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Old 12-06-2003, 11:25 PM   #1
ShawnRS
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Default Snow tire/ wheel questions

Hi Guys/ Gals
I am just starting to look at snow tire and steel wheel setups for my MY02 RS.
I will going to mountains twice a week with a couple interior trips tossed in. The RE92's just aren't cutting it. My stock wheels will be getting summer tires eventually. So no all seasons are planned.

Questions:

1. (a)I can use 15" steel rims, right?
(b) Does the off set change from stock offset? Suggested offset.
(c) Best place (cheapest) to buy?


2. How fast will the tires wear out if I use them to commute to work 250 km/ week in Vancouver's weather? I'll be in the mountains twice a week at least.
Or just spend the 15mins to switch wheels every time I go and come back.

3. Do snow tires even have wear ratings? I haven't come across any yet.

4. I know Nokian is a popular choice here but how well to wear compared to a blizzack (sp) just for example. This is for those who have used different brands.

Thanks in advance
Shawnrs
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Old 12-06-2003, 11:55 PM   #2
Mirage
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1a. Yup, u can use 15" steel wheels. 15's wraps the RS brakes fine.
c. Talk to bender.. he works at OK Tire on Marine.

2. I think u'll get tired of switching tires on and off, on and off.. I know I would. If u drive on them easy, I'm sure they'll be ok.

Last edited by Mirage; 12-07-2003 at 12:02 AM.
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Old 12-07-2003, 02:03 AM   #3
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if you're worried about tire wear, get the nokian WRs. They have a 100,000k treadlife warranty, and are a heck of a lot better on wet and dry roads than the other dedicated snow tires out there. Basically they are perfect for the weather we get arond vancouver.

I haven't used the blizzaks, but I don't think they even have a tread warranty.
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Old 12-07-2003, 02:30 AM   #4
Kevin
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Quote:
Originally posted by quest
They have a 100,000k treadlife warranty, and are a heck of a lot better on wet and dry roads than the other dedicated snow tires out there.
I'd argue that. The Pirelli 210 snowtires handle pretty damn good in the dry and wet. Better than any other dedicated snowtire I've tried. Plus they're H speed rated.
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Old 12-07-2003, 02:54 AM   #5
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I've used Pirelli Winter 210 performance on my previous car too. And it handles great. I've even used it the whole year on my bimmer, and it never wear out ! I tried really hard to wear them out with some tail fishing cornering, but still handling really good.

But these tires are about $200 a piece for 16inch if i'm not wrong
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Old 12-07-2003, 03:02 AM   #6
Penphoe
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If you're looking for inexpensive winter tires, check out Kumho's winter tires. I got a set of KW15's for a very reasonable price from bender's shop. Unfortunately, I can't really give it a "good report" in snow because, there is no snow!!! ARGH.

I got them last year in preparation to go up to Whistler over new year's. As you know, last year it was WARM AND WET!! Not a drop of snow anywhere.

I'm still waiting for it to snow to test out my tires. I just hope it snows before the tread wears out!!

LaterZ!
Darren!!
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Old 12-07-2003, 11:09 AM   #7
Benjamin Tang
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i'm all for nokian as well. i didn't buy them way back when because kal tire was the only distributor and they didn't have stock when i was shopping around so i ended up with the 210's. it's always snowing in finland (or was it sweden?) so i'm thinking they must have a clue about their snow tires

although i never got stuck with my 210s (this was when i used to own my integra), the one thing i hated about them was the weight... i know snow tires aren't lightweight track tires but damn they were so heavy... couple that with a steel wheel and it suddenly felt like i was towing a barn
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Old 12-07-2003, 01:18 PM   #8
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Cheap snow tires are the 'Turbo Lazer' M&S Edition from Canadian Tire.. Or whatever the equivalent is from Walmart..

I know that I'll be damned if I'm gonna be another AWD in the ditch because I over estimated the value of that feature. I bought a set of the Blizzak 'LM22' series wet/snow/ice tires last year and they were simply incredible. At first I was unhappy that I could still slip and spin my car with these mighty tires on, but then I realized that anything short of chains/studs wouldn't give me dry pavement traction. Anyways, after a bit of intentional slip-sliding with the tires, it becomes obvious that the tires are designed so that you always have 'some' traction/control. Even in the wet, when 'attempting' to kick the rear end lose (don't forget these are sticky tires and harder than normal to break free), you will get what can only be described as an 'easily predictable' result from the tires.

