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Twigman

Which winter tyre?

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I suppose I am thinking ahead.

This year my winter car (Mazda6estate) was written off. This leaves the GT86 as my only car, for now. I live in an area that always suffers worse winter weather than the surrounding area. They call my part of town 'Little Siberia'. We have lots of hills and I must navigate fairly steep hills to get anywhere. I also have a very steeply sloping driveway - so steep that lowering the car is out of the question! So I am looking to stick the 17s back on at the end of October through to March and looking to equip them with some winter tyres which might keep me mobile throughout, even when the snow falls -and it will.

So which winter tyres work best? I'm not bothered about longevity as they've only got to get through the winter - I'm prepared to replace them every year.

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If you don't track/drift, winter tires not used through summer (when soft rubber compound in wrong season will make them wear faster) will last long as any normal tires. Normally only for daily driving used tires usually last for me 3 seasons easily.

I guess, you want non-studded and normal winter tires, not ones for soft euro winters, which are closer to all-seasons.

I guess, most of top winter tires in most roundups, like michelin x-ice xi3, bridgestone blizzak ws80, nokian hakkapeliita r2, should do well. I'd probably choose no wider then stock, maybe even narrower, eg. 205/50/R17, if used on stock wheels. My own choice was getting R16 wheels for winter though. Tires are often noticeably cheaper, one can find even narrower sized tires for 16" & extra sidewall helps with rim protection over worse roads/potholes.

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My Winters have probably covered about 10k miles by now and they've still got plenty of life in them, despite me exploiting their fun characteristics. Performance gets extra squiffy above about 10 degrees and that's my guide for when they come off in spring, i.e. when the morning temperature is consistently warm.

Irrespective of tyre choice, if you've got slopes to climb you might have to resort to Sierra tuning, i.e. heavy stuff in the boot.

Depending on how bad your roads get, you might also go all-season with some snow socks if things get wild. Your driving experience will be much better most of the time that way. Mud+snow tyres are very impressive in the wet, but they're often wooly in the dry.

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This will be on OEM 17" rims - I'm not going to buy yet another set of wheels.

Snow traction is probably my #1 priority as getting on and off my drive in the snow is a bastard.

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Proper snow tires do well on snow without studs (soft compound + lot of small sipes in thread). If you see also lot of ice or do trackdays on ice tracks, and it's legal in country i'd think of studded. Studs won't help on snow though.

Definitely not fan of adding weight. It may increase a bit pressure on contact patch, but also adds mass inertia to counter when accelerating/braking/turning. In rare cases when grip of current tires need some extra (usually always fitting good proper winter tires at winter season), from hacks one can try rather temporary let out some air pressure from tires.

Imho if traction is insufficient without adding weight, main issue is because of too wide tires for car weight. Which might be often the case, if stock size choice might be sporty/summer oriented or even more so owner applies to winter tire sizing same thinking as for summer ones, going too wide, maybe even wider then stock, as result making car/tires snow-plane over snow slush, not pushing through to grippier pavement beneath. Wide tires can add grip in winter too .. but on tarmac. On actual snow & ice - a bit different story. Cars of common 1.5t weight do well on 215 wide tires. Imho 215 is a bit too wide for 1.2t our cars weight, with 195 being more optimal. Most 17" winter tires start from 205 though, so that's what i would go with on stock wheels (with upping profile height one notch 45>50 to compensate width change).

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30 minutes ago, Church said:

 Most 17" winter tires start from 205 though, so that's what i would go with on stock wheels (with upping profile height one notch 45>50 to compensate width change).

Very few seem to be @205 - and 205/50 even rarer.

After reading various reviews I am tempted by

Kleber Krisalp HP 3
215/45 R17 91V

https://www.mytyres.co.uk/cgi-bin/rshop.pl?dsco=110&typ=R-342843&partner=1&ID=psm_rd_uk_tyrereviews&Country=UK

or

Kleber Krisalp HP 3
205/50 R17 93V

https://www.mytyres.co.uk/cgi-bin/rshop.pl?dsco=110&typ=R-342908&partner=1&ID=psm_rd_uk_tyrereviews&Country=UK

Has anyone tried these?

 

 

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Twigman: might be local shop offering specific. Here in LV i can easily find online Xi3, WS80, R2 in 205/50R17 size. Of course what i'm actually buying are for my 16" winter wheels, but i see those sizes for 17 offered too.

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34 minutes ago, 86iain said:

 

Been driving nearly 20 years and never had a problem.

I've been driving 37 years and never had a problem until I moved to where I live now (in 2011). Now, every year, I wish I'd fitted winters. Getting into and out of the estate I live on doesn''t happen if you're on summer tyres and there's been a light dusting of snow and the temp is sub-zero.

 

years ago when I had a Triumph Spitfire I used to go out in the snow and deliberately do 360s on the Watford ring road in the snow....155 wide(narrow) tyres helped

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I'd happily recommend the Nokian WRA3 or the newer WRA4's. I ran them on both my previous car and on the 86 and they're excellent tyres which seem we'll suited to the UK climate during Winter. 

I also did the CAT driver training day on them in 30° heat and, while totally out of their comfort zone, they were actually pretty good for that too. 

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It snows a lot where I live, but the whole thing only lasts for two weeks otherwise being very wet throughout winter.  For that, the Goodyear Vector 4Seasons in 215 size on stock wheels is outstanding in those conditions and got me up a nasty incline in our lane which had me stranded the winter before.

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I've taken the plunge and will have a set of Dunlop Winter Sport5 215/45-17 tyres fitted to my OEM rims on Monday.

They'll sit in the warehouse here at work until the time is right to swap 'em over.

 

 

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