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Snow/Ice winter tires

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Comments

  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    Hmmm, a user name of tiresbyweb posting a link to www.tiresbyweb.com; seems awfully spammish if you ask me. :mad:
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,391
    :blush: Didn't notice that little "coincidence."
  • Sorry if this has been asked, but my searches have been fruitless.

    Here in California, under certain conditions (level 2), vehicles must either have chains, or have 4WD/AWD with M+S tires (mud and snow). (This is current, I just checked the CHP web site.)

    If I understand correctly, M+S applies to All Seasons tires with a certain thread pattern, basically they need to have enough horizontal grooves. The designation is imprinted on the tire side. Unfortunately tire manufacturers don't seem to provide this information on their web sites, so this makes it hard for me to order tires on the web (from Costco, for instance). Specifically, I would be inclined to buy a set of Michelin HydroEdge but I don't know if they are M+S-rated (I kind of doubt it because most of the grooves are vertical.)

    I understand that all-seasons tires are nowhere as good as snow tires, but that's what I am using now and they are good enough.

    Does anybody know:
    1. where this information may be available
    2. whether the Michelin HydroEdge are M+S
    3. what other popular modes are M+S

    Thanks!
    Luigi
  • Find a Michelin dealer in the phone book, call 'em up and ask!
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,391
    edited September 2011
    Well, you're right... many sites don't provide this information outright. However, most online places nowadays do include high-resolution photos of the tires they sell (such as TireRack), and you can clearly see the M+S designation on the tire. Take a look at the HydroEdge tire on their site; you'll see this to be true.

    That said, I am not sure I have come across an all-season tire that was not stamped with the M+S designator, so take it with a grain of salt because performance can vary widely! If you plan to use all-seasons for all seasons (and will likely see them all), even with an AWD vehicle, I highly recommend you consider a set of tire chains if you drive in mountainous or otherwise steep terrain.
  • capriracercapriracer Somewhere in the USPosts: 792
    All Season tires are by definition those that have M+S, M&S, M/S, etc. designations. If the tire is called "all season", it has those letters on the sidewall. If it doesn't have those letters, it will be called something else - like "summer".
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    edited September 2011
    All Season tires are by definition those that have M+S, M&S, M/S, etc. designations. If the tire is called "all season", it has those letters on the sidewall. If it doesn't have those letters, it will be called something else - like "summer".

    Ummm, I'm not at all sure I accept that statement. I'm about 99.9% sure the Michelin Pilot Sport A/S "All-Season" tires I currently have on my Mazda3 do not have an M+S rating on them. Furthermore, now that they have in excess of 46,000 miles on them I've already ordered a set of replacement tires (currently sitting in my garage). The replacements are a set of Yokohama AVID ENVigors, and I'm about 99.9% sure they don't have an M+S designation either.

    So, while you personally may not consider either of my sets true "All-Season" tires because they don't carry the M+S designation, the industry at large gives them a classification of "High Performance All-Season".
  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 27,640
    I bet they do have M+S on them... :blush:

    MODERATOR
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  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    We'll find out in a couple of hours. :)
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,391
    Muahahahahah; it's on! :P
  • That's SO helpful! I hadn't noticed that the small pictures at TireRack linked to high-res pictures. Kudos to them (sadly, however, I think I am still buying at Costco).

    Also, I didn't notice that TireRack's page on All Seasons tires mentions that all of them have the M+S designation (all the ones on their page, not necessarily all All Seasons).

    So I am good. Thanks again.
    Luigi
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    I couldn't have been more wrong! Hate it when that happens. :P

    Long story short, both sets of tires for my Mazda3 have M+S on the sidewall. The Michelins are highly stylized and even though indicator is fairly large, it was easy to miss. The Yokohamas were easy to overlook as well due to the "M+S" indicator being maybe only an eighth of an inch high.

