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  #1  
Old 12-23-2013, 03:16 PM
mmah-2612 mmah-2612 is offline
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Winter tyres advice please

Hello,

Just wanted to know if anyone had any issues from swapping standard summer to winter tyres? (Bridgestone Blizzacks 17")

I'm noticing that traction control light is coming on a lot when cornering and it seems lively at the rear in the wet? I'm not driving it like an idiot.

One thing I must add is that I have changed from 18" to 17" wheels and I've moved away from run flats.

The winter tyres aren't new probably a couple of years old with approx 5mm of tread.

I've not used them in the snow or ice but initial thoughts are they're not filling me with confidence.

My car is the 318D M Sport Manual

Grateful for any advice

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Old 12-23-2013, 04:31 PM
fdriller9 fdriller9 is offline
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If temps are above freezing, winter tires have less traction. Same goes for summer/all season, below freezing, less traction.

Also if your tires are studded, you will have less traction on pavement, dry or wet.

Snow tires are meant for just that, snow. If you want a tire that performs in both environments, get all seasons.

Of course, with either choice, there are compromises.
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Old 12-23-2013, 04:43 PM
msej449 msej449 is offline
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Winter tyres advice please

I can't really agree with the above, I'm afraid.

All seasons are a compromise: poorer in winter than winters and poorer in summer than summers.

You would wear winters all year 'round if you could tolerate the wear rate in hot summer temps. When I worked at Pirelli UK, I lift-shared with the Chief Chemist: a couple of times a year, he'd change the tread compound to be winter-like and 'stickier' and this batch would go into stores for the factory employees to buy. They only lasted 10,000 miles but were terrific. They'd be uneconomic on the retail market but we loved them. A few times, he'd even add blue dye if enough people at the factory wanted blue tyres to match their bodywork.

There is a degree of behavioural change in winter tyres that's due to the different compound and the greater movement of tread blocks. But people often confuse a change in handling with the change in compound: Winters are usually on narrower wheels with a greater aspect ratio, and this will affect handling much more than the compound and tread differences.
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Old 12-23-2013, 06:31 PM
stones399 stones399 is offline
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My thought is that you are definitely going to feel a lot of movement for 2 reasons:


1) You're going from an 18" RFT to a 17" winter (go flat).
2) The change in 18 to 17 has more sidewall (aspect ratio) and the combination of a higher less stiff sidewall and the movement of the tread blocks will feel squirmy like all get out.

As for the Traction Control... You must be giving it more than the what you think and the car is just a dumb computer trying to help you.
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Old 12-23-2013, 06:52 PM
gbarros gbarros is offline
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Is there a significant tread difference between the tires? This could cause TC to act up as it thinks one wheel is spinning faster than the others.
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Old 12-23-2013, 09:00 PM
Tom K. Tom K. is offline
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Thee are Winter "studless" (probably Q rated) and Winter Performance (H or V rated) tires. The former have a "squirmier" tread on dry pavement but are better in snow. Assuming these are your Blizzaks, you will need to drive more gently to keep the Traction Control from kicking in.

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Old 12-24-2013, 03:30 AM
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I use Blizzak WS snow/ice tires (as opposed to performance LM tires) in the winter. They corner less precisely when it's dry and do get a bit squirrelly in the rain. However, they're tremendous in snowy or icy conditions. You pick the regime where you want to best performance and accommodate the rest of the conditions for the winter tire season.
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Old 12-24-2013, 09:48 AM
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Re: Winter tyres advice please

OP, 5 mm mighr be getting close to "unusable" in anything but dry weather. For our metric challenged friends, 5 mm = 0.1968". What? Now you don't know decimals either?

I had same switch and the ONLY time 17" winters felt similar to 18" summers was in less than -5 celsius dry road. If it really rains that much in UK, you will have to get newer threads and even then readjust your right foot.

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Old 12-24-2013, 10:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fdriller9 View Post
If temps are above freezing, winter tires have less traction. Same goes for summer/all season, below freezing, less traction.
Not totally accurate. Summer tires are made of a rubber that is indeed not very grippy below ~40F but All Seasons are fine in cold weather.

