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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
TireRack "Studless Ice/Snow" vs. "Performance Snow" Tires in SoCal

I agree with people who say "There is no best tire; it depends on the situation", so here's my situation:

I live in LA, where it's perfectly fine to use summer performance tires all year round. As much as I'd like to go more often, I only go snowboarding a few times per year. When I do go to the mountains (115 miles to Big Bear, 350 miles to Tahoe), all but the last 10 miles or so are on perfectly clear, dry, and warm (temps around 50-75F) roads. In fact, driving up to Tahoe, I'm generally be able to safely drive around 80-90 mph most of the way.

However, the last 10 miles on summer performance tires can sometimes be perfectly fine... or downright scary. And, I'll never know which it's going to be at the moment I leave my house.

My options:
  1. Continue to use Summer tires: I've done this for years in my previous cars, and have never had an accident. But, as I get older, more cautious, and own more expensive cars, this idea doesn't appeal to me so much.
  2. Rent an SUV. I've done this a couple of times. The problem is that I LOVE my car. I also hate having to drive 700 miles roundtrip in some lame SUV on a clear open road when I have an M3 in the garage.
  3. Buy a 2nd set of wheels/tires that I ONLY swap on for a trip, and then immediately go back to my regular tires. This means I'll be buying a set to only use for about 6 days per year - not the wisest use of $$

If I go with Option 3, I'm looking for the cheapest tires that do the job well. Long term wear doesn't matter too much, since I won't be doing that many miles on them.

The cheapest tires in the "snow" category that will work for me are the Blizzak WS60 ($600 after rebate) but are "Studless Ice/Snow" tires vs. the cheapest "Performance Snow" is around $750 after rebate.

Given my driving situation, should I buy the V-rated Performance Snow tires vs. the R-rated (max 99mph) Snow/Ice tires. Will the warm weather of SoCal cause the Snow/Ice tires to perform poorly or show extreme wear? Or, since I'm only putting the snow/ice tires on for the days I need them, is it actually better to have the best possible snow/ice traction vs. Performance Snow tires, since they are maybe made for people who need them every day?
 

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#3 would be what I would do in your case. While it may seem odd at first to get a separate setup for such limited use, the benefits to you may be worth it (enjoying your car, saving $ from renting an SUV, etc...). Plus given their limited use, you could use them for many years to come. If you sell the car, the wheels will still have some residual resale value as well.

The argument could be made either way in regards to going with the WS60s versus a performance snow tire and much of this choice will boil down to personal preference. I will add that I've driven on WS-60s for long trips and even a couple of times in warmer temps. The highway stability at 90MPH is not dangerous but not exactly what I'd call fun. Since one of your goals was enjoying the drive rather than just maximum snow traction, you may want to lean toward a performance winter tire for your situation. They will have better highway stability, handling, longer wear given the conditions you'll be putting them through, and they will be far superior to any summer or all season tire for those last 10 miles of driving.

Winter http://www.tirerack.com/a.jsp?a=AB2&url=/winter/index.jsp
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Gary, thank you for your response. My fiancee brought up another question this morning that I hope you can answer.

If I buy the 18x8 non-staggered wheels and run 235/40 R18 snow tires on my 2009 M3, would I also be able to use that set up on her 2008 335? My roof rack is compatible as well, but since her car is a lease w/ spare miles, we might want to use her car sometimes rather than mine.

Do you think the wheels would fit her car too?

Thanks,
Ruban
 

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If you're concerned about traction on cold pavement, problem option 3 is best. If you're only concerned once you're in actual snow or ice, get some tire cables. They're a PITA, but will give you by far the best snow performance for the lowest price.

The PZero Nero may also be a good option. I don't drive my 3 in the snow, but do drive it in cold dry weather quite a bit. I'm reluctant to give up the summer performance though so am looking for a performance summer tire that doesn't turn into formica when it gets cold.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I'm not concerned so much about cold weather on dry pavement, but I do want to be able to steer (which chains won't help so much). Also, I don't think chains work so well on the stock 19" wheels (clearance and simple availability), so that solution may require a second set of wheels anyway...
 

