By on November 12, 2015

 

winter tires. shutterstock user Alex Polo

Kai writes:

Hi Sajeev,

I could use a good, concise opinion regarding all-season tires. Researching this on the internet is more confusing than researching “chest pain” on WebMD, so you get to be the doctor on this. We’ve got a 2007 Honda CR-V, which my wife drives in 4-season weather about 1,000 miles/month. There are no major snow months here but there is a bit of rain and a couple good snowstorms a year. The CR-V is a great little car, light on the back end despite being 4WD and has 18-inch rims versus the OEM-fitted 17-inchers.

The tires are low on tread and should be replaced after 20,000 miles. I thought I had all-seasons on the Honda, but turns out they were winter tires with a “M+S” rating. They are Vredestein imports, which I wouldn’t buy again due to being very noisy and having poor traction on ice and wet surfaces. I really want to stay with all-seasons (I don’t want to hassle changing them every 6 months) and am willing to compromise mileage and faster wear for solid traction in rain and ice.

Seems dealers all want to sell me either full summer/winter sets or no-name all-seasons. Want to be my “TireMD”?

Thanks!
Kai

Sajeev answers:

Much like selecting a soulmate, finding the right tires is a very personal thing. Unlike selecting a soulmate, tires are made of rubber and lack the ability to love and care. Which is kinda sad: think about how your life depends on selecting the right tire. How dare they not care?!

But I digress…

Let’s first discuss the three tires you’re considering, in order of winter-ready action: snow tires, mud and snow (M+S) all-season tires and conventional all-season tires.

The first option, a dedicated snow tire, is the best in wintry weather. Considering your living conditions, the next options are acceptable. All-season M+S tires are still worth your consideration solely because they’ll perform better when you need them the most. The cost/replacement intervals mean nothing when the right set of rubber saves your bacon on a wintry night filled with careless drivers.

The M+S designation is extremely simple in comparison to today’s high-tech rubber. It’s all about how the tread is cut and considers nothing with regards to rubber compound. However, let’s assume they are better for a couple inches of the slushy stuff versus an all-season without M+S on the sidewall.

An even safer assumption? If you stick with the same manufacturer, an all-season M+S tire will always fare better in mild snow versus a comparable all season. Don’t be surprised if a cheap set of M+S rubber is junk against the nicest, most expensive (non-M+S) all-season from a “better” manufacturer.

While the ideal choice for your safety is a set of 17-inch (or 16-inch, if possible) snow tires on dedicated wheels, I understand your reluctance, but remember that safety/bacon-saving thing. If you still insist on one set of tires for all-year traction, try another tire brand and give their all-season M+S model a shot. Even this Houstonian gives respect to M+S tires! After spending a weekend in Dallas with 4-6 inches of snow with Continental ContiTrac M+S tires on a two-wheel-drive Ford Ranger and never getting stuck, I know the right tires save your bacon when you need them the most.

Put another way? Your problem is with the brand, not with the vague M+S designation.

Though I try to avoid outright recommendations in this series, my 20+ years of witnessing snow/street+offroad/truck tire recommendations often mention the Michelin LTX series. It might suit you, too.

[Image: Shutterstock user Alex Polo]

Send your queries to [email protected]com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry…but be realistic, and use your make/model specific forums instead of TTAC for more timely advice.

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152 Comments on “Piston Slap: Get Your M+S, Be the All-Season Tire MD...”


  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    M+S means mud + snow? Define yo terms!

    Dave will be here to talk about tires all day, shortly! :)

    • 0 avatar
      davefromcalgary

      No.

    • 0 avatar
      davefromcalgary

      But seriously. WRG3.

      • 0 avatar
        MarionCobretti

        Canadians seem to love their WRG2’s and 3’s. How are they in the summer/dry, though?

        • 0 avatar
          davefromcalgary

          I completely wore out a set of WRG2 on the Alero. I thought they were fine. Handling was normal, and though louder than touring tires, they were fine to me. We have WRG2 on our beater car right now, which for me only reinforced they are a great tire.

          OP says he is ok with aggressive noise and wear characteristics, which to me says the WR is the best bet.

          • 0 avatar
            olddavid

            The last time I lived in Calgary (1996) I just took what the fleet guys installed, Michelin. Now that I live in Portland, and buy my own, Blizzak WS60 are what I swear by, simply because they get me up there once a year through Crowsnest, and drive great in our wet, too. I’ve got 50% tread and this is their third year. The Nokians, I am told are hard to beat. Your satisfaction would affirm that opinion.

      • 0 avatar
        missmySE-R

        100% agree.

        Definitely louder, and pricey, but my wife doesn’t want anything else on her Mazda3. We’re on our second set.

    • 0 avatar
      saywhat

      Sajeev hit the nail on the head that M+S has no actual indication of tire performance in the snow. It simply a geometric requirement of the tread pattern itself. He is also right that some tire companies take the position that if they are going to put M+S, which is assumed by the end consumer to equal competent in winter conditions, that their tires must actually perform at some minimum level and test to ensure this. Don’t assume brand recognition = performance for M+S. What you are really looking for is an all season tire that also has a 3 peak Mountain snow flake rating. There are not many out there as this certification requires actual snow testing and capability at a minimum level as set by regulatory agencies. You will mostly ony see this on true dedicated winter tires. This is where your brand recognition comes in. Testing is self certified by the manufactures. Those with the least to lose, like brands you may have never heard of that are trying to get US market share may take more risk in how they label their tires. Big known brands can not afford to take that same risk. My $0.02 on specific tires is that I run Goodyear Assurance Comfortred Touring tires on my wife’s Outlander (AWD) and we keep a tow strap in the back, not for when she gets stuck, but rather to regularly pull others out when they are stuck in the wonderful NE Ohio winters. Great winter performance from an all-season tire with great treadwear. There are others, but I can only speak first hand for these.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      M+S “mud and snow” does not mean you have an appropriate winter tire. I’ve had M+S pickup tires that were scary in the winter. They worked in deep snow and mud but were too stiff a tire compound to work well in very cold weather or on ice.

      That is where proper winter tires come in. They have a mountain shape with a snow flake in the middle. The same tire can or may have a M+S designation along with it.

      If you drive in a region that routinely sees temperatures below -7 to -8C (44.6F – 46.4F) then a designated winter tire is the best. The rubber compound is designed not to stiffen up in very cold weather.

      I’ve had good luck with Michelin X-ice winters and the X13 tends to be a top 3 finisher. Nokian Hakkapeliitta tend to score high as well.

      Lastly there is debate between studded and non-studded. Considering the fact that the last tire test I read put the Nokian tied with the X-Ice, it may become more of a case of personal preference or nostalgia. The one advantage to a non-studded tire is that in some jurisdictions when the designated winter season is over you can face fines/traffic tickets for not removing studded tires.

    • 0 avatar
      twotone

      “Unlike selecting a soulmate, tires are made of rubber and lack the ability to love and care.”

      A few of my soul mates were indeed made of rubber (or dressed in rubber)..the love and care part was optional.

  • avatar
    RideHeight

    Great google-fu in finding such a pertinent photo.

  • avatar
    kosmo

    Some sage authority that I can’t recall did some all season tire testing in the snow recently. IIRC, the Nokian WRG-3 was the best.

    I would hope the Finnish people have a handle on the snowy stuff.

    The new Conti DWS-06 seems to be well received, but that may be more of a high-performance all season ($$$).

    • 0 avatar
      NotFast

      Car and Driver just did snow tire reviews.

    • 0 avatar
      heavy handle

      I agree. Nokian WRG3 is the way to go in this case. They are the only all-season tires that work in the snow.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      The DWS isn’t too expensive. My wife’s MkT has them and they were about $175 a tire, for 20s. We have a dedicated set of winter wheels and tires, but I don’t change them until the day after Thanksgiving. We got ice/snow before that last year and the year before and the DWS did fine in the snow.

