General Altimax Arctic - stud question

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I know these are studdable, but if you don't plan on having them studded, are there any downsides like shorter tread life for example? Those who have them, what sort of tread life are you experiencing? How is their dry (hwy) handling compared to a typical all-season? Little worse? A lot worse? I am looking for relatively inexpensive 195/65/15 winter tires for our '01 Jetta. We get quite a few snow storms here every season, but still, majority of the time the roads are dry/clear.
 
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They are identical to Gislaved Nord Frost 3 snow tires(Gislaved and General are both Continental brands, Gislaved being the top tier brand of the two). Gislaved is now up to Nord Frost 5. That being said, I picked up a set of Nord Frost 3 snow tires last december that supposedly had 2.5 winters of [city driving]use from the previous owner. 2 of the tires had 6-7/32" tread and the other two had 9-10/32" tread. As far as dry handling is concerned, I went from 225/45/17 UHPAS tires to 205/55/16 so i cannot give you an apples to apples comparison but i'd say dry handling is pretty good for snow tires. http://forums.motivemag.com/zerothread?id=4091827
 
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I bought some goodyear nordics for my wife's TL 2 years ago. They are goodyear's entry level blizzak type offering. I had them studded. The traction in snow and ice is absolutely astounding. Significantly better than the high performance genuine blizzaks on my bmw. It is a real step up. The combo of blizzak type tires with studs added is quite shocking. The only downside I can see is noise. They are fairly noisy on dry freeways. They create a kind of droning that is similar to the noise you hear in a 737 as a passenger approaching landing. I'm told that the Goodyear nordic's tread pattern is already partly responsible. In any case, I'm not saying it's as loud as being on a plane, but that's exactly the TYPE of noise it makes. My wife needs new winter tires for her mini-van and insists on these exact tires WITH STUDS. She says she's never felt safer in the winter than she has with the studded tires. If you can tolerate the added noise, I think you'll find the difference between blizzak type winter tires and those tires with studs to be close to the step up you get when you upgrade from all seasons to blizzaks. My next car will be a RWD and I'll likely go with studs on blizzaks/equivalent winters.
 
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Also, I see no difference with dry/wet handling. Technically, studs are supposed to reduce grip in those conditions because of the loss of contact patch caused by the studs. We're not talking about a big loss here, if any. The gain is worth it in my view, since you tend to drive far less aggressively in dry conditions on those mushy, quick-wearing winter tires.
 

Quattro Pete

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Thanks. Studded tires are illegal in Illinois, so I'm not even considering that option. I was just curious if there are any downsides (traction aside) to running studdable tires without studs installed.
 
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Nope, Don't think there are any downsides. Canadian Tire's biggest seller, the Goodyear Nordic is studdable. I would guess that 99% of the people that buy them don't get them studded. Canadian tire has been selling these for several years now and I've not heard any negative comments.
 
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 Originally Posted By: Quattro Pete
Thanks. Studded tires are illegal in Illinois, so I'm not even considering that option. I was just curious if there are any downsides (traction aside) to running studdable tires without studs installed.
No real downsides, except you don't get the benefit of studs in packed snow & ice. I ran the winterforce tires on on old 02 Golf, they are studdable, I didn't get them studded. Yes, they were loud, squirmy, but great traction when the conditions get foul. You spend more on say....Nokian Hakka R, Michelin X-Ice2, etc as well.
 
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I put about 15k on my Altimax Arctics last winter (no studs)90% highway driving) across Canada and the northern US and traction was excellent tread wear is minimal. I expect 5+ winters from these tires. Bought another set for my wife's Alero.
 
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A winter tire that is studded will last longer, the reason is the stud wears very slower and supports some of the tread around it. That having been said on most newer winter tires that offer studding, it's generally added as a after thought, the won't be a negative effect to using without studs. The Goodyear Nordics and the General Altimax Artic are far better tires for us than the Motomaster Wintertrac & Nordictrac that it replaced. I run the Nordics studded on both my cars the past couple of winters and have been impressed with them. As of yet thought I haven't decided what I'm going to use on my new truck this winter. With TPMS I want a comprimise tire that I can tolerate to listen all summer yet will get me back and forth in a a Maritime Blizzard.
 
