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BoxheadTim
BoxheadTim PowerDork
10/25/12 6:19 p.m.

Preferably not of the "I just drive R888 until the snow gets too deep" .

I'm snow tire shopping for the ix, there doesn't seem to be anything available in the "correct" size (205/55/15) but TireRack suggests 195/60/15 as an alternative size and I'm fine with that.

TR lists three tires I'm considering but I figured I'll pick the brains of the local brain trust first:

  • Bridgestone Blizzak WS70. I hear lots of good things about them, but they're also the most expensive tire
  • Firestone Winterforce. That's what I had on my CJ7 last winter, we have them on my wife's Cherokee and they seem to work, but we didn't have a really bad winter last year
  • General Altimax Arctic. That one seems to be a bit of a dark horse, on TR it's rated higher than the other two options I'm considering and IIRC someone on here raved about them, too.

There are a couple of other choices in that size but most of them either don't ring a bell or fall under the "I'll just get the Bridgestones then" header.

SlickDizzy
SlickDizzy UltraDork
10/25/12 6:21 p.m.

I have had excellent luck with the Altimax. It is also sold by Hankook as an iPike something or other.

DeadSkunk
DeadSkunk Dork
10/25/12 6:29 p.m.

I've had a couple of sets of the Blizzaks and have loved them. My son bought the Winterforces for his Kia Rio last winter. They seem to work well but are noisier than my Blizzaks. The tread pattern looks "heavier", so I would think they might be better in deeper snow than the Bridgestones. Since most of our driving is in SE Michigan we're not often driving in a lot of snow, more wet road surfaces. If I were going rallycrossing however, I'd take the Firestones. I'm thinking of buying a set of Winterforces for my Astro.The Bridgestones run better on bare,cold asphalt IMHO. No opinion on the Generals.

peter
peter HalfDork
10/25/12 6:32 p.m.

I had the Winterforce on my Miata in Baltimore. It's a great snow tire. I found it lacking in anything else. Rain? Sucked. Dry? Sucked. Warm? Sucked. I was much happier driving my T1-S/T1-Rs and Azenis and swapping to the Winterforce as the first flakes were flying. They stayed on until the streets were clear again. YMMV

mtn
mtn PowerDork
10/25/12 6:33 p.m.

IMHO, they're all "good enough", but I don't live in the mountains. I think that I read here that the best are the hakakickaikahiski's.

BoxheadTim
BoxheadTim PowerDork
10/25/12 6:34 p.m.

I've encountered up to 8" of snow on the road here, so that is a factor. The roads are usually not cleared down to the asphalt, they leave an inch or so of hard packed snow and let the sun do the rest eventually.

That is, if there is any snow on the road at all...

BoxheadTim
BoxheadTim PowerDork
10/25/12 6:35 p.m.

In reply to mtn:

The Finnish ones? I haven't seen those in the size I would need...

mtn
mtn PowerDork
10/25/12 6:37 p.m.
mtn wrote: IMHO, they're all "good enough", but I don't live in the mountains. I think that I read here that the best are the hakakickaikahiski's.

Hakkapellittas

MA$$hole
MA$$hole Reader
10/25/12 6:40 p.m.

Living in New England I swear by Blizzaks. When I had them on my MS3 nothing would stop that car in a storm.

Javelin
Javelin MegaDork
10/25/12 6:44 p.m.
BoxheadTim wrote: - General Altimax Arctic. That one seems to be a bit of a dark horse, on TR it's rated higher than the other two options I'm considering and IIRC someone on here raved about them, too.

Oh, hi. Yes, we have the Generals, they've been on SWMBO's Grand Prix since 07/08. Very good winter tires. I highly recommend them. Decent in the dry, better in the cold/dry. Very good in the wet and superb in the snow. We had a monster winter a few years back and we were pretty much the only car getting anywhere. We rescued neighbors whose Xterra (2WD, M/T tires) couldn't get out of the driveway.

DaveEstey
DaveEstey SuperDork
10/25/12 6:45 p.m.

I've heard nothing but good things about the generals. I use continental extreme winter contacts myself.

Javelin
Javelin MegaDork
10/25/12 6:48 p.m.

Also, check Discount Tire Direct. Ours were much cheaper through them than TR. Site seems to be down right now. They also have the Falken snow tires in your 195 size, I used them on the Miata 2 years ago. Also great in the winter, but we didn't get as much snow and I didn't get to test them in the wet.

The Hankook i-Pike's are nearly identical to the Generals as well. I wouldn't be surprised if they were the same mold/factory, honestly.

njansenv
njansenv Dork
10/25/12 6:57 p.m.

I used the I-pike W409's, and they made the E30 and E36 darn near unstoppable in deep snow. More of a "deep snow" tire than a high-performance winter/ice+slush tire. Soft sidewalls. REALLY soft sidewalls.

wbjones
wbjones UltraDork
10/25/12 7:00 p.m.

I used the Kelly Snowtracker

used them for 3 winters and sold the car .... they still have at least 3 more winters in them ... if not more ... '95 Impreza ... never spun a wheel here in the mountains

fast_eddie_72
fast_eddie_72 UltraDork
10/25/12 7:06 p.m.

I used to run the Blizzaks on the MR2, but they don't make them in 14" sizes anymore. We still run them on the 4Runner and they really are "that good".

Having said that, I got the Firestones to replace the MR2s Blizzaks and they're working really well. I was surprised that I liked them as much as I did. But, honestly, I won't pay the extra for the Blizzaks anymore for other cars.

