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Snow tires or all season?


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28 replies to this topic

#1 eryque

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Posted 10 November 2007 - 03:57 PM

It's just about time to buy new tires, and I'm curious to know what you folks have to say about whether I should buy snow tires or all season tires. (98 Impreza).

I live in Albany, NY. Typically in the winter we'll get 2-3 snow storms a month (tops) with significant accumulation, with an annual average of around 70 inches of snow. So most of the time I'll be driving around on cold, dry pavement, often encrusted with a layer of dried salt.

On those dry days am I going to be sorry if I go with snow tires? When it does snow am I going to be sorry if I go with all seasons?

#2 BlueTrain

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Posted 10 November 2007 - 04:19 PM

if you'll be on pavement most of the time, then all seasons should be fine for the occasional storm, especially if the plows are out on time. i have some kumho all seasons that have worked suprisingly well in fresh snow. check tirerack.com for some good driver reviews on all seasons/snow tires.

#3 eryque

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Posted 10 November 2007 - 04:39 PM

I'm pretty wary of the reviews on TireRack now. The last tire I bought were chosen mostly on the recommendations and they turned out to suck rump roast. I should have returned them, but I didn't want to go through the hassle.

I bought Potenza G009s and will never, ever, make that mistake again. They only had grip if the pavement was dry and you were already moving. Getting going from a dead stop made the wheels spin even when there was a light coating of pollen dust, much less snow or rain.

#4 schlit

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Posted 10 November 2007 - 05:27 PM

I'm pretty wary of the reviews on TireRack now. The last tire I bought were chosen mostly on the recommendations and they turned out to suck rump roast. I should have returned them, but I didn't want to go through the hassle.


Same here. TireRack is misleading in many ways.

For the OP's case, I would stick with a good allseason such as a BF goodrich traction T/A. Have used those on many vehicles in the winter and have been really happy with their snow traction, and you're not going to be giving up the traction for the rest of the time you're not on snow.

I tried studless winter tires, Blizzak WS-50's and performance winter tires, Blizzak LM-25's and think that unless you're driving on snow for more than 40% of the time, or you're really scared about driving off a mountain cliff, they're just not worth it.

The Blizzak WS-50's were good in the snow and FRIGID cold temps, but gave up way too much dry, mild temp performance for me. They were very squishy, and once it got above 40, forget it...I felt like I was more likely to get in an accident on those days.

The Blizzak LM-25's, were a little stiffer on the mild days but in the big picture didnt perform any differently than a good allseason. It wasnt worth the premium I paid for them.

#5 Gene J

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Posted 10 November 2007 - 06:46 PM

All seasons work well on our Subaru. It is difficult to break the tires loose on snow.

As for the Tire Rack reviews, pay close attention to the sizes and the cars they are put on. A tire that works great on a FWD Honda Civic may not work well on a RWD GT Mustang with a different size and vise versa.

I have the G009s on a pickup and a little FWD car. They work great on both. However the FWD car has traction control and they never break loose.

#6 Rooster2

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Posted 10 November 2007 - 07:43 PM

If you want snows at all four corners, then you should also buy another four non snow tires for non winter use. Winter snow tires are not made for dry pavement, warm temps, and driving much above 50 mph. Their performance in the dry, or in the wet would not be good as the tire compound and tread design are only made for snow. Snow tires will also be noisy on dry pavement.

Suggest buying all season tires. I have had good luck with Kumho tires. They provide a good tire at a reasonable price. Quality is top notch.

#7 eryque

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Posted 10 November 2007 - 07:53 PM

If you want snows at all four corners, then you should also buy another four non snow tires for non winter use. Winter snow tires are not made for dry pavement, warm temps, and driving much above 50 mph. Their performance in the dry, or in the wet would not be good as the tire compound and tread design are only made for snow. Snow tires will also be noisy on dry pavement.

Suggest buying all season tires. I have had good luck with Kumho tires. They provide a good tire at a reasonable price. Quality is top notch.



I'm not sure why I wouldn't put snow tires on all 4 wheels.

And yes, snow tires (if I buy them) would be for the winter only and I'd swap them in the spring. However, if they're not good for the highway when it's dry, then they won't make any sense for me.

#8 BlueTrain

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Posted 10 November 2007 - 08:11 PM

if you've got the cash and want some real all seasons, you can't do much better than these

http://www.nokiantir...x?season=summer

#9 Towel Rail

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Posted 10 November 2007 - 08:55 PM

My family and I have had good experiences with the Goodyear Triple-Treds (and the Aquatreds before that) as an all-season tire. Winterforce tires are cheap and get good reviews, so they may be worth a spin.

