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Old 10-01-2008, 03:12 PM   #1
Luke@tirerack
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Default The Winter Tire thread- all winter tire questions go here !!!

as another winter approaches here we go again ...

So, first off let's learn or relearn the facts about winter tires

How do winter tires work?

here are a few pictures to illustrate the mechanics involved in winter traction.

If you look closely at a road surface you can tell that it is really not that smooth as represented by the model in this picture


with the high grip rubber compound used in your summer performance tires the contact area conforms to the irregular surface of the road.


That amount of contact can generate a tremndous amount of traction in the summer time but, what if the road in snow covered?


That brings us to the question, what makes a tire a good winter tire? The answer is a three part puzzle and without all three parts traction will be compromised.


let's look at the first part of the puzzle; tread design

this picture shows a winter tire tread design which, as you can clearly see, utilizes a large number of sipes



when the road gets snow covered the tire is no longer able to conform to the surface.



the siping allows the tread elements to flex under stress create aggressive "biting edges" when braking, cornering or accelerating




part two of our three piece traction puzzle is tread depth

While deep snow and ice-covered roads are two of the most challenging conditions North American drivers will face, tire developments during the last decade have noticeably advanced wintertime mobility. The technological revolution of dedicated winter tires for drivers in the snowbelt, and the continuing evolution of all-season tires for drivers living on its periphery characteristically offer more grip in snow and on ice than ever before.

However the basics of delivering traction and handling in snow and on ice remain unchanged. Tires must combine three fundamental features to deliver good wintertime performance, including an appropriate tread design, pliable tread compound and sufficient tread depth. If any one of these fundamental features is absent, the other two, regardless of their ability, cannot deliver the desired results! Since engineers can develop cutting-edge tread designs and chemists can develop advanced rubber compounds, it is often the remaining tread depth that is the variable in determining wintertime performance.

In most parts of the world, tires are considered to be legally worn out when they reach 2/32" (approximately 1.6mm) of remaining tread depth. U.S. law requires tires to have easy-to-see Tread Wear Indicator bars running from one side of their tread design to the other when the tire's tread has worn down to the minimum legal limit of 2/32 inch.

However in spite of the legal minimums, Tire Rack recommends that drivers expecting to experience wet conditions consider replacing their tires when they reach 4/32" of remaining tread depth. Tire Rack's tests have shown how shallow treads reduce wet braking traction and increase stopping distances

Tire Rack also recommends that drivers expecting to encounter snow-covered roads consider replacing their tires when they reach approximately 6/32" of remaining tread depth to maintain good mobility. Tires need more tread depth in wintry conditions to compress snow in their grooves and release it as they roll. If there isn't sufficient tread depth, the "bites" of snow that can be processed on each tire revolution will be reduced to "nibbles," and the vehicle's traction and mobility in snow will be reduced.



The third and final part of the puzzle is the rubber compound used. Rubber compounds vary widely from manufacturer to manufacturer but, the task is the same so, you will see similarities between the products. They all typically use compounds which utilize materials designed to remain flexible at cold temps in addition to traction enhancements from silica and other materials which add more bite on ice.

Now, for the next step ... types of winter tires

There are basically three different types of winter tires

#1.) Performance Winter

You want enhanced dry road handling from your winter tires and are willing to trade some snow and ice traction to get it.

Meeting severe snow service requirements and branded with the "Snowflake-on-the-Mountain" symbol, these low profile, H- or V-speed rated tires are designed to suit winter driving on European highways. They are available in many of the low profile sizes used as Original Equipment on sporty imported and domestic cars. Due to their unique designs these tires must be installed in sets of four.

#2.) Studless Ice and Snow

You want to maximize snow and ice traction from your winter tires without the inconvenience of using winter tire studs.

Meeting severe snow service requirements and branded with the "Snowflake-on-the-Mountain" symbol, these Q-speed rated tires feature the latest in tread compound technology to provide winter traction without the inconvenience of tire studs. They trade a little handling for excellent ice and snow traction. Due to their unique tread compounds these tires must be installed in sets of four.

#3.)Studdable Winter

You want the traditional security of studded winter tires for enhanced traction on ice.

Meeting severe snow service requirements and branded with the "Snowflake-on-the-Mountain" symbol, these non-, Q-, S-, or T-speed rated tires feature traditional snow tire tread compounds and studdable tread designs for good snow and ice traction. Due to their unique designs these tires must be used in sets of four. Use of studded tires is often prohibited or restricted. Check with local authorities to confirm legality.