Woody
Woody MegaDork
10/25/12 7:11 p.m.

I've always had good luck with Blizzaks. I even have them on the truck that I plow with. I will add though, that here in Connecticut, ice is more of a concern than deep snow, and ice is what Blizzaks are all about. They are also the quietest and smoothest riding winter tires you'll find

I have family in northern New Hampshire and they swear by Nokians.

Honestly, with AWD, I think you'll be fine with any true M+S tire.

nicksta43
nicksta43 Dork
10/25/12 7:26 p.m.

Winterforce is my go to.

Had them studded on a Safari. Never slipped a tire on a 250 mile round trip in over six inches of snow.

Had them on my 96 Impala SS, again unstoppable. I ran them up to speeds that I will not mention here in 4" of fresh wet heavy snow taking my wife to the hospital when she was miscarrying. Very Very stable.

I will say they are out of their element on dry pavement. Loud and squirrely.

Now that I'm in the south I really don't need a hardcore winter tire. Thinking about just running a good all season tire this winter and getting a separate set of wheels with summer tires next spring.

stuart in mn
stuart in mn PowerDork
10/25/12 7:34 p.m.

For what it's worth I've been using 205/60-15 on my iX for years. They're a bit taller than the 'correct' size but there are no clearance problems, and they're a lot more common so it may make your search for tires easier. Mine are whatever the house brand was from the local Tires Plus store and they've worked great in any depth snow I've come across.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
10/25/12 7:36 p.m.

Hakks rock. Especially if you get their snow tires as opposed to the gumball ice tires. They'll last forever. Heck, I run them year-round on the Westfalia. My parents have a Subaru on Hakks in Ottawa and that thing is wicked. I don't find them squirrely in the dry, I think they're constructed differently than Blizzaks.

All the Hakkapeliittae come in a 195/60-15.

red5_02
red5_02 Reader
10/25/12 7:52 p.m.

I use the Generals and I love em. They're a little noisy when it's but whatever they cut right through slush and snow.

Kenny_McCormic
Kenny_McCormic Reader
10/25/12 7:55 p.m.

General makes good stuff.

irish44j
irish44j UltraDork
10/25/12 8:00 p.m.

I run from November to March with performance snows on the WRX (though we only usually get 5-10 days of snow or ice around here per winter). I've used:

Blizzak LM-22 Bilzzak LM-25 Wintersport 3D (DUnlop) Wintersport M3

I found all four to be very similar in all types of performance. All four of them drive like typical all-seasons in dry/rain conditions. They don't wear fast as long as it's below about 50 degrees. I have about 10k miles on the current Wintersport 3Ds. I drive them just as hard as my summer tires for 3 months, and I'm on my 3rd season on them with a 300hp WRX. I can take highway exits almost as fast on them as on my UHP summers. No squirm - they don't feel like "snow" tires except for you can hear them more astutely because of all the siping.

They are all damn near unstoppable in the snow and ice. The only thing that stops me is when it gets so deep the car bottoms out.

The ones you've mentioned above are really more "snow" tires that are pretty bleh on dry roads in terms of performance. And they wear faster on dry roads than the "winter peformance" tires do. But, they're also cheaper.

So if you want a tire that you can just drive normally on in any condition, and that still rock in the snow.....Dunlop Wintersport 3D would be my top choice.

EDIT: I'll also mention that last spring I was in Germany and my rental Audi had Wintersport 3Ds on them as well (performance snow tires are mandatory for the Autobahn in the winter). I didn't realize the car had winters on it until I was 200 miles down the Autobahn and happened to look at them at a rest stop. Imagine my surprise, seeing as I had been going about 120+mph the entire way and they felt just like any other tire at that speed :)

RexSeven
RexSeven UltraDork
10/25/12 8:01 p.m.

Another satisfied General Alitmax Arctic user here. They are actually a rebadged Gislaved Nordfrost 3 (Swedish brand, both Gislaved and General are owned by Continental). My MS3 was so good in the snow, people thought it had AWD! It has no sporting pretensions- this is a pure winter tire. They can also be studded. Oh, and they are cheap.

irish44j
irish44j UltraDork
10/25/12 8:06 p.m.

Also a lot of people here use the term "Blizzak" loosely. There are a few different lines.....the "snow" (WS-60, etc) and the winter performance line (LM-25, etc). They are nothing alike.

The WS line is like other standard snows - the Altimax Arctic, Gislaved Nord Frost, Winterforce, etc. They are all great in snow and lousy in "not snow."

The LM line is a totally different tire - stiffer sidewalls, good all-season feel on dry and rain, and still about 90% as good as the standard line in snow and ice.

Go with the performance snow if you want to run them "all winter" and not deal with changing tires.

If you're just gonna swap back and forth every time it snows, then you'd be fine with one of the cheaper, more basic snow tires.

44Dwarf
44Dwarf SuperDork
10/25/12 8:07 p.m.

+1 Bought a wheel set from discount tire direct last year for my 05 Cobalt SS with the stock summer tires it would not move in the snow now its as good as my old Isuzu trooper was.

RexSeven wrote: Another satisfied General Alitmax Arctic user here. They are actually a rebadged Gislaved Nordfrost 3 (Swedish brand, both Gislaved and General are owned by Continental). My MS3 was so good in the snow, people thought it had AWD! It has no sporting pretensions- this is a pure winter tire. They can also be studded. Oh, and they are cheap.
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