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Honestly 6 days a year I'd just rent a decent car. Swapping wheels on and off is a PITA and certainly takes at least as much time as picking up/dropping off a rental car.
IMHO, the swap of 1 wheel only takes about 10 minutes for a normal person. You would figure that with the added efficiency of doing 4 times, it wouldn't even take 40 minutes...

I can do it in the privacy of my own garage in 25-30 minutes and save the 60-70 bucks that a mechanic might charge me...

That's something to chew on...
 

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I agree with people who say "There is no best tire; it depends on the situation", so here's my situation:

I live in LA, where it's perfectly fine to use summer performance tires all year round. As much as I'd like to go more often, I only go snowboarding a few times per year. When I do go to the mountains (115 miles to Big Bear, 350 miles to Tahoe), all but the last 10 miles or so are on perfectly clear, dry, and warm (temps around 50-75F) roads. In fact, driving up to Tahoe, I'm generally be able to safely drive around 80-90 mph most of the way.

However, the last 10 miles on summer performance tires can sometimes be perfectly fine... or downright scary. And, I'll never know which it's going to be at the moment I leave my house.

My options:
  1. Continue to use Summer tires: I've done this for years in my previous cars, and have never had an accident. But, as I get older, more cautious, and own more expensive cars, this idea doesn't appeal to me so much.
  2. Rent an SUV. I've done this a couple of times. The problem is that I LOVE my car. I also hate having to drive 700 miles roundtrip in some lame SUV on a clear open road when I have an M3 in the garage.
  3. Buy a 2nd set of wheels/tires that I ONLY swap on for a trip, and then immediately go back to my regular tires. This means I'll be buying a set to only use for about 6 days per year - not the wisest use of $$

If I go with Option 3, I'm looking for the cheapest tires that do the job well. Long term wear doesn't matter too much, since I won't be doing that many miles on them.

The cheapest tires in the "snow" category that will work for me are the Blizzak WS60 ($600 after rebate) but are "Studless Ice/Snow" tires vs. the cheapest "Performance Snow" is around $750 after rebate.

Given my driving situation, should I buy the V-rated Performance Snow tires vs. the R-rated (max 99mph) Snow/Ice tires. Will the warm weather of SoCal cause the Snow/Ice tires to perform poorly or show extreme wear? Or, since I'm only putting the snow/ice tires on for the days I need them, is it actually better to have the best possible snow/ice traction vs. Performance Snow tires, since they are maybe made for people who need them every day?
sorry to revive a long-dead thread, but CliffJumper, I gotta know- did you end up going with a dedicated winter tire?

Planning on a BMW someday, but for now, I've got a WRX, and I'm thinking about making that long, warm drive up from socal to tahoe with winter tires as well and I'm wondering how you fared if you ended up going with option #3.

Assuming you did, how was the tire wear? I can handle it wearing twice as fast as normal since they won't see many miles anyway, but probably not 5-10 times as fast.

Were the tires so squirmy they felt unsafe on the highway? I'm a little worried about those warm temps + the tires warming up further from hours of driving.

Thanks for any help you can offer!
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
sorry to revive a long-dead thread, but CliffJumper, I gotta know- did you end up going with a dedicated winter tire?

Planning on a BMW someday, but for now, I've got a WRX, and I'm thinking about making that long, warm drive up from socal to tahoe with winter tires as well and I'm wondering how you fared if you ended up going with option #3.

Assuming you did, how was the tire wear? I can handle it wearing twice as fast as normal since they won't see many miles anyway, but probably not 5-10 times as fast.

Were the tires so squirmy they felt unsafe on the highway? I'm a little worried about those warm temps + the tires warming up further from hours of driving.

