Piston Slap: A Winter Tire for All Seasons? (Part II)

Sajeev Mehta
by Sajeev Mehta
piston slap a winter tire for all seasons part ii

TTAC Commentator Znueni writes:

Dear Sajeev,

We have a 2007 Honda CRV with nice Continental winter tires mounted, speed rating of H. We only put around 8k miles a year on it with short hops and maybe one long 800 mile trip in the summer. Living in a moderate climate (couple snows a year, summers max out high 80’s for a month or two) and using the car so little, we’re considering running winter tires year round.

Think doing so will ruin them quickly? Your sage opinion welcomed!

Sajeev answers:

There’s a significant perk to not having a second set of wheels/tires when you only drive 8,000 miles annually: they’ll possibly “ age out” before they run out of usable tread.

So check the Winter Tires’ tread-wear warranty, as some offer none. But if you can get 40,000 miles like these Michelins, that’s a full 5 years of use! And 5 years is close enough to the age out threshold for old rubber donuts. So let’s see the pros and cons to running winter tires year round, given your low mileage usage:

  • Con winter tires’ inferior performance when it gets hot outside, a significant concern depending on driving style.
  • Con winter tires’ soft compound means more summer rolling resistance, which impacts fuel economy. Maybe extra air pressure will offset?
  • Pro dry rotted all season tires (that you pull out every spring) likely won’t perform well relative to newer rubber, either.
  • Pro storing an extra set of tires (or wheels/tires) is a hassle and/or an unwelcome extra cost

Because you drive relatively low mileage annually, this is a tough one to give a definitive Yes/No answer. I’m leaning toward running winter tires year round, maybe just adding 2-3 PSI to each donut in the summertime. (Which would be an interesting test to measure fuel economy losses-gains!)

Best and Brightest?

Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.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.

[Image: Honda]

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2 of 72 comments
  • Speedlaw Speedlaw on Jul 23, 2019

    I had this with a BMW which came on summer tires. I ran it a few seasons with the low profile summers, until I got tired of paying a wheelsmith, and a set of winter tires on a -1 setup. The winter tires save your summer wheels from moonscape, at least here in my area. At some point I did run the winter tires (Dunlop winter sport) into the summer. They are soft and mushy, and in my experience wear quickly . I eventually switched to all seasons (Conti DWS) and left it that way for the last four years or so of ownership. If you are going to do this, summer tires or all seasons, + winter tires on other wheels. The advantage is you can do winters on steelies, and laugh at the potholes...Also, there are times when it snows huge, and some people go out and drive far away...we are called skiers...

  • Rpn453 Rpn453 on Jul 23, 2019

    I will point out that an H-rated Continental winter tire would probably be a performance winter tire, meaning that it is closer to a winter-capable all-season tire like the Nokian WRG than to the more winter-oriented tires. Like the WRG, it compromises some winter capability for dry road performance. It's just not marketed the same way. In 2016, the NAF tested a Continental performance winter tire against the more serious winter tires. It was easily the worst in snow and ice conditions but also easily the best on wet and dry pavement. I would expect similar results from the Nokian WRG line. http://www.skstuds.ca/2016/10/14/the-english-speakers-guide-to-the-2016-naf-winter-tire-test/ This is probably a decent tire in terms of warm pavement performance, for anybody who does not slide or spin their tires enough to tear the tread up.

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