Which winter tire?

Bill in Utah

Staff member
Messages
12,849
Location
UT
Hi, I just bought a new commuter car and have decided to get a seprate set of steel wheels and winter type tires. The car is a Toyota Corolla CE and the size of the tire is 185/65/15. I'm going to stay with this size. My commute is 60 miles down the interstate with 1.5 miles of city streets on either end one way. So I'm putting approx 2500 miles a month. The tires would be on the road from November till March... The roads are plowed and salted fairly well.. If I drove durning "normal" hours. I'm on the road 2am and the plows are not too often. So, I'm looking at either a Non-studded winter tire with enhanced rubber compound (like a Blizzak(sp)) that have the speical compound for 50% of the tread then its a regular tire or a snow tire with 100% softer tread but wears longer with more aggresive tread. I've narrowed my choices to; Blizzaks WS-50 for $74 each Dunlop Graspic DS-2 for $57 each Winterforce M&S for $49 each I don't want to run studs as a lot of the winter I'd be on dry pavement and don't like the studs on dry pavement feeling. [Eek!] I know any of the tires above will work better than the normal All Season radials on the car right now. But I want a safer tire for the late night drives I do coming home and the 4:30am drive to work my wife makes. So, What do you guys think? Thanks for the help in advance! [HAIL 2 U!] Bill PS: First 2 tanks over 39mpg! [Smile]
 

JHZR2

Staff member
Messages
45,952
Location
New Jersey
do a search at the tire rack and I believe 1010tires, where people rate and give comments about their tires. I have some canadian tire snow tires, but will be getting some new ones. I think IOm going to try the dunlops, as the price is right, and Ive heard some good things about them. blizzaks are the standard tire, IMO, all others are comapred to them. But they are more $$$. So long as you realize they are snow tires, and dont drive as fast on them, or drive as hard, youll get good service, traction when you need it, and good safety. JMH
 

Jon

Messages
384
Location
Wisconsin
I have experience with the Blizzak's (a whole bunch of vehicles), the Dunlops (didn't like them), and Cooper WinterMaster Pluses. The Coopers make a great "steering" tire, never had them on the backs (I drive a rear-wheel drive car). As for the Blizzaks, as my father would say, "They'll climb trees." The ones for my mom are over 5 years old, but we use seasonal tires/rims/wheels.
 
Messages
702
Location
Midland, MI
Try this website, they have a lot of reviews on winter tires--www.canadiandriver.com. I have a similar commute to you and from reading reviews I have decided to go with the All weather Nokian WRs, they are considered all season but are severe weather rated. According to an article at the above website the WR All weather tires performed as well as most winter tires (not as good as the better ratted like the Blizzak, the Hakkapeliitta, Gilslvad, etc. but the article said they performed better than the Graspics. They are supposed to be all season (40K miles)so I am thinking they will wear better and I should get 4-5 years out of them. Instead of putting snows on every two years, I plan on using this tire like a dedicated winter tire and seeing how many years I can get out of them. Warning, they are not cheap, but neither are the Blizzaks.
 
Messages
80
Location
Seattle
Bill, The Winterforce tires are supposed to be great in snow with the only drawback being that they can have a fair amount of road noise on dry pavement. The other tires would be fine.... but expensive! Why did you only choose these tires and not others? As suggested from other post you can look on tire rack or 1010tires and find some really good info and even some great deals.
 

Bill in Utah

Staff member
Thread starter
Messages
12,849
Location
UT
quote:
Why did you only choose these tires and not others? As suggested from other post you can look on tire rack or 1010tires and find some really good info and even some great deals.
Hi, Because these are the tires that tirerack have avail in my size. I'm going to buy from them because they have the steel wheels very reasonable priced and seem to have the best service for price paid for the tire. I could go up one size and have more options though.... [Confused] I've read the reviews on the tires and sadly, you get one that says the tire is excellent and looks like it will last 4 seasons. The next one is these tires are ok but poor wearing... I know there are many things that people look for in a tire. I'm just really concerned spending $400 for a set and they last a single season because I wore out the first 50% of the thread. [Roll Eyes] The other option is to get the blizzak, and just take them on/off when the storms come.. I have a garage and an excellent floor jack! Just keep a good eye on the weather channel. (sounds like too much work.) Thanks, Bill PS: Can you wearout the lugnuts? [freaknout]
 