      • 0 avatar
        sproc

        Love the DWS, worth every penny if you’re not going to swap. I’ve had them on my wife’s car for almost two years. Very quiet, even wear, sharp dry and wet handling, and decent performance in light snow. If you’re only going to have one set, I can’t say enough about the Contis.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      The DWS06 is a high-performance all-season and priced like one, but I’d recommend it. I put a set on my LS460 based on positive reviews and better immediate availability than the Michelin Pilot Sport AS/3, my initial first choice (I needed tires immediately as a suspension issue had caused excess wear on the far inside edges of the old ones).

      I haven’t driven the car in snow (and I don’t expect to as I’ve got a Subaru for the white stuff), but the tire is truly excellent in the rain, with great grip and the ability to channel lots of water. In the dry, it’s a little softer, squishier, and less grippy than a proper summer performance tire, but much more confidence-inspiring than your typical wobbly touring tire.

  • avatar
    Kendahl

    After many winters with our all-wheel-drive Subaru on all season tires, I invested in a set of dedicated winter tires. The improvement in traction was amazing. Although I still think all-wheel-drive is worth having in winter, the right tires are more important.

    • 0 avatar
      statikboy

      Right. Also, the Questioneer doesn’t mention the winter temperature range in his area. True winter tires are designed to work extremely well in temperatures below 7C (45f) while traditional all seasons work increasingly badly below this threshold regardless of moisture-related conditions. I assume that “4-Season” tires like WRG3’s span this area and might be the best compromise for the OP.

      For my money, it will always be separately mounted winters.

      • 0 avatar
        Felis Concolor

        The real value for winter tires is their pliable nature in cold weather conditions. You’ll never forget the terrifying howl frozen tires make on subzero pavement, which is where those squishy cold weather compounds excel. You don’t need snow or ice to suffer a single-car winter accident.

      • 0 avatar
        rpn453

        Somebody lied to you, statikboy.

        http://www.skstuds.ca/2015/10/07/do-winter-tires-really-outperform-all-seasons-on-cold-dry-roads/

  • avatar
    319583076

    You probably drive nearly every day of the year, yet swapping tires twice a year is too big of a hassle?

    Buy winter tires mounted and balanced on steelies from Tire Rack and swap them in the Fall, then back again in Spring.

    Alternatively, I’ve been happy with Continental Extreme Contact DWS for all-seasons.

    Tires are the only part of your vehicle designed to continuously touch earth, this is not a component you want to ignore or cheap out on.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      Conti doesn’t sell the Extreme Contact DWS is his size (according to Tire Rack). I agree with you that it is a fantastic tire if someone must have an all season.

      • 0 avatar
        319583076

        Then I’d recommend Blizzaks, I ran a set of those on steelies for two winters on a FWD vehicle and they were great.

        The other advantage of running winter tires on dedicated wheels is that you can reduce the wheel diameter and width. A taller, narrower tire is better in the snow, slush, and wet stuff than a shorter, wider tire.

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          I agree with everything you’ve said. My wife’s MkT has Blizzaks on 17s for the winter. My C-Max rides on 15 inch steelies with Firestone Winterforce tires in the winter. Those are good, cheap winter tires.

        • 0 avatar
          MBella

          Blizzaks are excellent winter tires, but they wear very quickly. You’ll get better wear with Nokian Hakkapalita R2 or Michelin X-ice 3

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            Thanks. I’ll keep that in mind next time I buy winter tires. I’ve been really happy with my Firestone Winterforce tires. The 15″ version was a great value. This is their third winter on my C-Max and there is very little wear.

          • 0 avatar
            davefromcalgary

            The Winterforce is a great snow digging tire, with a very aggressive tread. Harder rubber, so they wear well, but are louder for it. My parents just found a used set of studded Winterforce and put them on their AWD Regal. Its definitely louder than stock but its gonna be a tank.

            Agreed that Hakka R2 (which I’m running on the Verano) and X-Ice are better for wear, and also if you’re tending to be on dry warm pavement often in winter. We have had a very warm fall, I’m glad I dont have super soft (though arguably very effective) Bridgestones.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            I want a Focus RS and a set of Nokians. DRIFT MODE ON!

            That Regal will be great in the snow. The Winterforce tires have some trade offs (noise and better in deep snow than ice), but the cops throw them on their Explorers around here. Good enough for me.

          • 0 avatar
            davefromcalgary

            I want an MT AWD SX4 hatch and WRs.

            Is…is there something wrong with me?

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            Probably. But the SX4 would be a good winter beater. Too bad it wasn’t rebadged as a GM product. It’s begging for some Pontiac plastic cladding or generic Chevrolet styling.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Those SX4s are still going for decent money, oddly. $9,000 for an 08 with 50K?! The interior is pretty dreadful, I thought it would be more Kizashi-like inside. Those weren’t too bad at all.

            I get the derpy AWD appeal of the SX4 easily though.

          • 0 avatar
            davefromcalgary

            No! Its fine as is. I’m glad GM never got their dirty hands on it.

            I have a few Kizashis also saved on my kijiji watch list. An interesting orphan car. Only thing I never liked about the Kizashi was awd was AT only.

            My automotive ADD is getting out of hand. I don’t condone the lottery except I for some reason have a kijiji watchlist that contains multiples of: G37x, G25x, EX35/37, SX4, Kizashi, Mazdaspeed 6, MazdaSpeed Miata, Fusion Sport, Denali of all model years, Ranger FX4 Level 2, KLR dual sport, CB200t, Impala SS V8, and Marauders when any come up for sale. And a couple of 250cc scooters for fun. Oh and a couple travel trailers.

    • 0 avatar
      Brumus

      As the cheeseburger says, don’t cheap out on tires.

      The difference between a no-season tire and dedicated winter rubber is significant. How many wrecks in the winter would be prevented if a driver had winter ties instead of no-seasons and stopped 40 feet sooner?

      And running dedicated winters means you prolong the life of your no-season/summer tires.

  • avatar
    bball40dtw

    After looking on TireTack, my usual tire recommendations don’t fit you vehicle/wheel size. You typically can’t go wrong with Michelin or Continental though. The Continental CrossContact series has good tires.

  • avatar

    I live in New England and don’t buy snow tires anymore just M+S all season’s. i’ve found if you pick the right ones they are about as good as mediocre snow tires. Oddly I’ve found some cheap no names like Fuzion have been excellent. I replaced bridgestones on my golf and Michelin’s on my Outback with cheap Fuzions all season’s that had good snow and rain reviews on tire rack and found they worked well. I will admit my Durango (wifes DD) has Michelin LTX and I doubt you can go wrong with those either. I have firestone Chinese brand tires (forget the name) on my Volvo haven’t driven them in snow yet but they have been fine in rain but much more tire noise. I bring up the vs snow tires as my dad’s maxima had a set of blizzaks on it for a while and then switched to the Fuzions and the snow performance was actually slightly better with the Fuzion then the Blizzak.
    Long story short look for tire reviews and buy the tire with the best bad weather characteristics.

  • avatar
    WheelMcCoy

    @Saheev – So the Beatles’ album “Rubber Soul” was really about winter tires!

    @Kai –

    If your job or your wife’s job requires you to hit the road before the plows can clear it, get dedicated winter tires. First responders or hospital personnel come to mind. If you have flexibility and can wait, or telecommute, you might be okay with good M+S all seasons.

    I am also partial to the Michelin line-up. Don’t talk to your dealer. Visit TireRack.

