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Snow/Ice winter tires



  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,276
    I agree that they really do add significant traction to winter driving (I live in Fairbanks, Alaska, so I usually get six months of driving on snow and ice). Good all-seasons will usually get you around, but that's about it! Given the added life of two sets of tires, the overall cost of buying the winter tires is pretty minimal; especially if mounted on their own rims and changed, seasonally, at home.

    I do not prefer the Blizzak because of its short life expectancy, but it is an excellent tire in terms of ice traction for a couple of seasons (15-20K miles if driven in cold, snowy/icy conditions). They wear incredibly fast on dry roads, even if temperatures are cold.

    I just picked up a set of Continental ExremeWinterContact tires (never tried them before), so I will report my initial impressions once I have them and have them on the car, probably in another month. I also need to check the tread depth on my Goodyear Ultra Grip Ice tires before I put them back on the Forester. I put 7500 miles on those last winter and they were astoundingly good, especially in slush and deep snow.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    I have avoided Bridgestone winter tires for the same reason, their outer tread compound wears out way too quickly. I've had much better luck with Michelin Arctic Alpin and its descendants the X-Ice and X-Ice Xi2.
  • Clearly you are not married to any particular brand. My favorites have changed throughout the years, but I am somewhat open to different ones now. The only stipulation is that the tire must do a very good job at its primary function.

    Yes, all season tires are typically mediocre at everything they do, but not great at any particular function. I am glad my tire guy pounded that lesson into me years ago. Everyone around me uses only all season tires throughout the winter and I think that fact alone causes a lot of accidents.

    I am far far from you in Cleveland Ohio. We have snow from November through April, sometimes in May and sometimes in October. It is a pretty bad city for weather for many reasons.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,276
    I plan to try the X-Ice one of these years. It is the most expensive of the genre (at least... it is here), so my old $800 Escort was not the car on which I was going to spend the extra $100 to try them! :D
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,276
    edited September 2010
    Yes, all season tires are typically mediocre at everything they do, but not great at any particular function. I am glad my tire guy pounded that lesson into me years ago. Everyone around me uses only all season tires throughout the winter and I think that fact alone causes a lot of accidents.

    I used to use all-season tires exclusively, on all types of vehicles, which amounted to about ten winters (probably around 80-90 thousand miles on snow and/or ice) of Fairbanks driving without ever using a winter-rated tire (studded or otherwise). I even used my old '69 C20 this way exclusively one winter and regularly for a couple more.

    In Cleveland, I suspect deep snowfalls wreak havoc on all-seasons, but we don't ever get what a snow-belt resident would consider a "deep" snowfall (maybe as much as 12 inches / 25 centimeters over 24 hours once in a blue moon). It isn't so much a matter of getting around and/or "being safe" (in a general sense, such as driving distance, speed, stopping, etc) with all-seasons as it is being able to respond and avoid true emergency situations (those situations that arise without warning, such as a moose bolting from the forest directly ahead or an oncoming car veering into your lane). And, not all all-seasons perform as well as others. Some of them are downright dangerous to use in anything approximating winter, others are as good as some studded tires whose studs are past their prime.

    The vast majority of the time, though, a crash is caused by the driver - not the equipment. You give an incompetent driver (for a given set of conditions) better equipment and the end result is going to be a worse crash. :P


    Although we purchased a couple of used cars in the past several years that came with dedicated winter (studded) tires, I think, for me, the real shift in personal tire habits came with the purchase of my Forester last Fall. I knew I would need a new set of tires (the stock Yokohama Geolandar tires are garbage on icy roads), so that expense was a given. So, I discussed preferences with my wife (since it is really her car) and she wanted the winter tires.

    After experiencing that car (which is pretty darn competent in icy conditions, even with marginal tires) with all-seasons and the winter tires, I was a believer. It is not that I cannot drive the car safely without winter tires, it is just that I now choose not to do so. :) When I have to use my old C20 in the winter, though, I'll just have to make do with the all-seasons because there is no way I'm going to splurge on winter tires for that thing!
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,276
    We are having quite the unique weather here in Fairbanks this week.

    The Goodyear Ultra Grip Ice tires are doing an amazing job on my Subaru Forester, getting me everywhere I need to go and anywhere I want to go. The best part is that the roads are nearly deserted, so I have leave to enjoy the drive to its fullest!

    I drove my Escort yesterday, with the Continental ExtremeWinterContact. It did very well, too, with drivers slipping into the ditches all around, but I had to work much harder at keeping that car on the road just due to its "one wheel drive" nature.

    Is it wrong of me to enjoy inclement weather this much? :blush: :shades:
  • I tried the Continental Extremecontact DWS All Season tires and they worked well. I was very impressed with its all season abilities. Its dry performance is just a tiny tiny bit less impressive than the factory goodyears that came on my Audi, but it more than makes up for that in its cold weather and snow performance. Really a great tire and its very inexpensive.

    If you want to see what my car can do in the snow just watch this video. now

    Hope the information helps you...
  • isnt drifting bad for your tires?
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    Why would drifting in snow be bad for tires?
  • dudleyrdudleyr Posts: 3,407
    love to drift in the snow. Can't help myself. Snow means you can get a nice 4 wheel drift with opposite lock at reasonable speeds.

