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SNOW TIRES

igloomasterigloomaster Posts: 249
edited March 2014 in General
First question: I only have 2 snow tires right
now, mounted on rims I pulled out of the junk yard.
Will that be enough if I put those on the drive
wheels this winter? Most tire places encourage
folks to go with a set of 4, but I assume that is
for their own financial reasons.

Second question: Studded or not? I have used
studded snows in the past and thought they made a
big difference. Now everyone raves about this
studless Blizzak tire from Bridgestone. What's the
consensus?
«134

Comments

  • guitarzanguitarzan OhioPosts: 817
    Rear wheel drive: 2 is fine.
    Front wheel: need 4
    4-wheel, or other special configurations: 4

    Which configuration do you have?

    Blizzaks are great on dad's '88 Lincoln, they stick to ice just great! I do believe you need 4 of these special tires for any car :(

    guitarzan
    Community Leader/Vans Conference
  • I'll have both:
    Ford Ranger, rear drive
    new Honda Hatch, front drive

    What is the need for 4 on front drive? I figured putting them on the front would be enough since that's both drive and steering.

    I noticed great traction from the studded Coopers that I have on the Ranger, but wished I had them on front too, due to the fact that I noticed some sloppy steering in the snow and slush.
  • someyaksomeyak Posts: 19
    I live in D.C. area but drive to up state New York (friend, relatives, kids in college, etc). The 225/50's on the new Maxima doesn't sound like the best tire for bad weather. Any suggestions for a tire to help in the occasional snow storm I will surely face, keeping in mind that most of my winter driving will be done on dry pavement. Also since I will be getting new rims for these tires should I get smaller rims? I understand that the overall tire size must be kept the same for odometer purposes. I was just wondering whether to get small rims and big sidewalls or big rims and small sidewalls for the purpose of increasing traction. Or is the only thing that really matters for better snow/rain traction thinner tread width?
    Thanks
  • You'll need to go with a slightly narrower tire, for a smaller contact patch. The smaller contact patch is preferred when you need to dig through some ice/snow.
    If you only travel upstate occasionally, then you need to make a judgement call here on what you are willing to spend on a Snow Tire, since it can get crazy.
    If you stay in Washington DC MOST of the time, I wouldn't go for a "studded" snow tire, since you may not see much snow at all, and the metal studs give you a noisy ride on dry pavement. The Bridgestone Blizzak is supposed to be a GREAT studless snow tire, but it is also MUCH more expensive than the others. I would just go with an average, mid-priced snow tire. Maybe go with a Firestone Winterfire, or a Goodyear Ultra Grip.
    I've found a great website for info on ALL tires:
    www.tirerack.com.
    Bottom line: don't go crazy spending lots of cash on expensive snow tires, when a mid-priced tire might do you fine (especially in the DC area!).
    However, If you ARE in fact going to upstate NY a lot, then you might want to go with a Blizzak.
    Price difference for MY car: Blizzaks are $62 each, Winterfires are $42 each.
    Anyway, check out The Tire Rack - check out the website, and give them a call. They do wheel/tire packages, they have answers to questions, and the prices are right on.
  • markbuckmarkbuck Posts: 1,021
    The reason for four studdies on FWD is that then tend to power off spin really easily with only front studdies. Sorta like the problem that many americans have with 911 throttle lift oversteer...

    I ran the Goodyear Ultra Grip Studdies last winter on my little white rally car (now sold). Worked absolutely great, but I live at 7,000 feet in Arizona and we get lots of ice because of our 30 to 40 degree daily temperature swings. In mostly snow country, I would not necessarily buy studded tires.
  • guitarzanguitarzan OhioPosts: 817
    If you experience many icy conditions, Blizzaks are great. If you experience lots of deep snow, igloomaster hit it on the head (of course, right?): A narrow tire is best for digging through snow. Buying a cheap steel rim (or getting them from the junkyard) #1 means you don't have to transfer tires from rim to rim, and #2 will prevent your nice alloy wheels from experience the worst weather of the year.

    If price is a great concern, I think that is fine for this purchase. Last time I got snow tires, I told the tire dealer, "Give me your cheapest tire, with the most aggressive tread." He sold me a no-name tire, with a tread I could almost fit my hand in, and he said the tire was very similar to a major brand's tire.

    guitarzan
    Community Leader/Vans Conference
  • what was the name of the no-name snow tire...with the aggressive treads????

    just curious.

    also - was that tire 'studdable' ?
  • guitarzanguitarzan OhioPosts: 817
    Sorry, it has been too long since I had that car. It was at "Safeway Tire"/"Wholesale Tire" in Cleveland that I got them, and they were 15" tires for a 1980 Delta 88. I don't know how large that chain is, but the Cleveland guys are really good at what they do. If you find consummate professionals, you can just take their word, and not worry about the rest. Oh, so hard to find nowadays!

