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Snow Tires


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Hi All, Need some snow tires for my car. What's the group's thought on it/them? It's a performance oriented car and will be driven during mixed road conditions - dry, snow, packed snow and ice.


I have my eyes on Michelin Alpin PA3's. Anyone have them?


Thanks, Tom

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I run Pirelli 240 SnowSports on my Mazda RX8, front-engine, rear drive. I like them a lot.


They are a WINTER tire not a "snow" tire. They grip very well on ice, slush, and snow and with the stability control engaged the car is extremely stable on any surface. You have to do something real dumb to make it misbehave. It takes depth of snow to be a real factor, but that's a ground clearance thing, not the tires.


They work better than any other tire I've ever used in the winter - the usual winter road is a nonissue.



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Tire Rack ranks it the best of the tires in its category. However, to be fair, the ratings of the top half-dozen tires are so close as to be virtually equivalent. That being the case, I'd look at those tires and see which are the least expensive.


Of the top tires in this comparison, the only ones I have experience with are the Dunlop SP Winter Sport M3 tires, which were excellent.

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Joe Frickin' Friday
Of the top tires in this comparison, the only ones I have experience with are the Dunlop SP Winter Sport M3 tires, which were excellent.


Same tires here. Good stuff. This is the last season I think I will get out of this set, and I'll likely replace with same before next winter.

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Just another note: If I were in Bozeman, I'm pretty sure that I'd opt for dedicated winter tires, but here in Chicago I'm using Continental ExtremeContact DWS tires on my Subaru STi and they've proven to be excellent on ice and snow.


While this is viewed as heresy by many, I prefer all-season tires with a bias toward snow performance for use around these parts. We do get a fair amount of snow (about 40"), but the roads are generally cleared quickly. So, I get about 90% of the capability of winter tires without the penalties associated with them. However, if I were in Bozeman, I'd look at things differently.

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Another +1 for Dunlop Winter Sports. We got 4 seasons of good use from the set we had on our VW R32. Around here, we usually run a winter setup from October through mid-April.


At the end of last season, one of the nearly spent Dunlops impaled itself on an handful of screws and nails that I didn't see while passing a downtown construction site. A local tire store heartily recommended the Hankook I Pike, so we're trying a set. In an effort to get ahead of the game, I mounted them in October, when the white stuff can start flying around here. Last year we had more than 5 feet between Labor Day and Christmas. Of course, this year all I can say so far is that the dry pavement performance is very good. Who knew tires could change the weather? :grin:

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No experience yet. Just mounted a set of Blizzaks on the 16 year old Isuzu Trooper. Main job of the Trooper is winter transport. In summer all it does is short distance mulch and topsoil transport. But just having bought a snow blower and with the Blizzaks, it is not going to snow this year.

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I had Arctic Alpins on the Forester, which was about 5 tire generations ago, and they were amazing.


One of the car mags did a tire test a few years ago and the rankings were 4WD + winter tires first, FWD + winter tires a close second, 4WD + all season tires a distant third, FWD + all season tires fourth. The winter tires made more of a difference than the 4WD.

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4WD helps you keep going, but does not help in turning and stopping.


I'd say you're 50% right. Power to the front wheels can definitely help in getting you through a turn. This is not a very technical description, but the tractive force "pulls" you in the direction of the turn, within the limits of available traction, of course. My Subie permits me to shift the power distribution fore and aft by means of a console switch. In poor traction conditions, shifting the power bias forward seems to make a noticeable difference.

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You can argue all day about whether 4wd, traction control, snow tires, etc. is better than this or that. But the absolute, #1, factor in arriving at your destination properly is skill. In concert with that is the knowledge of your vehicles limitations.


When I was in highschool, my dad had a '65 dodge polara. He drove to work all winter (on mostly plowed streets) with the cords showing on his bias ply tires. It still amazes me: Crappy car, crappy, brain damaged tires.... The only time I recall that he actually got stuck was when I was very young and he had studded snows on his studebaker (and he was relatively inexperienced with snow at the time).

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You can argue all day about whether 4wd, traction control, snow tires, etc. is better than this or that. But the absolute, #1, factor in arriving at your destination properly is skill.


Which is, of course, something most of us don't have.


I've logged a lot of miles on snow, and, while what you say is true, the right technology can be immensely helpful--winter driving is, after all, a struggle against the laws of physics. AWD and good tires make a huge difference. Traction/stability control/ABS technology can help, too, but the basic elements, most importantly tires, can make heroes out of even the unskilled.

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what size of tire are we talking about and vehicle


up here just a little north of you... (where winter started 3 months ago) we get all the usual offering, but i think we short sell ourselves by buying a product from the same guy that sells you your michelin and bridgestone products..


i made the decision 11 yrs ago to try a product manufactured in a country that gets as rough a winter as we do in canada .


go do your self a favour and check out Nokian tires from finland. when it come to winter rallying they have been a serious tire of choice back to the 70's




i have run a set now for 11 winters which equates to about 140000km, fabulous on icy roads,

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Jerry Johnston

The Blizzak tires are amazing. We have studded tires on the car and Blizzak on our SUV and I swear the Blizzak out preform the studded.

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The Michelin Alpin PA3 is an excellent choice as a performance winter tire. But it is usually more cost effective to get another set of rims and a narrower set of snow tires to get better snow&ice traction. So rather then getting 235/55x18 snow tires for my vehicle (about $300 each) I have 17 inch rims and 225/65x17 Michelin X-Ice ($250 for the rim and tire). In general the X-Ice will perform better then the Alpin PA3 but of course it doesn't have as high a speed rating.


I've had Blizzaks and up here they only last 2 to 3 seasons before you are through the soft (good ice traction) compound and down to a harder (all-season like) compound and tread. My son and wife have the Nokian Hakkapelitta R and they are pretty impressive.


Winter tires have more trade-offs then summer and all-season. Better ice traction sometimes doesn't go with better deep snow traction, the drop in gas mileage can be considerable and the noise they generate can be pretty bad. The best winter tires can be downright dangerous on wet roads if you go out to the coast, though. Both the Tire Rack and Consumer Reports do excellent reviews with detailed comparison of performance in different conditions.


Mike Cassidy

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I had Alpins on my Supra Turbo too. They had exceptional grip. I know lots of Blizzak users who stand by their tires too. Either way, you can't go wrong. You didn't tell us what kind of car it's going on.

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having run a set of blizzaks in parallel to the nokian, for the last 8 yrs i would make the following observation;


the blizzak were slightly better in deep snow than the nokian but once the top 4/32" had worn off, the blizzak behaved like an all-seasons tire, the nokian have continued to deliver icey road traction right down to 4/32" tread, (wear bars are 3/32", visible but the tires still respond better in our driving conditions),


as Mike suggested i run Q or T rated winter tires on seperate rims, high performance is wishfull thinking in winter conditions

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