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Snow Tires? What Do You Like?


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48 replies to this topic

#1 EOppegaard

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Posted 01 December 2003 - 06:07 PM

Just curious to find out what people have out there for snow tires. Up here in CT the winters do not get too bad. However alas, my subaru is FWD. I haven't had many problems with getting around though.

Just contemplating getting some snow tires for the car. Wanted to know what people reccomend.

#2 alias20035

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Posted 01 December 2003 - 06:18 PM

Originally posted by EOppegaard
Just curious to find out what people have out there for snow tires. Up here in CT the winters do not get too bad. However alas, my subaru is FWD. I haven't had many problems with getting around though.

Just contemplating getting some snow tires for the car. Wanted to know what people reccomend.



Bridgestone Blizzak - great on ice, good in snow, wear out way too fast

Michelin Acrtic Alpin - good on ice, good in snow, last a lot longer than Blizzak's. I have these on my 01 Outback, and I am entering my fourth winter season on them with about 70% of the tread remaining. They have about 22,000 miles on them.

Nokian - I here good things about these tires, never tried them, too expensive and no size to fit my Outback at the time.

Yokohama Guardex - I love Yokohama tires, my previous winter tires were old (1995) Yokohama S380's which were fantastic in snow, but only ok on ice. Guardex has a similar rubber compound to the Blizzak so it should be good on ice. The Guardex would probably outlast the Blizzak, but not the Michelin's.

Toyo - have some sort of ice gripping compound that I have heard works quite well. Toyo tire owners seem to be very satisfied, thier Proxes line is very well regarded. Toyo doesn't show thier winter tires on thier web site, so maybe they don't make them anymore or market them to the US.

BTW: it is not the getting around that is the worry in winter, it is stopping. Snow/ice radials really shine when it comes to reducing stopping distance, they help with all aspects of driving, but it is the stopping that really matters.

#3 99obw

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Posted 01 December 2003 - 06:25 PM

alias20035 has it pretty well covered. I got about 25k out of our first set of blizzaks, but that will depend largely on how much snow is on the roads and the average temperature. The blizzaks are great, but they do wear fast. I haven't used any of the other tires mentioned. All of my other snow tires have been old school studded snows.

Make sure you have four identicle tires even if your car is FWD. I found out the hard way that good snow tires in the front plus not-so-good all-season tires in the back equals spin out and total the car in the corner. IMHO having unbalanced traction degrades the docile handling characteristics of a FWD.

#4 EOppegaard

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Posted 01 December 2003 - 06:38 PM

Do people reccommend getting a new set of steel rims? Or just have the tires mounted on the current set of rims. I know that the Town Fair Tire Store around here offers free snow tire changeover, however I figure there is some sort of catch.

#5 99obw

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Posted 01 December 2003 - 07:23 PM

If the changeover is actually free and they will do it for the life of the tire then that is the least expensive way to go, but your summer wheels will see winter. The next most expensive method would be to purchase steel wheels, which is what I have done for both of our cars. That way you can change them whenever you want and your rims and tires don't have the stress of semiannual changeovers. The most expensive way is to pay someone twice a year to mount the tires, which is what I did before I knew better. If you plan on owning your car for the life of the snow tires I think buying the steel wheels is the best method.

#6 Valkaru

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Posted 01 December 2003 - 08:17 PM

Oppie:
I like my Blizzaks, but I have to agree the tread life could be better, and I'll probably try something different for the next set. I had worn out the stock tires on my factory alloys, so threw the Blizzaks on. Picked up a slightly used set of WRX takeoffs (~1000 miles on the tires) and have been running those all summer. On an OBW, the shorter sidewall looks a little silly (big fender clearance), but the handling is a bit tighter. I had intended to buy steels for the winter tires, assuming I might clip a curb or something, but the takeoffs were only $300, so I had to do it.
Best of luck in your choice, be happy there are some good choices out there and excellent advice here:grin:
Speed Safely! David

