Originally Posted by craigs_highlander
Just bought my 09 HiHy a couple of months ago, and it has the factory Toyo A20 tires. This vehicle will definitely be going into the Sierras every winter, and will also be towing a small trailer occasionally during the summer on dirt/gravel roads. This thread has got me a little freaked out!
After reading through all of the posts, it sounds like the first thing to think about doing is replacing the tires with something better for snow. Actual snow tires would not be a great choice for me, though, because most of the time the HiHy will be in non-snow conditions and snow tires are far from ideal for regular conditions. Can anyone recommend some good tires which will do well for regular driving but be better in the snow/gravel/dirt than the stock tires?
I can identify with your situation. We do gravel road as well with some rocks and stones and we tow as well. Our trailer is rated 2000-lb GVWR. We also visit the Sierras especially after a good storm :-). Our '06 HH uses the Goodyear Fortera TripleTred and has encountered Sierra ice, snow and slush; mostly on 120 and 41, Badger Pass and Yosemite Valley. The tires have also been through I5, 58 and 15 to Vegas and also Furnace Creek. These tires are excellent in dry and wet condition on paved surface. They tow fine and handle gravel road fine. They are good in slushy snow, packed snow and icy condition as long as you observe CHP / CALTRAN posted speed. The car is sure-footed. We even hit clear ice at low speed and we thought it was water. The car had full control and stopped straight and true with ABS actions.
For true four-season performance in CA, especially with more dry+wet and not so much snow and ice, we have had no problems with the TripleTred and the Nokian WR SUV. The only downside is they will wear down a bit faster in dry weather driving than dedicated summer tires. Snow-capable tires include softer compound and they wear faster in dry hot weather. We expect to get about 45,000 miles out of these before reaching the magic 6/32-inch depth. They will still do fine in dry and wet down to about 4/32 but I will no longer use them in the Sierras.
If you drive a lot in snow and ice like up in Northern CA or places like Reno, Tahoe or Oregon or the midwest, then dedicated snow tires is the safest choice. If you live in LA basin or SF bay area or anywhere in the dry central valley to coastal section and only visit the Sierras to play, then the two tires above should do fine.
There may be other brands out there that can do just as well but I have only experience with these two.
Oh, CA requires that you bring chains in the car. We are paranoid about safety so we have chains for all four tires. No point having traction only on two tires. The '06 HH has very tight clearance in the rear so we have to use Spike-Spyder for the rear.