Winter tires and all seasons grip in lower temperatures due to their compounds. Winter tires grip even better in snow due to tread patterns. Almost certainly far below freezing a winter tire compound will stay 'softer' than an all season compound but the UK never gets that cold.

Someone in the UK only really needs All Season tires in winter. Perhaps in remote Scotland dedicated winter tires may be useful some years. I grew up in the UK and they generally do not see enough snow to justify real winter tires + the country is very small and well equipped with snow ploughs/ gritters so the roads are cleared quickly.
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Old 12-24-2013, 12:38 PM
mmah-2612 mmah-2612 is offline
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Smile

Thank you for your replies really appreciate your advice.

Regards

Mark
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Old 12-26-2013, 04:10 AM
msej449 msej449 is offline
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The "It's not worth getting winter tyres in the UK becuase we don't get enough snow." argument is pretty much discredited nowadays. It is now common practice for UK drivers to switch to winter tyres, because of their improved stopping distance in temperatures under 7C and reduced tendency to aquaplane in the wet. It's helped a lot that the big brands like BMW and Audi now store winter wheels for you, as do major tyre retailers like KwikFit. Temperatures in the UK dip well under 7C for a significant period - over 100 days on average, so the general improvement is convincing a lot of people to swap. Also, a significant number of UK skiiers drive down to the Alps and have found that carrying chains for their summer tyres are no use when everyone else is driving on winters.
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Old 12-26-2013, 04:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by msej449 View Post
The "It's not worth getting winter tyres in the UK becuase we don't get enough snow." argument is pretty much discredited nowadays. It is now common practice for UK drivers to switch to winter tyres, because of their improved stopping distance in temperatures under 7C and reduced tendency to aquaplane in the wet. It's helped a lot that the big brands like BMW and Audi now store winter wheels for you, as do major tyre retailers like KwikFit. Temperatures in the UK dip well under 7C for a significant period - over 100 days on average, so the general improvement is convincing a lot of people to swap. Also, a significant number of UK skiiers drive down to the Alps and have found that carrying chains for their summer tyres are no use when everyone else is driving on winters.
I left the UK when Blair was elected so I guess it changed - certainly the tax situation became even worse! Living in Switzerland for almost two years showed me why they really need snow tires; I got by with all seasons and chains while there and only had one scary incident despite going to many ski resorts. Saw many on snows drive like maniacs and wreck/ leave the road. Come spring it was amusing to see many cars appear in deep snow, lol. Their owners had obviously left the road in winter and abandoned them until spring. I grew up in Yorkshire at elevation and we had 'lots' of snow compared to the rest of the UK, common sense and all season tyres did us fine - places that really get snow like the northern USA and ski resorts are long way from how the UK used to be.

Summers in winter at ski resorts are a terrible idea, all seasons are not 'too bad' in an inch or so or snow - that's my experience anyway. Driving on summers to a ski resort is crazy; the Police will ticket you at the very least. A night in jail would be more appropriate. Drinking and driving is probably safer. Probably it is UK Chavs that do it; I used to know many while living there and don't miss them and their used BMWs

I've just asked my Facebook buddies if anyone the UK switched to snow tires in winter - must know at least fifty people on FB that still live there. It gets colder here in Atlanta but zero people I know do it
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Old 12-26-2013, 04:48 AM
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..and the consensus is.. some companies in the UK do in fact now market/ even sell them (to the gullible) but no one anyone knows has actually made the switch (most of my friends have Masters degrees or above + work in Investment Banks, larger IT companies etc). Of course it make sense to get off real summer tires in winters, so a set of narrower all-seasons is a good idea for higher end cars like 911s + maybe even BMWs with the sport package.. I assume they also come with summer only tires in the UK.