    I drive pretty conservatively on dry roads, but snow time is play time. Of course with 4 snow tires - Michelin xi-2 currently.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,276
    So, did you folks have yourselves a lively game of rochambeau to decide who would get the privilege of playing in the unmolested snow? :shades:
  • So the Legacy wagon has 205/55R16 Dunlop SP WinterSport 3Ds on a set of 16" WRX wheels. So far, it has been quite the set up and it earned a paycheck in last week's storms. My question was is there a recommended change in tire pressure with the winter tires? I believe the door sticker is 30/32 and I typically run 2-3 above that. Any thoughts?
    These replaced Hankook IcePike W404s that were purchased used and had some issues with wear making they NOISY. I think those were considered "studable winter" and these new ones are "performance winter" and I have to say, for SE MI winters, these seem to be the ticket.
  • If those are the stock size for your car, then tire pressures should remain the same.. (if you typically run higher pressures, then no reason to change)..

    If you go +/- on the wheel diameter, then recommended pressures usually go up/down, accordingly...

    Some people like to run lower pressures in deeper snow conditions, to get a wider contact patch, but I don't like to mess with my dry road handling, since that's still 99% of my driving in winter..

    Moderator - Prices Paid, Lease Questions, SUVs

  • The rating on the door represents what the MFR thinks is the best blend of comfort and performance. Adding a couple pounds improves stiffness a bit while comfort may suffer. I do this just like you do. I add two pounds to just the front tires, both in winter & summer, to stiffen them up and compensate for the 60% of the weight that is up front in my Celica. To me this helps the overall balance.

    Just an aside: My snow tires are higher profile and dramatically more comfortable than the summer performance tires. Part of that is due to going with 15" wheels in the winter, one size down. The other part is the makeup of the tire material. My back actually feels bad when I put the summer tires back on.

    Winter tires tend to have a much lower maximum pressure rating. You can find this on the tire itself. However, the tire can probably take another 10 psi more.
  • I run the Dunlop M3s for my winter setup on my Mazda6, and I've run the same tire pressure on them as I do my summer wheels/tires (2-3 psi above recommendation), and I haven't had any issues in terms or traction or ride comfort.
  • chilli1327chilli1327 Posts: 1
    edited January 2011
    All tires will wear evenly if you follow a few steps. And yes I know some tires are better than others, but make sure you maximize the pressure in the tires. I mean maximize for your vehicle, not the maximum pressure.
    So, slow down in curves, do all your braking before you enter a curve, and wait until you completely exit a curve before accelerating.
    I have always bought the cheapest tires available, but I always do my home work first. I search on different brands to find out any information that I can find. Hancooks are one of the best values out there, but it depends where you live etc. A tires price can vary by as much as 50% depending on where you live. Go figure. In Canada, we pay much more for shoes than our friends in the states.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    edited January 2011
    You completely missed the point of my post; it isn't that Bridgestone winter tires wear unevenly, it's that they use a different rubber compound on the outer layer of tread, and once it wears away, their tires lose much of their winter time grip.

    As for all tires wearing evenly if you follow your steps, nope, fail. Try following your advice on a late model BMW, some Mazdas, and some Hondas and you'll be proven completely wrong. Instead, the only way to ensure relatively even tire wear on these cars is to drive the willies out of them when carving through the turns; drive them like a geriatric case and you'll find one shoulder of the tires gets worn out well before the middle or the outer edge.

    As for buying the cheapest tires available, that's a fail as well. True, not all expensive tires are great and not all cheap tires are bad; but there is a rough correlation between the two metrics.
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    So far I've found the asolute best tires for winter are Nokian Hakkapolita R. I've used them in 70* weather down to -10* and they work just as well across the whole range. For my new STi I just picked up a set of Michelin Alpine 3 tires, they are not as good in the snow but I suspect they may do better in the wet due to the deep grooves in the center.

  • As for buying the cheapest tires available, that's a fail as well. True, not all expensive tires are great and not all cheap tires are bad; but there is a rough correlation between the two metrics.

    I concur. The scariest tires I've had were Cooper Sport 1000s (the ones they advertise in the paper 4/$100 or whatever) and they were mediocre in every aspect. That said, my Kumho Ectasas on the '93 Accord were much more fun than the $$$ Michelin MXV4s that were on there before.

    I have been very happy with the Bridgestone stuff I've had recently, and Dunlop has been good to me as well. I haven't had a "modern" Yokahama but the AVS Intermediates were great at the time.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,276
    edited August 2011
    If you plan to use the tires strictly for winter driving, I would recommend the Hakkapeliitta between the two. If I recall correctly, the WR can be used as an all-season, but the result of that is you give up a little winter traction and it wears fairly fast during the summer.

    Everyone around here (Fairbanks, AK) who has used the Hakkapeliitta has nothing but praise for them, aside from the (local) price. If you can get them for the prices listed on that site, I doubt you'll come away disappointed with their performance!

    It's not too early... we have more than a few yellow leaves on the trees! :surprise:
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