    guitarzan
    Community Leader/Vans Conference
  • anne4anne4 Posts: 35
    I've never owned Blizzaks, but I've read that they have a very short tread life. The outermost tread compound is a very soft rubber that enables the tire to grip ice or snow. Problem is that same soft rubber compound also wears off very rapidly. I'm told that after about 3000-5000 miles, Blizzaks grip no better than any other tire. Has anyone used Blizzaks for more than 5K miles and had good results with them?
  • I'm not sure about the tread life, but I will say that there are a few places that I've called - The Tire Rack included - that are really pushing them. They are promoting Blizzaks as if they make the damn things, which leads me to believe that there must be something else in it for them - especially since there are other brands of snow tires out there that are as expensive. Maybe they are aware that they wear out faster, which would translate into having to replace them sooner. I think I am going to go with the traditional, old fashioned studded snow tire this season, NOT the Blizzaks.
  • Well, I've done some more asking and searching, and it appears that the reason for the success of tires like the Blizzak is the super soft tread compound. Softer than ever! Which grips well in ice, but you get 2 - 3 seasons out of them MAX. They wear the hell out, and damn fast. I'm sticking with the traditional studded snow tire. I don't mind the noise, the grip is superior to ANY other tire in ice and snow, and the secure feeling is worth it.
  • howhohowho Posts: 77
    does anyone have an opinion on which is the better tire in terms of grip and longevity. the guys here sell both for the same price, but mention that the alpin is a "winter tire all the way down". i understand that the soft compound on the blizzak's is only on the first half of the tread (which may explain the 2 to 3 winter life).

    help. need to buy some next week.
  • guitarzanguitarzan OhioPosts: 817
    Igloomaster, you're right on. Now take it from this angle: You good health may rely on snow tires. How bad is it that they don't last real long?

    Could people please tell me the bad parts of studded tires, as I have never used them. Do they hurt concrete/asphalt driveways? Isn't their use restricted over certain months?

    guitarzan
    Community Leader/Vans Conference
  • vac23vac23 Posts: 118
    From my experience I've never seen a studded tire damage asphalt if driven properly-ie not locking up the brakes etc. Some states restrict they're use to the winter months. In NY they must be off the vehicle by March or so.
  • butch11butch11 Posts: 153
    They are illegal in some states-I seem to remember they being illegal in CA. They are very noisey and those tungsten inserts must chew up the pavement.
  • markbuckmarkbuck Posts: 1,021
    Run em here in Arizona at 7,000 ft elev. about 3 to 5 months out of the year. Will leave grooves in your driveway if you light up the tires and then hit a bare spot.

    To me, my safety is very important when driving in all types of icy conditions. Have never been stopped for illegal studded tires.

    Speeding is illegal in CA isn't it? Better not speed!
  • alandialandi Posts: 1
    Has anyone seen a good comprehensive comparison of snow tires? Everyone seems to have a different opinion about them and tire dealers all have an axe to grind.

    I've heard about the wear problems with Blizzaks and if I got 2 winters out them I'd be fine with that but I drive about 8-9 thousand miles a winter in New England and that seems to add up to 3 sets a winter.

    Thanks for any advise.
  • I need to get some good winter tires. I am looking at studless tires instead of studded this year, either bridgeport blizzaks or toyo observes. Any comments (studless v. studded)? Also, what are the different speed ratings for (i.e. H, Q, T, S, etc)? Is there a certain speed rating I should get to maintain the handling as is on my car now? How do I find this out?
  • ccotenjccotenj Posts: 610
    what do you have on your car now? that question being asked, NO snow tire is going to maintain the same handling characteristics of a snow tire. some (arctic alpins) are better than others (blizzaks). however the major consideration for a snow/ice tire is how good is accomplishes it's primary objective, which is getting you through the winter crud.
    where do you live? what are the winters like? is it a lot of snow on a constant basis (blizzaks). is it a lot of dry weather highway driving, with primarily ice/sleet storms (alpins). there's a lot of variables to consider.
  • I HIGHLY recommend a studded snow tire, especially if the Snow and Ice is anything like what New England has to offer. They really don't dig up the pavement if you drive normally. They are legal in most states; in Mass they are legal from 11/1 to 5/1. After May 1, you get a fine if caught.
    My ongoing debate, is whether or not you really need 4 snows in the winter if you have a front wheel drive car. It seems to me that you wouldn't need 4, so long as your snows are mounted on the front. Anyone have anything to add to that?
  • markbuckmarkbuck Posts: 1,021
    Brakes on turn with front studdies only, will swap ends quicker than you can say "ah sh#$"
  • now why is that? what's is the science behind that; my pea brain can't get around it.

    please enlighten me!
  • ccotenjccotenj Posts: 610
    front end stick, back end don't, whizzzz!! around you go....
  • dudleyrdudleyr Posts: 3,469
    I had Blizzaks on the front only and my Integra kept wanting to go rear first! Use 4 snows! BTW the Blizzak gives excellent traction - I was amazed. They claim it is as good as studs.