#7 Crashton

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Posted 01 December 2003 - 08:19 PM

I've been using Blizzak WS50 for four winters now. I'd have to say that this one will probably be the last one for them. They are the best snows that I've driven on. I may look into a set of Hakka's for next year. As far as buying rims goes I'd say go ahead & do it. Makes the change over much easier. Busting your tires on & off the rims every year is very hard on them. Once you drive on a set of real snow tires you'll never go back to driving in the winter without them.;)

#8 gbhrps

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Posted 01 December 2003 - 08:48 PM

Love the Blizzaks, just get them off as soon as you can when the weather warms up to reduce the wear. Get steel rims and mount them. For me it was all about saving my mag wheels from all of the salt that eats them up here in Southern Ontario, Canada. Figure out what eight change overs (based on four years of winter driving on one set of winter tires and the 2 change overs each year) and balancing, plus the taxes adds up to = the cost of 4 steel rims for the snow tires. Pays for itself, particularly for long term owners. Hint: I made tire storage rollers from a sheet of 5/8 inch plywood measuring 2 feet by 2 feet. Bolt swivel casters on each corner, stack the takeoff tires and wheels on the rack, and you can easily roll them to any corner of the garage to make the change overs and garage cleanup a snap.

#9 edrach

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Posted 01 December 2003 - 09:28 PM

I'm really quite fond of the Hakki's; I have a set of the studless all season tires on my Brat with over two years of year round use and they were still quite capable of getting more than enough traction on this past weekend's HP Christmas tree outing. I haven't found the Hakki's to be any more expensive than a quality tire but it does help to shop around among dealers. I've also used the Toyo Observe and found it to be quite excellent and somewhat lower cost than the Hakki's. I'm currently running a set of the all season Hakki's on my Legacy but haven't seen any real snow to speak of with that car as yet.

#10 northguy

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Posted 01 December 2003 - 09:31 PM

Take it from a person who deals with a LOT of ice and snow - Haki's are the best. Hak 1's or Hak 10's, preferably studded.

#11 alias20035

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Posted 01 December 2003 - 09:33 PM

Originally posted by gbhrps
Love the Blizzaks, just get them off as soon as you can when the weather warms up to reduce the wear. Get steel rims and mount them. For me it was all about saving my mag wheels from all of the salt that eats them up here in Southern Ontario, Canada. Figure out what eight change overs (based on four years of winter driving on one set of winter tires and the 2 change overs each year) and balancing, plus the taxes adds up to = the cost of 4 steel rims for the snow tires. Pays for itself, particularly for long term owners. Hint: I made tire storage rollers from a sheet of 5/8 inch plywood measuring 2 feet by 2 feet. Bolt swivel casters on each corner, stack the takeoff tires and wheels on the rack, and you can easily roll them to any corner of the garage to make the change overs and garage cleanup a snap.



Swapping winter tires on and off the summer wheels each fall and spring is expensive as noted. But it is also bad for the tires and the wheels.

The tire beads do not like to taken on and off the wheels too often, the odd removal to patch a tire is ok, but 4-6 demounting/remounting cycles is not recommended. Often the bead gets damaged which can cause leaks and/or blowouts. Mounting is also hard on wheels, especially alloy ones. Excessive mounting cycles can damage the bead area of the wheel and cause leaks (usually the slow hard to find ones).

Some winter tires are reinforced for multiple demounting/mounting cycles. Fine, great.... but what about the summer tires that you are swapping? they are not reinforced.

Bottom line, dedicated winter wheels in my opinion are REQUIRED, not just highly recommended.

I just love to be able pull out my dolly jack, wheel lug nut socket, breaker bar and torque wrench and swap the tires over in about 30 minutes. Much better than getting caught in the winter tire installation rush after the first snowfall.

