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winter tire recommendations


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Hi all,

In the colder months, I run a set of 225/40-18 front, 265/35-18 back Boxster S rims on my 1999 C2. I purchased them with Kumho Ecsta ASX all-season tires, which are the popular budget all-season Boxster tire option. The rears have worn down to a point where, while I trust them in the dry and light rain, I'm a little skeptical about their traction in heavier rain.

I live in northern Nevada where the weather is mostly dry, but the temperatures get cold, so traction in the 10-70 degree weather range is important. The tires need to be able to occasionally handle moderate wet roads. As far as snow goes, I have a Nissan Xterra which I drive whenever the weather report predicts snow, but there is that rare time where a light dusting may occur while I am working that I will need to drive in. So far, that hasn't happened in my 911, but it did in my previous Boxster. That said, a majority of the miles put on the tires will be in 30-60 degree dry weather, and two major drawbacks that I have experienced in the past from winter tires are significantly reduced traction and tire life.

The front tires still have good traction, and thus the rear tires would be paired with Kumho Ecsta ASXs in the front. I have been happy with the Kumho Ecsta ASXs, but given that tires are significantly cheaper than a potential accident, I'd rather pay more for a better tire as insurance should the better tire be justified.

So, my question is whether to go with a winter tire such as the Bridgestone Blizzak LM-60, go with an all-season tire such as the Michelin Pilot Sport A/S 3, or less likely, stick with the "not broken" Kumho Ecsta ASX? Does anyone have experience with the Bridgestone Blizzak LM-60? If so, how is the dry weather performance and tire wear? Does anyone have experience with the Michelin Pilot Sport A/S 3? If so, how do they behave in wet weather and low temperatures? I'm open to other tire options, but would prefer that they be available through TireRack as their distribution center is twenty miles outside of Reno so I can support a local (to me) business, and they even drop tires off to my local independent Porsche shop that doesn't mark their prices up should they mount and balance them.

And, yes, I should have gotten a C4 to begin with, but I love my C2 and I seriously doubt my girl will let me buy another 996 unless it's an automatic cabriolet. :(

Thank you,

Jason Stern

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Hi all,

In the colder months, I run a set of 225/40-18 front, 265/35-18 back Boxster S rims on my 1999 C2. I purchased them with Kumho Ecsta ASX all-season tires, which are the popular budget all-season Boxster tire option. The rears have worn down to a point where, while I trust them in the dry and light rain, I'm a little skeptical about their traction in heavier rain.

I live in northern Nevada where the weather is mostly dry, but the temperatures get cold, so traction in the 10-70 degree weather range is important. The tires need to be able to occasionally handle moderate wet roads. As far as snow goes, I have a Nissan Xterra which I drive whenever the weather report predicts snow, but there is that rare time where a light dusting may occur while I am working that I will need to drive in. So far, that hasn't happened in my 911, but it did in my previous Boxster. That said, a majority of the miles put on the tires will be in 30-60 degree dry weather, and two major drawbacks that I have experienced in the past from winter tires are significantly reduced traction and tire life.

The front tires still have good traction, and thus the rear tires would be paired with Kumho Ecsta ASXs in the front. I have been happy with the Kumho Ecsta ASXs, but given that tires are significantly cheaper than a potential accident, I'd rather pay more for a better tire as insurance should the better tire be justified.

So, my question is whether to go with a winter tire such as the Bridgestone Blizzak LM-60, go with an all-season tire such as the Michelin Pilot Sport A/S 3, or less likely, stick with the "not broken" Kumho Ecsta ASX? Does anyone have experience with the Bridgestone Blizzak LM-60? If so, how is the dry weather performance and tire wear? Does anyone have experience with the Michelin Pilot Sport A/S 3? If so, how do they behave in wet weather and low temperatures? I'm open to other tire options, but would prefer that they be available through TireRack as their distribution center is twenty miles outside of Reno so I can support a local (to me) business, and they even drop tires off to my local independent Porsche shop that doesn't mark their prices up should they mount and balance them.