But Do I Really Need Winter Tires?

The primary concern that our customers express is that they don't want to get "stuck" in the snow (or in the ditch) during the winter.

While in cities like Atlantic City, Memphis and Seattle located at the extreme edges of the snow belt, relatively new All-Season tires will probably work just fine. But the odds change as you move further into the snow belt or the All-Season tires have a few years of wear on them. And who wants to gamble...especially when their collision deductible and future insurance premiums are on the table.

We all know that tires are a compromise. One tire can't be the fastest on the track, most controllable in the snow, and longest wearing. The Ultra High Performance tire that grips the track with tread temperatures of 200 is incompetent as its tread compound becomes like "hard plastic" at below 32. Today's 80,000-mile tires require tread designs and compounds that maximize long, even wear... not winter traction. And while many of today's all-season tires (Original Equipment, touring and performance) address some of these issues, they still emphasize longer wear, a quieter ride or greater performance...not winter traction.

Only winter tires are designed to excel in the colder temperatures, slush, snow and ice that many parts of the country experience for three or more months a year.

It's also important to note that the recent advancements in electronic driver aids, such as ABS and traction control don't provide more traction. They only help prevent drivers from over braking or overpowering the available traction of their tires. The only thing the driver can do to increase traction...to actually get more grip and control... is install better tires.

As in the past, there are 'general use' recommended packages for each model car to be found at TIRERACK.com but, if you would like to dicuss other options for your specific needs please don't hesitate to give me a call at 800-428-8355 ext. 362 or drop me an e-mail

You can also post in this thread but please supply the following information ....

year:
make:
model:
location:
tires only or winter package:

and I will respond directly to your post

I will also be adding to this thread periodically so, check back often
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Last edited by Luke@tirerack; 10-06-2009 at 10:38 AM.
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Old 10-01-2008, 03:21 PM   #2
302@12psi
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year: 2008
make: Infinity
model:EX35
location:Maryland
tires only or winter package: Tires only


Looking for something that can put up to the weight of the EX35 (about 4,000lbs dry) and also provide some decent dry handling as Maryland winters arent usually really all that bad. Most the stuff we face is slush/mush rather then hard packed snow or ice.

Any recommendations for a sporty, 300 hp, crossover?
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Old 10-01-2008, 03:57 PM   #3
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17" oe wheels or the optional 18" wheels?
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Old 10-01-2008, 04:12 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Luke@tirerack View Post
17" oe wheels or the optional 18" wheels?
17's.
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Old 10-01-2008, 04:17 PM   #5
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You already replied in my other thread, bit I figured I'd post in here for a little more info.

year: '07
make: Subaru
model: WRX Wagon, '04 STi BBS
location: Seattle
tires only or winter package: Tires only

Like I already stated in my other thread, I've got 225/45/17 Eagle F1 A/S on the BBS right now and want a recommendation for a winter tire thats a significant upgrade in the snow from the F1's (otherwise I don't feel like its worth spending more money). Preferebly like to keep the price below $150 per tire.
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Old 10-01-2008, 04:18 PM   #6
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Year: 1999
make: subaru
model 2.5RS
location: buffalo
tires only or winter package: winter package

I've been looking for -1 sizing (i think that is what they call it) but cannot seem to find a steel wheel on your website for 15' for my car. I only want steel wheels as this will be winter specific. Is this something that needs to be special ordered or do they just not make a steel wheel for my model? the website shows only options for 16' steel wheels.

Thanks. any advice is helpful since winter is coming soon and supposedly colder this year.
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Old 10-01-2008, 04:19 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 302@12psi View Post
17's.
The tire size for your EX makes the choice a little tricky expecially considering your location ...

I would suggest the new Michelin X-Ice XI2



The X-Ice Xi2 is Michelin's Studless Ice and Snow winter tire developed for the drivers of coupes, sedans and family vans that want to combine enhanced ice and snow traction with predictable wet and dry road handling. The X-Ice Xi2 is designed to tackle the coldest winter driving conditions around the world.

Michelin's FleX-Ice silica-based winter tread rubber compound (offers firmness at higher temperatures for wet and dry road stability while it remains flexible at lower temperatures to enhance packed snow and ice traction) is molded into a directional tread design that helps evacuate water and slush to improve hydroplaning resistance. Independent shoulder and intermediate tread blocks feature a combination of multiple micro-pumps and Cross Z-Sipes to deliver traction on ice- and snow-covered roads. Additionally, the Cross Z-Sipes increase tread and shoulder block stability to provide the lateral and longitudinal stiffness that enhances driving precision on dry and wet roads. The tire's internal structure includes twin steel belts reinforced by a spirally wound nylon to optimize the tire profile while enhancing high-speed capability.
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Old 10-01-2008, 04:21 PM   #8
302@12psi
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Luke@tirerack View Post
The tire size for your EX makes the choice a little tricky expecially considering your location ...

