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Old 12-14-2010, 10:23 PM   #1
journey
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Default Nitto - NT-SN2 vs Dunlop Winter Sport 3D vs General Altimax Arctic

I am looking for a winter tire, which will be swapped out for a summer tire. I considering the following tires--if you have experience with any of them, feedback would appreciated. After listing the tires, I cover my driving environment ;-)

1 - Dunlop Winter Sport 3D (V-rated): performance winter tire--has received good feedback (has its deterents as well); handles fairly well off snow & can stand-up to regular interstate driving in cold weather (i.e., about as well as an all season).

2 - General Altimax Arctic: studable snow tire--I would use without studs. Priced very reasonably (i.e., ~$35 cheaper per tire compared to 3D's) and has pretty good reviews on TR. Only concern is how well will it handle regular interstate drives at 80-85 mph?

3 - Continental ExtremeWinterContact: studless snow tire--recommended by tire shop over the 3D (looks to be $15-$20 cheaper). Reviews seem good on TR.

4 - Nitto - NT-SN2: studless snow tire--have seen very little on this tire. The one site I found had good things to say about. Reviews on its predecessor are OK. The price looks to be somewhere between the Generals & the 3D's (less than the Continentals ?). My assumption is that it would last longer than the General as I am assuming that the studdable General would have a shorter life. I need to check on their wear & performance ratings. Any feedback on this one compared to either of the above?


Why do I need a winter tire? I drive to the NC mountains for ski patrol for about 3-4 months of the year (Dec - Mar). Yes, there is snow in the NC mountains ;-) While a little unusual for us, last week there was 24" of snow and this week there has been another 7"-10". The mountain road to the ski area has many switch-backs and with reasonable steep inclines. When it snows 5"+, police require either AWD/4WD or chains. Ok - that is my weekend driving.

The 2 hr drive to the mountains is by interstate (70 mph posted limit) and highway (55 - 65 mph posted limit) -- I will typically drive 80 mph on the interstate with the occassional bump above that when passing someone (especially when I leave CLT at 5:30am...).

Daily driving: I live near Charlotte, NC and drive 50-miles round trip to work. We have avg low temps in the 30's and highs in the 50's, with the occassional 60F - 70F day thrown in for good measure...

Given the 'warmer' weather and amount of driving, I was leaning towards V-rated Performance Winter tires (i.e., Dunlop 3D's). I had my local tire-shop recommend against them (and many of the other performance winter tires) due to the asymetric tread (i.e., 1-backing up would suffer; 2-symetric tread tires can be switched left to right when the tires start feathering, thus achieving more mileage).

He recommended that I consider the Continental ExtremeWinterContact or the Nitto NT-SN2; as they are cheaper and appear to be symetric, the longevity of the 3D's may be a mute point (i.e., purchase a new set every 2-3 seasons, as opposed to 3-4 seasons for the 3D's). Not sure how long the Generals would last...

After one experience on my summer tires in 5"-6" of snow (can you say surprise snow storm the first week of Nov), I like the idea of a more dedicated snow / ice tire, but not if they are unstable at interstate speeds or need to be replaced every season due to my normal daily driving; if either of these situations apply, then I will get the winter perf tires and a set of chains for when the weather turns really bad -- no more sliding backwards / sideways for 40' in my WRX...

Comments appreciated.
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Old 12-15-2010, 01:05 AM   #2
bull3964
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I own the Continental ExtremeWinterContact and while I have been quite impressed with the snow and ice traction they provide, I would NOT recommend driving on them on a daily basis in the temps you describe. I found them to be way too squirrelly above 40 degrees to put up with on a day to day basis. 50 miles a day at those temps will also chew them to hell.

Is swapping out wheels every weekend an option? If it were me, I would get something like the Continentals for the weekends and just run the summers the rest of the time. Depending on the summer tire you have, your DD temps are just fine (I found the stock Dunlop SP Sport 01 on my '11 wrx to be perfectly fine down to 27 degrees F on dry roads.)

It's a slight pain in the ass, but swapping wheels isn't that bad with the proper tools and can be done quickly.
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Old 12-15-2010, 09:38 AM   #3
journey
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Thanks for the feedback on the Conti's. That is helpful. I figured that I would need to go with a Performance Winter tire to handle my daily driving requirements. My other option is to get up earlier enough each day and ride the bus--it would save the tires as well as being eco friendly...

To switch out the tires each weekend would not be practical with my current situation--I have a floor jack, etc. (having an air gun would be nice), but not enough space to keep everying thing out so that it would not take an extra 15-20 min just getting everything ready. I guess if I did every weekend, I would get quite efficient / quick at doing it ;-)
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Old 12-15-2010, 10:21 AM   #4
krzyss
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D3s are directional, not asymmetric. You can swap them front to rear without dismounting, but not from side to side.

As far as I can tell "asymmetricy" (sp? is there such a word?) helps with water evacuation at high speeds.
How fast do you drive backwards that you are afraid of aquaplanning?

3Ds usually do quite well in multiple tire tests.

You may want to check Michelin Pilot Alpin and Primacy Alpin too.

If you can find Continental TS 810, they were asymmetric and you can ratate them any way you want (as long as they were mounted properly on a wheel).

Krzys
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Old 12-15-2010, 12:48 PM   #5
wtwwholesaletire
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I would say performance winter would be the way to go check out the Vredestein wintrac exteme V rated or there h rated snow trac 3 www.Vredesteintyres.com i use the Wintracs and they have over 30k on them year round use have done great in the snow and ice.

Nokian Wrg2 also would be a top notch choice as it has amazing traction h and v speed rated and super tread life. www.nokiantyres.com i use these on my Wifes mini van and have been very Happy. Over 40 k on these and going strong.
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Old 12-15-2010, 11:55 PM   #6
journey
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Quote:
Originally Posted by krzyss View Post
D3s are directional, not asymmetric. You can swap them front to rear without dismounting, but not from side to side.
Thanks for catching my incorrect terminology. When I described the issues with 'asymetric tread', I should have stated that there were issues with directional treads.

Getting in and out of parking spots could be an issue with the directional treads, but it should not be too big of a deal.

The primary reason for going with a non-directional tread is the ability to rotate the tires left to right (i.e., not front to back). Rotating the tire left to right (or side to side), changes its rolling direction, which limits the feathering of the softer rubber.

Anyway, I think the bigger concern with the winter - ice tires will be their stablity on daily drives.
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Old 12-16-2010, 12:05 AM   #7
pnutbutta
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my parents have the generals they are great. same mould as gislaved's .
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Old 12-16-2010, 09:39 AM   #8
Sp2Pilot
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My wife had the generals on her tC and would travel about 20-30 miles a day on them. Mix of city and some highway. After two seasons they held up very well, BUT even when we don't have snow here, the temps are much lower than yours, which may have helped save the tires a little bit. I have pics of the tires after two seasons of use. Let me know if you're interested and I'll shoot them over to you. <---- I'm NOT trying to sell them to you, only trying to display the tread wear. FYI


I now have the generals on my car (235-45-17), It's been dry here for quite a bit now, but cold 32-40 (today it was 19 but dry). For me, the tires have been fine in the dry(8 city miles, 8 highway miles daily). But again, I'm not looking for high speed dry performance, although they do grip surprisingly well.

In the wet, either rain or snow is where these tires really shine though. I love these tires, and they suit my conditions very well.

Unfortunately, because of your commute, I'm not sure they would be the best option for you.
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