  • avatar
    gtemnykh

    18 inch aftermarket rims on an 07 CRV? Uh…. why? I’d stick with OEM wheels, and just put some decent all seasons on it. Can’t imagine the ride being very pleasant in a CRV with thin tires and heavy wheels. I’m anxiously looking forward to my first winter with General Altimax RT43 all seasons on my Civic (highly regarded for winter traction as far as all seasons go). I too didn’t feel like buying dedicated snow tires, what with TPMS hassles and all that. My 4Runner has General Altimax Arctic snow tires on separate rims that I’ll be swapping over soon, I save that for the days with serious snow in the forecast. Overall I’ve been impressed with the quality/price quotient of the General brand (owned by Continental). The set on my Civic are made in USA, the ones we put on my gf’s Camry were made in France. The Grabber HTS summer tires on my 4Runner are getting a bit noisy at 40mph now, 30k miles in, they’ve got another 10k of life left in them I figure. If you’ve got the money get Michelins, but for a decent value I wholeheartedly recommend General.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      I wonder where the OEM rims are. The OP could find a set of winter tires for the OEM wheels for $500-$600 installed.

    • 0 avatar
      Zykotec

      In Europe the ’07 base models sit on 17’s stock, and 18’s for the Executive and as an optional wheel size. There’s still plenty of rubber (225/60) even on the 18’s though, as the wheels grew a few sizes from the 2nd gen CR-V’s. (in my opinion increased comfort with bigger wheels, but it feels heavier and slower)
      In Norway ‘everyone’ has two sets of tires though, and on my ’07 I used the base model 17 inch alloys (no steelies after ’04 here I think) for the (studded) winter tires.

    • 0 avatar
      Felix Hoenikker

      I put a set of 15 inch General Altimax RT M*S on my 97 Crown Vic last winter. Just for fun, I used this car to and from work every snowy day last winter. No complaints about the traction in snow or sleet. This year I’m going to up the ante and place two 40 lb sand bags directly above the rear axle on the shelf in the front of the trunk. That should improve traction.
      I don’t know if it’s just me, but I find the rear end wants to break out when I accelerate while making a 90 degree left turn at stoplights in wet weather regardless of temperature. I have to be very light on the gas until i’m completed the left turn and straightened out to keep the rear from fish tailing. Other than that I like the Generals.

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        Unfortunately many winter tires suck in wet weather. Take a look at tirerack and look for a test with the Conti ExtremeWinterContact and you’ll see how much better they do in the we compared to the competition and that is premium competition.

        For the sand bags you want to place them down in the well behind the axle. That leverage increases their effectiveness vs ablove the axle and it lowers your CoG rather than raise it.

      • 0 avatar
        EMedPA

        I have Altimax’s on my wife’s Town & Country. They do very well. The x-Ice 3’s on my Escape are just freakin’ amazing, though.

  • avatar

    I just pick the Goodyear EAGLE GT All-Season model that happens to be on sale. I tend to pay around $180 a tire. For my Jeep SRT, I took the Pirellis off and drive around on Goodyears as well. This way I cut costs by half.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      Goodyear has not produced a tire that carries the Eagle GT name in many years. Back in the day the Eagle GT+4 was the schnizle if you wanted a High Performance All-Season tire. I wore out a couple of sets of those.

      • 0 avatar
        SC5door

        Say what?

        https://www.goodyear.com/en-US/tires/eagle-gt-ii

        • 0 avatar
          Scoutdude

          Did you look at how few sizes they still have left in those? 3 and they are all 20″ so yeah I’ll stick by they stopped making the Eagle GT because they are just winding them down with very few sizes left.

          • 0 avatar
            SC5door

            “In many years”.

            False.

            Goodyear seems to be winding them down, but it isn’t like they don’t manufacture or carry them. I can’t spec an Eagle F1 SuperCar for my ride, but doesn’t mean they don’t make them.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    I have Uniroyal all seasons on one FWD car, no name $60/tire all seasons on the other FWD, and the third (RWD) doesn’t get driven in snow because its a crotchety old man like myself. I think its been five years since I put snow tires on a car and yes it is a major PITA which is why I stopped.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      I’m surprised to see you say this. I figured you for sure did the snow tire bit in snowy PA!

      Got my boss into some ProContacts on his Accord since he was on bald tires with winter approaching. He gave me a ride to lunch one day and peeled out trying to make a left turn on damp pavement. “Yeah, I think I need new tires.”

      Bald!

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        M’eh. Used to get them switched for years then it was like the logistics of this sucks, why do I keep doing it? Haven’t had a problem, I once got home in a blizzard with about six inches of snow on the unplowed road in cheapee all seasons in the beat 98 Sat. I can’t speak for RWD as it might benefit from softer snow tires in snow.

      • 0 avatar
        davefromcalgary

        You recommended ContiProContacts to someone??? IN an area with snow? Is this your way of trying to move up in the company?

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          Dave is right. They will die in the winter in an icy driving related death.

          • 0 avatar
            EMedPA

            Truly an execrable tire. They came on our Freestyle, and were the scariest things I’ve ever driven on in snow. (They were promptly replaced with Michelin x-Ice 2’s.)

          • 0 avatar
            Slocum

            It’s funny-that’s what came on our Outback. I read they were supposed to suck in snow, but the Outback still felt like driving a snowmobile in deep snow (especially during the winter from hell two years ago). Now it’s time to replace them, and I’ll be looking fir something higher rated, but i can’t say we were unhappy with performance in snow and ice.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          Eeeeverybody here said before they were among the best for winter on an all-season tire. Now this!?!

          • 0 avatar
            davefromcalgary

            I’ve been decrying ContiProContacts as all seasons loudly for a long time. They’d be great if I lived in Cali or Florida. They really are a summer only tire.

            Maybe you were thinking the Extreme Contact mentioned by bball above?

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Perhaps that was it. Good news is, they’re surely better than the bald 65K miles whatever low-end tires that were on there.

            Names too similar!

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            ExtremeContact DWS is my favorite all season tire in the snow. I’ve had ProContacts in the winter and they weren’t terrible. I wouldn’t seek them out on a car in Michigan, but I wouldn’t take them off. He’ll be safer than last winter because he actually has traction.

            More than anything, I like suggesting that you are passively trying to kill your co worker. That’s what you get for bringing up the Lincoln XJ that never happened!

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Also I believe he wanted an ECO rated tire for MPG, which I advised him against. But there’s no ECO DWS anyway!

          • 0 avatar
            davefromcalgary

            I constantly see ContiProContact equipped cars stuck in parking lots with 3″ of snow here.

            Best All Seasons in my experience were either a Motomaster XLR (discontinued) or SE, (Canadian Tire house brand, made by Michelin), or, before I switched to always having winters, BF Goodrich Radial T/A. Never tried the ContiExtremeContact, but there are certain similarities.

            The reason for this is they generally had a square tread with enough depth in between the blocks to actually evacuate the snow. So, ok for not getting stuck, but without the compliance a good winter compound has in extreme cold, on ice, etc. ContiProContacts, non Alpin Pilots, and the like of “touring tires” that OEMs tend to equip just cannot dig at all, and tend to make nice shiny icy patches underneath them.

            http://tires.canadiantire.ca/en/tires/all-season-tires/product/0031521P/motomaster-se/

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            That’s gotta be the ExtremeContact DWS or DWS06, not the ProContact. At least I hope so.

          • 0 avatar
            Waftable Torque

            I forgot about the BF Goodrich Radial TA. They still make them, and looks like they’re using the same molds from 30 years ago. I’m not sure if I want an outdated performance tire, but I remember them as being awesome in snow and acceptable on ice.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      No name tires? Don’t you mean Magnificent Ride Dragon or Lucky Road Dream Rider tires? I love ridiculous Chinese tire names.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        I drove this car today so I can check later, I wanna say they are Kendas.

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          Triangle tends to be the most common. Hercules is another.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          Wo shì shuài tāi.