I would suggest the new Michelin X-Ice XI2



The X-Ice Xi2 is Michelin's Studless Ice and Snow winter tire developed for the drivers of coupes, sedans and family vans that want to combine enhanced ice and snow traction with predictable wet and dry road handling. The X-Ice Xi2 is designed to tackle the coldest winter driving conditions around the world.

Michelin's FleX-Ice silica-based winter tread rubber compound (offers firmness at higher temperatures for wet and dry road stability while it remains flexible at lower temperatures to enhance packed snow and ice traction) is molded into a directional tread design that helps evacuate water and slush to improve hydroplaning resistance. Independent shoulder and intermediate tread blocks feature a combination of multiple micro-pumps and Cross Z-Sipes to deliver traction on ice- and snow-covered roads. Additionally, the Cross Z-Sipes increase tread and shoulder block stability to provide the lateral and longitudinal stiffness that enhances driving precision on dry and wet roads. The tire's internal structure includes twin steel belts reinforced by a spirally wound nylon to optimize the tire profile while enhancing high-speed capability.
Thanks alot...while looking the Blizzaks came up and several other ones...this is not one I researched at all. Thanks again.
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Old 10-01-2008, 04:35 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 302@12psi View Post
Thanks alot...while looking the Blizzaks came up and several other ones...this is not one I researched at all. Thanks again.
it's Maryland ... this is the part that makes it the proper choice
Quote:
" offers firmness at higher temperatures for wet and dry road stability "

Last edited by Luke@tirerack; 10-01-2008 at 04:58 PM.
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Old 10-01-2008, 04:38 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by buz1nonly View Post
Year: 1999
make: subaru
model 2.5RS
location: buffalo
tires only or winter package: winter package
Buffalo gettting colder and snowier

here's the fix
195/65R15 BLIZZAK WS-60 (the ultimate snow and ice grip and what I use on my A6 Avant)
15X6.5 Sport Edition D5
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Old 10-01-2008, 04:48 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Luke@tirerack View Post
Buffalo gettting colder and snowier

here's the fix
195/65R15 BLIZZAK WS-60 (the ultimate snow and ice grip and what I use on my A6 Avant)
15X6.5 Sport Edition D5
Do you offer any steel rims for my model in 15'? Not really wanting to spend the money on nicer rims for winter or is just better to stick with the 16' for winter using the steel rim?

Thanks.
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Old 10-01-2008, 04:49 PM   #12
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year:2003
make:subaru
model:wrx
location:Columbus, OH
tires only or winter package:tires only (205/55-16)
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Old 10-01-2008, 05:00 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by buz1nonly View Post
Do you offer any steel rims for my model in 15'? Not really wanting to spend the money on nicer rims for winter or is just better to stick with the 16' for winter using the steel rim?

Thanks.
steel wheel market is all messed up so the prices have gone through the roof .. .those alloys are only $84 each
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Old 10-01-2008, 05:05 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bige1919 View Post
year:2003
make:subaru
model:wrx
location:Columbus, OH
tires only or winter package:tires only (205/55-16)
easy ... Winter Sport 3D



Dunlop SP Winter Sport 3D and SP Winter Sport 3D RunOnFlat (ROF) tires are Performance Winter tires developed for sports cars, coupes and sedans that come from the factory equipped with low profile tires mounted on large diameter alloy wheels. They are designed to provide dry, wet and snow-covered road competence by delivering traction throughout winter's cold temperatures.

The SP Winter Sport 3D utilizes Dunlop's new reactive silica mixing process to enable its tread compound to provide high elasticity at low temperatures resulting in dependable grip in winter driving conditions. This compound is molded into a directional tread design that reduces the chances of hydroplaning and helps maintain good traction on wet and slush-covered roads. Three different types of high-density sipes define three distinct traction zones in one tire. The central tread blocks features "pulling" sipes to provide traction while accelerating and braking, especially on ice and snow. The intermediate blocks use high-amplitude sipes to enhanced lateral stability and control in wet and slushy conditions. And finally, the 3D sipes in the shoulder blocks interlock to increase dry road stability and handling while continuing to offer the flexibility necessary to grip snow and ice. The SP Winter Sport 3D tire's structure includes twin steel belts reinforced by Dunlop's JointLess Band (JLB) of nylon to optimize the contact patch and minimize tire growth at high speed.

