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Expensive VS Cheap Winter Tyres

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
LaForet, here's my point. I am from Minnesota, 6th Gen. In a "good" winter - which people like myself look forward to, we experience an early start in November that goes till March, we (hopefully) get a solid eight weeks of below zero (Fahrenheit) weather, that's -20, -30, -40 plus, plus..... on the Celsius Scale, right up there with Manitoba, Upper Sweden, Finland, Siberia and Santa's Workshop. Always have your winter survival kit in the trunk! Seriously, 'specially if ya lives in da rurals.........

Back in the day snow tires were not fancy as many are today. Just big cleaty tires. Regardless, we ALWAYS have full chains custom fitted to those snow tires - old and new - "just in case............" By the time I was eight I could and did fully put on and take off chains. It IS a way of life. Again, "just in case...." And check this out......., a number of rural town in Minnesota, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, Northern Territories and upper Quebec are no stranger in a good winter to allowing select lakes to be driven upon as the county creates "roads" (routes) across the ice so people can cut down on distance and not have to drive the perimeter. Ya, we know winter. We're simple, stupid people and proud of same.

These days lots of fancy schmancy snow tires out there if one wants. And I'm sure the $$$$$$ fancy schmancy one's replete with magical chemical compound and tread design are, of course, the only intelligent and appropriate way to go. So I am wrong for being "old school" and going with "cheaper" snow tires. I stand rightfully corrected. Encore une fois..........., Mea culpas..............

Here are two classic "old school" offerings from the USA that we have used for well into nearly three decades. They are not fancy, I get them for about $58.00 USD (about one half to one third the cost of the pedigree fancy schmancy meats) and put them on our two, three cars. Two in Minnesota, the other in Colorady. We get them studded, of course. I have no idea if these brands - Cooper and Firestone are available in Europe, which includes England and for the record, I am steadfastly in favor of Brexit, but thatsa nuther story............

Anyway, inferior "old school", here you go and by the way, these churn through all manner of snow - up to the aforementioned "just in case" limit - like a meat grinder, and on ice.........., thank ya Jesus for the studs! Cause when y'all hit ice nuffin' is worf spit wifout studs. Oh, and we toss 'em when the tread depth is down by around 60%. But we do get some $$ mileage credit toward a new set.

https://www.1010tires.com/Tires/Reviews/Cooper/WEATHER-MASTER+S-T+2

https://www.1010tires.com/Tires/Reviews/Firestone/Winterforce
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
@arcsinice, nothing wrong with your experience there and I'd certainly like to spend a proper winter out there compared to that we get here.

Here's the really funny thing over here and in Europe though, many of the vehicles have the wheel rims so close to the suspension hardware that they can't even fit a chain through the gap. Well it would be funny if it didn't involve so much adaption for something that should be a simple part of winter driving if needed.

Choice in some cases is to change the rim size and width just so the winter tyre equipped vehicle can accept traction kit if needed! The manufacturers really haven't thought this through far enough.

Hence the focus and fascination in specific tyres to best adapt and safely travel in the prevailing conditions.

Add to that, many UK and peripheral European regions have no real need outside specific trips to the alps, meaning a general tyre with gradient / snow condition capability can be a good solution.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Wary as I am on sticking my head up for demolition on a winter tyre thread, I fear that some are looking too closely at the short winter section of the drive.

If I drive from the middle of the UK to (say) the French Alps, I will drive for about 850 miles. About 20 miles of that will be on mountainous roads at low temperature - the remainder being on fast roads at normal temperatures.

Irrespective of whether I am using winter, all season, or normal tyres, my concern must be about safety. The highest danger is of a tyre (of whichever sort) blowing out on a motorway at speed sending me out of control and killing me and my companions. A failure (probably of the driver) at low speeds is generally likely to be a matter of damage to the vehicle only.

So (again ignoring the winter/standard tyre difference) I would strongly advise against cheap tyres of unknown high speed capabilities. Buy the best you can, because the time it really matters is when you're steaming down a motorway without a care in the world rather than when you're climbing the mountain and aware that it's getting a bit slippy. A cheap winter tyre may be no good alongside a really good normal tyre in motorway circumstances and this is what actually matters.

None of the tests seems to look at the capability of cheap winter tyres at 130kph on the motorway. A decent test would look at the whole journey and analyse the likelihood of tyre failure (of grip, blowout, etc) along with the consequences of such failure.
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@arcsinice, Your winters sound like a winter should be Very Happy but studded tyres are not an option for probably 99% of the people on here. They are not allowed in several european countries, including Germany I think, and restricted in others anyway. Remember most people in the UK have generally the best part of a 1000mile motorway journey before catching sight of any snow, let alone driving on it. I have dista in Minnesota and was quite interested to see they have a ski area where you access it from the top, by road Laughing
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
@arcsinice, You can definitely get Cooper over here in Europe.
This is an All Season Tyre (AST) and is marked M+S, but then so are my underpants Smile
...avoid obvious reference to skid marks...

