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Snow/Ice winter tires

Winters here again, so this topic should be active

Now that Winter is almost upon us and I have to
buy new snows for my new Ford Focus, I have to
decide which brand. Have ran both the Bizzaks and
the Artic Alpin and like them both. But the Nokian
Hakkapeliitta Q ($89) has really caught my eye
while doing research. Called around to get prices
and a dealer tried pushing me toward Hacook Zovac
W400 ($64). Really liked what I read about the
Nokian's. Not any test info about the Hacook's out
there at all, just what the dealer told me. What
does anyone had actual experence with these tires?
Don't want any info about studded tires!

Thanks, Pat


  • Should be mounting the Nokian Hakkapeliitta Q's on my 2000 Ford Focus ZX3, all the way around, this Tuesday. Will keep you guys posted on how well they do in the Upstate New York Lake effect snows.
  • hengheng Posts: 411
    the Blizzaks and the Arctics?
  • I got three winters out of the Blizzaks. 60 miles a day plus xtra trips. Average about 25,000+ miles a year. Sold the car with the Artics so I didn't have them the full winter. Figure the Artic Alpins should have gotten about the same.
    Reports I have read on both seem to indicate a 15,000 to 25,000 mile life, depending on the winter conditions. This is one of the reasons I decided on the Nokian Winter Tire. Long life and excellent traction.
  • Got dumped on overnight! No work today, but picked up my Nokian's. Trip to Dealer (in boondocks) was very slow. Trip back home was very fast. Even took shortcut over the hill. Wunderbar!!!!!!!!

  • 16" on a Sentra - Wow! Have you tryed to come down to a skinnier tire with the same height? The 195/55 is very wide. There are some conversion charts on some of the sites. I left my alloys on, but didn't really want to. With people upgradeing, I can pick up another set. I would not worry about what the wheels look like in the winter. Tire rack shows the hubcaps on their site, plus you get a choice.

    CR rated the Dunlop snows fairly good, but not as good as the Artic Alpin. Had them on my Sentra (13") and they handled real well in the snow and on pack snow and ice. Only had them thru part of last winter.

  • Wow!! No problems. They go like they are glued to the snow covered highway. No hype about them, they are everything the company says they are. Now we will have to see how well they wear.

  • Is it possible to install your own studs in tires that are "studdable"? Is there a special tool you can buy or rent? Do the tires have to be re-balanced afterwards?

  • Watched dealer do it. Seems to be a small rotating stud canister/air compressor, mounted high on wall with plastic tube coming down to his stud gun. Special set up, but does not look expensive. But being special one never knows. Can't answer your other question, but I think I would. Check around the web and you should find answer somewhere. Plus, I don't think all studs are created equal in terms of quality.
  • div2div2 Posts: 2,580
    I seem to remember J.C. Whitney selling a tire studding kit with some kind of manual installation tool. Looked like more trouble than it was worth , IMHO.
  • rbink1rbink1 Posts: 11
    Have been using Nokian tires for the past 10 years in northern Michigan. In my opinion, best snow tire in the world. I just purchased Hakka 1's for my two new cars a few weeks ago. I choose the Hakka 1's over the Q's because of the more aggressive tire pattern. The 1's also are a T rated tire (118 mph). If you want to get through the snow, you might want to consider the Nokians.
  • catmomcatmom Posts: 42
    Just bought studded snow tires from Discount Tire.
    The depth of the stud was only about a sixteenth of an inch above the surface of the tire (not the eight of an inch I expected like the tires I used in the 80's).

    Have been driving for about a week (150 miles) and the studs are now just barely above the tire surface. At this rate, I would expect the studs to be flush with the tire by season's end and will certainly not give me several season's wear.

