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Snow Tires: Best Bang for the Buck - Page 2

post #31 of 116
I am a big believer in studs for my area. I live on a hill that is dirt in the summer, a sheet of ice about four inches thick from December through March. Basically, the snow gets packed and packed and the road is never salted, so the several hundred inches of snow we get is partially plowed, and partially packed down depending on when the plow comes. The result is great tobogganing. The trash guy refuses to come up the hill. The FedEx guy is the same (good old UPS will attempt it, but no guarantees.) Once I toboggan down the hill, I still have to get up Big Mountain road, which has no guard rail, but plenty of sharp curves. If I didn't have studs, I'd be using chains and having to take them on and off several times a day for the one mile section in between where I live and Big Mountain Road. Forget that!

And I have an AWD Audi.

I am making notes about the various tires, though, since I need new tires this year. Studs become legal October 1.
post #32 of 116
Quote:
Originally Posted by BushwackerinPA View Post
studs are legal in pa during the winter, and even if they werent the chance of cop pulling you over for that are slim to none. I should know I drive highly illegal Civic Hatchback around(no cat converter, race harnesses, racing slicks elect) if they dont stop that thing for being illegal no chance in hell they are going to stop for having studs in state that doesnt allow them.

with that said i have run studded tires here in PA in the snow since i turned 16. I think i am going to non studds with chains as back up for utah this year. the drive accross the county on studded tires really is not fun.

Anyone ever use something like this? http://www.discounttiredirect.com/di... &rd=15&ar=50
Studs lik you state are legal in PA during the winter. They are to be off the car from April 15th (pretty sure or else April fools day) until November (again somewhere like the 15th).

Studs help traction on ice of course but, but hinder traction on dry roads and are noisy. If you spin them they tear up the pavement when you get down through the packed material.
post #33 of 116
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mithras View Post
Nokian Hakkapeliita tires are the best snow tires money can buy (and they are surprisingly cheap) the Hakkapeliita II when it first came out was banned in rallying as it was deemed an unfair advantage. They are a little too radical for most family cars (though my dad always used them on his Porsche 911s in the winter) but their NRW and other tires are the best you can buy BAR NONE. (I have no affiliation just years of happy winter driving)

www.nokiantires.com
Slight problem. I can't find them online and the closest dealer to me is 58 miles away in British Columbia. Anyone know how to get these over the internet? I tried Tire Rack and Tire Direct
post #34 of 116
Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Jones View Post
I have thought about that for the rear tires on my Forrester. The back end is so light that it fishtails in slippery turns. I'm sure that there is some manual that says that you shoudn't do that. I'd like to put just a few studs in to give me a little extra bite.
Maybe something like this will help
http://www.shurtrax.com/index.asp
post #35 of 116
Quote:
Originally Posted by sibhusky View Post
Slight problem. I can't find them online and the closest dealer to me is 58 miles away in British Columbia. Anyone know how to get these over the internet? I tried Tire Rack and Tire Direct
You didn't try very hard, did you??? I did a yahoo search on "Nokian tire" and got 2 viable hits for on-line ordering.
http://tiresbyweb.com/c-128-nokian.a...OVMTC=standard

and
http://www.tirefactory.net/

I don't know anything about either, but they both offer to ship. Tire rack will ship a set of steel rims probably cheaper than these 2. I had the Tire Rack ship a set of rims and hubcaps to the garage that had the tires, and they mounted them before I got there. I just drove3 up and they threw them on the car. You can probably get both shipped to your local garage and do the same, or have one of the above places ship them mounted and balanced.

I would only get the Hakkapolita 2, but now I see they also have a Hakka 4, which I know nothing about, so maybe inquire about them. I know the Hakka 2 was worlds better than the Hakka 1.
I have 2 Audi's, an A4 and an A6, both with Hakka 2. the A6 is fitted with studded. Except for the noise, the studded drives/corners/stops like an Audi, even on dry pavement. I've contemplated leaving the A4 unstudded tires on all year, they handle and ride and grip better than my high performance summer tires on dry or wet.
post #36 of 116
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lehigh View Post
Sorry, don't know much about tires....why is better to run a narrower tire? Is simply more options? Or is there better grip?
Narrow tyres perform better in mud / slush & snow, they tend to sink in deeper and grip better rather than planing/spinning on the surface.

http://www.chris-longhurst.com/carbi...yre_bible.html
post #37 of 116
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lehigh View Post
Sorry, don't know much about tires....why is better to run a narrower tire? Is simply more options? Or is there better grip?
You need to run a tire that has a proper load and speed rating for your car. You also need the same tires obn all four wheels to ensure consistant handling. On AWD and FWD this is crucial. You should run a tire that has a diameter very near your summer tire.

