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sotagear
01-24-2012, 03:53 PM
I just purchased a new 2011 170wb passenger van a few days ago and I love it. Now, in preparation for a long 2 week trip across the US in a month from now, I need some advise.

When this trip happens I will be loading the van down quite a bit and will be traveling from the west coast to the east coast on the Southern route, and on the way back west we'll be traveling through the Midwest. Cities like Ft Lauderdale, NYC, Poughkeepsie, Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Providence, Detroit, Chicago, to name a few. It will be the first 2 weeks of March so I would imagine I'll hit a ton of cold weather and likely a lot of snow as well.

My van came with Kumho Road Venture APT/M tires 245 75r 16. I did a quick search online and most folks said they are the worst for even the slightest bit of snow on the ground. Then I did a search in this forum for tire suggestions and it was a bit difficult to cut through all the misdirected talk in every thread about tires to really get an idea where to go. So my question is - what should I do with these tires?

Even though I just spent a lot of money on this rig, I'm more than willing to toss the tires and get something else if I need to for this trip and beyond. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Cheers,
-Dave

jmoller99
01-24-2012, 05:07 PM
I carry chains and a 5 gallon bucket of sand in the rear. The sand will get you out of some things that will keep you from having to put on chains. Odds are good you will take a day off if the roads turn really bad (I advise it no matter how good a driver you might be - everyone else on the road are hard to avoid when they do something that you end up colliding with).

They heavily salt the roads in the northeast and midwest, so make sure you wash the underside off as soon as you can when you get out of that type of situation. Sprinters often have rust problems - don't contribute to it if you can avoid it.

If you really don't absolutely have to be one the road in a snow or ice storm, stay off the roads.

I drove thru 400 miles worth of light snowstorm thru western Kansas in February 2011, and I saw a lot of spun out cars in the ditches along the way. The highway (I-70) was a mess but the Sprinter was as road worthy as anything else on the highway. People that had problems were driving too fast for the weather. My biggest issue was that I don't have heated mirrors and with 1/2 inch of ice on the front of the mirrors, now matter how much I cleaned them, they were generally useless.

I also found that if you have freezing rain hitting your front window, no amount of heat that you put on the front windshield will keep more than the bottom 12 inches clear - you will need lots of windshield de-icer (the blue stuff - I went thru 3 gallons that day) to be able to see anything.

I have Michelin 225 75/16's (mud and snow tires) on my Sprinter. Stock tires of my model year.

david_42
01-24-2012, 05:09 PM
I have been extremely happy with my Michelin M/S tires in western Oregon. But if I was headed to serious snow country, I'd get some real snow tires. You might consider buying additional wheels and switching back when the weather is warm.

sotagear
01-24-2012, 05:20 PM
I see lots of people talking about chains on their newer Sprinters, yet at the dealership, when in the finance dept, they had me sign a piece of paper that I would not use chains with this vehicle. He said it was not allowed and that I should use cables. What's the deal with that?

I suppose I could get snow tires, but I was hoping a really good set of m/s tires would get me through the 2 weeks and be good enough to keep on at all times of the year.

JMoller99, thanks for the tips. Unfortunately I can't take a day off on bad weather days on this trip. This will be a short tour and "The show must go on", as they say.

gregowski
01-24-2012, 05:27 PM
Hi Dave -

How's your money situation? If things are good, maybe just get a set of Michelin LTX M/S or M/S 2 and know that you won't have to worry about tires for a while. If things are tight, just buy some chains for dire emergencies.

I've had our 2008 144" Sprinter high-roof RV conversion for almost three years now, still have the stock 245/75 R16 Vanco Continental OEM tires on it, which have been just fine in snow and wet most of the time. Maybe it's because I'm Canadian and used to driving in snow, maybe the van is almost always well-loaded for traction, or maybe the Contis still have pretty good tread, since we only have 13K miles on the van so far, but I find them pretty decent. I have been stuck once on Vail Pass when we had to come to a complete stop in the midst of a sudden dump of soft fluffy stuff, so now I carry a set of chains (Peerless 2300, $70 at Sport Chalet).

Also don't forget that your high-tech Sprinter has ASR (which brakes a wheel which seems to be slipping), which probably helps much of the time while in motion, but may hinder some of the time (like if you're stuck in a ditch or parking spot). You should have an ASR button on the console which you can turn off for the latter situation.

P.S. If you financed it, the "chains verboten" agreement might be risk mitigation on their part - improperly-fastened chains that come loose could damage the van.

Greg

kendall69
01-24-2012, 05:35 PM
I think the "chain" thing is a matter of semantics. Yes they may have had you sign CHAINS as in metal chains, but there are many, many options for tires.

http://www.flextrax.com/

autostaretx
01-24-2012, 06:08 PM
I see lots of people talking about chains on their newer Sprinters, yet at the dealership, when in the finance dept, they had me sign a piece of paper that I would not use chains with this vehicle. He said it was not allowed and that I should use cables. What's the deal with that?
I don't know about the piece of paper, but, as Kendall69 said, many people may say "chains" as a generic inclusive of "cables"

But: here in Seattle, at one of the area's major tire dealers, they didn't *carry* cables sized to fit my 15"-wheeled Sprinter (back in early 2006).
I tried, but I *had* to buy real linked clanky chains (and even then, the tensioning system is too large).
Two weekends ago, i finally used them (they worked for Seattle's un-deiced streets).
40346

At least one local FedEx Sprinter uses chains, too (it's a rare occurance, and indeed, one cross-chain was broken and hanging free.).

If you troll the threads on snow performance, many people speak highly of Blizzarks as a winter tire brand.

--dick