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Best snow tires?

post #1 of 82
Thread Starter 
In the "Your top pick car for skiing?" thread, Sno'more noted that "Tires are where the rubber meets the road". There are a few comments in that thread regarding tires, but would anyone care to elaborate on their tires of choice? I have used Michelin's, which have great grip, but their durability seems to be lacking. Any suggestions as to what the best snow tire on the market is?
post #2 of 82
Nokian Hak RSI. Do a search for "nokian tires" a lot of the car forum sites have threads about snow tires.

The next question is studded or non studded ?
post #3 of 82
Thread Starter 
To be consistent, I should probably go with studded (there is no question that they improve road grip dramatically). I do worry, though, that driving them on dry pavement is going to wear the studs and tires out fairly quickly. I don't want to have to replace them for at least a few seasons.
post #4 of 82
Had Michelin Artic Alpin's on my 98 A6, fabulous all around tire. No problems with wear!

Have Michelin Pilot A/S M+S on my S4 Avant, smooth quiet and incredible in the wet! Have not had them in the snow yet but maybe this week.

Had Michelin Pilot Alpin's on my Allroad. Absolutely unstoppable and wore like steel!

Nokian may be best flat snow tire but Michelin's got better all-around rating.
post #5 of 82
Thread Starter 
My plan is to have two sets of tires (summer and winter). Given that I want a dedicated snow tire, it sounds like you're recommending the Nokian.

What have you driven with the Nokians? What did you think of them? How did they wear?
post #6 of 82
Atomicman, Thanks, that is what I have been thinking. My buddy had a Audi 200Q and has sworn by his Hak 1's, 10's, 2's, Q's. He now has a R32 with Hak RSI's. I have never had snow tires on my 92 Honda Si which we drove to VT everywinter weekend until I got my 98 Legacy GT Wagon, then the 00 GT Wagon and now the 05GT Wagon. I have not had sonw tires on any of them. But I did put Michelin MXV4's on them. I have thought about the Alpin's because I thought they were a better allround tire. We don't drive on snow all the time. It's two hours at 75mph, to the hill. I will trade a little traction for the better ride and be a bit more careful when I need to. I have done this drive in the snow. I'm still not convinced I need a decated snow tire.
post #7 of 82
Blizzak's are the best studless tires on ice, Michelin Alpin's are a little better in soft snow but not quite as good on ice. Both are better on ice than Haakepillitas without studs, and cheaper. Studs are obsolete.
Unless you need a tire that's rated for speeds over 90 mph or so, the less expensive Alpins and Blizzaks work better in snow than the more expensive versions.
post #8 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by Colossus178
My plan is to have two sets of tires (summer and winter). Given that I want a dedicated snow tire, it sounds like you're recommending the Nokian.

What have you driven with the Nokians? What did you think of them? How did they wear?
I have never had them just repeating what people said on the following thread towards the end. I prefer Michelinhttp://forums.epicski.com/showthread.php?t=20971
post #9 of 82
Blizzaks. And forget studs unless 50% of your driving will actually be on snow/ice covered roads.
post #10 of 82
I have found that my summer tires, Michlin XGT-H4s provide good dry and wet traction (much better wet traction than BFG Comp TAHR4), but also wear quite fast.

My last set of winter tires, Michlin Arctic Alpins (235-75 R15) lasted very well (guessing over 100K km, I'm too lazy to look up where I changed over every fall and spring); they provided very good ice and snow traction for the first 4 winters, but were not as grippy last winter. Though they weren't down to the wear bars, I have just replaced them with 4 Michlin Latitude X-ice (235-70 R15) tires on the car. The Arctic Alpin is a new style of snow tires, and seem to work better floating over deep snow than the older styled ones did digging through it, so maybe going to a 70 series isn't so bad a change. I will let you know how the new snows work out.

Studs provide the best traction on ice, but if you try going 100mph with them the studs will come out.

If I lived in the mountains I would have a set of chains in the luggage compartment for the beast. Nothing beats chains in deep snow, but unless you have a beater you only use on snow-days, you don't want to have them on your car all the time. They will wreck your tires, you cannot drive at any reasonably efficient speed with them on, and they are a bit of a pain to put on and take off.
post #11 of 82
Thread Starter 
The dealer who sold me the car recommended Pirellis. I know nothing about Pirellis. Is that just a salesman trying to talk me into buying something more expensive than I need?
post #12 of 82
Pirellis have a long history of making good high-performance tires. I had some perillis many many years ago (P77s?) and they were supperb on dry pavement compared to other tires available at the time. I haven't had any recent Pirellis, so you may want to ignore the following OPINION.