The Dunlop SP Winter Sport 3D winter radials meet the industry's severe snow service requirements and are branded with the snowflake-on-the-mountain-symbol.
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Old 10-01-2008, 05:43 PM   #15
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I didn't know it was time for school?

Great write-up!

This is the first time I've actually seen someone show what sipes do.
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Old 10-01-2008, 05:51 PM   #16
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year:2006
make:subaru
model:wrx
location: Syracuse, NY
tires only or winter package:tires only

My winter rims are 17 x 7 (maybe 7.5, don't recall off hand) alloys. Looking for studless winters that'll aren't $180 a pop.
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Old 10-01-2008, 05:57 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mechie3 View Post
year:2006
make:subaru
model:wrx
location: Syracuse, NY
tires only or winter package:tires only

My winter rims are 17 x 7 (maybe 7.5, don't recall off hand) alloys. Looking for studless winters that'll aren't $180 a pop.


big snow country on your OE 17x6.5" wheel would make the Blizzak WS60 the tire to run in a 215/45-17 ($129.00 each)



The Blizzak WS60 is Bridgestone's Studless Ice and Snow winter tire developed for the drivers of coupes, sedans, minivans and crossover vehicles looking for traction on winter's slushy, snow-covered and icy roads. The Blizzak WS60 represents the third generation of Bridgestone WinterBiter tires designed to deliver wintertime traction and control that inspires driver confidence by getting the most out of the vehicle's potential.

The Blizzak WS60 features a dual-compound tread with Bridgestone's silica-enhanced Tube Multicell compound layered on top of a standard winter compound. The Tube Multicell compound is comprised of thousands of microscopic tubes and cells (which resemble the consistency of Swiss cheese when examined through a microscope) that wick away the water that often forms between the tire's contact patch and the surface of snow-packed and icy roads. This flexible tread rubber compound improves the tire's grip, allowing the biting edges to adhere to the surface with less interference. The bite particles attached to the tubes of the Multicell compound with a special coating, bite into the surface of packed snow and ice to provide extra gripping action. The pores and tubes are uniformly distributed throughout the compound and are constantly being exposed around the tread as the tire wears. This unique tread compound is molded into a directional tread design that features independent tread blocks with 3-D zigzag sipes to disperse water away from the tire's contact patch, further enhancing grip. The result is enhanced hydroplaning resistance and greater driving and braking force on snow-covered and icy roads. Featuring Bridgestone's UNI-T Technology, the Blizzak WS60's internal structure includes twin steel belts reinforced by spirally wound nylon to provide the desired high-speed durability and ride characteristics.

When the Blizzak WS60 is 50-percent worn, a tread depth indicator molded into the tread design lets the driver know that only 10 percent of the remaining tread is the Tube Multicell compound.
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Old 10-01-2008, 08:31 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Luke@tirerack View Post
easy ... Winter Sport 3D



Dunlop SP Winter Sport 3D and SP Winter Sport 3D RunOnFlat (ROF) tires are Performance Winter tires developed for sports cars, coupes and sedans that come from the factory equipped with low profile tires mounted on large diameter alloy wheels. They are designed to provide dry, wet and snow-covered road competence by delivering traction throughout winter's cold temperatures.

The SP Winter Sport 3D utilizes Dunlop's new reactive silica mixing process to enable its tread compound to provide high elasticity at low temperatures resulting in dependable grip in winter driving conditions. This compound is molded into a directional tread design that reduces the chances of hydroplaning and helps maintain good traction on wet and slush-covered roads. Three different types of high-density sipes define three distinct traction zones in one tire. The central tread blocks features "pulling" sipes to provide traction while accelerating and braking, especially on ice and snow. The intermediate blocks use high-amplitude sipes to enhanced lateral stability and control in wet and slushy conditions. And finally, the 3D sipes in the shoulder blocks interlock to increase dry road stability and handling while continuing to offer the flexibility necessary to grip snow and ice. The SP Winter Sport 3D tire's structure includes twin steel belts reinforced by Dunlop's JointLess Band (JLB) of nylon to optimize the contact patch and minimize tire growth at high speed.

