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Thread: Snow Tires!!

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    Default Snow Tires!!

    Looks like the first snow of the year is forecast for next week. I figure that's the warning shot across the bow telling me I should figure out snow tires. Our car is a FWD Volvo V60. The Nokian Hakkapeliitta R2 tires have been suggested by friends with a Volvo XC70. That's a non-studded snow tire. I've already learned to recognize the sound of a studded tire approaching while out cycling, so non-studded kind of appeals. But just want to be smart. We did fine last winter without them, but I have a bad feeling about this winter.
    Jorn Ake
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    Default Re: Snow Tires!!

    Two words: get them.

    I’ve had good experience with Bridgestone Blizzaks but they’re a bit ‘imprecise’ under cornering pressure. But super good in the slush and slop. I use the word imprecise because skwishy with a q was once censored here. But I drive a GTI so it’s bound to lose some road feel. In the snow the Blizzaks get an A+ from me.

    You should absolutely invest in a set of winter tires. I know of lots of people who are skeptical until they drive winter in snowy conditions on a set of winter tires. Then they’re converts.
    La Cheeserie!

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    Default Re: Snow Tires!!

    I use Hakkas on a C30 and it is unstoppable when I want to go and very stoppable when I want to stop. Around here there's lots of time when you don't need them and they're fine on pavement.
     

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    Default Re: Snow Tires!!

    I had studded Hakkas on my Atlantis, good fun in snow, not bad on slushy pavement.
     

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    Default Re: Snow Tires!!

    Yeah, a true snow tire will be significantly better than an all-season, four-season, all-weather or similar tire in the winter. If you're in an area that gets lots of snow they make a huge difference. they're also going to get you better stopping distance in cold temps even if the roads are clear.

    There are two features that make any snow tire work. The first is tread compounding. Snow compounds have much lower glass transition temperatures than all-seasons or summer tires. That means the compound will actually be able to generate some good grip when it's freezing out. The downside is that the compound isn't nearly as stiff as an all-season tread cap so you're going to lose some cornering stiffness and handling performance. It's also going to wear really fast in warm temperatures.

    The other feature is the tread pattern. You're going to have deeper sipes and more of them. What actually grips on a snow covered surface are the edges of the tread elements. Snow on snow traction is much higher than rubber on snow traction so tire companies design their winter treads to compact the snow into the tread pattern and use that to push off of the snow on the road. The downside to increased sipe density is again a softer tread, this time from geometrical stiffness.

    With most snow tires my expectation is that max dry performance in moderate temperatures will be down but steering feel might actually be better than your all-season or summer tires.

    Other tips for winter tires, do minus sizing (down an inch rim diameter, up an aspect ratio, and down 10mm section width). A narrower tire is generally better for wet and snow traction. Going down on rim diameter and width while increasing the section width keeps the tire OD about the same so you don't throw off your speedometer. The other thing you'll want to try on the really bad days is dropping your tire pressure a couple PSI. You'll get a much longer footprint which helps with straight-line grip in bad weather. Smaller rim diameter tires are also usually a lot cheaper.

    If anyone is interested in a set of Goodyears or Dunlops hit me up. I have a limited number of 25% and 35% off discount codes for tires purchased on the corporate website. Tires would be drop shipped to your preferred dealer for installation. Depending on where you live, the Goodyear truck could even come to your house to do a mobile install.
     

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    Default Re: Snow Tires!!

    I honestly have never had a bad set of snow tires. Blizzaks, Pirelli Winter 190's, Michelin X-Ice, Nordman (sold to me as house-label Hakkepellitas). I actually liked having the Pirellis on the Miata in summer, because they were so easy to break loose.

    Never studs. Always four.

    And then in the spring it was so nice to make the car quiet again. Especially the Prius which is so quiet anyway.
    Tee Aitch

    Give a man a fish and feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and feed him for a lifetime. Teach a man to cycle and he will realize fishing is stupid and boring. -- Desmond Tutu

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    Default Re: Snow Tires!!

    Bought Blizzaks for the wife’s CX9. Winter driving for us usually involves stretches of cold highway miles (Seattle to Mount Bachelor last year) with mountain passes mixed in. I found the B’stones to have a nice ride for distance, lots of confidence on compact snow and ice, and better resistance to wear than Michelin snow tires I’ve used in the past.
     

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    Default Re: Snow Tires!!

    We have done well with Michelin x ice and Blizzaks.
    If you have the storage space get them mounted on some cheap steel rims and leave them on there rather than removing and then re mounting the following winter.
     

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    Default Re: Snow Tires!!