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          How are they? I’ve never put tires that cheap on a car. The only place I’ve encountered them is on used car lots where they are always mostly bald and abused, but when I see them they always seem to be horribly unbalanced/out of round. The crap Legend I drove on Tuesday had some Chinese brand (can’t even remember which) and above 40 mph it was like driving on oval rocks. When I was looking for my LS I drove one that had them and they managed to upset the LS’s serene ride.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I like the ride of the new Uniroyals and I once had a set of four Kendas on my former Grand Am for about 25K miles, never a problem in poor weather (including one blizzard driving up a mountain with TC kicking in alot). The old Sat had cheapees but I honestly don’t recall the brand, no issue with those. I’ve only owned the current Sat a year and a half and only have the new tires on it for about a year, but I suspect I will be fine.

            I think if you’re not doing performance driving, or if in your region 35 at most is the norm regardless of weather, all of this money on tires seems moot. Now if I was still driving a 60 mi/day commute and now that I have money to spend unlike 2011 and prior, I would be in something better to be quite honest – but I survived cheapness all these years in this climate.

            Additional: The Pontiac came with Coopers and I put Coopers back on it in 2012ish at 61 or 62K (I cannot recall the model). My Coopers were about 20-30% at 85K which is why I switched to those Uniroyals which cost me less than the Coopers at NTB. Maybe the car needed realigned after I bought the Coopers I dunno but 28 was not impressed in the least esp when cheapees lasted near 40K on the old Sat with rotations.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            I test drove an ex-rental 2013 Avalon with “Fuzion” tires (mentioned elsewhere in the comments) and it was offensive just how badly it ruined my impression of the entire vehicle. Very noisy, out of round, rough riding.

          • 0 avatar

            The fuzion’s were a lot louder then what they replaced and had slightly worse handling (more sidewall flex) but overall on a value for the dollar they were a good deal and they really stood out for winter traction. Also note I’m not picky about tires as long as they grip and don’t wear out quick. I would never change a set of tires because i did not like the ride I’m to cheap for that. Also I spent most of my life driving trucks with mud terrains or all terrains so NVH issues have to be pretty bad for me to notice.

    • 0 avatar
      davefromcalgary

      28

      Please buy proper tires. We will miss your contribution to this board.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Eh it will be fine. The last few years when its been stupid in these parts at six degrees, I haven’t gone out except to work which is three miles away.

        • 0 avatar
          davefromcalgary

          So… can you name a successor as Pope of the Church?

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Will be in the obit, if I name one now there might be a power struggle.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            The Impalans and the Society of LeSabre will have strong feelings on this matter.

          • 0 avatar
            seth1065

            Dave it will be in 28 will and announced when needed
            @Kai I could not get Michelins when I needed snows so I went with General Artics snows for my TDI on a bunch of folks recommendation and they were a little load but did the job really well and were pretty cheap, the go on the week at T day on dedicated wheels , get an oil change and have my wheels swapped no problem , leave all seasons at my indie until spring no issues.

          • 0 avatar
            SC5door

            Should we pass around a GoFundMe collection plate?

  • avatar
    mikey

    I live eastern part of the Greater Toronto Area. Our location on the north shore spares us from most of the “lake effect” snow.

    I just traded in two cars in, for one. A RWD Mustang equipped with traction control, stability control, a driver that drove many RWD vehicles, through many winters and Good Year,, factory M+S tires. I wish they were a Michelin LTX. I have no intention of buying winter tires.

    If it make one feel better,buy a “good/expensive” set of winter tires, mount them on quality steelies

  • avatar
    Toad

    If the OP lives in an area with a mild climate with little snow he will probably be happier with year around all season tires vs. M+S due to the quieter ride, longer tread life, and better handling.

    My default suggestion is to go Costco and get the best all season Bridgestone or Michelin tires that are on sale this month that will fit your vehicle. You will appreciate the improved ride quality and tire life, and in the long run the higher quality tires will save you money.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      I’d stick with the Michelin. It is interesting that the guy at the counter at my local Costco won’t sell the Bridgestones and out right admits that they are not good tires. I wonder what Corporate would think of that.

      My experience is that a lot of Bridgestone products like to flat spot when sitting overnight in the cold and that a large number of them are not round out of the box, if you do have a round one they do not stay that way.

  • avatar
    TrailerTrash

    ” when the right set of rubber saves your bacon on a wintry night filled with careless drivers”

    This is what bothers me. It is not the tire…it is the other drivers.
    And it is how you drive in the conditions.
    This is similar to the AWD 4WD mentality. If you have any of these you can drive like an idiot in any weather. But Nothing stops you IF you lose traction.
    You need to drive correctly.
    What ever happened to driving according to conditions? Why do we insist today on driving to fast for conditions and then setting responsibility on the government to keep our roads in the condition to allow this?

    Is this why our roads are solid salt white long after the snow has gone? Is this why salt is filling our ditches and leaving our cars rusted? Because we cannot drive as conditions require?

    I don’t mind you having 2 sets of tires IF you cannot drive sensibly in the conditions, that you MUST go fast no matter what, then by all means get the extra set of tires.OK. If you live on a hill or you live in hilly areas and snow is simply a daily way of life…get the two sets.

    “an all-season M+S tire will always fare better in mild snow versus a comparable all season. Don’t be surprised if a cheap set of M+S rubber is junk against the nicest, most expensive (non-M+S) all-season from a “better” manufacturer.”

    Exactly…a poor tire no matter what the weather name is still a poor tire.

    Spend the money and get the best tires for your car…and IF you cannot afford the better tires…then drive accordingly.

    Slow the F down. Get a good set of all weather and drive sensibly.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      “an all-season M+S tire will always fare better in mild snow versus a comparable all season. Don’t be surprised if a cheap set of M+S rubber is junk against the nicest, most expensive (non-M+S) all-season from a “better” manufacturer.”

      NO expect the better mfg tire to do better because any idiot can put M+S on their tires, so it doesn’t say anything meaningful.

    • 0 avatar
      eManual

      Good rant TT!

      My wife the school teacher drives < 5 miles to work here in NE Indiana, where we can get big snow dumps, but she never missed a day with a 2WD MT Plymouth Voyager with B.F. Goodrich TA all seasons. It helps that we are in town, traversing well traveled / plowed streets, but FWD MT is the key, along with proper driving skills.

      If you live on a rural road, you would need snow tires to get to work on time, but if you can wait a couple of hours, the plows and traffic would allow any car with All Season tires / good driving skills to make it.

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        But if the roads are really bad, teachers don’t have to go to work. My wife doesn’t have that luxury. Instead, she has a CUV with AWD and winter tires.

        • 0 avatar
          TrailerTrash

          Well…I agree and was not saying NOT to make the changes.
          I am just trying to say we are becoming rediculously stubborn when it comes to demanding roads be summer clean and drivable in bad weather.
          Then we resort to demanding our tires be everything at all times.
          What we really need to do s expect more from ourselves when it comes to driving…
          IF weather is bad…drive accordingly.
          And the best tires cannot stop sliding or poor driving skills.

          And when it comes to buying tires…but the BEST at the price affordable to you…but expect that the lower you go on quality, the BETTER you better be at driving and recognizing road conditions.
          Cheap tires…no matter what kind, will perform as cheap tires do.

        • 0 avatar
          eManual

          bball

          She likes getting there early, so 2-3 times a year she gets to the school and then they close!

          When I grew up in a southern Chicago suburb in the 1960’s, we drove RWD with snows on the rear only. The only day school was closed in my 12 years was after a 27″ dump. Somehow the teachers made it the other times with similar RWD cars.

          But yes, your point is valid!

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            I think it’s reasonable for many to have all season tires. I think it also depends on the car. My mother works for a school district and was driving an HHR. She felt like it needed winter tires. Now that she has a Lincoln MKZ with AWD, really good all seasons are enough for her.

          • 0 avatar
            davefromcalgary

            bball,

            2 thoughts.
            “I think it’s reasonable for many to have all season tires. ” Agreed, depending on climate.

