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E90/E91/E92/E93 (2006 - 2013)
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  #1  
Old 01-09-2014, 08:42 AM
hemismith hemismith is offline
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Winter tires and temps

I've heard that anything below 40 or 45 is the time for winter tires. But I would think the once you get going the tires would run a lot hotter than the ambient temp, and perhaps the road surface a little too. Has anyone seen any data on this?
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Old 01-09-2014, 11:20 AM
Truvor Truvor is offline
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Winter tires are designed to perform at low temperatures, but their primary function is to increase traction on snow and ice. They wear very fast when temps are above 65F so it's time to take them off (that's why most people have them on dedicated rims). If it's only low temps, A/S tires should do fine (unless you are talking -50...)
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Old 01-09-2014, 01:57 PM
hemismith hemismith is offline
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I don't know, yes the tread patterns are designed for snow and ice, but everything I read says that's the old school of thought and that even with improved tread compounds they still harden up considerably at freezing temps. There seems to be a big push these days for winter tires even for dry roads. Although it seems a lot of that is coming from the mfgs and retailers, I've read it other places too. But on the flip side when roads are dry (or even just wet) the tread designs of most winter tires aren't the best.
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Old 01-09-2014, 02:13 PM
mossman35 mossman35 is offline
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It's probably around freezing for the low end.

I have been running winter tires for over 10 years. I regularly go to NY to visit family a few times a year. I always grapple with this temp vs. tire thing. My car has true summers so I obviously tend to put on the winters earlier and take them off later as compared to all seasons. I live in Vt so we tend to get colder temps.

I usually make the trip (5 hours) to NY Fall, Winter and Spring (Easter). I can tell you some Easters it is below 40 the entire way and some Easters it has been over 70 degrees!! I can tell you 70 degrees with winter tires going 80 mph on 87 is no fun. The car feels close to unsafe. Problem is, I have also gone down to NY on a Friday, temps 70's and come back early Monday morning with temps below 32. I am screwed no matter what tire I choose unless I keep another set of all seasons.. seems crazy.

All tires are a huge compromise. I tend to wear my winters faster but I adjust my speeds when it's dry and warm.... well mostly adjust my speeds. Difficult to do in this car.
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Old 01-09-2014, 02:49 PM
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floydarogers floydarogers is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hemismith View Post
I don't know, yes the tread patterns are designed for snow and ice, but everything I read says that's the old school of thought and that even with improved tread compounds they still harden up considerably at freezing temps. There seems to be a big push these days for winter tires even for dry roads. Although it seems a lot of that is coming from the mfgs and retailers, I've read it other places too. But on the flip side when roads are dry (or even just wet) the tread designs of most winter tires aren't the best.
If you've ever driven summer tires on cold or snowy roads, you'd know it's not "old school". It can be bright and sunny with the road surface above 40 degrees, then BAM you're in the shade with the road surface below freezing. Believe me, I've driven summer tires, starting out at 50 degrees perfectly fine, then gone over passes with snow and 30 degree road surfaces and been scared spitless. Not something you want to experience.

All-season tires are ok in colder weather, but their tread (or lack thereof) won't do in anything but the lightest snow, and not on compact snow or ice. Did you ever wonder why you see SUV's and 4WD pickups in the ditch during the winter? The reason is that they seem to believe that their M+S all season tires are the cats' meow, but the reality is that they are not designed for compact snow and ice.