Messages
80
Location
Seattle
Bill, I understand you liking the tirerack. I agree, they have great prices and very good service. I just ordered some snow tires from them yesterday. I got the Kumho KW-11 type. They don't have them in your size though. You are right about it being a pain to put the snow tires on and off so much. Why not just get the cheapest ones (winterforce?) and mount them as late as possible and then remove them as soon as possible? They really should last about three seasons, unless you have a very dry winter or two. Besides, your corolla is a very light vehicle and heat build-up (wear) should be minimal unless you corner like speed racer! Better to cost yourself a few bucks and be safe than to be dead on the side of the highway.
 
Messages
4,378
Location
Camas, WA
I ran some studded Goodyear Ultra Grips on a Honda Civic for 8 years before we donated the car, and gave the tires to a neigbor for a garage sale. I drove on sheet ice that you couldn't walk on, on soft ice and driving up and down the hill that I live on. For a Taurus I tried out some studless snow tires, Michelin Arctic Alpins, and while they do well enough on hard ice and packed snow, rain and dry conditions, they don't work nearly as well as studded tires on soft ice. For the other Taurus someone gave us some studded snow tires, 'Snow King' or something, and they work like I think snow tires should. I'm pretty biased though, as I've seen 4wd Jeeps wth BFG ATs, they have a severe snow rating, stall on the hill in front of my house and slide backwards on soft ice. The Michelin Alpins would get squirrly too. State surveys on studded tires that I've read noted that studded tires only had an advantage on soft ice, which is ice close to freezing, as even the Blizzaks acted like all season tires in such conditions in some of the tests. Note that most of the tests with Blizzaks are done on flat, level, cold, hard ice, which is where they can do well. I think that lots of siping makes sense, as well as enough tread block voiding for deeper snow, not too hard of a compound too, but I also think that studs are warranted for ice. It only takes 20 feet of ice to ruin your day. http://www.cbc.ca/consumers/market/files/cars/tires/tiretests.html
 
Messages
4,844
Location
Saskatchewan
I really like the BF Goodrich Winter Slaloms I put on my mom's car last year. I plan on putting a set on my Mazda 3 this winter. They were studded though. Based on 1 year of use, I'm expecting her to get 6 winters out of them (mid-November to mid-April). She drives about 25,000km per year and is easy on the throttle.
 
Messages
448
Location
Minneapolis MN
Of your three selections, I would go for the Winterforce. They will give you 95% of the traction of the other, softer, studless snow types along with better treadwear. If you get one of the other choices, be prepared to replace them in about 10 to 15 thousand miles. I had Michelin Arctic Alpin and Firestone Winterfire snows on a '95 Grand Caravan, and preferred the Firestones because they were much better in snow and slush. In fact, I pulled the Michelins after a couple of storms because they scared me. They were also $35/tire cheaper than the Michelins. These are studdable types, but I run them without studs because they're illegal where I live. I've put about 20k winter miles on them the past four winters and still have 75% of the tread left. On the other hand, I went with the Bridgestone Winter Dueler for my '98 Expedition, soft tread be damned. I put about 4k miles a winter on them, and it looks like I'll get 3 or 4 winters out of them. Nothing stops them, very rarely do I need 4hi, mostly just 4awd. I guess you'll have to decide between wear and comfort or absolute traction.
 
Messages
226
Location
Virginia
I have the Kumho winter tires for two vehicles and they are excellent IMO. I pass the four wheelers in snow with their all seasons with no problem. The Kumhos are relatively quiet on dry pavement; I would challenge anyone to tell the difference in ride or noise compared to an OEM all season. Tirerack may not have its supply yet for winter but you might be able to get another Kumho dealer to order them for you.
 

Patman

Staff member
Messages
21,993
Location
Oakville, Ontario
quote:
Originally posted by Pluto5: I have the Kumho winter tires for two vehicles and they are excellent IMO. I pass the four wheelers in snow with their all seasons with no problem. The Kumhos are relatively quiet on dry pavement; I would challenge anyone to tell the difference in ride or noise compared to an OEM all season. Tirerack may not have its supply yet for winter but you might be able to get another Kumho dealer to order them for you.
I bought the Kumho KW17 snow tires for my wife's Honda last fall, and decided just to leave them on after winter was over. So they've gone through this entire summer too. The tread life is still excellent and these tires honestly feel just as good as all seasons in the dry. But they are much better in the rain! So it is a win/win situation for me to simply run them all year round on her car. And at this rate it looks like they won't need replacing for at least another two years.
 