Snow tires use the loose snow to help with grip and a wider tread pattern to relase the snow. Nothing grips well on bare ice, even studs. Snow tires are made of a softer compound, to retain tire flex in very cold temps. Snow tires also wear more quickly, and reduce gas milage.

The tire Rack has some good reviews. They also break down various aspects like snow, rain and dry performance.

I also recommend getting them mounted in a set of cheap wheels, so you don't have the hassle of remounting tire and chancing ruining the bead.
post #38 of 116
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2-turn View Post
I've contemplated leaving the A4 unstudded tires on all year, they handle and ride and grip better than my high performance summer tires on dry or wet.
I can't agree with that. The only advantage of a studless winter tire in summer would be less noise because of the softer compound.

Handling however is far worse than a proper summer tire. The soft sidewalls of the tire flex alot more meaning the tires moves around a lot, slowing responses when you make turns at any significant speed. I've driven the A4 quite a bit as we have one in the family, in the summer, on both types of tires - so I've got personal experience on this. For relaxed cruising it's not a problem, but if you are the type that enjoys more 'spirited' driving when conditions allow, I'd stick with tires made for bare tarmac

I'm sure you'll find any comparison test of a studless tire and a summer tire - for use in summer - to say the same.

The other thing is that they'll wear down alot quicker. After a full summers use of a studless winter tire the performance on snow and ice will have been greatly reduced. The only reason why one would want to use them is if you are going to replace them before next winter anyway.
post #39 of 116
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lehigh View Post
Sorry, don't know much about tires....why is better to run a narrower tire? Is simply more options? Or is there better grip?
Narrow tires are better in the snow because they don't float above the road as much. A wide foot print acts like a snowshoe and prevents the tire from good contact with the pavement.
post #40 of 116
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lehigh View Post
Sorry, don't know much about tires....why is better to run a narrower tire? Is simply more options? Or is there better grip?
Narrow is better. What cuts better, a sharp knife or a dull one? A narrower tire will cut into the snow where a wider one will float on top for less grip.
post #41 of 116
Quote:
Originally Posted by freeskier75 View Post
I've heard of people ripping hte tread right off Hankooks. I'd aviod them.

I have a set of Blizzak LM-25's, V speed rated winter tire, and they are unstoppable. I've driven my s40 awd through 10+ inches of snow up my driveway no problem, and they are V speed rated, so they handle great well into the tripple digits (long island to sugarbush in 3 hours 45 min including stops anyone?).

Note I do not condone speeding in anyway shape or form... :
i have lm 25's on my legacy gt wagon and agree they are great. for the first time i may get two seasons out of a set of four. i put the tires on 10-15 and take them off 4-15. i imagine i average 12k per year on a set.

i live at 9200 feet in the winter, have a pretty tough driveway to exit and the road to the main highway is steep. i can't think of a better testing ground.

btw i was a little worried about the ground clearance of the gt. it did fine last winter. i guess i eventually figured if the snow gets deep enough that "high centering" is an issue i'll wait for the plows to run.
post #42 of 116
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lehigh View Post
Sorry, don't know much about tires....why is better to run a narrower tire? Is simply more options? Or is there better grip?

The theory is that a narrower tire has less surface area contact with the road. That translates into increased contact pressure as more weight per square inch is being applied to the rubber that is in contact with the road. This creates more bite into the snow and thus better traction.
post #43 of 116
A narrower tire will cut through the snow better to find better grip. A wider tire will float more on top of the snow and you won't have as much control.
post #44 of 116
Quote:
Originally Posted by AnitSuperEgo View Post
You need to run a tire that has a proper load and speed rating for your car. You also need the same tires obn all four wheels to ensure consistant handling. On AWD and FWD this is crucial. You should run a tire that has a diameter very near your summer tire.
If your car has 205-55-16 on it like my Audi A4, the 195-65-15 is the exact same radius, and a lot cheaper since it's a common size. My A4 actually lists it as an alternate size on the back of the gas fill cover.

Quote:
I also recommend getting them mounted in a set of cheap wheels, so you don't have the hassle of remounting tire and chancing ruining the bead
Agreed, plus I think the steel wheel adds a little rotational mass.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tarmac
I can't agree with that. The only advantage of a studless winter tire in summer would be less noise because of the softer compound.