I think, based mostly on hear-say, they do less compromising of their wet and dry performance (feed-back, responsiveness, and ultimate grip) in order to make them passable in snow and ice. In other words, the best snow and ice tire (not, I think a Pirelli) will give up a lot to a high performance tire when conditions are not icy or snowy, and most days the highways are bare. A top end Pirelli winter tire will allow you to drive with almost your usual wild abandon on good roads, and not leave you like a fish out of water if it does actually start snowing, but it won't be as good as say a Nokia.
post #13 of 82
No all-season tire can compare with a dedicated winter tire for winter conditions. The tire compounding requirements for hot pavement durability makes them too stiff to perform optimally on frozen turf. I use Nokian winter tires (currently Hakka Q's) on three Audi quattro sedans. I put them on in November and take them off in April. I have one set of Q's now in their third winter season that I expect to have to replace next year. You can't buy Q's anymore, but their replacement looks just as good. It's called the RSI. The thing that sets the Q/RSI design apart from Nokian's studded winter tires is the siping of the tread pattern. It is very aggressive siping that penetrates through the total wear depth. Makes this tire design particularly good on ice.
post #14 of 82
Thread Starter 
Kneale

I drive the VW Passat with "4Motion", which is nothing more (or less) than Audi's Quattro system. Judging by your remark about driving three different Audis, I take it that you're happy with they sytem's performance.
post #15 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ghost
Pirellis have a long history of making good high-performance tires. I had some perillis many many years ago (P77s?) and they were supperb on dry pavement compared to other tires available at the time. I haven't had any recent Pirellis, so you may want to ignore the following OPINION.

I think, based mostly on hear-say, they do less compromising of their wet and dry performance (feed-back, responsiveness, and ultimate grip) in order to make them passable in snow and ice. In other words, the best snow and ice tire (not, I think a Pirelli) will give up a lot to a high performance tire when conditions are not icy or snowy, and most days the highways are bare. A top end Pirelli winter tire will allow you to drive with almost your usual wild abandon on good roads, and not leave you like a fish out of water if it does actually start snowing, but it won't be as good as say a Nokia.
That's the kind of bonehead opinion that leads to people clogging up the roads when the least little snow falls. Get a decent set of winter tires or get off the road.
I'll not only ignore your uninformed opinion, I'll ignore you when you drive your dumb @$$ off the road.
post #16 of 82
Try this site.
I plugged in my car so the reviews are specific to that. This page
will let you plug in your own car and pick tire types. I'm not sure if this is the site I was on some months back, I think it was another site that I may have been referred to from here. This one is good but the other one was a little better I think. Anyone recall a reference to a site like that?
post #17 of 82
post #18 of 82
I agree that the original Blizzaks (WO-6 ?) are hands down the best snow & ice tire. They even beat studded tires in a braking distance test on an ice rink. The only problem is they really suck on dry roads - I used to joke that they should use them as race tires because they would dramatically decrease the max cornering speeds. Downright scary, but an absolute requirement on a rear wheel drive car.

They have since come out with different variations of the original Blizzaks, but they are a compromise and aren't as good on ice & snow. Most major comapnies have the same micro-sipe technology and they are all good, but again they all have their limitations in the dry.

Someone here has a tag line about all mountain skis doing nothing well - same goes for tires. I firmly believe in summer tires for 3 seasons, and snows for the winter.
post #19 of 82
That looks similar and looks like a good site but I think I remember some sort of value rating or at least the pricing for each tire model. Good site though, thanks.

Quote:
Originally Posted by comprex
post #20 of 82
If you are going to be driving in a snowy area during the winter, it should be almost mandatory you equip your car with 4 dedicated winter tires for those months.

For most people, the differences between the Blizzaks, Alpins, and Hakkas is inconsequential given the enormous difference between any non-winter tire.

If you have never driven with dedicated winter tires, you will be amazed at how well even a rear wheel drive car can handle snow.
post #21 of 82
Has anyone tryed

http://www.greendiamondtire.com/productsny3.html#

Heard good things but I don't need them right now.
post #22 of 82
I have been very happy with Toyo Observe's (rwd, snows on all 4 wheels). I use their high performance tires (Proxes T1) in the summer, too.

