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Do I really need winter tires?


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So, here I find myself in between winter and spring in need of new tires. I've never used winter tires on my other cars opting for "all season performance tires," but, I think it's probably not the thing to do with the Boxster. I drive my 05 Boxster at least once or twice a week during the winter, but, never in the snow.

Now, I know that the high performance winter tires, such as the Michelin Pilot Sport PS2s, often state that they are not designed to operate at "near-freezing" temperatures, but, just how much does it matter? Do I really need to get winter tires and then in a few months another set of summer tires? Can I just get the Michelins and not drive like a crazy person in the cold or are they going to implode?

If the answer is yes, you need to get a set of winter AND summer tires, I have another question. How do you guys manage the two sets of tires? I mean, do you keep two sets of rims with mounted tires and jack up the car twice a year in your garage to change them yourselves? Do you just have two sets of tires (one set of rims) and lug them to a tire place/dealer twice a year to have them put one? Seems like a ton of trouble.

Thanks in advance,

Jason

Edited by jfoxny
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Jason,

My advice for summer (performance) tires in winter season temps (less than 40 deg or so)

is DEFINITELY DON'T!!! Even in the DRY, summer tires won't grip well if the temp is at freezing

or below. I once purchased an M3 in Jan, and had to drive around for a few days with

the Michelin Pilots (Z-rated summer hi-perf). It was around freezing (sometimes below at night,

so the roadways get cold), and driving around (EVEN IN THE DRY) was scary! The car

would lose grip under mild throttle (in 3rd gear) tiptoeing around on-ramps.

I think the answer to whether you need dedicated winter tires depends on several

things: 1) where do you live (ie. how much snow do you see); 2) even if you don't PLAN to drive in

the snow, what is the likelihood that you could get caught needing to drive home in snow/freezing rain/icy conditions.

If any of the above are true, then you should seriously consider winter tires.

having said that, if you live in mid-latitudes (milder winters), it is certainly reasonable to me

to use all-seasons. All-seasons are a compromise (by design), so don't expect race-car grip

during the summer (or any time), but they won't go away quite as dramatically as summer

tires do below 40 deg.

Hope this helps.

- Sanjeev

PS: I've used all-seasons quite happily on my M3 and 911 (996 C2, currently Mich Pilot A/S Plus)) for winter driving

in the Boston-area for several years, without any real issues. I do try to avoid driving it during storms, but the roads are

generally well-cleared within hrs of a storm around here, and I'm OK for the occasional light snow.

IF I needed to depend on this car for

any-time use including regular snow driving, however, I would definitely get winter tires.

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sanjeev explained it very well. The Boxster is excellent in cold weather even on icey roads but only with winter tires.

Get 2 sets of rims with Winter tires on one set and Summer performance tires on the other. I bought a used set of rims with new winter tires from another party for $600 plus shipping. Check the Mass. Craigslist sites out. They have good stuff for winter driving at great prices.

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I live in Southern California near the coast, so cold to me is under 45 degrees. We went to dinner in the canyons one night in December a few years ago, driving my Boxster with Michelin PS tires. When we came out, the temperature was 32 degrees. The handling and traction was noticeably worse than when we drove to dinner, but improved considerably as we went down the canyon and the temperature warmed up (within a distance of about 10 miles). I never believed temperature made that much difference with tires and handling until I experienced it first hand

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I pretty much do the same as sanjeev with the same results except I'm running Continental ContiExtremeContact tires. BTW, these tires are being phased out and Conti has introduced the Extreme Contact DWS series -- the reviews at Tire Rack for these tires are very good.

Regards,

paul...

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I think the answer to whether you need dedicated winter tires depends on several

things: 1) where do you live (ie. how much snow do you see); 2) even if you don't PLAN to drive in

the snow, what is the likelihood that you could get caught needing to drive home in snow/freezing rain/icy conditions.

If any of the above are true, then you should seriously consider winter tires.

PS: I've used all-seasons quite happily on my M3 and 911 (996 C2, currently Mich Pilot A/S Plus)) for winter driving

in the Boston-area for several years, without any real issues. I do try to avoid driving it during storms, but the roads are

generally well-cleared within hrs of a storm around here, and I'm OK for the occasional light snow.

IF I needed to depend on this car for any-time use including regular snow driving, however, I would definitely get winter tires.

Thanks for the response. I live not too far away from you in upstate New York and as you probably know we see our share of inclement weather here (though not much this year :-/). Based on your response and the responses of others, it sounds like trying to squeak by with summer tires in light winter driving is a bad idea as our temperatures regularly fall below freezing.

Regarding all season tires, I noticed on TireRack.com that none of the "all season" tires that fit the Boxster are "Porsche Rated," i.e., N0, N1, etc. The high performance summer and winter tires are Porsche rated, but not the all seasons (at least from what I saw). Does it really matter?

Thanks again,

Jason

PS - Do you use your Pilot A/S Plus tires in the summer too, i.e., all-year-round, or do you swap them out. If you do swap them out, do you have two sets of rims and do it yourself or do you lug the tires to tire place/dealer in a separate car (a set of tires won't fit in a 911 or a Boxster) and have them swap them out?

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Get 2 sets of rims with Winter tires on one set and Summer performance tires on the other. I bought a used set of rims with new winter tires from another party for $600 plus shipping. Check the Mass. Craigslist sites out. They have good stuff for winter driving at great prices.

Thanks for the response. Quick question, do you change out your wheels yourself, i.e. jack up the car in the garage twice a year, or do you bring them somewhere?

The problem I see with having two sets of rims and/or tires is that you can't transport them in the Boxster, so, unless you're changing them out yourself it seems like a major pain in the neck as you need a second car to bring the tires/wheels with you. Like I said, I've never used winter tires before on any of my cars, so, perhaps it's just par for the course, but, it seems like a lot of trouble. Are there places that will keep tires/rims for you in a "locker" so you can just pull in when the seasons change and have them slap them on? Seems like it would be a nice feature for people who drive sports cars like Porsches.

Thanks again,

Jason

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my logic is simple: Do you have storage for a set of tires ? If yes get good winter and good summer set. You are not loosing any money on tires as one has to change them every 20k or thereabouts anyway (so unless you change your car more frequently than tires you will use more than one set). M&S or all season a still crap in deep snow and will wear off faster in the summer.

my driving is in hot summer and cold/snowy winter

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Here's my 2 cents. I drove my 06 on PS2's this winter when it was in the 20's, and didn't find it unsafe at all. Yes, below 40 they have much decreased traction, but still more than a Toyota Camry, you just have to corner a bit slower. Though I do make sure the roads are dry, and not damp or "frosty", at lower temperatures.

Having said that, I plan on buying a spare set of wheels for snow tires at some point, to extend the usable driving season.

Steve

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\ have Michelin Pilot Alpin PA2 on my 987, they are first class for cold weather driving.

This year have driven down to -21c.

Thanks for the response. I think I'm going to get the same tires. The old version of the Alpin are on clearance now at TireRack.com. I think I'll also get a second set of rims. TireRack's own Sport Edition Cup 4 rims look good and people who have purchased them seem to like them from what Google tells me. :-) Anyone have any experience with them?

Thanks,

Jason

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