheel drive. Mobility was rarely a problem. But about ten years ago, I bought a relatively powerful rear-drive sedan that was delivered with some very aggressive 18-inch Z-rated performance tires. To say the car was difficult to drive in the snow is misleading. The car was undrivable in the snow. The sticky summer tires turned hard as linoleum once the temperature got below 45°F, and the jumbo 27/35-18s at the rear were so wide they couldn’t bite down and get anything even remotely resembling grip in snow. Without snow tires, the car would be little more than an attractive driveway ornament for about a third of the year.
If you live where it snows and you drive something with performance tires. be it rear-drive, front-drive or even all-wheel-drive, you NEED snow tires.

Three cars and three sets of snow tires later I found myself driving my current (AWD equipped) car to dinner one December evening last year. With intermittent snow in the forecast I had pondered when I’d order a set of my current favorite snow tires (Bridgestone_Blizzak LM-25s). But the weatherman said there would be no accumulation on the roads for the evening so i figured what with their overnight delivery, calling TireRack tomorrow would be just fine.
What with the bad weather I was forced to park in a structure the was close to full. Looking for an available slot, I ended up on the top of the structure. The cold structure. Snow that had been falling off and on for the last two hours or so had accumulated with no significant traffic or salt (note to SunBelt – salt is used to melt snow and ice) to keep it from accumulating. Pulling into a spot at parking speed I applied the brakes and the rock hard summer tires simply refused to grab onto anything and my car scrunched into the structure with a sickening “thwump.”
If i had the Blizzaks on the car I would have parked as usual. Without them the result was $500 outta pocket for the insurance deductible plus ten days without my car. The LM-25s cost me $145 each. That’s $580.
If only I had spent the extra eighty bucks a couple of days earlier.
Next year, the Blizzaks go on in November.

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