I have never had any issue with this type of tyre on the truck despite it not being 1: Premium, 2: 3PMSF ? (Whatever that means)

With big heavy beasts like this, you appreciate that traction is not just a function of the tyre tread pattern and compound, but the tyre pressure, the suspension, the choice of gear ( make sure that you are driving the wheels and not the other way round), the way you set the car up for corners (speed, trajectory, balance, bringing the weight over the driving wheels), working with your springs, timing of the delivery of the power, making momentum your friend and not your enemy.

IMHO, learning the basics of winter driving (which obviously runs through your veins) will improve your car's handling in the mountains more than spending an extra 30 quid on tyres.
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@WindOfChange,

3PMSF = 3 peaks mountain snowflake



From one of the tyre people :-

The introduction of a legal marking related to performance has made the identification of winter tires more simple. The "Alpine" symbol, or the three-peak-mountain with snowflake (‘3PMSF’) came into force in November 2012 under EU Regulation 661/2009 on the Safety of Motor Vehicles. The 3PMSF can only be used if a tire passes a minimum required performance on snow - the so called “snow grip index”.*
“Mud and Snow” (either marked as M+S, M.S or M&S) has been used to indicate winter tires for many years. Although M+S has a legal definition*, it is not related to minimum performance requirements but has been widely used by tire manufacturers to indicate winter products. M+S remains a permitted marking but while M+S tires have better snow traction than regular tires, they do not necessarily pass the legal snow grip threshold.

True winter tires, carrying both M+S and 3PSMF markings, make an important safety contribution in winter conditions, particularly for cars and vans. Goodyear EMEA* strongly recommends that cars and light commercial vehicles get fitted with four proper winter tires as the colder months approach. Indeed fitting M+S tires in the winter is obligatory in some European countries [see section below]. As legislation with the new marking progressively enters into force, national winter tire laws are likely to extend to tires with both the M+S and three peak snowflake symbols.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
@skitow, Thanks for that, I have never really understood the difference.
If I understand correctly then:
A M+S marked tyre made before Nov 2012 (pre 3PMSF) it is still considered a "Winter" tyre, whereas after that date it needs both markings to be a "Winter" tyre? Otherwise it's just an "All season".
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
@arcsinice, whilst you may not consider that Cooper tyre fancy or pricey the description is "The Weather-Master S/T 2™ is Cooper´s premium studdable winter passenger tire designed for drivers looking for excellent traction on snow and ice."
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 You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
WindOfChange wrote:
@skitow, Thanks for that, I have never really understood the difference.
If I understand correctly then:
A M+S marked tyre made before Nov 2012 (pre 3PMSF) it is still considered a "Winter" tyre, whereas after that date it needs both markings to be a "Winter" tyre? Otherwise it's just an "All season".


Agree with above. You can't always have a reasonable discussion on here without the tyre stasi smashing into you Toofy Grin I don't mean you La Forét, you enter into reasonable debate about this subject.

It's certainly coloured by terminology originated for current road cars predominantly as they put such huge singular season tyres on so many giving rise to the urgent need to adapt when faced with cold weather.

The M+S symbol has always technically meant "an open pattern, self clearing tread for harder surfaces, with compound formulation to give TREAD and CARCASS flex in cold temps" and would have no problem short of the need to use studs in predominantly ice condition. It always worked fine in that context. There is nothing wrong with it. Any correctly marked M+S tire should be able to exceed the requirements for 3PMSF testing as they'd always be above the control tyre performance (which as far as I can see is a single example) well last time I looked anyway.

The issue is clouded with the move to very low profile tyres, in that the carcasses become so stable (to give performance in high speed, high cornering load) that they no longer contribute to the whole tyres flex pattern needed to perform in cold temps and low surface grip. The only route remaining for the more extreme size is much move specialised tread compilation and compound to achieve the same aim.

The 3PMSF symbol is a bit of a security blanket for the uninterested consumer to judge at least a competent level has been reached, it offers a floor level of expected performance but there's plenty of room above that to exceed it. That's what competent comparisons should show us if they have any real value.
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 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
WindOfChange wrote:

Since we started using studs on the 2wd cars 8 years ago we have not used chains since.


I thought you could only use studded tyres on tarmac roads when they have a complete covering of snow (to avoid damage to both tyre & road). Have I got that wrong or are you predominantly off-road?
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 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
wanted to ask what are winter season tyre requirements in your countries.

I Lithuania it is quite stupid, in winter months (1st nov - 1st apr) it is forbidden to drive summer tyres. But not everything that isn't summer tyre is good for winter, for example north american all seasons, marked as M+S, but without 3PeaKMountainSnowFlake. They are rubish on snow and ice, but legal.

