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1999 S500 GRAND EDITION (32,800 Miles)
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269 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I have a 1999 S500 with stock 18" wheels. While we have very limited freezing weather or snowfall in this area, we do have some.

I have settled on a brand and model of snow tire but am in a quandry concerning the number to purchase. Predictably, the sellers of tires say you must have 4 for best handling. While, technically, I agree with that statement, my wallet is calling for 2. I have found that with other cars I have owned, two rear snow tires gives me good traction and I have had little or no difficulty controlling the front end.

So my question to the snow pros out there is:

Is it necessary to have snow tires all around or will 2 suffice?

Telechronos:):):)

1999 S500 Grand Edition
1984 380SL
1955 MG TF1500
1969 Factory Stick, Factory Tri-Power Pontiac Grand Prix SJ
 

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93 500 sel - 95 s500
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612 Posts
Being north of you we see a little more snow up here. Your fonts do a large percentage of the braking and as little 1-3 feet less in stopping distance can mean the difference between a bump, a fender bender or a write off. I always justified the extra cost that way.

Kevin
 

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C140 W140 C126 W201 W116 W210 W163 W251 R129 R170 928S 944S GTV6
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363 Posts
Definitely 4 - There is no if, but, or whatever else about it. I have lived most of my life in areas that get quite a bit of snow, and have driven rear wheel drive Mercedes almost since the time I had a license, and always ran 4 good snows on the car. Never gotten stuck, never felt out of control (unless I wanted to be :p). The fronts are very important in the snow, as you don't only want to get going, but also steer and stop.

I don't drive the CL in the winter, but wifey swears by her S420 with snows - she always tells me how much more comfortable she is in that car with the traction control and the snows than any other car she ever drove in the winter. I am driving the little W201 through the cold season, and both cars have very affordable, stud-able snows on them. They are Mastercraft Glacier II and work very well on all cars I had them on so far.

So yes, just like in the post above mine mentioned - a few feet stopping earlier or the ability of swerving a few inches to the side might be all that's needed to save you, and having snows on the front will definitely help with that!

--Zax
 

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W140 Mercedes 500 SE, 1992, European, 410.000 km
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3,616 Posts
once i heard an explanation that it is better to have no winter tyres at all than only 2 of them. so 4 is the only good option.
 

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Mercedes 600 SE 1991 Oct.
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68 Posts
I agree, you should buy either 4 or none of them.
In 2003 I bought a Citroen Xm 3.0 V6 in winter and i bought only 2 snow tires on it (for the front, cause it is first wheel drive), cause then i could afford only 2. I bought the car in the morning and it got already crashed by the evening: in one turn the back of the car started to slide on the snowy road, i could correct it very quickly with the steering (i thought) and one second later the car started to turn round and round damn fast, no matter how i tried to correct the direction, sliding near the road and it stopped between two big trees, hanging on the engine, all the engine holders got broken + the start of the exhaust too, and both sides of the car got broken.
Luckily we (with my friend) had no injuries at all.

I bought the Citroen for USD 4200, bought the 2 winter tires for USD 220, and the costs of fixing the bodywork of the car + painting + engine holders + fixing the exhaust took about USD 1500-2000.

For my W140 i have Pirelli Sottozero winter tires in the size of 245/45/18 V on 18 alu wheels (cost was about USD 1200 for the 4). The Pirellis have good grip on the snow, the car starts easily in snow with them on, even if it's a V12, braking capabilities are also good.

So buy 4 winter tires!
 

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'93 300E 2.8, '95 S320, 99 S320
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41 Posts
I have to agree with the consensus here - get 4 snow tires. As important as is to be able to get the car moving in snow, it is ten times as important that you be able to control it once it gets moving. Sure, it's easy to get good traction for accelerating with two snows in the back, but what about traction for steering and braking? If I were forced to drive with only two snows, they'd be on the front as controlling the car is paramount.

I laugh every time I drive down the Thruway and see some idiot with four wheel drive blowing by me in the snow, only to inevitably see them off in a ditch a bit later. To drive in snow, be aware of your car's ability to steer and brake - acceleration just ain't that important in inclimate weather.
 

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1997 E320, 1997 S320
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2,946 Posts
i have tried both 2 (rear) and 4 winter tires in harsh winter, and to tell the truth there is no much difference. the last 2 winters i have been using only 2 (rear) winter tires and i cannot tell the difference from when i had 4 winter tires. save the money and get only 2 rear tires, especially if you don't live in an area that gets numerous snow storms in the winter.
 

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Premium Member
1999 S600 Sedan, 1999 S600 w/ 4-pl seating, 1995 S600 Coupe, 2-1992 600SEL's, 2002 ML55, 1998 SL600
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2,425 Posts
Ahh yes, definitely get 4-snow tires, but mount them to a Jeep or other 4X4, not your precious W140.

One fender scrape, one bumper push, a combo hit of any kind, could total your reason for being on this forum.

Think about it carefully. If you're in the snow/ice belt, have a second car to take the weather, lay off your W140 until the weather is more inviting.

Better advice, I cannot give. W140's are not designed for winter driving. Cold weather, yes, but not for ice and snow. I don't care what sort of drivel others might offer. The car is NOT designed for snow and ice driving.

Or take mass transit on days of dangerous weather if you can't afford a second car. Anything but risk your 140 on slippery roads. It just isn't worth it.
 
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