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What are the major tire retailers in Europe, specifically France?

To be a little clearer, here in the United States there are such retailers as tire rack, Firestone, less swab, discount tire. If you live in the United States, they are all over the place. Even Walmart here sells tires. Any advice on where to exactly by winter tires when I get to Paris France? I would really appreciate staying away from general answers. If you don’t know you don’t know!

Posted by
16984 posts

Well, since France is the home of Michelin, you should not have trouble finding some. I'm getting a set of Ice-X's put on next week, but I don't think Costco is an option in France.

Here is their French "reseller" locator site, Paris in particular. Use google translate if your French is rusty.
http://revendeur-auto.michelin.fr/michelin-revendeurs-departement/paris/75

Edit - I take that back. There is a Costco south of Paris and they have tire service (Pneu in French).
https://www.costco.fr/produits-services.html

Posted by
14216 posts

Just 'cause I saw your other post and I'm curious...
Aren't you going to be driving a rental? Is one allowed to change out the tires on rentals?

Posted by
8889 posts

Free Spirit, having also read your other post, I think what most people were suggesting is that you request that the car has winter tyres on it when you pick it up.
If you change the tyres, what will you do with the ones you take off (presumably new)? will you put them back on before you return the car?

Posted by
928 posts

The leasing company should provide you with winter tires so I'd suggest calling them and asking if snow tires are included before trying to do it on your own.

DJ

Edit: my reference is I've leased a car in Germany and have had two colleagues lease cars in France and they always included winter tires.

Posted by
22262 posts

Something is going on. His other posting has been pulled by the webmaster.

Posted by
14216 posts

No, the thread is still there...or was when I just looked.

Posted by
9285 posts

Oddly the other posting was 'missing' now has reappeared..... ain't computers wonderful!

Posted by
2564 posts

as suggested by someone else Costco, that's were friends go to get their tyres .

Posted by
31672 posts

freespirit,

Don't forget that for driving in France, you'll need either an International Driver's Permit or a certified copy of your driver's license in French.

Also keep in mind that some jurisdictions require four winter tires, so that could be a rather large expense. Are you planning to put the tires on a rental car?

Posted by
14216 posts

To be more specific, he'll be driving a lease:

"A lot of threads I’m seeing here say screw the car, take the train in so many words; for me car is happening, as I’m pre-paying for a Renault Eurodrive lease..."

I will be issued a Temporary Transit Registration. This is a guise/scheme which allows French car manufacturers to sell a “sold back” car as a Used Vehicle to avoid the New Vehicle Tax. In lamen terms this means I technically own the car. I can hand them the rest of the money for it at the end of my lease and it’s mine. You can’t do that with a car rental."

So maybe that does make a difference where making alterations - like changing out the tires - is involved? Might be good information for others exploring Europe over longer periods of time, and doing so via the roads.

Posted by
8971 posts

Edit: based on Dejan's post below that links to the Renault USA website, the leasee is responsible for purchasing the needed tires for use in the other countries. My apologies for assuming Renault would furnish the car as needed. There's no mountain out of a molehill, but a lot of good education going on.

Everything is explained very well is the subsequent posts.

Posted by
8889 posts

Tom, winter tyres are a different mix of rubber, designed to grip better in icy and snowy conditions.
They are unknown in the UK, I had never heard of them until I moved to Switzerland. But in Alpine countries everybody has them. I can certify by personal experience that after a snowfall, the grip is a lot better with winter tyres.
Most people don't change just the tyres, they have two sets of wheels with winter and summer tyres on them, and change them over (or get a garage to do it on their hoist) twice a year. You then store the unused set of wheels at home.

Posted by
14216 posts

We have a bit of a mountain out of a molehill, here.

Sorry, Bets! I really am curious, though, as I've no idea how that works on a very short-term lease and with no place to stow the other set. But never mind... :O)

Posted by
3652 posts

Kathy, I agree with you. The logistics seem problematic. Since the OP is leasing the car in France, where winter tires are not a requirement, I can see how the leasing company would not agree to the change of tires as a condition of the lease. I would think that the OP could change the tires himself, as long as he changed back to the all seasons before returning the car. But that is going to cost several hundred euro ( not to mention the cost of labor -twice). And where are those 4 tires going to be stored for 4 weeks? And what is he going to do with those used winter tires when he's done? TIs a puzzlement. An expensive one.