    My question is whether this is normal? Is the studding technology different from what it was several years ago or should I expect the studs to be longer? Thanks
  • catmom,
    When I was getting my Nokian Q's mounted there was another customer there (a rural route mail carrier) was asking the same question. He to was concerned about what would be left by seasons end. The tire store owner (a wholesaler) told him he would look around to see what other stud manufactures had to offer, but he also said that he didn't think there was much hope to find anything better. This rural route mail carrier is driving on a lot of dirt roads and blacktop and he has noticed that the studs do not last like they use to. Wonder what happens when they are driven on new concrete roads.

    There was quite a bit of discussion on studs vs studless on the old "frozen" snow tire topic. Maybe those guys will find this new topic and help us out.

  • catmomcatmom Posts: 42
    I think I probably wasted my money--got an average tire that won't have any better traction than a normal tire after a short time. My old studded snow tires lasted 9 seasons. Should have probably gone with one of the newer compounds.
  • catmom,
    Kind of late now, but did you check out the Nokian site and their factory studded tire. Very interesting site. ""

  • catmomcatmom Posts: 42
    Checked the web site. Sigh. Guess I have buyer's remorse. Have you had a chance to test your Nokias on ice? I'm not really too concerned about getting stuck in snow, but don't like to slip and slide. BTW, I have a zx3 too.
  • I got the Q's without the studs, but they are suppose to be considered a ice tire, comparable to the blizzak or artic alpin. Live south of Buffalo on I-86 (Rt 17). We have had our share of both snow and icy conditions. I can say, having ran the Goodyear F-32, Bridgestone Blizzak (original style) and the Michelin Artic Alpin, that the hakka Q is as good on snow and ice as they claim. Last week had good lake effect snow three days and was able to pass in the unplowed snow covered lane on I-86. The one day the road looked bare, but wet, and I discovered after traveling a few miles and seeing many cars in medium, that it was black ice, Never slipped once. Almost to good of traction, but I knew the road felt different. I really like the way it handles on bare road also. Think it handles better that the stock RS/A's. I waiting to see if I can get the 140,000 kilometers (close to 90,000 miles) wear resistance out of them.

    Might have paid a bit more for them than what I would have for the competition, but if they last as long and maintain their traction ability as the claim, they will be well with it. Have to admit that I took a chance, but think I did my homework well.

  • dunkadunka Posts: 17
    Do any of you have experience with this Swedish tire. Naturally my Volvo dealer recommends. I am also considering Blizzaks. Vehicle in questions is an '01 V70 T5 with tires that I don't ever want to encounter a snow flake in - 17" Pirelli Sport Veloce 6000.

    Specific Questions - tread life, noise, handling characteristics.

    Any other tire recommendations?

  • dunkadunka Posts: 17
    Forgot to mention - I live in the Boston area so winters can go from mild to severe in the same day.
  • ccotenjccotenj Posts: 610
    i live in new jersey, but was born and raised in new england, so i know what you mean about the changing conditions... it's actually quite similar here... i have a 325iC... i currently am using blizzak mz-02's... they worked really well last winter... tread life is "ok", i figure i'm going to get about 25-30k out of them, mostly dry highway driving... not horribly noisy, but really can't comment on that, being as mine is a convertible, there's enough other random noise that tire noise really isn't a factor for me... as far as handling characteristics, well, don't forget you've got them on after you switch from your summer tires... i just live with the fact that 4 months a year it's not gonna handle great... if you do *much* heavy snow driving, vs. light snow/freezing rain/sleet like we get here (and what tends to happen in boston proper), you might want to consider a more aggressive snow tread pattern...

    i would *strongly* suggest winter wheels in either a 16 or 15 inch size as well... skinnier and longer contact patches work much better in the slick stuff...

    tirerack has several different reviews of snows. check it out.

    good luck.

  • md2002md2002 Posts: 142
    If you have a car the normally takes H rated tires you should consider the sister tire of the Artic Alpin known as Pilot Alpin. My wifes car was originally fitted with a standard Q rated Ice Compound tire and she found it make the car hard to handle.