Thanks for any help you can offer!
Yup, went w/ option 3 and now sold them.
http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/showthread.php?t=336577
http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/showthread.php?t=652265

They were great, and I have no regrets. The type of tires I had were called "performance winter" and they worked quite well. Performance Winter tires are one step below regular winter tires, so they're slightly harder. The bad part is that they also have a minor decrease in performance. The good part is that they wear much better. Moreover, if you're someone who likes to minimize their driving time by going up I-5 at 80-100mph (which I wouldn't do, of course, because I'm a law-abiding citizen :angel:), regular winter tires won't let you do that. I only need the winter performance for the last 20 or less miles out of a 350+ mile drive.

You'll notice that I also had to get cables (mainly b/c they were required rather than needing them while driving), and I highly recommend the SuperZ6 cables that I got. They require very little clearance and go one pretty quickly.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
IMHO, the swap of 1 wheel only takes about 10 minutes for a normal person. You would figure that with the added efficiency of doing 4 times, it wouldn't even take 40 minutes...

I can do it in the privacy of my own garage in 25-30 minutes and save the 60-70 bucks that a mechanic might charge me...

That's something to chew on...
Yup, that's what I did w/ my snow tires. Put them on before after a weekend trip. And even if I was too lazy to do it immediately, I'd just drive around town with them until the following weekend. The wear wasn't too bad.
 

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Yup, went w/ option 3 and now sold them.
http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/showthread.php?t=336577
http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/showthread.php?t=652265

They were great, and I have no regrets. The type of tires I had were called "performance winter" and they worked quite well. Performance Winter tires are one step below regular winter tires, so they're slightly harder. The bad part is that they also have a minor decrease in performance. The good part is that they wear much better. Moreover, if you're someone who likes to minimize their driving time by going up I-5 at 80-100mph (which I wouldn't do, of course, because I'm a law-abiding citizen :angel:), regular winter tires won't let you do that. I only need the winter performance for the last 20 or less miles out of a 350+ mile drive.

You'll notice that I also had to get cables (mainly b/c they were required rather than needing them while driving), and I highly recommend the SuperZ6 cables that I got. They require very little clearance and go one pretty quickly.
Thanks for the reply! This has put my mind at ease a bit. I picked up a set of Michelin X-Ice Xi3's, which are studless ice and snow tires- i didn't realize there was a separate group of snow tires called performance winter until after I had received the michelins! I had done some pretty extensive research too, not sure how i missed that.

I guess I should be okay though, as I plan on going 70-75 the whole way up the 5.

I actually already have 2 sets of the SuperZ6 cables sized for my 235 summer tires, but they technically don't fit my thinner 215 winters, so I may end up having to buy another set! (although, the thinner winter tires may mean more clearance, allowing me to use cheaper, less thin chains...hmmm)

The whole reason I sprang for winter tires was because I absolutely hate driving 20mph in chains, having to pull over at every single turnout to let a dozen or so cars go by up outside of kirkwood. Big bear is not so bad since everyone uses chains, but tahoe, everyone seems to have winters (at least all the subies outside of kirkwood do).

Also, the clearances on the WRX are extremely small in the rear wheel wells, so I'm worried that I'm doing damage to something when I use them for too long. On good snow days in big bear, rare as they are, the snow levels come down to ~6-7K ft elevation, generally mean having to use chains for 30 miles or so!

Sorry for the stream-of-consciousness style reply-probably more than you wanted to read- thank you again for the info!
 

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E39 owner needs winter tire/chain info

Looking for some advice re: chains and/or tires. I drive an 00 528i w/OEM sport suspension - I live in SoCal and would like to do some travel to the Eastern Sierras, potentially as far as Tahoe (via 395) - maybe 2-3 trips per winter season.

I own two sets of wheels/tires-
- 235/45/17 Conti DW (summer tires) - these are on the car year round.
- 225/55/16 Yoko YK580 (all season)- no longer in use

What can you guys recommend?

Any experience with these chains:
Thule Self-Tensioning, Low-Profile Snow Tire Chains - Diamond Pattern - D Link - CG9 - Size 100

Thanks/Bill
 
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