#12 alias20035

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Posted 01 December 2003 - 09:53 PM

Here is the other recent thread talking about snow chains/snow tires:

http://usmb.ultimate...=&threadid=8075

#13 EOppegaard

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Posted 01 December 2003 - 10:55 PM

Anyone know a source for the Hakki's? (is that their real name?) I can't seem to find them anywhere online. Right now I am leaning towards the Blizzaks. If anything, they will be better than the Yokohama Avid's I am running right now!

#14 alias20035

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Posted 01 December 2003 - 11:19 PM

Originally posted by EOppegaard
Okay, now that I brought up this whole topic, anyone know the regulations regarding studded tires? Do they really make that much of a difference? Anyone from around here in CT use them?



Many states outlaw studded tires altogether (Florida, Texas, etc), but all other states (and all Canadian provinces) have date resrictions on studded tires. Studs are usually allowed from Nov 15 - Apr 15

If you drive 90% of the time on snow and ice, studs are the way to go, but as the percentage of dry road driving increases, the usefulness of studs decreases.

At moderate to high speed on dry roads the studs will lift the rubber of the road severly reducing traction, in most cases 80% or more traction is lost!! It feels like the you are driving on very uneven grooved pavement or metal grating when you drive studded tires on dry pavement. They do not have enough traction for emergency manouvers or even hard lane changes. Studded tires should NEVER be driven above 55 MPH..... its too dangerous.

So if you live in Alaska or northern Canada, studs are the way to go, but in southern Canada and US good studless winter tires are the best bet.

Remember that studs are of ZERO benefit in snow and wet pavement, they only work on ice. Most snow tires are quite good on ice and almost equal to studded tires on hard packed snow.

#15 edrach

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Posted 02 December 2003 - 12:27 AM

You can find a list of dealers for the Hakki's at www.nokian.com. Unfortunately the Hakki 1's and 10's are discontinued (the 10's without studs would make a great rallyx tire). However, the Q's and NRW's are an excellent replacement. If you don't get the all season tires, DO invest in a second set of wheels. I used to run the Q's from November to late April and then change over to my summer tires. Here in Seattle, it's hardly worth it to get studs so I prefer the newer studless Hakki's. Alias20035's comments about studs versus studless are right on.

Boy, it's been a while since I've been to their website. Whoever does it for them should be shot! Last years website layout was much better, more intuitive, and easier to find information about tires. Also didn't have the stupid mpg's.

#16 Chip

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Posted 02 December 2003 - 12:01 PM

Blizzaks....Although they do make the car "wander" a bit.

#17 Ranger83

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Posted 02 December 2003 - 02:51 PM

I thought about dedicated snows but I drive a lot on the highway, and they don't seem to be very good in the rain. Since I live near the coast, that's a concern.

I have to say after driving in the severe icing conditions of this morning, the Michelin HydroEdge is a VERY impressive tire.

If you're not ready to step up to an extra set of mounted snows, they definately bear consideration.

#18 Chip Hedrick

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Posted 02 December 2003 - 09:36 PM

I'm checking in from New Gloucester, Maine.

In December '99, I bought Nokia Hakkapeliitta "Q" snow tires (the studless, soft rubber compound type) for my '98 OBW . The tires are now on their 5th season and, amazingly, look almost new. There's something to be said for keeping them properly inflated and promptly taking them off each spring.

I recently purchased from the Tire Rack four Dunlap Graspic DS-1 snow tires and steel wheels for my wife's '03 H6 Sedan.

The Graspic's appeared to be the best combination of price and quality offered by the Tire Rack. Tires, wheels, lug nuts, and shipping came to a grand total of only $540.00.

The Graspic's appear to be good tires, but they're not as aggressive looking as my Nokia's. They may be quietier, though.

#19 Soup

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Posted 03 December 2003 - 12:05 PM

I bought 4 toyo winter's on forrester rims from my subaru dealer, I'm very satisfied, quiet tires, and good in the snow!