            “I think it also depends on the car.” This is where I leave you. I dont think the car matters. Under braking, all cars have 4 contact patches trying to grip. She went from an FWD HHR on snows to an AWD MKZ with all seasons. These cars are the same when you hit the left pedal. “really good all seasons” probably aren’t enough, all else being equal, which most cars are under winter braking.

            This is the part of this discussion that gets skipped most often. Being able to stop is more important than being able to start.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            Dave-

            I should have mentioned that she has all season Nokians on the MKZ. They aren’t as good in the snow as the dedicated winter tires, but the trade off is fine. She worked for the same school district for 39 years. If there is snow or ice and she doesn’t want to go in, she won’t. She still has over 200 days banked.

            She didn’t like driving the HHR in the winter period. The short wheelbase and tall height gave it poor handling characteristics in poor weather conditions.

            I also agree about winter tires and braking. They are extremely important to get to started and stopped in the ice/snow.

          • 0 avatar
            davefromcalgary

            All seasons or all weathers?

            I don’t think Nokians “All seasons” are necessarily better than any other all season.

            Its the “all weather” dubbed WR thats significantly better, and in a class of maybe 3 aiming for a year round mountain snowflake tire.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            WRG3s

            I got the TireCare insurance to pay for them because the tires that came with her CPO MKZ were separating. I hate Goodyear RS-As.

          • 0 avatar
            davefromcalgary

            Ah see, thats different.

            WRs are winter tires.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            I just got them because you recommended them and they were a similar price to the RS-As, which I was not putting back on her car.

          • 0 avatar
            davefromcalgary

            Oh wow, kind of strange to think my ramblings carry any weight.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            Well I researched Nokians too, but I wouldn’t have known about them if you hadn’t mentioned them a few times. Before you talked about them in detail all I knew was that their signature tire was called the Hakkaspillatterrihhpppbbbttthhhii4tta.

  • avatar
    joeb-z

    Look for an all season tire with the Mountain/Snowflake symbol. Nokians are of course good. I just purchased Toyo Celsius CUV tires for my AWD Sienna. Nice ride and handling. Not noisy. Look promisng for snow and ice. We’ll see.

    • 0 avatar
      MBella

      The only problem with that is that the mountain and snowflake symbol is becoming as meaningless as M&S. There are some Dunlop Grandtreks that aren’t even good as all seasons. They do have the mountain and snowflake symbol regrettably.

  • avatar
    Scoutdude

    Does the temps in your area get below 40 degrees? Then you need a proper set of winter tires. M+S means nothing pay no attention to a tire that has that on it. What you want is a tire that has the “snow flake on the mountain” symbol on the sidewall. Seriously, no snowflake symbol and the tire has not been tested to perform well on ice. M+S can be stuck on any tire that the mfg wants and just implies that the tread geometry can do OK in mud or deep snow but means nothing about their ability on ice. AS tires are also a designation that the mfg can randomly put on a tire with no actual verification that they work in snow and especially ice. Most do not have their wet traction drop off in cold temps as much as a summer tire but they still loose a fair amount of traction when the temps drop.

    Of the tires with the snowflake symbol the one you want is the Continential ExtremeWinterContact. That is a proper winter tire that almost matches summer tires in their wet weather road holding ability. Like almost twice that of other winter tires. A distant second would be the Michelin X-ice model that is available in your size.

    The only no-season tires that I would recommend are the Conti ExtremeContact DWS or the Michelin Pilot Sport AS3. They almost match summer tires in the wet and are suitable for use in snow when new.

    Since it is a CUV the only other tire I could recommend is the BFG All-Terrian T/A KO or KO2. Both of those carry the snowflake symbol in many of their sizes and are one of the very few no-season tires that do.

    Do not get Bilizaks, they suck in the rain, are usually not round out of the box and if you do happen to get 4 round ones at least 2 will be square in the first year, and don’t last very long.

    Seriously go to TireRack.com and look at the tests. Pay no attention to their subjective ratings go straight to the page with the actual test numbers and pay attention to the track times and stopping distances.

    The other thing to know is that a no season tire looses its ability to work well in snow at 6/32″ of tread wear. If you get the Conti DWS the tire will actually tell you that as the “S” of the DWS imprinted in the tread will go away letting you know that they are no longer suitable for snow. Then at 4/32″ the W goes away signaling the end of decent rain performance.

    Around here we don’t get snow very frequently but our family truckster, and all 4 of our cars have winter tires.

    If you do decide to go with winter tires for the wheels do not get the generic steel wheels offered by places like Tire Rack. Get on Craigslist and E-bay and find some factory wheels. They will almost certainly be cheaper and they will actually be hubcentric (without and stupid adapter rings) and have the exact correct offset for your vehicle. Do a little research and find the other Honda products that share the same wheel specs to widen your choices. The preferred option is to find the smallest diameter the factory put on the car.

    You talk about the hassle of the swtich over but the reality is that you should rotate the tires at least twice per year so it really is not much more hassle than doing that. If you are a DiFM then you throw them in the back when you head out. If you are DiY then it is easier than rotating them yourself because you can do them one at a time and don’t need to put the vehicle on jack stands or tempoarily put a spare on one corner while you move them to the next proper position. Personally most of my cars the only rotation is the change between winter and summer tires. On the wife’s car that sees a lot of miles the summer tires get one rotation per year.

    • 0 avatar
      DevilsRotary86

      Sorry, but your advice doesn’t hold for everyone, no matter how well-meaning. If I followed your advice, I would have to change tires at least a dozen times per winter.

      To see what I mean, look at the historical weather for my city:
      https://weather-warehouse.com/WeatherHistory/PastWeatherData_DallasLoveField_Dallas_TX_February.html

      Note the February of 2011 when we got 5″ of snow, the maximum daily high was 83 and the minimum daily high was 22. More specific data:

      22 High on February 2nd
      http://farmersalmanac.com/weather-history/75044/2011/02/02/

      To 54 on the 6th
      http://farmersalmanac.com/weather-history/75044/2011/02/06/

      To 37 on the 10th, and 77 on the 15th

      Play with other winters for Dallas, it’s fun!

      I would agree with you enthusiastically if I really only had to change tires once per season. But to follow the traditional advice of not running winter tires above 40 degrees I would have to change my tires at every cold front that waltzes through, and change them back on every warm front.

      I run on Kumho Ecsta 4X’s. I find them to be an excellent “Southerner’s winter tire”. They handle a broad temperature range and perform adequately on the couple weeks of snow and ice that we get in Dallas each year.

      I admit that I run the Kumhos year round right now. But if I had enough in the budget for proper summers, I would run the Kumhos as winter tires.

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        No where did I say that you should be taking the winter tires off if the temps will climb above 40 degrees. I certainly don’t and while we don’t get that warm in most winters the prediction is that we may see near 60 degrees in the next couple of days and you can be certain I’m not pulling the winter tires off of our 5 vehicles for the couple of days that it will be warmer and then swap back for the temps that are expected to drop below freezing shortly thereafter.

        Yes winter tires will often wear quicker if the temps go up but that varies between brands significantly. That is also why I recommended the BFG All Terrains as they are an AS tire that also carries the snowflake symbol and won’t experience rapid wear even if the temps go into triple digits.

        In my state, WA, the state patrol runs winter tires on most of their vehicles year round. The tend to run Goodyear Ultra Grip Ice WRT.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          In many regions it is allowed to run studded M&S tires year-round.

          My wife’s nephew in Colo is one their Highway Finest and their patrol cars/SUVs run studded M&S in many of the higher-elevation districts, like Colo Sprgs/Monument, Denver/Eisenhower Tunnel, Aspen/Ski Country, etc.

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            I wouldn’t say many regions allow the use of studs year round. I know MT does AK probably does as well as WY.

            Personally I won’t run studs because the case where they outperform high quality tires with the snowflake on the mountain symbol is pretty narrow and it degrades their performance significantly on bare wet roads.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            I don’t know how many regions allow studded tires year ’round because it tears up the road deck on ice-free roads.