Tom, I don't know why you've never heard of winter tires before, or why you would assume that all season tires made them obsolete. As you have found out, there are places where they are a requirement. And there are many more places where they are strongly recommended. In every place we have lived, in Canada, the tire stores and garages are booked solid twice a year with people getting their tires changed. We just had ours done today - we had to wait over a week to get an appointment.

The performance differences on snow and ice at low temperatures between the 2 types of tires are well documented. You can find them on the interwebs.

Posted by
5818 posts

My "servere service" winter tires are Nokian, a Finnish tire. The Finns know about snow and ice covered roads. My preference is the "studless" severe winter tire which do less damage to the roads than the "studded" winter tires and have better traction under non-icy conditions.

https://www.nokiantires.com/innovation/facts-about-tires/faq/#q2

Why does Nokian talk about "winter tires" instead of "snow tires"?

We use the term "winter tires" instead of "snow tires" because they
are designed to work in winter conditions, not just snow. The tire
compounds are optimized to provide grip even on dry roads in weather
below 40 degrees. All Season compounds get hard in colder weather thus
hindering grip. Also, winter tread patterns are designed to provide
excellent grip in ice and snowy conditions.

What is the "mountain snowflake" or "Severe Service Emblem," and
why do I need it on my winter tires?

All Nokian winter tires have the mountain snowflake designation. The
mountain snowflake symbol was created in Canada to designate a winter
tire that has passed the minimum requirements for winter traction.
Anyone that drives in winter conditions should consider having tires
with this symbol on them as a minimum requirement. Nokian tires
routinely exceed the requirements for this symbol.

Posted by
22262 posts

Snow tires are alive and well in the mountains and front range of Colorado. In fact, snow tires are required on two wheel drive vehicles when the chain law goes into effect. A four/all wheel drive vehicle can get by with all-season tires on all four wheels. When I had a rear-drive sport car I kept a set of snow tires mounted on extra rims so I could easily change the tires when winter came. Snow tires are common.

Posted by
10998 posts

"I have a tremendous amount of lifetime experience (160 months) driving in snow and still never heard of anyone using these in 40 years-- totally unheard of, not even seen them for sale, or anecdotally heard anyone talk about changing their tires."

Come on out to Idaho, too. They are alive and well. Everyone where I live changes tires. In fact mine are staged in my garage waiting to be put on next week.

Edgar says: "My "severe service" winter tires are Nokian, a Finnish tire. The Finns know about snow and ice covered roads. My preference is the "studless" severe winter tire which do less damage to the roads than the "studded" winter tires and have better traction under non-icy conditions."

Many still run studs around here but like Edgar I changed to Nokian two cars ago and really like their performance on snow, ice, hills and curves. I have a Honda CRV which is great in the snow but I literally can't get up the street to my house at some times without snow tires. I moved to Idaho from FL in Jan 1999 and they were the first things I bought. Snow/winter tire culture was strong then and strong now.

And like Frank, there are times when snow/winter/traction tires ARE required - generally to negotiate mountain passes such as Snoqualmie east of Seattle area or the passes from Idaho east over to Montana during bad weather conditions. They are not a general requirement to have on in Idaho but if the weather is bad the DOT will make sections of roads open only to rigs outfitted with traction tires or chains. No way am I using chains. If it's that bad, I'm staying home.

Posted by
31672 posts

Tom_MN,

"I have no idea what a winter tire is. Is this a snow tire? The last time I saw a snow tire was in the 70s before everyone went to all-season radials making snow tires obsolete."

All season radials are not suitable for winter driving, and these do not make snow tires obsolete. Driving with all season radials in B.C. in the winter time can result in expensive tickets and fines, especially if driving the high mountain roads such as the Coquihalla, where either good winter tires or chains are compulsory. If you've ever watched the TV show Highway Thru Hell, that will give some idea on what conditions can be like there.

A good example to illustrate the importance of proper tires occurred in the lower mainland (Vancouver area) last winter. Snow tires were not required in that area as it generally gets very little snow, so the majority of drivers used the inappropriately-named "all season radials". Last year the weather changed and the winter was especially bad with lots of snow. One other factor is that the snow in the lower mainland tends to be "wet & greasy", as opposed to the drier & light snow that we get in the interior. Conditions were so bad in the Vancouver area that even large vehicles like transit buses (which probably also had all season tires) were getting stuck. This resulted in numerous MVI's and a huge increase in insurance claims. As a result the provincial government has (or will soon) pass regulations making snow tires mandatory in all areas.

