02Pilot Dork
Aug. 12, 2017 1:48 p.m.

OK, I've got a second set of wheels for the winter (thanks, Woody!), so now I need to put some tires on them. The question is when to buy them to keep the cost as low as possible. There aren't a lot of incentives out there right now (though there is a $70 rebate on Continentals until the end of the month), but my recollection is that many manufacturers put out deals at some point in the run-up to winter driving season. Anybody have some insight into when these are likely to roll out?

Related to this, I'm narrowing the candidates (size is 205/55-16). I last had Arctic Altimaxs on my E39 and was very pleased with them, so they're an option. They're also being discontinued in favor of a new version, and I'm hesitant to buy the old ones for fear of ending up with a mismatched set in the event I have to replace one due to damage, and the new ones without having any idea how they'll hold up over time. Conti WinterContactSIs look promising, especially given the current rebate. Hakkas would be nice, but they get pricey quick. Not really a fan of the Blizzaks, based on what I've read. Anything in the ~$100/tire range I'm missing here?

John Welsh MegaDork
Aug. 12, 2017 2:53 p.m.

General will have best incentives around Thanksgiving.

Pete Gossett MegaDork
Aug. 12, 2017 3:55 p.m.

I usually bought them around late-November/early-December...back when I actually needed such a thing.

mndsm MegaDork
Aug. 12, 2017 4:56 p.m.

Buy in the off-season, used. At least that's what I did. Amazing how cheap a set of one season snows with wheels go for in July. Barring that, don't buy the day of the first snow. The sales guys will hate you and you'll never get them mounted.

02Pilot Dork
Aug. 12, 2017 5:27 p.m.

Thanksgiving weekend is usually when I mount the snows on the car (barring predictions of earlier snow), so ideally I'll have them ready to go by then; I'm certainly not waiting until the last minute. If I had any faith in humanity I might consider used, but alas I can only assume that used tires are going to be horribly flawed in some way that's only apparent after I've gone to the trouble of having them mounted, so new it is.

Grtechguy MegaDork
Aug. 12, 2017 5:39 p.m.
John Welsh wrote: General will have best incentives around Thanksgiving.

I ran General's on the 05? Grand Am that I had. It wasn't even like driving the same car. With all seasons, the car would barely move. When I put the generals on? The car thought it's name was Sherman.

mndsm MegaDork
Aug. 12, 2017 6:26 p.m.
02Pilot wrote: Thanksgiving weekend is usually when I mount the snows on the car (barring predictions of earlier snow), so ideally I'll have them ready to go by then; I'm certainly not waiting until the last minute. If I had any faith in humanity I might consider used, but alas I can only assume that used tires are going to be horribly flawed in some way that's only apparent after I've gone to the trouble of having them mounted, so new it is.

I always got lucky and had friends needing to move a set. I can see how craigslist would be sad.

Pete Gossett MegaDork
Aug. 12, 2017 6:27 p.m.

I've had quite a bit of experience with both the General Altimax Arctics, and Michelin X-Ice(the Continental DWS too, though not a dedicated snow tire).

I actually liked the X-Ice a bit better in snow than the Altimax Arctic, and they were definitely better on actual ice than the Generals. However the X-Ice don't do that well in slush. The X-Ice seemed to wear a bit longer too(I ran all these tires year-round, which of course is not suggested). Oh, and the X-Ice were great in gravel...

The DWS are very good in snow too - not quite as good as either of the other two, but leagues above any "all-season".

FWIW I've put about 100,000mi each on the X-Ice and DWS(two different vehicles concurrently, 3-sets of tires on each one), and about 55,000mi on the Altimax Arctic(3 other completely different vehicles).

02Pilot Dork
Aug. 12, 2017 6:40 p.m.

We get snow much more often than ice around here, and slush is pretty common as well; the roads tend to get cleared pretty quickly, so there's quite a bit of dry pavement work as well. The Generals handled everything I asked of them quite adeptly, but they were a bit squirmy in the dry - that's one of the things that had me considering the Continental WinterContactSI. I had a set of Dunlop Sport3Ds way back when, but I wasn't thrilled with their snow performance after the first season; the Generals wore like iron and kept working.

iceracer UltimaDork
Aug. 12, 2017 6:57 p.m.

In reply to 02Pilot: Don't believe everything you read on the Blizzaks, I have been using them ever since the ws15 and no complaints.

Cactus Reader
Aug. 13, 2017 12:26 a.m.

Nokians are pretty much the Hoosier of winter. At least in my experience.

Do you have more deep snow or ice, or slush or is it mostly well salted and plowed and actually fairly clear? I've noticed big differences in tires in different conditions.

Studdable tires run without them will give up ice traction because the studs are designed to do the hard work. Very aggressive snows will give up dry pavement manners, so if most of your roads are well cared for, you might be better off with a Nokian WRG3 (or whichever number is current) which is technically an "all season" tire, but performs better than Altimax arctics according to my butt dyno.

Any snow tire should be better than any all season in winter. And probably also summer, if we're honest.