            I ran studs on our JGC when we did Meals on Wheels delivery in the mountains a few years ago but for me it was easy to swap wheels for the Winter or Spring; I had an antique pneudraulic 4-ton jack, an air compressor and a pneumatic impact wrench.

            When I quit working this past January, I sold just about everything I had that was salable, including all my trailers, generators, air compressors and tools.

            I won’t be going to snow country anytime soon, so for me studded tires are a seasonal thing of the past.

            But I highly recommend them, where allowed, for unrivaled traction, steering and braking control. Sure beats chains.

          • 0 avatar
            rpn453

            “Personally I won’t run studs because the case where they outperform high quality tires with the snowflake on the mountain symbol is pretty narrow and it degrades their performance significantly on bare wet roads.”

            Nonsense. Modern studded tires typically outperform studless winter tires in most conditions, including bare wet or dry roads. See the test results of the most comprehensive winter test in the world:

            http://www.skstuds.ca/2015/10/04/the-2015-norwegian-automobile-federation-winter-tire-test-is-out/

            The differences are even more dramatic on smooth, warm, wet ice:

            http://www.skstuds.ca/2015/10/04/the-studless-tire-deception-ice-temperature-and-why-studless-tires-frequently-outperform-studded-tires-in-tests/

      • 0 avatar
        MBella

        Nobody is saying for you southerners to get winter tires. We’re saying for areas that actually have winters, not the once per decade storm.

      • 0 avatar
        George B

        DevilsRotary86, I’ve lived in the Dallas area for 25 years and appreciate your observation about frequent warm weather between occasional cold weather, but I think Scoutdude covers the tread compound and temperature tradeoff fairly well. We get occasional cold dry weather and occasional snow just below freezing, but rarely both at the same time. Any random all season tire provides adequate dry pavement traction here because our “cold” just isn’t that cold.

        At a minimum, Kai needs a good set of all-season tires for his wife’s CRV. Read the TireRack ratings. If her car is frequently driven in temperatures well below freezing, it would be better to have a set of winter tires too, even though they’ll wear faster on the warm winter days.

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        Did you seriously just recommend that people put BFG All terrains on their CUV? For those not in the loop, feel free to google image search what a BFG A/T KO or KO2 looks like. Now, I’d consider something like that for an SUV or pickup that gets used offroad, but they’d look incredibly out of place on a run of the mill crossover in the ‘burbs.

        Terrible advice, All terrain tires can’t hold a handle to dedicated snow tires, and are heavy, noisy, poor riding/handling, and very expensive relative to regular passenger car tires. The new Cooper A/T W is an interesting hybrid of all terrain tire with a soft compound and lots of siping like a snow tire. Again, I would never put that on a crossover.

    • 0 avatar
      S2k Chris

      “Does the temps in your area get below 40 degrees? Then you need a proper set of winter tires. ”

      Whaaaat? No. This only applies if the alternate set of tires is an extreme summer-only tire. In an area without significant snow, on a car that is driven like the average CRV, go on TireRack and pick the best-rated all season that meets your budget.

      This is coming from a guy who is a big believer in snow tires, running Dunlop WinterSports on my S2000 (before I stopped driving it in the winter) and Firestone WinterForces on my TSX and old Jetta. But I live in IL and frequently head to Wisconsin to snowmobile.

    • 0 avatar
      S2k Chris

      “no season”

      Also, every time you say “no season”, someone crushes an air cooled Porsche and punches Enzo Ferrari in the balls. WTF are drivers of Accords and Camrys and Fusions and Sonatas and Civics and Corollas and Cruzes and whatever supposed to put on their cars? Pilot Sport Cup 2s? Idiot. This is a friggin’ CRV, All Season tires are exactly what it should be shod with.

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        Cool, No Season, No Season, No Season, No Season.

        Seriously there is a reason that everybody who is in the know calls them no season tires because they do nothing well.

        Have you ever driven proper winter tires when it is 30 degrees out and the roads are wet and compared that to a no season tire? The difference in stopping distance and cornering grip is significant. Sure if you live in So Cal, AZ , HI then by all means run no season tires year round. However if you want your tires to provide maximum safety choose the right tire for the conditions.

        No need to go to the Sport Cup 2s, Personally I recommend the Conti ExtremeContact DW as my go to summer tire and what my wife’s Fusion wears in the summer.

        • 0 avatar
          S2k Chris

          “Have you ever driven proper winter tires when it is 30 degrees out and the roads are wet and compared that to a no season tire?”

          Uh, yeah. See above; I run winter tires. However, THE REST OF THE YEAR, I run all seasons, because that’s what one does in a 200hp FWD automatic Japanese sedan. I have no problem advocating for winter tires where needed, what I object to is the idea that all seasons don’t work perfectly well on the average car for THE OTHER THREE SEASONS of the year. Calling them “no seasons” is stupid, because they are perfectly good for about 75%+ of the time.

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            How about driving a no season tire vs a summer tire in the rain. I used to be a believer in AS tires and then I switched from the BFG KDWS to the KDW and the difference in traction in the wet and dry was significant. To me being able to stop a few feet shorter when some idiot pulls out in front of you is well worth it even on an everyday car.

            Head on over to tirerack and look up some tests. I just looked up the Conti EC DW and DWS. Both sets of tests were done with a 2014 328i.

            Stopping distance 50-0
            Dry/Wet
            DWS 86’/120′
            DW 76’/96′

            That is a significant difference.

            Cornering Gs
            Dry/Wet
            DWS .88/.76
            DW .89/.82

            So yeah no season, no season, no season. The summer tires do much better in the rain and rain performance is one of the misguided reasons that people by no season tires.

          • 0 avatar
            S2k Chris

            “How about driving a no season tire vs a summer tire in the rain. ”

            This is why the internet is terrible. You’ve used a fairly trivial piece of minutiae on one specific metric, a 13% difference, and extrapolated that to entire genre of something to write it off as complete garbage using a stupid cutesy sounding name. It’s pedantic, ridiculous, and makes people want to punch you in the throat. Just stop it.

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            96′ vs 120′ is significant, no matter how you look at it. It is not just that one tire pair that shows that difference either. Play the game with similar tires from a particular brand and you’ll find the similar results.

            Sure you’ll find quality AS tires that do better in the wet than no-name summer tires.

            So lets get back to crushing air cool Porsches, no seas…….

            And if you hadn’t used that stupid line in the first place we wouldn’t be here now.

            Edit: you see your line makes me think of Au’s anti hoon laws and some DB getting his Porsce crushed because he was caught hooning, which makes me laugh. The thought of Enzo getting kicked in the balls also makes me laugh because I’m pretty certain that is probably what Ford wanted to do to him when he backed out of the deal to sell his company. Having too much class to do that he just set his mind on kicking his ass on the track.

          • 0 avatar
            rpn453

            You can’t necessarily directly compare the results from different tests run on different days. I’ve seen a significant variation in test results between the same tires in different Tire Rack tests. It may have been much colder on the day the DWS was tested, and there may have been more water on the track surface during the wet test.

            I don’t doubt that the DW will easily outperform the DWS on clean wet or dry pavement in warm weather. However, with more void area, tread depth, and tread life, all-seasons are usually better at resisting hydroplaning. That is the rain performance that counts the most to many drivers.

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            While there are some exceptions the DW and DWS both start life with 10/32″ of tread so tread depth does not factor into the hydroplaning resistance when new. Also the channels in the DW are huge and overall they have a much higher void ratio for channeling the water through the tire. They have great hydroplaning resistance in my experience. I can’t comment on the DWS because I’ve never owned them but the DW is the best tire I’ve had for hydroplaning resistance.

            The tests I quoted were done in July and Aug so while the temps may not have been exactly the same they were likely not dramatically different.

            The tirerack’s wet testing is very well controlled so I doubt there was a significant difference in the depth of the water between the two tests.