If one wants to keep one set of tires year-round, a better alternative is all weather tires. I've been driving in Canadian winters for ~50 years, and prefer to use proper studded ice & snow radials on all four wheels. I keep those on a spare set of rims so the tire shop can change them over in about 15 minutes (which they do at no cost). The studded tires are a bit "noisy" on bare pavement, but I can put up with that for a few months. As Chris mentioned above, proper winter tires use a different rubber compound which stays more pliable at colder temperatures.

One of the large multi-national tire retailers, Kal Tire, has done studies and have shown that proper winter tires are much more effective than all season radials. Their world headquarters is here in Vernon, so I'm sure I could get more specific information if you're interested.

Posted by
31672 posts

freespirit,

After reading your post and some of the other replies, one other question occurred to me - how long are you planning to be driving around Europe?

Posted by
470 posts

Ken, you have provided some excellent information, but I would like to comment on the following section:

Also keep in mind that some jurisdictions require four winter tires,
so that could be a rather large expense. Are you planning to put the
tires on a rental car?

Winter tyres must always be equipped on all four wheels, never just on two. While illegal, it is also dangerous to have two sets of very different-handling tyres on the car. If one were to put winter tyres on the front wheels of a FWD car, there would be less grip in the rear, causing the car to potentially oversteer or even spin out of control in winter conditions.

mjfreespirit, it appears that Renault allows the driver to buy their own winter tyres if desired but requires that the original set of all-season tyres be returned with the car. If you find it necessary to purchase winter tyres (given the itinerary you originally posted in another thread includes Alpine areas and Central Europe, I would agree), I suggest purchasing the tyres from a Renault service centre. They might also be willing to store the original tyres for free or a small fee so you don't have to lug them around with you.

Posted by
31672 posts

Dejan,

I wasn't sure what the rules are in all jurisdictions in Europe and North America but here in B.C., driver's *must use" four tires of the same type, as you described.

Posted by
5818 posts

There are two technical reasons for using the same tire on all wheels. First is vehicles are designed with the assumption that all wheels have the same coefficient of friction. The second is that you want to maximize the stopping force when you brake. And thirdly if you have a Subaru all-wheel drive, you want all four tires to have the same diameter/circumference.

Now that said, each state/province in North America may have its own laws regarding winter tires. The same can be said that each European country has their own laws regarding winter tires. And if not the law, litigation has changed business practices here in Oregon.

http://www.mailtribune.com/article/19981118/biz/311189998

Lawsuit puts the skids on front-tire-only studs Posted Nov 18, 1998

Jarred by a $1.3 million lawsuit over the role front-wheels-only
studded tires played in a fatal 1996 car wreck near the Santiam Pass,
many tire dealers are refusing to install studded tires on just the
two front wheels of front-wheel, all-wheel or four-wheel drive
vehicles.

A dealership will probably insist that you get them for all four
wheels.

The decision stems in part from a crash on Jan. 13, 1996, near the
Santiam Pass that killed Kathryn Nelson, 47, and her stepdaughter,
Christiana Nelson, 31.

The Nelsons’ car was hit by a vehicle equipped with studded tires only
on the front wheels. The lawsuit, which has yet to go to trial, claims
that the absence of studded tires on the back wheels contributed to
the crash.

In the lawsuit in Deschutes County Circuit Court against Les Schwab
and tire marketer Hercules Tire & Rubber Co., Kathryn Nelson’s estate
is seeking up to $1.3 million.

Posted by
31672 posts

Tom_MN,

I suppose every jurisdiction is entitled to set whatever tire rules they feel are appropriate. I don't know for sure, but I suspect the laws requiring proper tires here in B.C. are based on studies and fact which show their efficacy compared to all-season radials.

Posted by
12192 posts

Fascinating.....the OP asks a simple question and even requests that if you don't know you don't know.

But typical of so much on this board the thread is taken over regarding something else. Of the 31 responses so far, 3 answer his question.

Posted by
21 posts

In regards to Tires, I’m going to call around. See if a tire shop can hold on to them until I return, knowing they will get the tires I purchased from them. Wherever that tire shop is. Hard to sift through all the off-topic responses.

Posted by
12192 posts

Why not ask the people you are leasing the car from where they buy their tires--for their own personal cars not the leased ones.

Posted by
8971 posts

It was 2014 when all the cars and trucks went sliding around everywhere, Kim. Freeways were blocked for a couple of days. When it does snow in France, it's havoc.

Posted by
8129 posts

I guess I need to remember that most people actually leave this city from time to time!! : )