Messages
226
Location
Virginia
A caveat, though: once you wear away half the tread on your winter tires you will probably notice a loss of snow and ice traction so running them year around may not be for everyone.
 

EK

Messages
15
Location
Pacific Northwet
I have been impressed with the Nokian tires. They are a spin-off from Nokia the cell phone company. I have the Hakka 10LT tires on my '97 F-250. They are simply amazing in the snow. The traction is so good that you have to intentionally work to get the tires to spin in snow. The truck chugs along without hardly any spinning in the snow while everyone else spins excessively. I have the Nokian WR tires on my Expedition. They bite very well on hard packed snow/ice. They stop so well it is hard to get the antilock brakes to come on in the snow. I run them year around and they are long wearing. They come with a 50k mile warranty. Try find another snow tire that has a warranty like that! They are also one of the few purpose built snow tires in larger SUV sizes. I am a Nokian believer - they work!! Nokain website... http://www.nokiantires.com/newsite/index.html Here is a great independent web site comparing snow tires… http://www.snowtire.info/ EK
 
Messages
418
Location
OR
Dittos with this opinion. Your list didn't include the best winter tires made. (ie Nokian) I've used Hakka Q's and they perform wonderfully in ice and snow.
quote:
Originally posted by EK: I have been impressed with the Nokian tires. They are a spin-off from Nokia the cell phone company. I have the Hakka 10LT tires on my '97 F-250. They are simply amazing in the snow. The traction is so good that you have to intentionally work to get the tires to spin in snow. The truck chugs along without hardly any spinning in the snow while everyone else spins excessively. I have the Nokian WR tires on my Expedition. They bite very well on hard packed snow/ice. They stop so well it is hard to get the antilock brakes to come on in the snow. I run them year around and they are long wearing. They come with a 50k mile warranty. Try find another snow tire that has a warranty like that! They are also one of the few purpose built snow tires in larger SUV sizes. I am a Nokian believer - they work!! Nokain website... http://www.nokiantires.com/newsite/index.html Here is a great independent web site comparing snow tires… http://www.snowtire.info/ EK
 
Messages
204
Location
North Brunswick, NJ
Ive used the Winterforces on many of my cars (two were RWD). They are a good tire. They run good in the snow, they can be a lil loud on dry pavement. My girlfriend has a Stratus coupe and the tires on it were junk for winter and we put two of those on the front and it was a TANK. I recommend them. The only tire I had that seemed better was the Yokohama Guardex 330, very similar to the new Ice Guard IG10. Eric
 
Messages
121
Location
Vancouver, British Columbia
quote:
Originally posted by Patman: I bought the Kumho KW17 snow tires for my wife's Honda last fall, and decided just to leave them on after winter was over. So they've gone through this entire summer too. The tread life is still excellent and these tires honestly feel just as good as all seasons in the dry. But they are much better in the rain! So it is a win/win situation for me to simply run them all year round on her car. And at this rate it looks like they won't need replacing for at least another two years.
Thanks for the review Pat, I've been contemplating the KW17 and debating whether I should go with that or the Nokian WR. According to the guys at TireTrends a tire like the KW17 would perform and wear very similarly to the WR, and it sounds like they're right. They're attractively cheaper too... Maybe write a little review over at www.tiretrends.com for this tire? Reviews for the KW17 are few and far between. [Cheers!] Decisions, decisions.....
 
Messages
121
Location
Vancouver, British Columbia
quote:
Originally posted by Pluto5: A caveat, though: once you wear away half the tread on your winter tires you will probably notice a loss of snow and ice traction so running them year around may not be for everyone.
Pluto, is this your own personal experience with certain tires or Kumho tires, or just an opinion? As far as I know, Blizzaks are one of the few tires that actually have a specialized (and quick wearing) microcell rubber compound that is only in the first 50% of the tread.... I'm not sure other winter tires would have this problem (although deeper snow performance would suffer as the tire wears of course).
 
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