    So, time for me to shut-up and crawl back into my hole. :blush:
  • capriracercapriracer Somewhere in the USPosts: 792
    When radial tires first came into the US market, it was noticed that snow traction was much better than with bias tires. It didn't take long for someone to realize that a tire could be made more aggressive - and get improved snow traction - with only a slight loss of wear - the first all season tire. Others followed suit.

    But this created a problem for the California Highway Patrol who regulated what vehicles were allowed to go into the mountains in winter. Their regulations required SNOW tires - amd while they understood that All Season tires had better snow traction than bias ply tires did, they needed something concrete to work against. So the Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA) created a verbal description of what an all season tire looked like and Cailfornia wrote a regulation around that definition with the letters "M" and "S" as indicators. Put specifically - those two letters could only be used if, and only if, the tires met the definition - and the term "All Season could only be used if, and only if, the tire had an "M" and "S" on the sidewall. Other tires could have those letters - all terrain, winter tires - but the intent was to delineate street passenger car tires that had snow capability.

    The letters "M" and "S" could be separated by a "+", or a "-", or a "/", or nothing at all, but when the letters appear, those mean "all season" and vice versa.

    So you may ask: "Why didn't they mandate a test rather than a description of how they looked!" Because snow traction testing was in its infancy and there was lots of variability. In other words - it wasn't reliable enough.

    Fast forward a couple of decades: The Canadians wanted to create a regulation for winter tires. They knew that some all season tires weren't vey good in the snow (although clearly superior to the old bias ply tires), but they wanted something that clearly delineated a superior winter traction tire. Again, the RMA stepped in and came up with a test and a symbol (Commonly called the "SnowFlake Symbol"). Needless to say, that snow traction test had become much more repeatable and reliable by then so the test had vaildity to the real world.

    That is where things are at the moment.

    But there is a problem: Many all terrain tires will pass this test - as will some agressive all season tires. That makes it difficult to enforce a "Winter Tire Only" regulation. So the Canadians have proposed a more agressive test and an approriate symbol to match - and they have run into technical difficulties. The Canadians would like to add ice traction to the testing protocol - BUT - tires that are really good in snow aren't necessarily really good on ice and vice versa. So they are have some difficulties writing a regulation to deal with this. They need to work out the bugs before a new symbol can be created.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,404
    Interesting stuff....but really now, aside from studded tires, or chained tires, is any tire really "good" on ice? I mean, actual ice. Seems unlikely to claim such.

    MODERATOR

  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    The Michelin X-Ice tires which I ran on my 530i were surprisingly decent on ice.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,404
    yeah but not "ice" ice. You mean melted-snow type ice, right? You've seen videos of cars and trucks sliding backwards down hills? That's what I was talking about.

    MODERATOR

  • I am not qualified to respond about pure ice. I can however state that it is actually difficult to get the anti-lock brakes to kick in, with Blizzaks on the car, in the winter here in Cleveland. We're talking a light, late model Celica with four large brakes. Snowy, slushy, icy conditions, it doesn't matter. If that top layer of microcells has not worn off yet, the car stops unbelievably well.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    No, I'm talking about ICE, you know, the cold hard stuff that glazes everything it comes in contact with.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,404
    I think we're talking about different things then. I was talking about sheer ice, or "black ice" as it is sometimes called. Even chains, studs or tank treads don't help very much on this stuff.

    MODERATOR

  • capriracercapriracer Somewhere in the USPosts: 792
    edited September 2011
    Obviously, "good" is a relative term.

    When the Canadians proposed the new regulation, they assumed that a tire that would have - relatively - excellent ice traction, would also have - relatively - excellent snow traction. It would have been nice if that was true, but, alas, that is not the case.

    Clearly ice traction is going to be low compared to dry traction - but that wasn't the issue. It had to do with rating tires - and the assumption was that the average motorist would assume a highly rated winter tire would be highly rated for both snow and ice traction - and because they are not, there's a dilemma.
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