So yeah, I say you gotta decide if money is the object.. ?

PS: I know the LM22s are totally expensive, but I'm on my 2nd year with mine and the tread looks great.. I just wish it would snow to cool the tires down.
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Old 12-07-2003, 01:28 PM   #9
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My tire dealer basically says that winter tires can be broken down into two streams:

A. MULTI-CELL Variety (better for ice -- eg. original Blizzak's WS-15, new Blizzak MZ-01, etc.)
B. SILICA Variety (better in dry/wet -- usually touted as "winter high performance" -- eg. Blizzak LM-22)

It's important to note that I've used blizzak in the examples above only because Blizzak's are relatively more well-known. They are not neccessarily the best. To quote my tire dealer: "Do you want the winter tire with the best traction/performance (ie. many to choose from) or the one with the best marketing campaign? (ie. blizzak's)

Anyways, here's my answers to your questions:

1. (a,b) can't comment
(c) Check if u can find yourself a set of "slightly used" winter tires lying around. For example, I just picked up a set of older model Pirelli 210 Wintersports for $90CDN each in 205/55/16 size (normally about $175-180 CDN each)

2. Just swap them on for the 4-5 months of "winter" we get here in vancouver and forget about it. Just think of it as prolonging the life of your summer tires If you're worried about wear - here's my personal experience: I ran a set of the original blizzak's (WS-15's I think they were called) in 205/55/16 size through 6 winters (~ 4000km each winter) before two of them needed replacing (FWD so remaining two are still quite good, even with tire rotations)

3. Most don't seem to carry a rating - but to be honest, I never thought of winter tires as having a rating . I guess it's because most winter tires only have the "winter compound" for the first 50% tread depth. The remaining 50% is regular tire compound.

4. Nokian's are hard to get - I think only Kal-Tire carries them. I'm currently running the Hakka-Q's (multi-cell variety) on my WRX wagon .



Decide what's most important to you (ice driving -- get multi-cell compound) or (dry/wet driving -- get silica-enhanced winter performance).

In retrospect, I probably would have gone the SILICA-enhanced winter performance tire route. Why winter-performance? NOT because I want/expect to drive around spiritedly during the winter months, but rather I find SILICA-enhanced winter performance tires are SAFER for our Vancouver winters. Multi-cell winter tires sacrifice a lot of stability and predictablity when driving vancouver's mostly snowless streets in the dry and in the rain. (imagine braking with four, soggy, multi-cell "sponges") and you can see why it can be almost dangerous at times.
Besides, the multi-cell variety's ice performance is marginal at best (ie. black ice is still black ice unless you have nice, sharp, studs)

With that said, - you can't go wrong with the pirelli 210 wintersports. I'm extremely happy with mine. Funny, I think I would do the opposite of Benjamin Tang -- If I were to do it again, I probably would have gotten 210 wintersports (or other silica enhanced winter performance tire) for my wrx instead of my current Hakka Q's (multi-cell and spongy).

CONCLUSION:
Get a set of silica-enhanced snow tires (winter performance) rather than the multi-cell (spongy) type for Vancouver Winters, and keep them on for the whole 4-5 months.

Hope that helps!


-- Dendrobium
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Old 12-07-2003, 02:58 PM   #10
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yea the fellas at kal tire said the Qs are bad for vancouver weather, and would only recommend them for people living in the interior. Everyone I talked to there was running a set of WRs though.
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Old 12-07-2003, 03:11 PM   #11
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I would personally stay away from Michelin snow tires, I don't know why !! THey are expensive and slippery in the rain. I've almost crashed my car drifting out of the road with michelin's. I've absolutely no control over those michelin's but i've great fun over Winter 210. I'm using Yokohama snow tires now. It's great too. But kinda $$$$ !
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Old 12-07-2003, 04:15 PM   #12
Benjamin Tang
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Quote:
Originally posted by Dendrobium
Funny, I think I would do the opposite of Benjamin Tang -- If I were to do it again, I probably would have gotten 210 wintersports (or other silica enhanced winter performance tire) for my wrx instead of my current Hakka Q's (multi-cell and spongy).