The winter tire has (I am not making this up) ground up walnut shells in the rubber compound to increase traction and road grip on slick surfaces, and it appears to really work. I think the Alpins (or perhaps it is the Blizzaks, I am not sure) inject the rubber compound with nitrogen bubbles so that there is a rough surface of the tire as it wears to the same effect.
post #23 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bode Klammer
That's the kind of bonehead opinion that leads to people clogging up the roads when the least little snow falls. Get a decent set of winter tires or get off the road.
I'll not only ignore your uninformed opinion, I'll ignore you when you drive your dumb @$$ off the road.
Maybe you should learn to read before criticizing. First of all, I have 4 dedicated winter tires on my car, the latest winter tires from Michilin. Secondly, the opinion is informed; I'm comparing Perilli's winter tire to other winter tires, and relating what I have heard about them. Also, I am not advocating that he buy Perilli tires; he can make up his own mind what to buy, though I hope he decides to get better snow tires and slow down. Clearly, you don't think as fast as you type.
post #24 of 82
I thought this might be worth while to pass on. I read an article last year about winter tire performance. I wish I could find it so I could site it for you, so I'll have to relate the info rather than quote it. The article looked at tire types in general, not specific brands. They looked at snow tires, studed snow tires, and all season radials. Studed snow tires provided the best snow and ice grip. Snow tires without studs did well in just snow, but add a layer of ice and they performed the worst out of the three. All season radials out performed the un-studed snow tires on the ice and performed well in the snow.

I run all season radials year round. But, I drive a Dodge Ram 4x4 and have been nothing but amazed at this trucks' ability to drive through anything... snow, ice, mud, 3 foot of water(long story). It's been my experience that throttle control and momentum are the best tactics for bad weather driving outside of not driving when its bad out. I've been fortunate enough to have owned front wheel, rear wheel, and 4x4 vehicles. The Formula Firebird was the worst I have driven in the snow, but patience with the throttle got me home. My wife once had a Sunbird that went great in the snow with all season radials. Now we have a Bravada and a Ram. We run all seasons on both and rarely shovel the driveway out anymore(mostly because its about 130 ft long and up hill). All I have to say is thank God for 4 wheel drive.
post #25 of 82
all seasons do not cut it. At all. Whoever did that test didn't do a good job, as I know from personal experience driving my own and friends cars that theirs were downright scary in conditions that my car had no issues with. My take on snow tires:
Nokian Hakka's: great all around snow tire, just grips and grips
Blizzaks: Best deep snow tire, as it has the most aggressive digging ability. Drawbacks are the ice grip is not as good as the competition and the tread is somewhat softer than the others, leading to chunking if you end up spinning it much.
Alpin/X-ices: Great tire, I like it a little better than the hakka, mainly due to its dry grip. Blows through most stuff with ease.

This is going through NH winters in the worst conditions available. Nothing will stop you on black ice but a cement wall, but in everything else these 3 tires are bomber (don't have experience with any others). Also note: replace snows just before the wear bars come up, as they are highly dependent on tread depth for traction.
post #26 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by PRAGMATICSKIER
Has anyone tryed

http://www.greendiamondtire.com/productsny3.html#

Heard good things but I don't need them right now.
These tires look real interesting, except that they are retreads. Even if they only use premium casings, in good shape, the tire casing is part of the whole design. How can you know what to expect in dry road handling.

Anyway, I have run Dunlop Wintersports for the last 2 winters with good luck. Previously I had MichilinArtic Alpins, which did very well on ice and snow, but had vague handling on dry roads. The Dunlops have been a better compromise, as they handle as well on our predominantly dry roads as my stock tires, yet still do nicely on ice an snow. LewBob
post #27 of 82
Well I'm with Hercules and run all seasons year round. There are a lot of different all seasons out there and a lot of different tread patterns. What I have on now have a very open tread design that seems very effective at clearing snow from the tread and pushing though. They also have more siping than any other all season I've seen. I have seen lots of all seasons (most) that I wouldn't even consider for winter driving but there are those that ahndle it very well.

Fact of the matter is the vast majority of the winter driving I do is on dry pavement even here in the mountains. The snow we get tends to be dry and the tires I'm running work very well in the conditions I drive. My sisters live in Ontario and driving there tends to see lots of near freezing temperatures, freezing rain and generally greasy driving. I'd likely be on different tires driving there.
post #28 of 82
My driving is a mix of dry roads and snowy/icy roads.

I have had blizzacks in the past. Great traction. Cost lots. Don't last long.

I wanted to to try the Michelin X-Ice. They cost lots. Probably don't last long.

I bought studs instead for way cheaper.
post #29 of 82
Thread Starter 
How long does a pair of studded tires last?
post #30 of 82
Colossus, the quattro system performs more reliably than any other 4/all wheel drive system I've experienced.

Regarding studs, before they were outlawed in my state, I used four studded snows on even rear wheel drive vehicles. Best glazed snow and ice traction you can get. But the studs don't stay in place as long as the tread lasts, especially if you exceed the speed limits on dry pavement. Studs also reduce dry pavement performance.
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