Yes, rubber including snow tire rubber get less flexible when cold, but the tread design and rubber of snow tires (with the snowflake, not M+S) does much better. You better believe that the Ice Road Truckers have snow tires and not all-seasons on their rigs. There's a reason that performance snow tires like the Pilot Alpine and others exist - snow traction with good dry-road performance.
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Old 01-09-2014, 03:04 PM
Truvor Truvor is offline
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I've been using winter tires for the last 10 years (since my car was nearly totaled on a snowy road). I take my winter tires off as soon as it stops snowing (usually in early April in NE Ohio). I have them on dedicated 17 OEM rims and DIY, so the change is free and quick, especially with a good floor jack and an impact wrench. Summer tires (at least high-end Yokis and Michelins) can handle 40s. When selecting winter tires, think what you are going to encounter on the regular basis in winter. If you expect to drive on unplowed back roads with fairly deep snow - get Blizzaks. If it's a mix of ice, snow, sluch and dry roads - Michelins. AWD is no excuse to ignore tires. They are the only thing between your car and the road....
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Old 01-09-2014, 03:18 PM
Truvor Truvor is offline
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Some winter conditions call for chains on the wheels:
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Old 01-09-2014, 03:28 PM
jayb328i jayb328i is offline
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I live in NJ and would not get caught on the road without Snows in the winter. Based on the weather pattern here, Winter Tires go on Dec 1 and come off around March 1. Snow tires usually last 4 seasons. But you also need to watch the Manufacture Date--I would not have ANY tire on the care much more the 4 years old and absolutely not after 6 years--it is unsafe.
Once got caught in the snow without the snow tires on--the E46 was a real pig about holding the road. Definitely unsafe in the snow compared to Winter Tires.
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Old 01-09-2014, 03:44 PM
Truvor Truvor is offline
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Age is not an issue since winter tires should be replaced when they reach 5/32 (usually long before they get old). Legally they are safe, but quickly lose their snow cutting capabilities beyond that depth.
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Old 01-09-2014, 03:52 PM
jayb328i jayb328i is offline
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Originally Posted by Truvor View Post
Age is not an issue since winter tires should be replaced when they reach 5/32 (usually long before they get old). Legally they are safe, but quickly lose their snow cutting capabilities beyond that depth.
+1
I change my Winters at 5/32
But also I watch the age. I would not use real old tires--any.
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  #11  
Old 01-09-2014, 03:55 PM
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Bob Shiftright Bob Shiftright is offline
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Studded snow tires are legal here in the Garden State between between 14 November and 1 April.

I don't don't use studded snows any more - the noise was driving me nuts, and they're awful on dry pavement -- but I use dates for my non-studded snow tires fairly close to that. Usually Thanksgiving week for putting the snows on, and April 15 for taking them off.
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Old 01-09-2014, 04:27 PM
Truvor Truvor is offline
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Studded tires are great on really bad icy/snowy roads, better than any snow tires, although they ruin asphalt pavement. Studs also can get separated from the tire and fly off, if you go too fast. I've had this experience once overseas. Some knucklehead passed me at over 90 mph and hit my windshield with something. I caught up with the guy at a gas station few miles down the road and to my astonishment he had studded tires on his bimmer (in the middle of June!)
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Old 01-09-2014, 04:53 PM
hondo402000 hondo402000 is offline
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too bad they dont just leave the snow on the roads and studs would be great, So where are all the environmentalist on salting down the roads? why arent they crying about killing the vegetation with the salt

Well seems you need about 4 sets of wheels and tires, Summer, All season, Winter only and studded tires, that should cover it

seems their is not the all around perfect tire is there
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Old 01-09-2014, 05:24 PM
jayb328i jayb328i is offline
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Originally Posted by hondo402000 View Post
too bad they dont just leave the snow on the roads and studs would be great, So where are all the environmentalist on salting down the roads? why arent they crying about killing the vegetation with the salt

Well seems you need about 4 sets of wheels and tires, Summer, All season, Winter only and studded tires, that should cover it

seems their is not the all around perfect tire is there
Just wait one moment. You asked where are the environmentalist on salting down roads. That needs to be second----PETA needs to step forward first and protect the rights of my Dog walking in that stuff. You should try walking barefooted in that salt
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Old 01-09-2014, 06:22 PM
Truvor Truvor is offline
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Actually, salt is bad for the environment. One study in Lake Michigan traced the St. Joseph river water way offshore because it had higher conductivity (i.e. salt content) than the surrounding lake water after a snow storm (think how much salt it takes to increase salinity on such huge a scale).

Spraying salt was banned for a while in Scandinavia on the environmental grounds (I suspect it also had something to do with their overpriced/overtaxed volvos rusting to hell). Instead, they tried to use crashed granite and sand. The accident rate went up so much that salt was reinstated.