    My Blizzaks lasted 5 seasons, and I will replace them this winter. I drive about 12,000 miles a year.

    The November issue of Consumer reports has a test of snow tires. Havn't seen it yet.
  • The problem with Blizzaks is they are soft, and for someone like me, who drives 25 - 30k per year, I'd wear them out too fast.
    I'll stick with Firestone Winterfire, studded, from The Tire Rack.
    ...and....thanks; I'll go for 4 studdies this year!
  • briansbrians Posts: 14
    Re: What brand/type of snow tires to use--I've found it depends where you live, what you're using your vehicle for, and what kind of vehicle you have. Here in New England, 95% of the winter is spent on dry, plowed (and salted) roads, with maybe 10 days of heavy snow driving, give or take.
    Blizzaks aren't the tires to have here...they are designed for driving on snow packed roads full time...so unless you want 2 winters or less out of them in NE, a less ice-oriented tire is the way to go. I found Goodyear Ultra Grip (the Eagles, not the ice version) are excellent in the snow and the dry...and you can get an easy 3 seasons out of them. Since I have a sports car, I also didn't want to give up 50% of my handling on dry roads, which you give up with an ice tire. The Goodyear's are very low noise, and offer commendable cornering for a snow tire.

    Snow tires at all four corners are the only way to go for all cars. It's not just about traction, it's about braking, too. Four snows dramatically reduce braking distances on snowy surfaces.

    My $.02 -Brian
  • I am a New Englander as well, but I'm not sure I agree with your depiction of dry, salted, paved roads [with the exception of the last couple of seasons which have yielded little snow fall].
    Yes, eventually, those trucks get to the highway roads and clear them off. But what about all of those streets around town where snow and ice get pressed down onto the pavement and freeze, because the plows don't get there in time. There have been many storms where I have been SO thankful for studded snows - at least just to get me out of the town's poorly paved roads and onto the drier highway.
    I can appreciate your affinity for the Goodyear Ultra Grip! I had them on my Honda once, and thought they were excellent. However, that was years ago, when they were less expensive. I just called Goodyear in Boston, and they want $95 per tire. No way. I can't find Ultra Grips anywhere else besides Goodyear places, and they are too expensive. Firestone Winterfire averages about $60 per tire, as well as Dunlops, Michelens, Coopers, etc. No reason to charge that much for UltraGrips.
  • hiflyerhiflyer Posts: 79
    As yet another New Englander and an owner of a '99 Passat, I would be interested more in a "studless" ice tire. It has been my experience that the studded tires tend to be noisy and do not provide the greatest handling on dry roads. I understand the Blizzak MZ-02 provides comparable traction, although they too are not noted for their dry road handling. I heard that the Pirelli Winter Ice Direzionale compromises a little in the traction department to the Blizzak, but provide better performance on dry roads.

    I would be interested in hearing from anyone who has had any first-hand experience with either of these tires. Is there much of a handling difference in cornering with Blizzaks versus typical all-season tires? How has the Pirellis performed in the ice and snow in terms of turning, braking and acceleration? Any input would be appreciated.
  • dudleyrdudleyr Posts: 3,469
    I have owned Blizzaks since winter of 93/94 and they are incredible in snow and ice. I remember when I just got them I was amazed that I could stop hard enough on snow to push myself up into the seatbelt.

    These tires are not unsafe on dry roads, but are not as good as all seasons. (my summer tires were Pirelli P600s - horrible on snow)

    Last year Consumer Reports tested snow tires and rated the Michlin XM+S Alpin #1 because it had very good handling on dry roads, but it was not quite as good on the ice as the Blizzaks and some others. The Pirelli finished mid pack with the worst snow traction and dry handling almost as good as the Michlin.

    Now Michlin has a new tire the Artic Alpin, which Consuer reports just rated (look at the November 99 issue) as handling almost as well as the XM+S Alpin, but with much better ice and snow traction - even better than the Blizzak. I have purchased some of these and will see if this is the case.

    The biggest problem with the Blizzaks is that they wear extremely fast, and only have the sticky rubber on the first 55% of the tread. They lasted 5 winters on one car (10-12k per year) of mine but only two on another (18-20k per year).

    The Tire Rack and Discount Tire Direct both sell these tires at a reasonable price.
  • dudleyrdudleyr Posts: 3,469
    By the way my Blizzaks are the WS-15. The MZ-02 is supposed to handle better, and provide better ice traction, but is not as good in the snow. The rubber is still similiar, and will probably wear fast.

    Discount Tire Direct no longer carries Blizzaks because they said they had too many complaints about rapid wear.
This discussion has been closed.