Mitchell UberDork
Aug. 13, 2017 1:47 a.m.
Pete Gossett wrote: I've had quite a bit of experience with both the General Altimax Arctics, and Michelin X-Ice(the Continental DWS too, though not a dedicated snow tire). I actually liked the X-Ice a bit better in snow than the Altimax Arctic, and they were definitely better on actual ice than the Generals. However the X-Ice don't do that well in slush. The X-Ice seemed to wear a bit longer too(I ran all these tires year-round, which of course is not suggested). Oh, and the X-Ice were *great* in gravel... The DWS are very good in snow too - not quite as good as either of the other two, but leagues above any "all-season". FWIW I've put about 100,000mi each on the X-Ice and DWS(two different vehicles concurrently, 3-sets of tires on each one), and about 55,000mi on the Altimax Arctic(3 other completely different vehicles).

How many seasons were your Xice tires effective? I've had mine for a season and a half, but have only put a few thousand miles on them. I kept the set when I moved to Seattle earlier this year; totally unnecessary for Seattle, but I suppose nice to have for getting out of town in the winter (Canada & the mountains). How long before they're ineffective?

Pete Gossett MegaDork
Aug. 13, 2017 5:37 a.m.

In reply to Mitchell:

I ran the first two sets for 2 years/seasons each, putting 40/50k on each set. Most of my driving was rural Midwest roads, often before they'd been plowed. Just 2 weeks after getting the first set I was running through 5"-6" on secondary roads doing ~55mph comfortably.

JeffHarbert HalfDork
Aug. 13, 2017 6:34 a.m.

I've run the Yokohama iceGUARD iG20, Michelin X-Ice, and a few different Bridgestone Blizzak variants on various FWD cars over the years. Blizzaks will always be my first choice. The Yokos were perfectly adequate, the Michelins were better, but the Blizzaks have better bite when starting from a stop and coming to a stop.

02Pilot Dork
Aug. 13, 2017 7:07 a.m.
Cactus wrote: Do you have more deep snow or ice, or slush or is it mostly well salted and plowed and actually fairly clear? I've noticed big differences in tires in different conditions.

In a typical winter the roads will be clear most of the time. Plows run frequently and dump salt like the Romans at Carthage (apocryphal, I know, but I couldn't resist). When it snows it's rare to get more than a few inches down before the plows come through. Slush is more common.

I live in quite a hilly area, however, so things can get dicey pretty quickly when you combine low traction with a steep, winding secondary or tertiary road.

Also, FWIW, the car in question here is the 128i I just picked up, so we're talking about RWD.

02Pilot Dork
Aug. 14, 2017 9:34 a.m.

FYI, Tire Rack has an offer of a $60-80 rebate on a set of four snow tires, valid now until late September.

Wall-e MegaDork
Aug. 14, 2017 9:56 a.m.

We have the Ice Xs on my Wife's Fiat and as long as the car touches the ground it goes right along. Deep snow, ice, plowed snow didn't matter it gets plenty of traction and keeps moving.

Blaise Reader
Aug. 14, 2017 11:51 a.m.

Not a fan of the blizzaks based on.... ?

They're the best. I've had the WS70, 80, LM series, etc. Go to an ice racing event and look to see what everyone is running.

The WS80 doesn't even drive like a snow tire and it feels like cheating once it does. Get the blizzak.

pointofdeparture PowerDork
Aug. 14, 2017 12:00 p.m.

Michelin X-Ice are my favorite "all around" winter tire. They wear well and are a lot less harsh on clear roads than tires like the Altimax Arctic, which are great in the rough stuff but loud and uncivilized on clear roads.

I've had hit-or-miss experiences with Blizzaks as well. They are great new but they don't seem to wear as well as the competitors I've sampled.

Here in Wisconsin I feel like Thanksgiving is indeed a good bet to get them installed...I'm usually a little ambitious with taking them off though!

Mitchell UberDork
Aug. 14, 2017 12:12 p.m.

And I have already found the Xice3's supremely capable. I took a winter trip to Lake Placid NY in January, and they handled the snow, slush, and ice beautifully. The car easily moved uphill on ice where I personally slipped and fell twice. Anecdotal, but my Miata was the only sports car on the road.

02Pilot Dork
Aug. 14, 2017 12:14 p.m.
Blaise wrote: Not a fan of the blizzaks based on.... ? They're the best. I've had the WS70, 80, LM series, etc. Go to an ice racing event and look to see what everyone is running. The WS80 doesn't even drive like a snow tire and it feels like cheating once it does. Get the blizzak.

If I were ice racing my criteria would be different. My understanding of the Blizzak approach is that they use a multi-layer compound, and when the outer layer is gone, the tires become noticeably less effective. Further, I've read on several occasions that they seem to wear fairly quickly compared to other snow tires.

Right now my leading contender is the Conti WinterContactSI. The TR test shows similar performance to the WS80, combined with better manners on dry roads - an important consideration for my driving requirements. With the current promotion I can have them here under $400 for the set.

iceracer UltimaDork
Aug. 14, 2017 12:59 p.m.

It takes quite awhile for that "outer" layer to wear away . My WS 60's went app. 30k miles and still had 6/32" left.

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