            If you want a test where the tires were compared on the same car on the same day see this. http://www.edmunds.com/car-reviews/features/tire-test-all-season-vs-snow-vs-summer.html

          • 0 avatar
            rpn453

            It seems Tire Rack doesn’t directly link to multiple tests for each tire as they used to. I don’t know if they thought it undermined the credibility of the testing, but it doesn’t. It’s simply reality that track conditions can vary. It was always easy to pick out the best or worst numbers from a selection of different tests to suit any argument.

            When the DW was tested in 2010, the results were much closer to that of the DWS. dry/wet stopping distances were 86 feet and 105 feet, and the wet skidpad grip was only 0.77g. But the dry skidpad must have had a lot of rubber embedded since the last rain because it pulled 0.98g on that.

            http://www.tirerack.com/tires/tests/chartDisplay.jsp?ttid=140

            That’s with a 2011 3-Series instead of the 2014, but it’s not hard to find examples of dramatic variations even while using the same car. In that test, the Kumho Ecsta LE braked in 90/114 feet, with .96/.71g on the skidpad. With the same car and tire model one year later, the numbers were 85/96 feet and .90/.81g. Seasonal changes alone cannot account for these wildly differing results.

            http://www.tirerack.com/tires/tests/chartDisplay.jsp?ttid=149

            The DW certainly is about as good as it gets in the wet, as Car and Driver discovered.

            http://www.caranddriver.com/comparisons/monsters-of-grip-nine-summer-performance-tires-tested-comparison-test

            Most summer tires aren’t quite as good in the wet as the DW, and most all-seasons start with more tread depth than the DWS. Sure, summer tires will always put up great numbers in light wet conditions, but many are poorly suited to highway driving in standing water.

            We were surprised by the width of the channels when my buddy ordered a set of 245/40R18 DWs from Tire Rack for his RX-8. I had recommended them as a good street tire for their wet abilities, and they were an excellent price in that size from Tire Rack, but after a couple days of being left behind by another buddy with the Kumho Ecsta XS at the track he was wishing for a set of those! Now there’s a tire I wouldn’t want to drive with during a downpour on the highway. Crazy grip on anything less than that though. He could get away with any summer tires on that RX-8 as he has the Pilot A/S3 on his S4 for any days that aren’t suitable for the summers. Of course, as the founder of our skstuds site he’s running studded Gislaveds in winter.

            I was surprised at how poorly the Pilot MXM4 performed in the wet during that Edmund’s test. But that’s what you get with an OE-type tire that sacrifices wet grip for the fuel economy tests. The Pilot Sport A/S would have performed much better. Yet some people even intentionally buy low rolling resistance all-seasons, valuing tread life and fuel economy over outright grip. We all have different priorities, I guess.

            I – along with a few of my friends – use those Pilot Sport All-Seasons over summer tires because I often have to drive on some snow in late spring and early fall with them. I really don’t want to have to wear out mushy winter tires most of the year just because of the odd May and September snowfalls. I’m still on the all-seasons right now as real winter hasn’t arrived yet. Also, our Saskatchewan roads aren’t terribly clean even in summer, often having a light coat of sand or gravel leftover. Gravel roads are another consideration. Similarly, I use shallow-knob off-road tires on my city bicycle rather than slicks, for predictable grip on less-than-ideal surfaces and much better puncture resistance. Consistency is often more important than outright performance.

          • 0 avatar
            rpn453

            I noticed that the touring all-season that performed fine in the Car and Driver wet test but poorly in the Edmund’s wet test is the same MXM4 tire. The poor performance was entirely due to hydroplaning so the Edmund’s test must have involved more standing water. Tread compound isn’t the problem there but rather its closed, low noise, “touring” tread design. An all-season tire with plenty of open channels would have done fine.

            I wouldn’t consider the MXM4 to be appropriate for climates involving winter or heavy rain.

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            NO 10/32″ of tread is far and away the most common tread depth for passenger car tires. Yes you will find a few that start with 11/32″, in fact some sizes of the DWS are included in that group. On the other hand you’ll find some A/S tires that start with as little as 8/32″ of tread. Those are usually the OE tires done that way to save a couple of dollars and to game any handling tests. Those are most common on Toyota and Chrysler cars.

            For dedicated summer tires again 10/32″ is far and away the most common original tread depth. 8/32″ is used on a few max performance tires to optimize their dry handling.

            When you get to winter and snow tires (not the same thing) you’ll find that 12/32″ and 13/32″ are both fairly common and anything less is rare.

            Now if you get into truck tires of the AT and MT variety you’ll find that 13/32″ is very common but again you’ll find some with as little as 8/32″ but like the A/S car tires those are the OE specific tires again found most commonly on Toyotas.

            My main point of this summer vs A/S tire debate is that IF you live where winter/snow tires are indicated (much of the US) or some place where normal ambient temps simply never drop below 45 degrees you should go for a summer tire.

            Also keep in mind that like winter/snow tires A/S tires are no longer effective in all but the lightest snow once their tread depth gets to 6/32″. As I mentioned the Conti DWS goes so far as to have indicators in the tread where the “S” goes away at that depth. Most better winter tires also have indicators that appear at 6/32″ of tread. Some of those winter tires transition to a harder tread compound at that depth to allow the tires to be driven out in summer conditions.

            Finally yes few tires match the DW wet performance but the reason I choose to highlight that one was not cherry picking to prove my point. It was because that was the dry companion to the DWS which was mentioned many times in this discussion as a favorite choice for A/S tires.

          • 0 avatar
            rpn453

            10/32″ does seem to be the norm for all-seasons now. Maybe it always was.

            I’d counter that most all-seasons are not effective in all but the lightest snow even at 10/32″! I’d label those “summer touring tires”, and it includes almost every OE tire, including truck tires.

            I wouldn’t want to run a winter tire down to 6/32″ in winter though. Ideally, they should transition to summer or spring/fall tires at around 8/32″. With two sets of wheels in a winter rotation, having a set of summers on my third lower-profile set would be a great option. I’ve never used those for winter anyway.

            You have your driving conditions, I have mine. Mine includes four months of the year where an all-season, or half-worn winter tire, are ideal. To me, the no-season tire is a new studless winter tire. Too soft and mushy for clean roads, with very little traction on the slipperiest ice. I guess I’d call those snow tires! But really, they’re the perfect option for drivers in many areas.

            I really only got involved in this conversation to disagree with your “no season” categorization. All-seasons are not optimal for most situations, but good ones are competent and practical in most situations and ones like the Pilot A/S3 and Continental DWS don’t deserve derogatory labeling. You obviously care about tires and value quality tire design and engineering, and I’m sure you make excellent choices for yourself and your family. Most people don’t want to think about it that much. I can’t imagine why, since tires are fascinating!

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          What is the tread life like on the Conti EC DW? I had the previous version on my GTI and I think they lasted between 30K and 40K miles.

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            Well of course a lot of it depends on your driving style and when you think they should be replaced. Based on the miles she put on them this summer and the tread wear that they should be good for about 40K or more.

        • 0 avatar
          WheelMcCoy

          “Cool, No Season, No Season, No Season, No Season.”

          Cool, I get it, I get it, I get it, I get it. But isn’t that like calling any tire with a speed rating below V a No Speed tire?

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            Well the difference is that very few people will go over say 80mph for any length of time, which is what speed ratings are all about, being able to handle the heat build up from extended high speed driving. On the other hand most people drive in the rain at least some of the time.

        • 0 avatar
          rpn453

          “Have you ever driven proper winter tires when it is 30 degrees out and the roads are wet and compared that to a no season tire? The difference in stopping distance and cornering grip is significant.”