#10 grossgary

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Posted 10 November 2007 - 09:28 PM

there is no comparison between all seasons and snows in snow traction and safety. it all depends how much snow driving you're doing, what kind of road maintenance you have, and how much you value safety and control during those rare instances of slick stuff. in other words whether they are for you or not is up to you. if you're pushing your vehicle and driving spirited then i suppose you'd notice the lacking in the snow tires as an aggressive performer, but for daily driving duties snow tires are far and above the way to go in terms of safety during the winter months.

#11 daehttub2000

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Posted 10 November 2007 - 11:57 PM

Good question. It all depends on how much snow driving you will do and the trade off between pinching pennies and safety. If you commute on regular roads in a moderately snowy area, you can get by with all season tires on your AWD Subaru assuming you have decent snow removal in your area. You still have to be very careful though.

If you want real peace of mind and live in an icy/hilly and very snowy area, by all means spend the extra dough to pickup an extra set of rims mounted with good full-time snow tires (Blizzaks work the best for me). The downside to full-time snow tires as folks have mentioned is that they stink on dry/wet pavement when there is no snow. The tread wears really quickly too.

I'm a snow nut and there is no comparison between snow tires on all four wheels and all seasons. I have an extra set of mounted tires/rims for snow for the winter and try to change out to all seasons when the weather gets warmer. The timing is tricky though. While it may cost a bit more upfront, think of that accident or tow you might avoid...

Whatever you do, don't try to save money by not buying an extra set of rims to keep you snow tires permanently mounted. I did that once and after the second change, my tires were toast (think endless leaks/flats).:dead:

For snow/ice performance, the WS-50 Blizzaks have been great. I trust the Tirerack reviews. The key is "downsizing" when you put full time snows on sportier cars. Think ground pressure per square inch. Regular spec tires for performance cars will have the car floating on the snow. Not good. I park the WRX in the winter because the Chicago salt will kill it and the steamroller tires make it worthless in the snow/ice. The old legacy sticks like glue on those skinny 14-inch wheels.

Hope this helps.

#12 WoodsWagon

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Posted 11 November 2007 - 01:13 AM

Buy some cheap agressive tread snow tires, like the $50 bracket priced tires. $200 for the set of 4, plus $40 for a set of used steelies in the Junkyard, and you have a set of good snow shoes to get you through the winters. I've seen people commute 4 hours a day, mostly highway, on cheap snows and have them hold up fine. The rub is you have to pull them off when the weather gets warm. Soft compound rubber, warm weather, hot pavement, they dissapear FAST.

All seasons are by nature a compromise, so they suck at everything. Snows excell in winter only, but if you have them on a spare set of rims, it doesn't matter.

#13 x_25

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Posted 11 November 2007 - 01:36 AM

if you've got the cash and want some real all seasons, you can't do much better than these

http://www.nokiantir...x?season=summer


I have a set of those on my '99 Outback and I love them. They are good in the dry, Great in the wet, and great in the snow. They are actually better than most snow tires and in the snow they ahave about 80% of the traction that the Blizzaks have. (one fo the best snow tires arrond. We put them on my mom's FWD minivan in the winter and even on ice we have never had the ABS kick in.)

If you can afovd them i highly recomend them. My dad put about 11,000 miles on them before i bought the car from him and i have put another 3,000 on them and neather of us can complain.

#14 BlueTrain

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Posted 11 November 2007 - 01:41 AM

All seasons are by nature a compromise, so they suck at everything.


that's hardly an accurate statement. for instance, the nokian all seasons i posted earlier would hardly come under the "suck at everything " heading.

#15 86subaru

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Posted 11 November 2007 - 07:48 AM

my new hanhooks handle really well on dry payment etc... 185-70r 14, and they are snow tires

#16 destey

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Posted 11 November 2007 - 12:49 PM

if you've got the cash and want some real all seasons, you can't do much better than these

http://www.nokiantir...x?season=summer


Those are a great choice. If you want to save some money, Nordman (sp?) bought the original Hak 1 tread pattern from Nokia and sells for a little less $$ than originally.

I paid $63 a tire for my Nordmans, mounted and balanced. I'd call around for prices. Sometimes there'll be $25/tire difference from the cheapest guy to the worst.

