By on March 19, 2012

 

Anonymous writes:

Sajeev,

Recently I picked up a set of Bridgestone Blizzak WS60 winter tires for my 2006 Mitsubishi Evolution IX GSR (lightly modded at approximately 350 whp/320 wtq) and unfortunately I was unable to get a “V” speed rating in winter tires as they only came in “H”.

http://www.bridgestonetire.com/productdetails/TireSubBrand/Blizzak_LM-60

How dead-set are those tire ratings?  I wonder because there was an “incident” involving myself, another Evo and a BMW 135i which included speeds in excess of the 130mph speed rating (surface conditions were dry, closed road, no spectators).  Would an occasional jaunt above the speed rating of the tire cause long-term damage to the tire, or would it take a constant load to delaminate from the rim?

Thank you in advance for your time.

Sajeev answers:

Being an H-town boy who only enjoys visiting cold climates for business or vacation gives me pause on my answer.  And while there’s street racing aplenty over here, we don’t try to find ourselves in jail on the wings of flying winter tires.  So with that in mind…

Your question has too many conditionals and vague language (for good reason, I assume) to give a solid answer.  As such, here’s a crappy answer: a tire’s performance deteriorates over time, as rubber naturally hardens, stress cracks, etc.  A 1-2 year old tire might be fine running up to its speed rating, in theory. Temperature also comes into play: if you live in 100+ degree weather and want to drive triple digits for sustained periods, your tires will go much sooner than someone doing the same at 60 degrees.

Duration is a big concern, as you mentioned.  There’s a good chance you can run Blizzaks at or above their speed rating for less than a minute with no problem. If you ran it for 10 minutes or longer?  That “good chance” turns into a “not bloody likely” in my opinion. This notion is described in far better detail on the eng-tips.com forum.

Perhaps it goes without saying, but this behavior is pretty stupid.  And since many of us are guilty of this automotive sin, we shouldn’t be proud of doing it…even if damn near everyone with a lead foot and a 250+ hp vehicle has tried it at some point in their lives.  I’m not here to judge, just to speak my mind. Best of luck.

Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com . Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry.

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16 Comments on “Piston Slap: An “Occasional Jaunt” on…Winter Tires?...”


  • avatar
    racebeer

    My only comment here is let’s let Darwinism take its course.

    Winter tires are for winter use PERIOD. If you want to play boy racer in that type of weather with a squirmy winter tire in less than optimal conditions, then you obviously can’t keep it in your pants, ala Charlie Sheen. I drive a modified T/A 6-speed in the winter with Dunlop Winter Sports rubber, and I sure as heck am not going to risk either me or someone else cutting up in that kind of climate.

    Save the antics for warmer weather with summer tires …….

  • avatar
    cdotson

    If this incident has already occurred and your tires haven’t disintegrated yet they’re fine to keep using.

    Sajeev is right that duration of time exceeding the speed rating has a lot to do with what the future of this set of tires holds. The speed ratings are not a wall beyond which you cannot pass; they are a calculated limit with some minimal safety factor under which you can safely run without damage. Beyond this speed you run the risk of incurring damage, but do not guarantee that you have caused damage.

    The biggest risk with higher speed is the buildup of heat. Winter tires aren’t going to tolerate heat as well as all-seasons which won’t tolerate it as well as summer/sports tires. Making a major contribution to heat buildup is the air pressure in the tires and the weight load on each tire. Keeping them inflated to the sidewall maximum (or even slightly higher) and using tires rated for loads higher than your vehicle applies will reduce the heat buildup in the tire and will nudge up your safety factor on the speed rating.

  • avatar
    highrpm

    How far over 130mph did you go? These ratings have some sort of safety factor built in to them. If it was a short jaunt, you’re probably fine.

    H rated tires probably can’t handle a multi-hour trip at 150mph, but you didn’t do much harm if you just ran there for a few seconds.

    I doubt you did any damage.

  • avatar
    NormSV650

    The vehicle’s weight and tire pressure will alos play a roll along Sajeev mentions the tire’s age(heat cycles and UV exposure) all play a roll.

    Because my 05 CTS-V with around 450 horsepower and torque match seldom goes out it has Michelin Alpins on it year around. It is stored out of direct sunlight and tire pressures alway checked. Just gets a little squirrely on the onramps.

  • avatar
    grzydj

    Closed road? That would indicate some kind of race course or something along those lines, unless you’re making nonsense up to CYA.

    If it was a straight line shot with no hard cornering or braking, then you should be fine if you were clipping along at 130 mph for a few seconds. Anything beyond that far exceeds what the tire was designed for.

    Next time find a frozen lake and test the limits of your winter tread there.

  • avatar
    dejal1

    Anonymous is known on the street as “Tool”.

    As Sajeev said, we’ve all done it, and it is stupid.

  • avatar
    ComfortablyNumb

    Any chance you’re in the Denver area? This will be a great junkyard find for Murilee.

  • avatar
    DC Bruce

    Having driven these very same tires (on a mini-van!), I can say from experience that their dry road adhesion feels “greasy” as compared to regular all-seasons on the same vehicle — unless the temperature is below freezing. The tread compound is formulated to remain soft at low temperatures (unlike, say, summer tire tread compounds which get noticeabaly “hard” and slippery beginning with temps in the mid-40s (F), which is why you don’t drive summer tires when its cold, even if there is no snow or ice.

    While there are, I believe V-rated “performance” winter tires, the Blizzak WS-60 is not a performance tire and should not be used in circumstances where you’re trying to approach 1G cornering forces, for the basic reason that long before you get the G-forces you are anticipating, you will be sliding off the road.

    Secondly, my understanding is that speed ratings are intended to protect you from catastrophic failure of your tire, due to excessive heat build up, excessive centrifugal force, or standing waves in the tire as the sidewall flexes under load and then expands when the load is removed. When radials were first introduced into the US market in the late 1960s (with the famous Michelin-X), some drivers learned the hard way that, while they offered better braking and cornering than a bias-ply tire, the 75-mph upper speed limit was a “hard” limit and the tire failed at speeds much over that . . . for the reasons I mentioned. Therefore, for some time, the really “hot” cars did not run radials.

    Summarizing, the principal issue with what you claim you did was not “excessive wear” on the tires, it was the risk of catastrophic tire failure at speed, and the risk of being unpleasantly surprised at the greatly reduced cornering and braking capabilities of this tires, as compared to even all-seasons.

  • avatar
    FJ60LandCruiser

    I don’t think there’s anyone with an IQ over 90 who owns an EVO.

    • 0 avatar
      racebeer

      And “Anonymous” proves your point.

    • 0 avatar
      LeeK

      Um, no. Practically every Evo owner I know — and I know quite a few, considering I drove one for five years and hung around with the local community — had college degrees and were more about being car enthusiasts than usually found in your typical Fast ‘n’ Furious crowd. The car is expensive, relatively obscure, and appeals to those who want to be a little bit different than others. They also tend to appreciate the car’s finer points rather than go out and street race, original posted excepted.

      • 0 avatar
        Advance_92

        In my twelve or so years of experience most owners are usually rich kids (either family or first IT job) who can spout a lot of 4g63 trivia, but they still drive like idiots. Not like I can say much better about the typical turbo Subaru owner, of course.

  • avatar

    FYI: I posted this as anonymous, the person who wrote the letter didn’t request it.

  • avatar
    Advance_92

    Good on you. Anyone who says they were on a ‘closed road’ rather than at ‘the track’ is just asking for a serious flame job.


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