The Dunlop SP Winter Sport 3D winter radials meet the industry's severe snow service requirements and are branded with the snowflake-on-the-mountain-symbol.
I was very pleased with my Wintersport 3Ds last winter, mounted on 16" steelies (yes, they clear the Subaru 4-pots with room to spare).
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Old 10-01-2008, 09:41 PM   #19
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year: 2002
make: Subaru
model: WRX
location: NY
tires only or winter package: Tires only (to be mounted on 16x7 6 spoke RS wheels)

I am looking to purchase 215/55/16 Bridgestone Blizzak REVO1. What is your opinion about these tires? I see that there is a special sales going on in that size.
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Old 10-01-2008, 10:13 PM   #20
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year: 2009
make: subaru
model: wrx
location: minnesota
tires only or winter package: tires

The rim size is 17x7. Stock tire is 225x45r17

Is it better to get a wider winter tire or narrower winter tire? I see in rally racing they use pretty narrow tires on the snow stages, but they are also studded. I would think on ice a wider tire would allow a larger contact patch, where a narrower tire would allow your tire to get closer to the road (more weight concentrated on a smaller area).

In minnesota it does snow often but they roads get plowed quickly (atleast where i live), so you are rarely driving on fresh snow. Typically the snow is really well packed or the roads are icy. I am looking for a tire that is better on the ice than the snow. I want a tire that wont wear out quickly since it will see much more pavement time than snow/ice time.

Thanks.
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Old 10-01-2008, 10:14 PM   #21
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year: 2008
make: Subaru
model: STI
location: Salt Lake
tires only or winter package: 17" package

On your site you show the "Sport Edition A7" wheels as the preferred wheel in your 17" winter package. Will this wheel clear the Brembos on the STI?
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Old 10-02-2008, 01:16 AM   #22
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year:2002
make:subaru
model:wrx wagon
location:vancouver bc
tires only or winter package: tires only

They are going on the stock 17's. Best snow and ice preformance please but no studs

my dad needs new winters, its a truck though
year: 2004
make: toyota
model: tundra
location: vancouver
tires only or winter package : tires 17? i think

thanks for the help and the write up was interesting
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Old 10-02-2008, 08:10 AM   #23
Luke@tirerack
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Quote:
Originally Posted by txl146 View Post
year: 2002
make: Subaru
model: WRX
location: NY
tires only or winter package: Tires only (to be mounted on 16x7 6 spoke RS wheels)

I am looking to purchase 215/55/16 Bridgestone Blizzak REVO1. What is your opinion about these tires? I see that there is a special sales going on in that size.
good choice .... especially at that price
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Old 10-02-2008, 08:12 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Euclid View Post
year: 2008
make: Subaru
model: STI
location: Salt Lake
tires only or winter package: 17" package

On your site you show the "Sport Edition A7" wheels as the preferred wheel in your 17" winter package. Will this wheel clear the Brembos on the STI?
yes it does clear those brakes as do all of the wheel options listed .... and take a look at the Blizzak LM25 or the Pirelli SottoZero tires for your area
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Old 10-02-2008, 08:27 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeffMN View Post
year: 2009
make: subaru
model: wrx
location: minnesota
tires only or winter package: tires

The rim size is 17x7. Stock tire is 225x45r17

Is it better to get a wider winter tire or narrower winter tire? I see in rally racing they use pretty narrow tires on the snow stages, but they are also studded. I would think on ice a wider tire would allow a larger contact patch, where a narrower tire would allow your tire to get closer to the road (more weight concentrated on a smaller area).

In minnesota it does snow often but they roads get plowed quickly (atleast where i live), so you are rarely driving on fresh snow. Typically the snow is really well packed or the roads are icy. I am looking for a tire that is better on the ice than the snow. I want a tire that wont wear out quickly since it will see much more pavement time than snow/ice time.

Thanks.
Priorities for Sizing Winter Tires Are Different

Does your sports car, coupe or sedan use wide, low profile tires that are mounted on large diameter wheels? Or does your light truck use large flotation-sized tires? If you're going to drive through lots of snow this year you'll want your winter tires and wheels in sizes that help put the laws of physics on your side.

A wide, low profile or large tire has to "plow" a wide path through snow which causes more resistance. The narrower the tire, the easier you can get through snow. It is also important to verify sufficient load capacity and the appropriate diameter for your vehicle. However the 225 width is not considered extremely wide and works well in many instances including the conditions you mentioned. In our testing both the Michelin X-Ice XI2 and the Blizzak WS60 out performed studded tires cornering, accellerating and braking on an ice skating rink
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