#17 michaelbteam

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Posted 12 November 2007 - 10:48 AM

How much is one accident worth on that one nasty stormy winter day? We make sure we have dedicated [sticky] winter snows on our Subies for city and canyon driving in Utah. [Michelin X-Ice's now] Sure, they wear faster, but you can switch to summer tires and get 3 seasons out of your snows. Or if you're lazy just buy a new winter set every fall. I know my teenage drivers were safer with them, gave me some peace of mind. I grew up in Schenectady and winter driving around there can be a bad as anywhere!

#18 Chip

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Posted 12 November 2007 - 11:25 AM

Here in eastern Canada, the Gov't is thinking of making all seasons illegal for use in the winter. There is NO comparison between a dedicated winter tire and an all season....especially under braking.

#19 schlit

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Posted 12 November 2007 - 12:22 PM

Here in eastern Canada, the Gov't is thinking of making all seasons illegal for use in the winter. There is NO comparison between a dedicated winter tire and an all season....especially under braking.


Nobody is doubting the snow traction of a snow tire. Before anyone goes out and purchases a set, they need to make sure they're not compromising 90% of their driving time to gain snow traction on the 3 times per month it actually snows.

#20 srs_49

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Posted 12 November 2007 - 05:57 PM

I think a good set of all seasons will do you just fine if your roads are plowed shortly after a snowfall. I have Goodyear TripleTreds on our 2002 OBW and they have been fine for the last two years. We even go up to our mountain place where we have to drive through 6"-8" of snow sometimes before the local roads have been cleared, and have never had a problem.

I also had no problems with the original Bridgestone RE-92's (?) that were OEM tires on the car, despite a lot of the bad press I read about them.

Good snowtires are well worth the investment if you have to spend a lot of time driving on snow covered roads. But, if that's not the case, spend your money for a good set of all seasons that will perform better on dry or wet pavement.

#21 jib

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Posted 14 November 2007 - 11:10 AM

We run four snows on our two drivers, but a fellow ski patroller was looking for a good all season tire. I told her the only tire to consider was the Nokian WR. It's not inexpensive, but she was very happy with the dry/wet performance and just flat out blown away by the snow performance.

I recommend the WR for anyone who does not want to invest in dedicated snow tires and a second set of rims.

jack

#22 davebugs

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Posted 15 November 2007 - 09:26 AM

I have some Kumho KH16's (H rated) on a non-Subaru. My first cheap tires ever. Problem is rotating them isn't enough. I've had to have them rebalanced every 5-10k. Alignment is fine(checked). I've never had near this much of an issue with other tires. I was considering Kumho's for the girlfriends car (96 Impreza 205/55/16 I believe) but am now leary. My tire wear is o.k. - it's the constant re-balancing that bothers me.

I bought these tires based on tirerack ratings

I'm not looking for the cheapest but the Nokian's are pretty pricey.

Dave

#23 BlueTrain

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Posted 15 November 2007 - 01:28 PM

I have some Kumho KH16's (H rated) on a non-Subaru. My first cheap tires ever. Problem is rotating them isn't enough. I've had to have them rebalanced every 5-10k. Alignment is fine(checked). I've never had near this much of an issue with other tires. I was considering Kumho's for the girlfriends car (96 Impreza 205/55/16 I believe) but am now leary. My tire wear is o.k. - it's the constant re-balancing that bothers me.

I bought these tires based on tirerack ratings

I'm not looking for the cheapest but the Nokian's are pretty pricey.

Dave


this has been my experience with my kumhos as well. they perform quite well when balanced, but require a balance at almost every rotation. i'm thinking about going back to BFG's here in a month when i get new tires. i'm also looking at Cooper all-seasons, as i've heard good things about them as well.

#24 unibrook

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Posted 15 November 2007 - 03:35 PM

I have been using 4 Winterforce M+S for about a year, year-round. Love em. Sure, a bit noisy on hwy dry. But I only put 5k a year on my car, mostly city driving. These tires are great on the ************ty roads of Boston.

#25 nixon

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Posted 15 November 2007 - 05:35 PM

Nobody is doubting the snow traction of a snow tire. Before anyone goes out and purchases a set, they need to make sure they're not compromising 90% of their driving time to gain snow traction on the 3 times per month it actually snows.

Chip referred to WINTER Tyres, not SNOW tyres. Snow tyres are just that, for snow. Winter tyres are for winter temperatures, below 7C. They perform better in snow, on ice, in slush, rain and even dry conditions, below 7C than summer , or all season, tyres. All seasons may have the tread, but they don't have the compound. Never mind how snowy it is: if it's cold, you need winter tyres.




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