-- Dendrobium
i don't know much about the hakka-q. all i saw back then was the WR and the a/s NRW... unless i got the names mixed up
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Old 12-08-2003, 11:33 AM   #13
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I'm super happy with my Michelin Pilot Alpin PA2's. They are the silica whaterver type and will last much longer on our wet and dry vancouver streets than the arctic alpins or other pure winter tires.

I went with them because a friend of mine who is a professional driver recommended them, in addition Volco also recommended the Pirelli's and I don't see how you could go wrong with the Nokian WR's (except buying them from Kal-tire - their service generally sucks!)

"bwco" said... "I would personally stay away from Michelin snow tires, I don't know why !! THey are expensive and slippery in the rain. I've almost crashed my car drifting out of the road with michelin's. I've absolutely no control over those michelin's"

I don't know which michelin tire "bwco" is talking about cuz I did over 70km/hour around the hairpins at Cypress last night in the rain and had no problems... in addition they cost no more than other similar tires like the Nokians. (just my 2 cents)

later
daniel
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Old 12-08-2003, 12:07 PM   #14
Dendrobium
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What I meant to get across in my previous post was that:

Much more important than brand is that you get a silica-enhanced variety (ie. winter performance) instead of a multi-cell spongy variety (pure winter) for our Vancouver winters.
ie. sacrificing dry/wet weather stability and safety for all out winter performance is unnecessary here since snow never stays on the ground for long!

Pirelli, Michelin, Nokian, Kumho, Bridgestone (Blizzak) etc etc. are all good brands and you're really just picking based on advertising campaigns, so just pick the one you like. Also keep in mind that *most* tire dealers will probably just promote the tire brand that they make the most margin on

-- Dendrobium
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Old 12-08-2003, 12:27 PM   #15
ShawnRS
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So from what I have read here and on the net... I'll be going with the Nokian Wr's. I talked to a forester owner up at Cypress last night who has a set mounted. He was really impressed with them.
Plus the fact they are long lasting (80k).

I just hope they do well on my trips to the interior. I'm sure they will.

Question:
Should I go with:
195/65/15
or
205/60/15

Tire rack said that they would put a VW equipt. stock with 205/55/16's in
195/65/15's for the winter. Does this mean skinner is better?

Thanks for all the help.
ShawnRS
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Old 12-08-2003, 12:28 PM   #16
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Skinnier is definitely better for the snow as it cuts through the snow to reach the pavement.
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Old 12-08-2003, 04:12 PM   #17
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How much are the Nokian Wr's? Can you get them anywhere else other than Kal-Tire?

I know stock potenza's don't compare to true snow tires, but they were more than adequate when I got stuck in a huge snowstorm in Idaho last year. Do you guys think I'll be fine with 70% thread left re92's for driving up to Cypress weekly? That is driving at posted speeds.

Dendrobium: saw your pics of gf and snowboard and cool board rack....was that up at cypress?
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Old 12-08-2003, 04:55 PM   #18
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RxWagon: The pic is indeed taken at cypress.

My experience with Cypress is that it is *usually* plowed and salted ALL the way up even to the parking lot -- hence, don't be suprised to see all sorts ultra-high-performance summer tire equipped cars -- making your snow tire equipped suby seem out of place -- never mind all-seasons. Unfortunately, well plowed roads also usually means that the snow on the mountain runs is pretty hard-packed (ie. icy....ouch!)

For the few times when it's not plowed however, -- OR -- if it snows during the day so that you now have to DRIVE DOWN in snow that wasn't there before -- snow tires are DEFINITELY SAFER and you'll thank yourself for getting snows at these times.

Also - unplowed is *the* time to go as this means less people on the mountain cuz' they don't have snow tires! -- and more fresh powder for you and yours - yay! ).

Also, in unplowed conditions, there is **sometimes** a police road-check at the bottom of cypress that checks whether you have dedicated snow tires before you're allowed up.

So, do you *need* winter tires to go up cypress? no - not really. (if you did - Cypress wouldn't make much money!) Just stay away the few times it's unplowed.

