Focus wagon tire pressures in the snow

Greetings, been living life grand on a tropical island the past 8 years and will soon be moving to snow country (Grand Forks, ND). I've got a Focus ZTW
(loaded) on order and will pick up in Arizona and drive north, way north this fall.
Was wondering if you hearty northern Focus owner types drop/raise your tire pressures in the winter, when the roads ice over and the snow blows sideways?
Any newfangled chains out there that are gentle on tires? I know snow tires are the best way to go, but I'll be outta there come next summer, so don't think it's worth the investment.
Going SCUBA diving tomorrow, flying to Oahu on Saturday for 8 days, but trust me; I can't wait to start chipping ice off my car...
-- Raider Rick "Just drive, baby"
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Rick,
What a coincidence... you're moving way up north to Grand Forks, the same place I go way down south to, for weekend getaways in wintertime, and you're worried about tire chains!! You are definitely not cut out for life on the prairies : )
We don't worry about that kind of crap. The streets in Grand Forks are the same as ours, here in Winnipeg; that is to say, well plowed. You'll like Grand forks. It's a nice little city, populated exclusively by unfailingly polite and friendly people. Living there will make you familiar with Canadians. At all times, a very large percentage of people in Grand Forks are Canadians taking some R and R. I love GF, and get there as often as I can.
To your question: my family and I were on an overnighter to GF last April, when the year's last surprise snowstorm came upon us. I had inflated the tires of my Focus wagon to 35 psi for maximum highway fuel economy, and it ran great down I29 when it was sunny and warm. When the snow started to fall, the roads turned to skating rinks, and my traction went right out the door. I solved the problem by reducing my tire pressure to 30 psi. After that, I once again, had perfect steering and braking control. The weather changes quickly around here, and you have to adapt to it.
BTW, are being posted to GF Air Force Base?
Good luck with your move and your new wagon.
Rob
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I lived in ND for two years. The people are great; the weather... Anyhow, I never used chains on car, wagon or pickup. I did, however, install engine heaters on all three. Great people, zero crime but that ^%$^&*& cold weather! Wait til you go to the store and note half the cars in the parking lot are sitting there idling away while the owners shop! Also, the pigtails outside the motel rooms. I prefer the Arizona heat but don't regret having experienced that area. So flat you can see the curvature of the earth. jor

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Heh heh, an acronym for extension cords to the block heaters....

When I was little, I tried to run away from my parents. A couple days later, Dad drives up beside me, picks me up to take me home. Apparently he knew exactly where to find me 'cause he could see me walking all the way from the kitchen window... :-)
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On Thu, 17 Jul 2003 22:12:15 +0900, "Rapid Rick"

I don't think Grand Forks gets that much snow.... 30-36" per annum, typical for the prairies. Not that far south of my town of Regina where the weather is only slightly colder. BTW -40* is the same in both Celsius and Fahrenheit. Somehow, I don't think you really wanted to know that.... :-)
If you are ordering a car from Arizona for use in North Dakota, you should definitely consider getting a block heater and/or a battery blanket-heater installed by a local Grand Forks dealer. When it gets cold you WILL NEED IT!

NEVER!!! The temp drops quickly enough anyways which causes the tire pressure to lessen. 1 psi for every 5*F drop or something like that. A sudden cold snap can leave you with too little pressure in your tires (under 25psi) which leaves you susceptible to sudden tire pressure loss while driving, ergo - flat tire(s). I came dangerously close one cold snap (down to 22 psi on one tire, 28 psi on the other three) so I immediately ran out and re-inflated my tires.
Buy a tire gauge and keep it in the car, check the tires every couple of weeks. This is good advice for the entire year. Occasionally one tire may drop a couple of psi for whatever reason. IT will affect the handling. If you have the 205/50 series tires (probably since you're getting a loaded ZTW) you might notice a slight pull to the left/right during acceleration or braking if the tires are even a pound or two different from each other.
Keep them at 32 psi all year round (or 35psi for some low profile tire/wheel combos such as on my ZX5). If you must drop your tire pressure to temporarily get a better grip to get out of a situation, re-inflate to the recommended level.

I've never had an occasion for snow chains in Saskatchewan (In fact I don't even know of a single local person who even OWNS them!) -- more useful in heavy snowfall areas like Colorado/Montana. Consider getting studs installed or purchasing a true grippy winter tire set with spare rims -- you can always sell them, especially if you only use them for a single season. (Hmm, or check the newspapers / tire dealers to see if someone else is selling theirs?!)

Trust me, it will come soon enough. Enjoy the scuba time NOW! :-)
********************************************************************* Windows 95 and Windows 98, the only operating systems that has the year-2000 bug built into the name. ---Unknown
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