I agree that it would be better to just plow the snow instead of trying to melt it continuously. Fewer potholes, less rust on our precious bimmers, cleaner lakes and rivers. The problem is that most drivers out there are either too cheap or too ignorant to recognize the importance of snow tires. They even manage to forget how to drive on the snow in just a few months...Too many die on the roads already. So salt is here to stay.
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Old 01-09-2014, 09:27 PM
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pointandgo pointandgo is online now
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If you live in a state such as Massachusetts, you'll notice that they cease Winter road salting as they approach river overpasses.

For anyone living in a state that uses salt on the roads in the Winter, this may cause "galvanic corrosion" of our alloy wheels (against the steel wheel hub/brake surface).

This should be enough reason to remove the wheels in the Spring and 'wire brush' the "hub centric" area, thoroughly rinsing the area with fresh water. Some apply an "anti-seize" compound in the hub-centric area. Don't apply anti-seize to the lug bolts.
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Old 01-09-2014, 10:23 PM
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galahad05 galahad05 is online now
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Driving home for the holidays, I came back up to NY this past Sunday evening, when the GWB (George Washington Bridge) ate two of my wheels. Damn potholes. I'm pretty sure you could see the river through that hole.

Long story short, had a hair-raising time stuck on the Cross-Bronx Expressway (no shoulders), got a tow to some little shop in the Bronx (no one there spoke English btw), and ended up the next day with the following tires:
1 winter Pirelli Sottozero, 1 winter Michelin Alpin PA4, both up front. These are originals (though moved around from before the accident).
2 Michelin Pilot Sport AS/3s, rear. And one refinished wheel, and one bent-and-welded to Hell and back wheel.

So far (driving in 24F weather) the AS/3s are doing fine.....

EDIT: Meant to say, maybe I should have heeded my friend's advice and just gotten along with all-seasons like the AS/3s in the first place.
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Old 01-10-2014, 03:56 AM
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Zooks527 Zooks527 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by galahad05 View Post
... and ended up the next day with the following tires:
1 winter Pirelli Sottozero, 1 winter Michelin Alpin PA4, both up front. These are originals (though moved around from before the accident).
2 Michelin Pilot Sport AS/3s, rear. And one refinished wheel, and one bent-and-welded to Hell and back wheel.
Jeez, that's a hell of a mix!

Typically, if you have 2 snows and 2 A/S, the snows go on the back, regardless of RWD/FWD/AWD. But your rear tires should always be matched, especially in the winter, again regardless of driveline type.

Tough puzzle you've had built for you !
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Old 01-10-2014, 07:03 AM
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galahad05 galahad05 is online now
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Honestly, I don't want to...but I'm thinking of simply ditching my nearly-brand-new front winters to match the AS/3s. According to all the reviews I've read, these AS/3s are incredible in the dry (even cold) and do very well for all-seasons in snow.
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Old 01-10-2014, 08:39 AM
jayb328i jayb328i is offline
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Originally Posted by Zooks527 View Post
Jeez, that's a hell of a mix!

Typically, if you have 2 snows and 2 A/S, the snows go on the back, regardless of RWD/FWD/AWD. But your rear tires should always be matched, especially in the winter, again regardless of driveline type.

Tough puzzle you've had built for you !
WHAT.........I was always under the impression that it is best to have Snows on ALL wheels of the BMW. Not sure where I read that the snows having a different gripping coefficient than the A/S (or summer) could cause an unstable condition in emergency handling of car.
Seems logical to me that since Winter/Snow tires grip differently than non-winter, I only want the same type of tire (snow) on all wheels.
But having different tires on the same axle is just pure dangerous, whether it is size or snow vs non-snow.
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Old 01-10-2014, 08:52 AM
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Zooks527 Zooks527 is offline
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Originally Posted by jayb328i View Post
WHAT.........I was always under the impression that it is best to have Snows on ALL wheels of the BMW. Not sure where I read that the snows having a different gripping coefficient than the A/S (or summer) could cause an unstable condition in emergency handling of car.
Seems logical to me that since Winter/Snow tires grip differently than non-winter, I only want the same type of tire (snow) on all wheels.
But having different tires on the same axle is just pure dangerous, whether it is size or snow vs non-snow.
You're correct. It is always better to have 4 snows than 2 snows in the winter.

