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Old 12-30-2005, 10:42 PM   #1
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And "Infamous Car #2"

Default Dumb tire question.

So... How similar are snow tires and dirt tires? i.e. I want to go off roading a bit and was wondering if they would be a good choice to take off roading...
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Old 12-30-2005, 11:54 PM   #2
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Pretty similar. Is deep mud expected?

Blizzack WS-50 tires on the stock wheels are pretty good in dirt and mud. I drove along an access road on next to a stream bed, and went through snow, mud, water, and over some ice on the feeder brooks.

You can always carry a pair of cable chains (for front wheels) and a folding shovel, in case you end up in difficulty. I got out of axle deep mud once by putting cable chains on the drive wheels (rear) of a Nissan 280 zx. I drove right up and out of the mud with the chains. Rocking back and forth on the all seasons just got me dug in deeper.

Of course you may not encounter that kind of "soft shoulder" in your off road travels.
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Old 12-30-2005, 11:56 PM   #3
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Snow tires work decently in dirt. They will just wear faster.

Gravel (rally) tires don't work on snow.
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Old 12-31-2005, 10:35 AM   #4
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I think specific dirt tires are a harder compound and don't have the sipes that winter-specific tires have. A lot of winter tires are made with a multi-cellular rubber compound which causes them to wear a faster than all-season or summer tires when used on dry pavement. I don't think dirt tires are made with this compound. Perhaps SubieGal will chime in and set us all straight.
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Old 12-31-2005, 11:04 AM   #5
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To re-iterate what others have said here most competition tires (including gravel tires) are very dependant on their compound to perform correctly, which means they are very dependant on tempuratures. Gravel tires have compounds that work down to the freezing point. Below that rally competitors will use competition snow or ice tires, so there is no reason to manufacture a competition gravel tire that works well below freezing. Likewise a competition snow or ice tire will not work very well during the summer.

Regular street tires have compounds that work across a much broader range of tempuratures, so winter tires can be used in the summer (although I wouldn't try driving across Arizona on the highway with them). The blocky pattern of most winter tires also works well on gravel, although the blocks on a true gravel tire are spaced wider apart. Therefore a blocky winter tire can double as a gravel tire, but a competition gravel tire cannot double as a winter tire.
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Old 12-31-2005, 03:01 PM   #6
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Thanks, my friend found a dirt/gravel road near out school and we want to do "Basic" Rallying there... Nothing to fast or fancy, and I thought because the winter tires I have (Dunlop M3's) have a nice sized blocks they would do somewhat well in the dirt and gravel. I'm not talking extreme 60+mph runs down the road maybe 25-30mph to start, but the better traction I get the more confident I will feel.

Thanks for all the info,
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