    Quote Originally Posted by zachateseverything View Post
    Yeah, a true snow tire will be significantly better than an all-season, four-season, all-weather or similar tire in the winter. If you're in an area that gets lots of snow they make a huge difference. they're also going to get you better stopping distance in cold temps even if the roads are clear.

    There are two features that make any snow tire work. The first is tread compounding. Snow compounds have much lower glass transition temperatures than all-seasons or summer tires. That means the compound will actually be able to generate some good grip when it's freezing out. The downside is that the compound isn't nearly as stiff as an all-season tread cap so you're going to lose some cornering stiffness and handling performance. It's also going to wear really fast in warm temperatures.

    The other feature is the tread pattern. You're going to have deeper sipes and more of them. What actually grips on a snow covered surface are the edges of the tread elements. Snow on snow traction is much higher than rubber on snow traction so tire companies design their winter treads to compact the snow into the tread pattern and use that to push off of the snow on the road. The downside to increased sipe density is again a softer tread, this time from geometrical stiffness.

    With most snow tires my expectation is that max dry performance in moderate temperatures will be down but steering feel might actually be better than your all-season or summer tires.

    Other tips for winter tires, do minus sizing (down an inch rim diameter, up an aspect ratio, and down 10mm section width). A narrower tire is generally better for wet and snow traction. Going down on rim diameter and width while increasing the section width keeps the tire OD about the same so you don't throw off your speedometer. The other thing you'll want to try on the really bad days is dropping your tire pressure a couple PSI. You'll get a much longer footprint which helps with straight-line grip in bad weather. Smaller rim diameter tires are also usually a lot cheaper.

    If anyone is interested in a set of Goodyears or Dunlops hit me up. I have a limited number of 25% and 35% off discount codes for tires purchased on the corporate website. Tires would be drop shipped to your preferred dealer for installation. Depending on where you live, the Goodyear truck could even come to your house to do a mobile install.
    Interesting. I don't think I will go down a size, because that will require new rims for the car and I am already going to have to figure out where to store the tires. My grandfather (this is in the 1970's) would get snow tires on his car because he was a country doctor and still made house and minor emergency calls (babies and heart attacks) so needed to be able to get around. The garage where he took the car had a big warehouse behind them where they stored everyone's tires - winter in summer and summer in winter - all wrapped up in some kind of cloth tape. Later this will be easier because we will have a garage, but I expect I'll need to shuttle the tires back home. Or do garages deliver the opposite season tires? That would be convenient.

    Obviously I haven't thought about this a lot, so I appreciate the advice. The garage local to Hillsdale sells Blizzaks and Nokian, so I'll see what they say also.
    Jorn Ake
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    Default Re: Snow Tires!!

    On our V60 Polestar we use Pirelli Winter Sottozero 3XL's. The car is used up in the Laurentian Mountains in Quebec which get a lot of snow and also to drive back to NYC so there is also a lot of "dry" pavement driving too. I have found with all of the snow tires we have used they haven't lasted too long because of, I think, that extended dry pavement driving and the "softer" rubber. As Todd noted above, we have also never had a snow tire that wasn't good in the snow. That may be dumb luck but I don't think it is.
    Jon Mandel

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    Default Re: Snow Tires!!

    I've used Blizzaks for the past 20 years on our Odysseys with no complaints...they do the job. I get about three Winters from a set before they are beyond their useful life. If you don't mind the look, you might want to get them mounted on set of steel rims or nicer alloy rims for that matter, so that you don't have to go through the tire removal and mounting exercise every year. I use a tire bag to store them in my garage.

    https://www.tirerack.com/specialoffe...p?promoID=B847
    rw saunders
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    Default Re: Snow Tires!!

    I have been using Nokians on my various Prius for 15 winters and have never had issues when co-workers in their subaru's (with shorter commutes) stay home (or get stuck)...
    Guy Washburn

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    Default Re: Snow Tires!!

    Here in Montana people buy a set of steel painted rims to go with the tires in sets of 4. Makes for quick changes and since they are on for half the year makes sense to me. That way you also save the good rims a hard winter of sand, chemicals, and salt. Some mountain passes think studs are ok while other drivers have to chain up. Real winter folks always get studs but wuss like me just get winter tires. I don't even know the brand but my tire store friend put some kind on for me. Being a pensioner in town, if it is too shitty out I just don't drive that day. If I had to be some where daily or was out in the country studs I would have. I know there is controversy with studs on how much they tear up the roads, but on ice and dirt roads they can not be beat.
    When the winter comes xc ski is for me, junk skis out the front door is almost as fun as city biking. When I had to beat the ice off the car, hope that sucker would start, and drive a half hour to work caused me to move toward a warmer climate. I did miss Old Man Winter so I moved back. Not many folks move North for retirement, but we seem to be getting more and more.
     