Handling however is far worse than a proper summer tire. The soft sidewalls of the tire flex alot more meaning the tires moves around a lot, slowing responses when you make turns at any significant speed. I've driven the A4 quite a bit as we have one in the family, in the summer, on both types of tires - so I've got personal experience on this. For relaxed cruising it's not a problem, but if you are the type that enjoys more 'spirited' driving when conditions allow, I'd stick with tires made for bare tarmac
I totally agree with you and the mags in theory.. In practice, when I first mounted the Nokians, and I got used to the slight initial dip on hard turns from the sidewall flexing (and I did notice it immediately, but got used to it), I found I prefered the ride of the Nokian. maybe cause it's an Audi and has a hard ride to begin with, the Nokians soften the ride a bit, plus those Nokian tires stick like glue.
PS, I didn't notice it as all on the A4, but that has the low profile (55) 16 inch tire.
post #45 of 116
Snow tires are a good investment if you are driving to the high country on a regular basis. Studded snow tires are definitely the way to go, and make a huge difference in traction. In fact, a 2WD auto equipped with studded snow tires will almost always have much better traction in snow than will a 4WD vehicle with conventional M & S tires. I know because I have a Ford van that I drive through the Eisenhower Tunnel every weekend during the winter. It has studded snow tires that I bought at Sam's Club. Four tires balanced, with studs, and installed on the vehicle ran less than $300.00. I have also had non-studded Nokian WRX snow tires on two Volvo AWD wagons, and they are excellent and can be used without too much wear on dry roads. Nevertheless, studded is the only way to go in Colorado (where they are legal). Everyone in Norweigian Lapland drives on studded snow tires during the winter. You'll know why the first time you venture out into fresh snow and ice in the high country with your new studded snow tires. Also, narrower is indeed better with snow tires. Get the most narrow tires that will fit your rims and still meet manufacturer's specifications for your vehicle.
post #46 of 116
The size, height, or width of the tire has NO bearing on the area of the contact patch! (the weight of the car and the tire pressure are the only two variables in that equation). It does however change the shape of the contact patch. Take a normal piece of 8.5 x 11 paper. Hold it sideways (landscape) This is a summer tire. It has more sidways rubber allowing more lateral grip. Now turn the piece of paper upright. Same size, but now there is less lateral rubber (and less lateral grip) but more fore/aft rubber which means greater fore/aft grip (meaning you have easier launches, and less spinning..
post #47 of 116
Okay, so i can't really make up my mind. I live in Boulder, head up to themountains about every weekend in the winter (1.5 - 2 hour drive). I just got a new Subaru outback wagon (lost my '97 saab to ice on I-70 last march.) Now i commute to work everyday, so do you guys reccomend a studded tire or something like the blizzak or X-ice? How good is the grip on these "studless" tires? Any thoughts from some fellow Coloradans?
post #48 of 116
Hi Lehigh: I live in Lyons, just up the road from you. One of the problems with snow tires generally is that the rubber they are made from is softer than that used in "normal" tires. That means they wear down more quickly when driving on dry surfaces. Blizzaks are well known for having really soft rubber and wear down quickly. Nokians/Hakkapalitas are probably the best snow tire you can buy, but are a bit pricey. During winter along the Front Range you will only occassionally be driving in snow or ice -- until you get up into the high country (which is where I assume you will be headed to ski). In my experience, studs make a HUGE difference in traction. I will also speculate that you do want to dump $1,000 on steel rims and Nokian WRXs with studs. If you go to the local Sam's Club in Louisville you will find they carry a brand of snowtire called "SNOWTRAKKER." Thse tires are made in Canada, and are the most popular brand of snow tire sold in Canada (which should tell you something). You can have four new balanced tires with new valves and studs mounted on your car for less than $300.00. When Spring comes you can have them swapped with your summer tires for $30.00. Wait till mid-November to have the tires mounted so you spare the studs an extra few weeks or wear on the asphalt. Don't put just two snow tires tires on your car -- especially since it's 4WD -- it's unsafe and your car will handle unpredictably. Also, get the most narrow tire recommended for your vehicle -- it will make a difference. Hope this helps.
post #49 of 116
Since your car is all wheel drive, you should have no problems getting around with 4 snow tires. Subura has one of the best all wheel drive systems around (and yes all wheel drive systems are quit different....quattro on s4 not the same as quattro on tt). I would consider studs on a front wheel drive car, but not on a subaru. Especially if you plan on driving out of colorado
post #50 of 116
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mithras View Post
The size, height, or width of the tire has NO bearing on the area of the contact patch! (the weight of the car and the tire pressure are the only two variables in that equation).
Not sure where you got your engineering degree. You may want to think about this a little longer.:
post #51 of 116
Studs increase grip by a factor of at least two, and probably much more. If Lehigh gets 4 snowtires, and studs cost $10/tire (as they do at Sam's Club), there's really no reason not to get them. The difference between snow tires with and without studs is enormous. Snow tires make a difference, and studded snow tires make a HUGE difference. I'd rather spend an extra $40 for studs than have an accident on I-70 because I can't avoid a yahoo driving his truck too fast. The proof is in the pudding: along I-70 in the winter my Ford van with studded snow tires is more stable, stops more quickly and rides through rough snowy and icy patches better than 4WD vehicles equipped with snow tires.
post #52 of 116
Yes thats true on a 4WD but not so on an AWD. Big difference. A car with AWD and the same car with 4WD are going to handle completly different. Any active AWD system (most quattro, subaru) will handle better than a reactive AWD system (audi a3 and TT, most VW, most volvo awd, nissan murano) and certainly way better than a 4WD (trucks). Studs may increase traction on ice, but they also decrease traction on dry pavement as well. Studs are a great option if you plan on never leaving CO. But subaru has refined their AWD system through years of rally racing all over the world. An outback wagon with snow tires is unstopable.
post #53 of 116
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wrinkledpants View Post
Yes thats true on a 4WD but not so on an AWD. Big difference. A car with AWD and the same car with 4WD are going to handle completly different. Any active AWD system (most quattro, subaru) will handle better than a reactive AWD system (audi a3 and TT, most VW, most volvo awd, nissan murano) and certainly way better than a 4WD (trucks). Studs may increase traction on ice, but they also decrease traction on dry pavement as well. Studs are a great option if you plan on never leaving CO. But subaru has refined their AWD system through years of rally racing all over the world. An outback wagon with snow tires is unstopable.
Perhaps you mean almost unstopable. It will be easier to stop it on ice with the studs. AWD, 4WD, RWD, FWD, whatever, it's not usually getting going that causes accidents; it's not turning and not stopping. You can get by without studs; many people have to by law. If you have a choice, get the studs.
post #54 of 116
Edit: Well Ghost already made this point