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Try some Goodyear Assurance Tripletred tires. They are excellent in rain, and very good in snow (as testified by my grandfather, who is very discerning). And they are all-season tires thus excellent in summer too. The handling is top notch too.
 

Quattro Pete

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 Originally Posted By: rudolphna
Try some Goodyear Assurance Tripletred tires. They are excellent in rain, and very good in snow (as testified by my grandfather, who is very discerning). And they are all-season tires thus excellent in summer too. The handling is top notch too.
Thanks, but I already have a set of all-season tires. Having owned dedicated winter tires in the past, I can easily say that when it comes to winter performance, the comparison is not even close. My all-seasons still have a lot of tread left, and they're excellent in the other 3 seasons, so I will continue using them. So if I'm buying a new set of tires just for the winter, I want them to be dedicated winter tires to get the most benefit.
 
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In the past I had Firestone studdable tires (winterfire or something like that). They lasted 5 seasons, which is what I generally expect out of snow tires. I suspect we are experiencing the same winter conditions. These were on a Civic. I was told that nonstuddable tires were "winter" tires while studdable were "snow" tires, implying that the winter tires would be better for mixed conditions, but I honestly did not see that making any difference while I had them.
 
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 Originally Posted By: jdeare
I was told that nonstuddable tires were "winter" tires while studdable were "snow" tires, implying that the winter tires would be better for mixed conditions, but I honestly did not see that making any difference while I had them.
There is no classification system to differentiate "winter" or "snow" tires. If they both have the winter rating, it's a difference of semantics only. Further testing would be required to differentiate any differences in performance in varying conditions and no generalizations can be made. In the extensive Swedish winter tire test posted in a previous thread, the studded tires were, overall, the best performers in all conditions. http://www.bobistheoilguy.com/forums/ubb...rue#Post1172939 The Swedes are a little ahead of us when it comes to winter tire usage, with nearly 80% using studded winter tires! Here's a good article: http://www.uniontire.ca/page3.htm The article is no longer available directly from the CBC site, so I was glad to find that copy. I hate it when my bookmarks disappear!
 
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I forgot to mention that the Gislvaved Nord Frost 3 did very well in that Swedish test. It tied for 4th out of 18 in the wet pavement braking test, and would probably do a little better there without studs. It was also the best tire in the test for hydroplane resistance and scored the best lap time on the snow course. Probably a good choice.
 

Quattro Pete

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Thanks rpn. I will most likely get them for the Jetta, probably with another set of steel rims, so that I can swap them out by myself. I was also thinking of getting them for the 530i, but considering how little I drive it, I think it's a waste of money. Most likely I'll only take it out if the roads are clear. All other times, Jetta will be the designated work horse.
 
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If you can get over the fact the tires are remolds.... Green Diamonds for the Jetta. the carbide chunks in the tread makes a huge difference.
 
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Originally Posted By: Rabbler
I put about 15k on my Altimax Arctics last winter (no studs)90% highway driving) across Canada and the northern US and traction was excellent tread wear is minimal. I expect 5+ winters from these tires. Bought another set for my wife's Alero.
so how many miles did you get out of them? 70k miles+
 
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Originally Posted By: Marisa
Originally Posted By: Rabbler
I put about 15k on my Altimax Arctics last winter (no studs)90% highway driving) across Canada and the northern US and traction was excellent tread wear is minimal. I expect 5+ winters from these tires. Bought another set for my wife's Alero.
so how many miles did you get out of them? 70k miles+
You may want to PM Rabbler as there hasn't been a post/reply/thread in > 8 months! I don't think 70K is obtainable with the Arctic's. We have the same tire & size as the OP...195-65-15 with currently 2 winters on them(~ 10K miles) and they're now only down to ~ 8/32nds...Very good IMHO!
 
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