And, yes, I should have gotten a C4 to begin with, but I love my C2 and I seriously doubt my girl will let me buy another 996 unless it's an automatic cabriolet. :(

Thank you,

Jason Stern

I think you answered your own question..if you only ever see a dusting at most, all seasons and proper driving should be enough. A Blizzak would certainly work, but sounds like over kill in your situation.

These might be a good option - http://www.tirerack.com/tires/tires.jsp?tireMake=Continental&tireModel=ExtremeContact+DWS

Edited by BAD124
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I think you answered your own question..if you only ever see a dusting at most, all seasons and proper driving should be enough. A Blizzak would certainly work, but sounds like over kill in your situation.

These might be a good option - http://www.tirerack.com/tires/tires.jsp?tireMake=Continental&tireModel=ExtremeContact+DWS

Given the presence of a winter vehicle for winter driving, I would prefer all-seasons. But there's a saying that all-season tires are really no season tires, which has a lot of validity should someone own only a single vehicle. Obviously, I love driving my 996 significantly more than my Xterra, so I like to drive it as much as safely possible. While I have gotten along fine recently in Nevada with all-seasons and a second 4WD vehicle, my main concern is really the tires losing grip in low temperature situations. The obvious solution would be to avoid any spirited driving, but if I could do that, I probably would have bought one of those Honda Corollas people rave about.

Regarding those Continental tires I actually run Continental tires on both of my streetbikes. While they lack the grip of the Dunlop and Pirellis they replaced, they more than exceeded the grip necessary for any reasonable riding on public streets, although they aren't confidence inspiring in the wet. Serviceable, even in one surprise flash flood level rain, but not confidence inspiring. I have no experience with them on cars, though. They seem rather expensive for what they are. Have you tried a pair? doodon2whls's comment in http://oppositelock.jalopnik.com/who-is-the-best-tire-manufacturer-1170466144 honestly has me leaning towards Michelins, but I honestly suspect that having a rear-wheel drive, rear-weight oriented car slightly skews some of the street tire performance metrics and testing...

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I think you answered your own question..if you only ever see a dusting at most, all seasons and proper driving should be enough. A Blizzak would certainly work, but sounds like over kill in your situation.

These might be a good option - http://www.tirerack.com/tires/tires.jsp?tireMake=Continental&tireModel=ExtremeContact+DWS

Given the presence of a winter vehicle for winter driving, I would prefer all-seasons. But there's a saying that all-season tires are really no season tires, which has a lot of validity should someone own only a single vehicle. Obviously, I love driving my 996 significantly more than my Xterra, so I like to drive it as much as safely possible. While I have gotten along fine recently in Nevada with all-seasons and a second 4WD vehicle, my main concern is really the tires losing grip in low temperature situations. The obvious solution would be to avoid any spirited driving, but if I could do that, I probably would have bought one of those Honda Corollas people rave about.

Regarding those Continental tires I actually run Continental tires on both of my streetbikes. While they lack the grip of the Dunlop and Pirellis they replaced, they more than exceeded the grip necessary for any reasonable riding on public streets, although they aren't confidence inspiring in the wet. Serviceable, even in one surprise flash flood level rain, but not confidence inspiring. I have no experience with them on cars, though. They seem rather expensive for what they are. Have you tried a pair? doodon2whls's comment in http://oppositelock.jalopnik.com/who-is-the-best-tire-manufacturer-1170466144 honestly has me leaning towards Michelins, but I honestly suspect that having a rear-wheel drive, rear-weight oriented car slightly skews some of the street tire performance metrics and testing...

I dont know that you can compare sreetbike tires to car tires. Even if you could we are debating winter/AS here so motorcyle tires dont really fit.

If a tire is rated for being an all season then it has to stay pilable down to freezing temps, so the DWS should be fine for that. My impression was that you wanted to maintain at least some modicum of dry weather handling, so the A/S is going to be best for that. If you want that extra margin of safety then a full snow is best.