    We had them switched (free guarantee) to Pilot Alpin when I found out really needed a better performing tire for her Solara. The difference between the H and Q rated tires is dry vs snow traction.

    H rated will give you a 8 out of 10 on snow and 10 out of 10 on dry.
    Q rated will give you a 10 out of 10 on snow and maybe a 6-7 out of 10 on dry.

    Since in upstate NY you get maybe a total of 25 days of snow covered roads that are not clear yet the dry performance was just as important as snow.

    Check out they offered the price that was lower than the local shop by almost $200 less.
  • rs_pettyrs_petty Posts: 423
    Have read with interest the above topics. Does anyone have experience or an opinion on the value of a winter tire on a 2wd pickup versus a normal all season tire one would find as original equipment on pickups. I carry Z-chains now, but wondering if winter tires would be a safer and better performing alternative.
  • Does anyone have a great recommendation for the sizing of tires for my Nissan. The manual recommended one size and the dealers often use another when replacing. I live in Virginia and will also be up against snow and ice. Please let me know, need to replace them this weekend.
  • Anyone out there have any experience with the Toyo Observe snow tires? Local tire dealer here in Boston can get me a set of 4 for significantly less $ than other brands (Blizzak, Arctic Alpins, Pirelli...)
  • Here's another board to check ""
  • ramonramon Posts: 825
    I think they have walnut shells embedded to them for ice crunching. GOod for icy roads. Otherwise an overkill and it's loud!
  • md2002md2002 Posts: 142
    I would say it depends on the truck. Is it heavy enough by itself, do you have extra weight in the back? The bigger issue is if people put snow tires on a car why not on a 4x2 truck. I would say it truly depends on where you live and how much snow you get, if you live in New England I would say "yes", if you live in NYC I would say if you live in Georgia, no.

    Good Luck.
  • robr2robr2 BostonPosts: 8,863
    I too live in Boston and just got a set of Arctic Alpins for my Y2K Odyssey. First time I have used snows since 1984 - decided it was worthwhile for the wife and kids (and myself too!!) as it is our primary weekend vehicle.

    First impression - excellent. We had about 4 inches of snow last week and the Ody made it up the hill to the main street and the traction control barely kicked in. My Accord would have been all over the place. Although 4" isn't much snow, it was slick enough out there and the tires I believe did their job. Ran them the following day on the highway at 70 mph and they were not much louder than the standard Michelin Symmetry.

    I got them from Tire Rack with steel rims - neglected to order wheel covers. The black rims look pretty ugly. Maybe Santa will bring them.

    As for the Nokian and Gislaved brands - although people rave about them, they were hard to find here in Boston without going to a Volvo or Saab dealer or a couple of exclusive tire emporiums. Essentially, they did not present a very good value to me.
  • rs_pettyrs_petty Posts: 423
    The problem is I live right where you could get some big snows or nothing at all, DC. But when traveling occasionally to PA or NJ it would be nice to know I've got the right stuff. I don't doubt that winter tires are better, what I can't get a read on is whether they are that much better than regular LT tires. What I'm really trying to decide is should I get a set of Nokian's on regular steel wheels and then mount Michelon Pilot LT's on factory rims for the other three seasons or just stay with the factory Dunlops which have given great service so far. Probably won't know until I try it for myself, just looking for someone who maybe already has.
  • drew_drew_ Posts: 3,382
    A friend of mine was using this brand (bought from his dealer) on his Volvo 850 for the last 2 years. He switched to the Michelin Arctic Alpins and immediately noticed a significant improvement in snow/ice over the Gislaved. I can't say that I've ever been particularly impressed with those Swedish tires. Not like they were inexpensive either!

    Drew Townhall co-host
    Vans and Aftermarket & Accessories conferences
  • ramonramon Posts: 825
    are good if you see alot of snow and ice. But if u only see occasional snow then u're better off with a winter tire instead of serious snow/ice tires. the gislaves and heavy duty snow tires can get real annoying when the road s dry. Not to mention loud!
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