          All-seasons easily outperformed the winter tires at 23F on both wet and dry roads in Car and Driver testing.

          http://www.caranddriver.com/comparisons/2009-winter-tire-test-comparison-tests

          • 0 avatar
            DevilsRotary86

            Awesome article, thank you!!! That vindicates what I have said all along, that All-Seasons make great winter tires for anyone living in the sun belt (Southern CA, AZ, NM, TX, parts of OK, LA, AR, MS, AL, GA, and FL). Which if anyone has been paying attention, now constitutes a significant proportion of the US population. 1 in 3 Americans now live in those states that I listed. So I think the subject of “best tire for mild winter conditions” is entirely valid.

    • 0 avatar
      chuckrs

      If you have high performance summer tires, my experience is that you need either winter tires or snows as an alternative for cold weather driving (40F or less). In SE New England, I just switched from a set of Pilot SuperSports on a Cayman S to Mountain/Snowflake Continental TS-810 tires in -1 size on cheap alloys. These were Porsche recommended and are H rated (not that I’ll ever explore that limit). The only time I got caught in snow it was less than 4″ of unplowed sloppy stuff. They were OK in a 35mph suburban commute, but they are certainly no Blizzaks. Each year I change over, I can’t get over how much quieter and less harsh they are than Pilots. I guess that is stating the obvious. They work fine at higher temperatures, but the hotter it gets the lower their tread life.

  • avatar
    Scoutdude

    Most sizes of the BFG AT carry the snowflake on the mountain symbol and since they are Michelins you can be assured they actually earned that designation. They are one of the very few tires designed for year round use that actually carry the snowflake on the mountain symbol. That means they are better in the snow than a tire that carries the M+S designation or any AS tire out there in severe winter conditions.

    You are also totally wrong about them weighing more. I just checked at the tire rack and they weigh exactly the same as the BFG Long Trail Touring AS tire (designed for Crossovers and SUVs) when comparing the same sizes.

    No they probably won’t do quite as good as a winter only tire that carries the snowflake symbol but the OP wanted a tire that he could run year round. So yes they are a good choice if that is the requirement. No they will not be as responsive as a touring or high performance tire. Tires are all about compromises and if you want a year round tire and good snow traction the BFG AT is one of the few that fit the bill. Sure they may make it look different than the other CUVs out there but who cares.

    Again that was my suggestion was if the OP isn’t willing to buy dedicated winter tires and still wants quality winter traction. Also they are not that noisy, in fact they are better than many winter tires on the market. No I wouldn’t run them on most of my vehicles as I do summer tires and winter tires.

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      Sorry but telling some guy’s wife to stick gnarly all terrain tires on her CRV for typical year round commuting duty is just insane. And there’s no way that BFGs are good on slick winter highways, big lugs are awful for that, not enough siping in them and the compound is harder to withstand chipping over rocky trails. Snowflake symbol or not, BFGs are not great slick-road tires, especially not for a CUV. She’d be much better off with Michelin LTX M/S, a smoother, quieter, more efficient ride and just by looking at the tire design, it’s chock full of the ‘jagged’ looking siping that you want in a snow tire.

      • 0 avatar
        Carlson Fan

        I’ve run BFG’s on my Sierra HD for about 8 years now and trust me they are just fine on snowy icey MN roads, even towing a snowmobile trailer. But your correct, all that CRV needs is a good set of all seasons and a capable driver.

        • 0 avatar
          gtemnykh

          Not having direct personal experience with these all terrains in particular I will defer to your experience.

          A few years ago I was visiting my brother in central PA and we ended up doing a very interesting impromptu comparison test between dedicated snow tires and All terrains (Cooper Discoverer AT3, a very highly regarded AT tire). We drove our two vehicles up the gravel access road into the Rothrock State Forest, with about a foot of loose freshly fallen snow. It’s about a 1000 foot climb in a short distance, you take a few switchbacks to get up. My old MPV on Michelin X-ice tires waltzed right up in 4Hi (didn’t bother locking the center diff). My brother’s Grand Vitara was basically crabwalking up sidewise in a constant state of wheelspin (traditional part-time 4wd system in 4Hi), I had to hook him up to a tow strap in the steepest portion as well. In more typical slick/slushy paved road circumstances, the gap was even larger, I normally wouldn’t even put the MPV into 4wd, with the nice weight distribution, the RWD van got around just fine thanks to the great tires.

          When it came time to decide on tires for my 2nd set of wheels for my 4Runner, I really wanted to get some cool looking all-terrains, but my previous experience made me make the rational choice of dedicated snow tires. When my current summer tires wear out in a year or so, I’ll probably go the AT route, but definitely will be keeping the snows for the winter. Cooper’s AT/W I mentioned earlier is a really neat hybrid, I would have bought that for snow tires if they were available back when I bought snow tires.

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            But those Coopers are not winter rated tires so it is not a good comparison to the BFG AT which is tested to earn its snowflake on the mountain symbol. Seriously they do work well in the snow and ice and are one of the very few tires suitable for year round use if you aren’t willing to do two sets of tires.

            The Defender LTX M/S, LTX M/S and LTX M/S2 do not carry the snowflake on the mountain. If they could achieve that designation they would have it. Michelin makes BFGs so if the more expensive Michelin’s would meet the requirements to get the snowflake they would have it and it wouldn’t be on the BFGs if they didn’t earn it.

            So again IF you have only one set of tires, you need winter traction and your vehicle takes a size that they offer the BFG AT in it is a good choice.

  • avatar
    SC5door

    Count me in as another WinterForce owner here, the only “complaint” I have is that they’re good for a 1-2 MPG loss in average economy. The DD is a FWD Soul so I could care less about handling, I just need to get back and fourth from the job. Since Chicago does not plow the alleys—getting to the garage means sometimes you need to plow through the snow; never got stuck last year but the crabby lady next door in her RAV-4 got stuck ;o)

    No plans to change out tires on the Honda—I’ll take it out on a nice day in the winter but mostly leave it parked.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      They drop my C-Max MPG as well. Between the tires and temps, it drops about 6 MPG in winter.

      • 0 avatar
        S2k Chris

        Yeah, they have a mileage and NVH penalty, but I remember driving back from a snowmobiling trip a couple years ago, wife texting in the passenger seat, daughter asleep in the back, raging snow storm outside, we’re doing maybe 45 on the interstate, all very controlled. Inlaws running convoy with us in their AWD Highlander on whatever crap tires it came with call us up a couple hours in all upset about how terrible it is and I literally had not noticed any slippage at all, aside from the slower speeds and reduced visibility it was like any other day.

        • 0 avatar
          SC5door

          I don’t notice anything as far as NVH; it’s not like the car is ultra quiet anyways. I bought another set and put them on my Mom’s car. Although her commute is shorter the peace of mind is well worth it; she complains that they’re “ugly looking” though….lol

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            Hahaha. They are louder than a touring tire, especially on a freeway. Uglier too. Especially with steel wheels.

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          Completely agree. They are great tires. Especially for the money. Last year, my neighbor with a Jeep Grand Cherokee got stuck more than I did in my C-Max.

          • 0 avatar
            SC5door

            I’d really like to see the smug look on your face driving past Jeep stuck in the snow.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            Since it was my neighbor, who I like, I helped him get unstuck. I wonder if he told his Crossfit buddies that a guy in a toothpaste colored C-Max had to help him out of the snow.

            I live on a dead end with only 14 house and the city plows it later than most of the other streets. I must have pushed or dug out at least 15 cars last winter. It was brutal. My wife and I, with winter tires, didn’t need help once.

  • avatar
    Sigivald

    Couple good snowstorms a year, plus rain?

    Good all-seasons, and some nice modern tire chains.

    Chain up when there’s a snowstorm and you have to drive in it.

    (Now, if you have a *long commute* this might suck, but at that point “get real winter tires” is the answer.)

  • avatar
    rpn453

    Do all-season tires without the M+S rating even exist? I thought M+S is what defines an all-season tire. There are many M+S all-seasons that are not suitable for even a light snowfall.

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