#20 Subarunation 713

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Posted 04 December 2003 - 12:55 PM

Oppie,

On my wife's 96 OBW we have the Blizzaks. Stopping distance is INCREADABLE! This will be the 3rd winter for them. Wear hasn't been a real problem for me but I yank them off the beginning to middle of March.

On my 93 Legacy L wagon AWD I have the Dunlop Graspics. GREAT PRICE and they work really well. Tire Rack had them CHEAP and what can I say, I am TIGHT with the $$

I have both sets on their own wheels. $20 bucks for rims from a junkyard. When mounting is $15 per wheel per time it didn't take my dim mind long to figure out separate wheels were the way to go.

Good luck,
Greg

#21 ezapar

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Posted 04 December 2003 - 01:24 PM

When I chose my snow tires, I also wanted to be able to use them in the RallyX in the Summer. Dual purpose. I chose Good Year Ultra Grips. http://usmb.net/gall...apar/impssnows1

1. They came studded, but I pulled them before I put the tires on the car.

2. Last week's HP Xmas tree run showed that they make my 97 impreza L do better in a foot and a half of snow than a lifted/mud tire wearing/lsd having 86 hatch back. Big time control and traction. http://usmb.net/gall...eehunt/DSCN1483

3. They grip as well in the rain as the wrx re92s that I sport normally.

4. I only entered one RallyX with the imp this year, but managed to win the Open Class with them when I did.

5. 60 bucks a tire or so. Got them at Les Schwabb, so they have that baddass LS warrantee.

6. I've beat the Hell out of them on lots of gravel roads at 60-70 mph, and they have held up fine. Stick like crazy on gravel, great cornering.
You can't beat that with a bat. Hammer can't touch that.

#22 Zaphod

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Posted 04 December 2003 - 10:49 PM

Originally posted by Chip Hedrick
In December '99, I bought Nokia Hakkapeliitta "Q" snow tires (the studless, soft rubber compound type) for my '98 OBW . The tires are now on their 5th season and, amazingly, look almost new. There's something to be said for keeping them properly inflated and promptly taking them off each spring.



I live in Northern Utah. I also just got a set of Nokian Hakkapeiitta Q snow tires for my 03 OBW.

Well I must say that they have great traction on the snow and ice. I was really concernd that their soft rubber compund would make for a fast wearing tire.

It's nice to know that yours are on their 5th season. What pressure do you run yours at?

Also, to anyone, how much would a dedicated set of rims cost me for my snow tires?

#23 Hocrest

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Posted 14 December 2003 - 09:35 PM

If you look around, you can find affordable rims. I just got a set of 4 Legacy alloys for $50. :D

I got them from a local garage that specializes in Subaru's.

Most salvage yards in this area sell steels for $10-15 and alloys for $15-20 each.

Now I just need to decide which set of tires to get. Thanks for all the info.

#24 FoxRox

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Posted 29 December 2003 - 09:58 AM

I just posting this same question on Miata Performance mlist. The ice racers in Canada that race Miata's highly suggested Bridgestone Blizzacks, and it was the conclusion of the experienced list members that hands down Blizzacks were the best. I bought 4 and put them on the Miata. We have been in blizzard conditions for the past week here in northern Utah (home of the 2002 Olymics), and my wife drives her Miata thru the snow and ice every day 30 miles to work and back. Not a single problem yet. She is absolutly amazed at how well they work compared to her regular tires.
Cost was $95 each. 'Nuff said.

#25 Subie Gal

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Posted 29 December 2003 - 01:34 PM

i LOVE my Hakkapelitas...

best snow tire i've ever driven on...
i've had 1's and currently running on Q's...

car handles great.

i've previously owned Blizzaks (2nd choice) and Michelin Artic Alpins (these were okay at best)

but the Hakka's leave them all to shame :D

totally recommend them,
and yes... i purchased a set of 15" steelies
just for my snow tires....

must better for on / off - keeping clean
and no worries of damaging my OE rims...

hope this helps.
Jamie




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