How it is in other countries? Are they requiring 3PMSF marked tyres, or only banning summer tyres?
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
Quote:

As already pointed out, it would be useful to have comparison with "summer" tyre as a control to let potential buyers see what improvement they could expect. That would give a better decision making foundation on which to judge.

One trouble is actually getting "summer" tyres. I saw an American article once advocating summer tyres over 40 degrees. It never gets that hot in the UK
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 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
kosmoz wrote:
wanted to ask what are winter season tyre requirements in your countries.

I Lithuania it is quite stupid, in winter months (1st nov - 1st apr) it is forbidden to drive summer tyres. But not everything that isn't summer tyre is good for winter, for example north american all seasons, marked as M+S, but without 3PeaKMountainSnowFlake. They are rubish on snow and ice, but legal.

How it is in other countries? Are they requiring 3PMSF marked tyres, or only banning summer tyres?

Short answer... it varies through Europe - in UK winters are not compulsory and not widely used. France not compulsory. Austria compulsory, etc.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Here's a review of all-season tyres but it includes both a 'summer' and a 'winter' tyre for reference http://www.tyrereviews.co.uk/Article/2019-Auto-Bild-All-Season-Tyre-Test.htm
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
According to this link (written in German) you can put spiked tyres on a vehicle in Austria from October to May (all wheels not just one axle, Max weight 3500kg). The Spikes can't extrude more than 2mm from the tyre. Speed Limits = 100 km/h Motorways, 80 km/h on other roads. The vehicle has to have a spikes sticker making it clear to other drivers than you are running spikes.

https://www.oesterreich.gv.at/themen/freizeit_und_strassenverkehr/kfz/10/2/Seite.060220.html

Probably too restrictive for anybody travelling long distances, might be OK for locals and short distance taxis etc.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
DB wrote:
According to this link (written in German) you can put spiked tyres on a vehicle in Austria from October to May (all wheels not just one axle, Max weight 3500kg). The Spikes can't extrude more than 2mm from the tyre. Speed Limits = 100 km/h Motorways, 80 km/h on other roads. The vehicle has to have a spikes sticker making it clear to other drivers than you are running spikes.

https://www.oesterreich.gv.at/themen/freizeit_und_strassenverkehr/kfz/10/2/Seite.060220.html

Probably too restrictive for anybody travelling long distances, might be OK for locals and short distance taxis etc.


Thanks. I'm surprised, TBH
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Red Leon wrote:
WindOfChange wrote:

Since we started using studs on the 2wd cars 8 years ago we have not used chains since.


I thought you could only use studded tyres on tarmac roads when they have a complete covering of snow (to avoid damage to both tyre & road). Have I got that wrong or are you predominantly off-road?


You can use studs in the mountains in France between the first Saturday in November and the 1st of April. ( The Gendarmes also cut you a bit of slack if you live up high, and there's still snow around in April).

On tarmac they are noisy, and you need to drive a bit slower, but seeing as my main strategy for driving on snow is to drive slowly, then that's not a big issue for me.
Our road (private) has snow on it at the moment, and the contract for the plough does not start till 1st December. The road is narrow and cleared by a digger rather than a conventional plough, so this tends to compress the snow rather than shifting it. This means you are driving on snow from Dec - April by and large. This is only the first and last 500m of every day, but the public road normally has plenty of snow for the first few km after a fall as I leave around 6:30 AM before the ploughs come up.
For the first 7 years (in the 2wd) we did snow tyres and chains, but since we discovered the joy of studs, we are very happy to forgo a few KMH of speed going downhill in return for not having to get out and put chains on.
Like La Foret says, everyone's situation is different, but this is what works for us.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
"I saw an American article once advocating summer tyres over 40 degrees. It never gets that hot in the UK"

Pretty certain that this will be relating to 40 deg Fahrenheit.
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had a set of studded tyres on Citroen XM. It was nowhere sound proof as premium cars from BMW/Mercedes, but it was totally fine noise even on dry roads.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
32 F = 0
40 F = 4.44 C
45 F (7 Deg C) is normally quoted as the temp above which summer tyres are better.
Highest recorded UK temp was around 102 F (38,70 C)
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 You'll need to Register first of course.
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The original post on here is derived from some of the above links regarding tyre tests http://www.tyrereviews.co.uk/Article/2019-Premium-VS-Budget-Winter-Tyre-Test.htm

On this link you can see the data presented in written / graphed form, which is illuminating from a journalistic point of view.

The cheap tyre won the dry braking test outright, it was 0.3 secs off in dry handling. They've omitted the ice braking test (video says problem with data collection) although they observed it as more or less a draw from their own observations.

Still they project a significant win for the Nokian when in fact it just looks like a split in tyre focus.

It's not my view to suggest anyone shoukd buy one or the other, but if they want to project a journalistic integrity they should review appropriately. Instead of making a video that appears to be unreliable.
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