Ultimately however, it's your judgement call

no matter what you decide - have fun and be safe!

cheers!

-- Dendrobium
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Old 12-08-2003, 05:25 PM   #19
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Nice piggies on your board! Still haven't put mine on yet!

I use to have dedicated snow tires on my old car and found them to be pretty much useless the last few winters in Vancouver, even when driving to cypress or whistler. Haven't seen a "cypress roadcheck" in a while.
It's true though what they say about peace of mind....not getting it with the re92's.

Dendrobium, do you have a pass for cypress?
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Old 12-08-2003, 07:03 PM   #20
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Thought I'd weigh in my 2 cents

I have a set of NRW's (195/60/15) that I've run on both my Legacy in the past and my Impreza right now. I've also got a cheapo pair of Can Tire Nordic Ice Tracs (same size). These are the "ice tread" versions they make. Ran those on the Impreza last year, this year on the Legacy.

I live in Squamish, work in Vancouver. I commute the sea to sky daily. The Can Tire tires are way better ice tires, but the car feels more like a 73 Malibu in the dry. But on damp winter mornings/evenings, unsure of whether things are frozen underneath, I'm taking my time anyway and happy to have a supper sticky combound underneath.

The Nokians are H-rated and are more comfy at speed on the dry. They're also a reasonable snow tire. I can make it to the parking lot at the top of the Diamond Head road without chains in light to moderate conditions. I don't find they're as sticky on ice. The rubber compound is harder (they're h-rated) and they don't have as much siping as the Ice Tracs.

I didn't expect much from the Ice Tracs by way of dry handling because, well, they're cheap - and they're snow/ice tires.

I know some people I work with have the Toyos with the walnut shells in the compound (Guardex? - not sure). I *think* they're also an ice compound, but luggy - not like the Micheline Alpin's for example - so they work well too in deeper snow. Dry handling is supposed to be a little more reasonable on those (read - lot more).

I'm a fan of ice compounds around here because roads are constantly damp and temperatures bracket the freezing point so much.

Anyway, nuff said. I meant for this to be a shorter post.

Jeff
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Old 12-08-2003, 09:57 PM   #21
ShawnRS
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The whole reason I'm looking for snow related tires is for the piece of mind. A very long slidding stop up at Cypress made me realize the RE-92's just aren't cutting it. I could not stop the ABS from coming on. Sure I could steer but I wanted to stop. I was only doing 30km.
However Kal tire just quoted me $1500+ for a 15" steel rim set and tires. I was asleep (shift worker) when he called me back with a quote so I don't know the break down. It took four hours for him to call me back....

Does this quote seem high or right?
What should 15" steel rims cost for a MY02 RS? Any ideas?
Anyway I'll be looking for an alternative setup, I think. Too bad this seems to be the best setup for me needs.

Thanks
ShawnRs
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Old 12-08-2003, 11:26 PM   #22
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You should be able to do better than $1500.

Call Total and see if they can source some Subaru 15" steelies for you (ask them about tires too). You'll get the right offset and it'll be way less than what the rim component of the Kal tire quote would've been. Try some wreckers too.

Check into alternatives to Nokians. They're stupidly expensive these days. The name brand Japanese companies (Toyo and Yokohama) have great options. Check into off-brand tires too (as someone mentioned). Look beyond Kaltire.

If it's still looking expensive, consider getting good winter rubber for your 16's and live with the relative inconvenience of getting a shop to swap them seasonally.

I feel your pain. Tires can make a man neurotic.

Jeff
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Old 12-09-2003, 12:27 PM   #23
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ShawnRS, you've got mail.
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Old 12-09-2003, 12:41 PM   #24
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Canadian Tire's snow tires tend to be some relabled bigger brands. I think one of them appears identical to a BFG snow tire? I forget.

Anyhow, I'm running on Kumho 7400 snows. Kumho seems to have a good range of reasonably priced snow tires. I'm not sure how the compare to some of the others performance wise. I got mine at OK Tire on SW Marine Drive.
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Old 12-09-2003, 12:45 PM   #25
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When I worked for Canadian Tire (10 years ago) flogging tires, the main manufacturer was Continental, but they had re-branded tires from all the manufacturers with the exception of some of the non-domestic brands...
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