Someone who lived in Sheltland used them there but scoffs at using them in Yorkshire even today. They say unless you read/ believe the Daily Express you won't get them.
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Old 12-26-2013, 04:56 AM
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Yup myth busted: a friend of mine who's worked in Formula One for at least twenty years just replied - he says it's total tosh + does not know anyone in the UK who switches.
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Old 12-26-2013, 05:00 AM
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There is a "?" shaped highway exit ramp that I drive through most days. I can dive significantly further into the curve before braking with the BMW on winter tires than I can with the Volvo on AS tires.

That said, I do think on the winter tires I've seen the traction control light come on the BMW on rare occasions in the rain and I never see that happen on the summer tires. The winter tires are the skinny -- better in snow -- standard 205/55-16 328i size and the summer tires are the ZSP staggered 225/45-17 front 255/40-17 rear setup.

I don't think I drive like an idiot, either -- I've never kissed the Armco barrier in that curve (and there is evidence that a few people have). I'd say I drive safely, but occasionally quickly. (My wife might disagree, however. )
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Old 12-26-2013, 05:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Majikthese42 View Post
There is a "?" shaped highway exit ramp that I drive through most days. I can dive significantly further into the curve before braking with the BMW on winter tires than I can with the Volvo on AS tires.

That said, I do think on the winter tires I've seen the traction control light come on the BMW on rare occasions in the rain and I never see that happen on the summer tires. The winter tires are the skinny -- better in snow -- standard 205/55-16 328i size and the summer tires are the ZSP staggered 225/45-17 front 255/40-17 rear setup.

I don't think I drive like an idiot, either -- I've never kissed the Armco barrier in that curve (and there is evidence that a few people have). I'd say I drive safely, but occasionally quickly. (My wife might disagree, however. )
Perhaps when winter tires let go, they let go fast? When living in Switzerland it was serious snow for virtually all winter and I saw some insane driving that they normally got away with.. once in a while they would not. I was careful on my all seasons and only had one issue which I think was due to frozen over snow. Chains were essential even for snow tires in many places with fresh snow that was not ploughed. Really I should have switched to snows but was on a contract that could have ended at any time, didn't have anywhere to store wheels and didn't speak the language very well. Chains were amazing though; I still carry them in Atlanta over winter and might even have to use them one decade.
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Old 12-26-2013, 07:30 AM
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Re: Winter tyres advice please

Quote:
Originally Posted by MP3_E46 View Post
Someone who lived in Sheltland used them there but scoffs at using them in Yorkshire even today. They say unless you read/ believe the Daily Express you won't get them.
Don't dismiss everything as marketing hype. 90% of it probably is (like explosion of AWD sales in lower 48) but not all.

This said, you can certainly drive in US average traffic with summer tires at 20 F on a dry road. You can also use all-seasons to go drive in a snow in same conditions. However, maybe 5% of us actually drive when we go out and then you certainly do not want summer rubber at minus 10 Celsius, dry road or not.

My car is sitting out this winter, but previous three winters it had winter tires (performance, not snow) mounted on it. I actually drove it when roads were dry and rolled with zombies in the snow.

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Old 12-26-2013, 07:32 AM
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I've used studded snows in the past (at times I needed to drive very early in the AM before the snow plow drivers even woke up) and currently have a set of Michelin X-ice ice/snow tires with extensive sipes on steelies for the Volvo. I haven't even put them on the car since I stopped doing ultra bad weather driving. They are that awful on dry pavement. They might be more comparable to the OP's Blizzaks than the Dunlops that I use now.
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Old 12-26-2013, 07:38 AM
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There's a lot of scientific and chemistry factual information here.
I, however, found it very simple and reliable to keep my DWS all-season tires and call it a day. In NE it really doesn't snow enough to keep winter tires on entire season. And the DWS perform well enough in the winter to drive responsibly and not get in any trouble.
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Old 12-26-2013, 09:42 AM
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Every winter I have been carrying chains for one of my past BMWs in the Prius. After this thread I looked up the price of chains today and ordered the correct size for the Prius for only $28!!! The other chains can go in the E93 as they fits its 'winter wheels' (narrower all seasons).

