Snow tires

Many people have some recollection of the Previa. Those that do, especially in the northeast, often ask if it’s an All-Trac. The 4WD Previa All-Trac was renowned for its remarkable combination of versatility, stability, capability, and reliability. It was especially noteworthy since its contemporaries were mostly front wheel driven*.

Mine is RWD, and a quick online perusal finds opinions ranging from “less than stellar” to “death-defying” about my Previa’s wintry weather abilities.

Since the tires I got it with were on their last legs anyways, I decided I should look for snow tires. Luckily, the Previa wears one of the most common bolt circle configurations around, 5×114.3, a bolt circle it shares with many other Toyotas, as well as several Nissans and even some Subarus.

I shopped packages on Tire Rack, and some were quite reasonably priced. Then I went back to Craigslist (from whence the van came), and found a bevy of options that came off of cars that were no longer owned, no longer used, or no longer stock. I ultimately landed on a set of year old Goodyear Ultra Grip HPs that were on an Infiniti that now lives in Florida.

The tires are the same chunky studdable deals used on cop-cars and taxis in the winter. That’s gotta count for something.

They’re mounted on a set of 16″ American Racing Estrellas. Most reviews say the clearcoat falls off these wheels, and these wheels fall in line with those reviews, but the 4 tires, mounted and balanced on alloys were $175, so I can’t complain.

At this point, I’m waiting for the first predicted snowfall to put the snows on, just to get the most out of the 15″ tires on the van now. Who knows what wheels I’ll want to put on after the winter.

*The 91 Previa did overlap production years with the last of the Vanagon Syncros and some Chrysler minivans did offer AWD, but I did say mostly. The Astro and Aerostar were too big and agrarian to really compare head-to-head.


About previadiaries

Ride bike. Drive Van.
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One Response to Snow tires

  1. Back in HS, I drove my friend’s Aerostar AWD to a ski race in upstate NY, and the last portion of it involved some snow driving. I would characterize the traction response with all-seasons as useful but not confidence inspiring.

    The next very next day, on the way to the race itself, my friend got caught up in some thick slush and we ended up in a ditch. Still made it to the race on time, though.

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