However, you'll get people who only do two. In that case, they should be on the back, regardless of driveline type (for that matter, if there's any difference around the corners, your "best" tires should always be in the back, regardless of season, driveline, or tire type). You should always have more grip in the back than in the front, to avoid having the rear end decide it wants to pass the front in a cornering / braking situation.

Different styles of tires on the same axle make an even more interesting case, as you note.
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Old 01-10-2014, 09:04 AM
jayb328i jayb328i is offline
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Originally Posted by Zooks527 View Post
You're correct. It is always better to have 4 snows than 2 snows in the winter.

However, you'll get people who only do two. In that case, they should be on the back, regardless of driveline type (for that matter, if there's any difference around the corners, your "best" tires should always be in the back, regardless of season, driveline, or tire type). You should always have more grip in the back than in the front, to avoid having the rear end decide it wants to pass the front in a cornering / braking situation.

Different styles of tires on the same axle make an even more interesting case, as you note.
I do not even consider mixing different bands of the same type tire on the same axle, or tires with different grove patterns, or different wear. I know many people do, I do not.
Guess that if the tires were NEW--and I could not get the identical tire as a replacement--perhaps I would use another brand if the grove pattern was similar----but never a different type tire.
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Old 01-11-2014, 12:01 AM
hemismith hemismith is offline
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Originally Posted by mossman35 View Post
I usually make the trip (5 hours) to NY Fall, Winter and Spring (Easter). I can tell you some Easters it is below 40 the entire way and some Easters it has been over 70 degrees!! I can tell you 70 degrees with winter tires going 80 mph on 87 is no fun. The car feels close to unsafe. Problem is, I have also gone down to NY on a Friday, temps 70's and come back early Monday morning with temps below 32. I am screwed no matter what tire I choose unless I keep another set of all seasons.. seems crazy.
I usually go from Utah to CA at Christmas and have the same problem/dilemma.
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Old 01-11-2014, 12:08 AM
hemismith hemismith is offline
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Originally Posted by floydarogers View Post
If you've ever driven summer tires on cold or snowy roads, you'd know it's not "old school". It can be bright and sunny with the road surface above 40 degrees, then BAM you're in the shade with the road surface below freezing. Believe me, I've driven summer tires, starting out at 50 degrees perfectly fine, then gone over passes with snow and 30 degree road surfaces and been scared spitless. Not something you want to experience.

All-season tires are ok in colder weather, but their tread (or lack thereof) won't do in anything but the lightest snow, and not on compact snow or ice. Did you ever wonder why you see SUV's and 4WD pickups in the ditch during the winter? The reason is that they seem to believe that their M+S all season tires are the cats' meow, but the reality is that they are not designed for compact snow and ice.

Yes, rubber including snow tire rubber get less flexible when cold, but the tread design and rubber of snow tires (with the snowflake, not M+S) does much better. You better believe that the Ice Road Truckers have snow tires and not all-seasons on their rigs. There's a reason that performance snow tires like the Pilot Alpine and others exist - snow traction with good dry-road performance.
By "old school" I meant I was referring to the thought that winter tires are only for snow/ice. They are called winter tires now instead of snow tires, because supposedly you should use them when it's cold even if there isn't any snow/ice. There is no question that they are better on snow/ice; my question is at what temps should you use them even where there is no snow/ice. Sorry I wasn't clear. And my question is mainly in relation to all-seasons; summer tires definitely aren't for any type of winter conditions at all.

Yeah, I see lots of trucks with mud tires that are horrible in snow/ice.
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Old 01-11-2014, 12:10 AM
hemismith hemismith is offline
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Originally Posted by hondo402000 View Post
Well seems you need about 4 sets of wheels and tires, Summer, All season, Winter only and studded tires, that should cover it

seems their is not the all around perfect tire is there
Can't I just put one of each type on each corner and be covered all year?
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