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000OAX7WE

They might be crappy chains but it barely ever really snows in Atlanta. Every few years it does and people do get stuck. Chains will get through anything I've ever seen in Atlanta. We have almost no snow ploughs here and every so often we get stuck at home for days until it thaws.
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Old 12-26-2013, 10:03 AM
fdriller9 fdriller9 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MP3_E46 View Post
Not totally accurate. Summer tires are made of a rubber that is indeed not very grippy below ~40F but All Seasons are fine in cold weather.

Winter tires and all seasons grip in lower temperatures due to their compounds. Winter tires grip even better in snow due to tread patterns. Almost certainly far below freezing a winter tire compound will stay 'softer' than an all season compound but the UK never gets that cold.

Someone in the UK only really needs All Season tires in winter. Perhaps in remote Scotland dedicated winter tires may be useful some years. I grew up in the UK and they generally do not see enough snow to justify real winter tires + the country is very small and well equipped with snow ploughs/ gritters so the roads are cleared quickly.
Yes I agree. I personally am using the OEM all season RFTs right now and do fine.

But my point was that its a compromise to use all seasons in snow. Nothing beats a dedicated snow tire in snow. However, this is not very conveinent to keep swapping tires, especially if they are not mounted on a different set of wheels.
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Old 12-26-2013, 10:15 AM
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Originally Posted by fdriller9 View Post
Yes I agree. I personally am using the OEM all season RFTs right now and do fine.

But my point was that its a compromise to use all seasons in snow. Nothing beats a dedicated snow tire in snow. However, this is not very convenient to keep swapping tires, especially if they are not mounted on a different set of wheels.
Totally agree. The OP is in the UK where they see far more rain in winter than snow. All seasons are much better option for virtually all the British Isles. Me asking on Facebook now has loads of people say snows are waste of time in the UK. It's very, very rare they have more than a couple of inches for more than a couple of hours. Being an island keeps it temperate.

If I lived north of Virginia I'd run snows in the winter unless I was in area that's cleared fast. Here in Atlanta all seasons are the best choice. Some stick with summers but I see plenty wreck every year.. a Corvette in my subdivision remodeled his front end last year.. didn't check but can virtually guarantee he was on wide summers.
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Old 12-26-2013, 05:59 PM
RobertoCervezas RobertoCervezas is offline
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Originally Posted by mmah-2612 View Post
Hello,

Just wanted to know if anyone had any issues from swapping standard summer to winter tyres? (Bridgestone Blizzacks 17")

I'm noticing that traction control light is coming on a lot when cornering and it seems lively at the rear in the wet? I'm not driving it like an idiot.

One thing I must add is that I have changed from 18" to 17" wheels and I've moved away from run flats.

The winter tyres aren't new probably a couple of years old with approx 5mm of tread.

I've not used them in the snow or ice but initial thoughts are they're not filling me with confidence.

My car is the 318D M Sport Manual

Grateful for any advice

Cheers
You say you're not driving like an idiot but the car is squirrely. You must be having some serious traction issues, which I've never had with any winter tire I've owned except for a set of true generic winter tires from years ago. Even when I mash the gas in my JB4 equipped 335i, I'm not having any serious traction issues. I'm guessing that your winter tires are just old/worn out.
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Old 12-26-2013, 11:13 PM
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Blizzacks will just grip and go in the snow. They're the go-to tire.
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Old 12-27-2013, 04:45 AM
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Originally Posted by RobertoCervezas View Post
You say you're not driving like an idiot but the car is squirrely. You must be having some serious traction issues, which I've never had with any winter tire I've owned except for a set of true generic winter tires from years ago. Even when I mash the gas in my JB4 equipped 335i, I'm not having any serious traction issues. I'm guessing that your winter tires are just old/worn out.
Summers have a lot more grip. Just yesterday I hit the gas in my Miata at ~20mph to make a gap in traffic and it span the rear wheels until I backed off a little, and we all know Miata's barely have any power. Recently I swapped from summers to all seasons and the difference in grip is astounding. Can only imagine winters would have even less grip. It was ~60F here yesterday.

Both sets of tires have less than 2K miles on them - that car does ~1,500->2,000 miles per yer.
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