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Jason, I think you are looking at this backwards. How many days do you drive the Porsche that are below freezing? I suspect not many. Couldn't you just drive your X Terra on those days? If so, why not enjoy your Porsche to the max and put a set of REAL tires on it like say Michelin Pilot Super Sports. The only issue with max performance Summer tires is that they should not be driven below freezing as the tread compound gets too hard and wear increases rapidly. If you are concerned about wet traction Super Sports are UNBELIEVABLE!!

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The problem which arises with all-season tires is that the performance and handling of the car are not as good as summer tires at higher temps., and not as good as winter tires in winter conditions. The bottle is half full or half empty depending on your mindset, but never perfect. Just my opinion on that matter.

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This is somewhat of a loaded question, with a couple different ways of looking at it.

I generally subscribe to the notion that all season tires are "no season tires," as you just wind up with a tire that excels at nothing.

If it's winter traction, both in the cold AND snow, a dedicated winter tire is worlds ahead in terms of grip.

If it's winter traction on dry roads in the cold, a summer tire is not a good choice here. Below about 40 degrees you're just never going to get enough heat into a summer compound tire, and as the rubber is just too hard, traction suffers greatly. If you run into any moisture on the road, but especially actual snow, on summer tires, it's downright scary. Think 200 foot stops from 30 MPH.

Winter tires are not just for driving in the snow. Performance oriented winter tires are pretty **** decent on a cold, dry road, as their compounds are designed to work when cold. A performance all season tire isn't bad on cold, dry roads, and will feel much better on a day where it warms to 60 degrees, where even the performance winter tire starts getting a bit mushy, but if you run into any snow, are at a pretty big deficit compared to the real winter tire.

The LM-60 is quite good, but my favorite performance winter tire is the Dunlop Winter Sport M3 (which just recently become the M4).

You might consider the Continental DWS, which is a performance all season, if you can limit your driving only to colder temps but avoid driving in a snowstorm.

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I think you get what you pay for with Tires.

I would get Michelin A/S 3 if you have SOME winter driving you're doing.

For what it's worth I've actually TRACKED THE CAR with these A/S tires on and they were incredible and got 25,000 miles out of them.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O5VlRr5QQL0

Before I moved into a house with basically unlimited storage I had these on for year round use and perfectly good snow traction and unbelievable dry traction.

The Continental DWS have a known problem with weak sidewalls - I'd avoid them.

Edited by roadsession
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I used Blizzaks for four years in the winter. They are good in snow, but they are a bit "squishy" on dry pavement. This year, I switched to Pirelli Winter SnowSport 240 N3 tires. They are much better than the Blizzaks on cold, dry pavement.

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  • I ran Blizzak LM 22's on my Honda S2000 and while yes it could get thru snow it certainly didn't inspire any degree of confidence. Switched out to Blizzak WS 60's made ALL the difference. Like a tractor in snow but the tradeoff was pretty poor in dry conditions whereas the LM22's were quite good on dry pavement.

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  • I ran Blizzak LM 22's on my Honda S2000 and while yes it could get thru snow it certainly didn't inspire any degree of confidence. Switched out to Blizzak WS 60's made ALL the difference. Like a tractor in snow but the tradeoff was pretty poor in dry conditions whereas the LM22's were quite good on dry pavement.

I switched last winter to Vredestein Xtreme Trac - excellent in dry cold weather, and great in snow/ice.

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A good compromise winter tire that most people forget about, are the finnish Nokian WRG2 or WRG3 All-Weather tires. They retail for about $ 210. in Canada, likely much less in the US.

I'm on my 2nd set on my Volvo XC70 and they are a fantastic compromise for dry and wet/snow conditions. I use them all year around on the Volvo and the 1st set lasted me 52K kms. Not bad considering I didn't have to buy a set of winter tires and rims on my XC. Of course, I would not use them in the summer on a Porsche but for winter, they would be very apppropriate indeed, IMHO.

Extremely smooth and quiet on dry pavement and with excellent grip in snow of all types, even in comtemptible West Coast's wet snot.

Martin

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