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    Default Re: Snow Tires!!

    get the set of extra rims and just leave them mounted. you won't regret it and it takes up the same storage volume. Blizzaks are my sales mobile tire of choice. Snows are a lot cheaper than body work or new underwear.
     

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    Default Re: Snow Tires!!

    Quote Originally Posted by j44ke View Post
    Interesting. I don't think I will go down a size, because that will require new rims for the car and I am already going to have to figure out where to store the tires. My grandfather (this is in the 1970's) would get snow tires on his car because he was a country doctor and still made house and minor emergency calls (babies and heart attacks) so needed to be able to get around. The garage where he took the car had a big warehouse behind them where they stored everyone's tires - winter in summer and summer in winter - all wrapped up in some kind of cloth tape. Later this will be easier because we will have a garage, but I expect I'll need to shuttle the tires back home. Or do garages deliver the opposite season tires? That would be convenient.

    Obviously I haven't thought about this a lot, so I appreciate the advice. The garage local to Hillsdale sells Blizzaks and Nokian, so I'll see what they say also.
    A rwd car with snow tires will get around on snow covered roads better than an awd car with all-seasons. If you have the storage space there's no reason not to do it.

    Tires take up the same amount of storage space regardless of whether or not you have them mounted on wheels. Steel wheels also tend to be pretty cheap. They basically pay for themselves after the second or third swap back and forth.
     

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    Default Re: Snow Tires!!

    Definitely get separate rims for winter rubber. Mounting and remounting is tough on the tires and increases your chance of getting damage on the rims. Steel rims pretty cheap though they are very ugly. A personal hate of mine is seeing a nice car with cheap black steel rims. Just buy alloys. It's not that much money in the grand scheme of things. Most tire places will store tires for a fee. $50 is the norm up here.

    Winter tires aren't all designed for the same conditions. The Nokian Hakkas are really good for actually driving on snow/ice and we have them on one of our rides because we get a lot of snow here and we drive frequently in snow storms. We've also used Gislaved Nordfrost in the past and been happy with them. They are the most expensive winter tires though. If your roads get cleared quickly or if you don't expect that much snow on the ground, then Michelin X-Ice (X-Ice 3 for SUV, X-Ice 2 for cars) are good and cheaper alternatives. I use Continental WinterContact on my RWD sedan and they are super fun on cleared roads. No so great when there is a lot of snow.

    Going down a rim size is a good idea as long as the smaller size will clear your brakes. Our vehicles are on 19" rims during summer and 18" during winter. The extra rubber helps cushion the ride. This may not be necessary depending on how bad your winter is. Up here we get plenty of frozen ruts and crap away from the main roads. In low snow places, keeping stock rim size should be OK.
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    Default Re: Snow Tires!!

    Another Pirelli Sottozerro user. I would also recommend getting an extra set of rims; I didn't and now my normal rims have marks all around them, plus it is a pain to get them remounted and balanced come winter. It would be a lot easier if I could just put my car on a jack and then change them myself.

    This discussion is rather apropos since we are getting our first snow today (although I don't think it will stick).
     

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    Default Re: Snow Tires!!

    If you drive mostly on cold clear or wet roads the performance winters offer a better driving experience than pure snows while keeping 70-80% of the pure snow performance. I have dunlop wintersports on my 3 series and they are much better in the wet and pretty close in the snow to the blizzaks we had on a subaru a few years back. The all seasons on my wife's car are almost scary bad in the snow in comparison on all awd cars.
     

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    Default Re: Snow Tires!!

    yea, proper winter tires make a huge difference, depending on conditions.

    i just spent 10 days up in Alaska, drive well over 1000 miles on mostly frozen, snow covered roads with a 4WD SUV with half bald all-seasons, and it was a disaster. anytime i hopped in a real AK rig, with snow tires, night and day difference. I also managed to hit a moose with my rental car (or really - the moose hit me...), and probably could have avoided the collision if i had more control from better tires.

    they are absolutely worth it if you're going to be driving in the white stuff.


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    Default Re: Snow Tires!!

    Alaska!

    Again, great advice. Not sure I will need them right away, so I can begin the process this week and see how it goes. I would rather go with the local guys in Hillsdale, because they get good reviews but also because it is good to make connections and support the neighbors. Conveniently they deal in most of the tire brands noted above.
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