A car with 4 driven wheels will certainly have a lot of traction without studs. However, if you think it will stop as good as it accelerates, you're in for a surprise. AWD won't help you slow down any faster when you need to make emergency stops (and only very skilled drivers can make use of the traction when making evasive maneuvers).

If most of your driving is on bare tarmac then studless is the way to go imo. Just don't push the limits when you get on glazed snow and ice, remember that braking distances will be increase alot. Drive sensibly, leave a bigger distance to the car in front.


On narrow tires: Take a look at this photo from the World Rally Championship event in Sweden this winter. Look at how narrow the tires are. It's not without reason
post #55 of 116
http://www.motortrend.com/features/c...ter_tires.html

heres from a reputable source "In a back-to-back test on an ice skating rink we tried a Jeep Grand Cherokee fitted with ordinary all-season tires, studded tires, and Blizzaks. It was immediately apparent as we slipped and skidded that the Blizzaks provided the best grip. It certainly demonstrated how modern tire technology is not only delivering better tires for dry and wet conditions, but also for snow."
post #56 of 116
Not all studded tires are created equal.
http://www.consumersearch.com/www/au...fullstory.html
post #57 of 116
Has anybody else here got a set of Michelin Pilot Alpin PA2's I put a set on my 05 Legacy GT wagon last Nov. 215/45-17. When I drove the car home from the shop I giggled all the way. I think they handle's as well as my Summer only Dunlops if not better. They were also good in the snow. They also handle well at high speeds through corners and the interstate.
post #58 of 116
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2-turn View Post
You didn't try very hard, did you??? I did a yahoo search on "Nokian tire" and got 2 viable hits for on-line ordering.
http://tiresbyweb.com/c-128-nokian.a...OVMTC=standard

and
http://www.tirefactory.net/
Actually I spent a half hour clicking on things and got neither of those links. Thanks for the info.
post #59 of 116
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by torfinn View Post
Edit: Well Ghost already made this point

On narrow tires: Take a look at this photo from the World Rally Championship event in Sweden this winter. Look at how narrow the tires are. It's not without reason
Wow, those things are skinny. Gives me no hesitation in dropping down a size for my car.
post #60 of 116
Quote:
Originally Posted by Voltron View Post
Wow, those things are skinny. Gives me no hesitation in dropping down a size for my car.

Don't forget that that car is a tuned race car, with a very highly skilled and trained driver, made for racing in the conditions shown. Dropping down a size, while changing the type of tires, can greatly change the handling charactoristics of your car.

If you do, i would like to see you post how they worked.

Kevin
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