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  #1  
Old 26th December 2012
IzeBerg IzeBerg is offline
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Default Snow Tires?

I just experienced my first snows driving in my saab....i was very unimpressed with the tires on it...which are the OEM Continental ContiPros (with a little more than half tread)

i've been driving an audi for the past 5+ years so had no problems with simply all season tires with the AWD system.

do most of you guys have winter tires to run or go for a better all season variety?

will winter tires make a significant difference in handling?
after barely being able to make it up small inclines in snow covered roads I am tempted to look into an AWD car again
i have read about Saabs being a snow worthy FWD car, but this one is currently not a contender.

sorry if this has been covered. i searched in various posts but they just cover what brands to purchase, not about the increase in driveability.
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Old 26th December 2012
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I can give you first hand experience, because I have driven on both in the last three days. My wife's car was bought last April had a brand new set of cheap snow tires. Like $80 a piece cheap for 235/45/17 (Mastercraft Glacier Grip II). We pulled those off and put the all season continental dws which did "okay" in the snow. Far from great, but manageable in about 4" we got by the afternoon. I had a cheap set of all seasons on my car, and they are terrible. 2" of snow made the car almost useless in snow (2010 aero). We had the snow tires laying around so I got them mounted today. Took it out for a spin in 7" of snow tonight and holy cow. What an amazing difference. When I forced the car to slide it was predictable. I was passing 4x4 vehicles. A 4x4 can get out of the hole a little faster, but winter tires give you better control. Especially in turns.

BUY WINTER TIRES. I've owned several different kinds. My favorite being blizzak, but any cheap snow tire will do much better than the best all season on snow covered roads. I would rather have a fwd car with snow tires, than an awd car with the best all seasons. You can get about 3 seasons from a set of snow tires before they need to be replaced, so it's money well spent.
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  #3  
Old 27th December 2012
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I run Hankook Ipikes in the winter time and they are amazing! They are designed to be studded also if that is something you need (I live in Denver, not much need for studs here, maybe if I lived in a small mountain town or something)

So yes, a good set of winter tires will make a world of difference with the handling in the snow. While I still cant outpace my old Jeep Wrangler in 4 wheel drive, I do feel safe in my winter tires in the snow.

A fun fact. The town of Vail Colorado used Saabs as their police cars until the early 2000's. If you are not familiar with Vail, it is a mountain town in Colorado that averages over 300 inches of snowfall a year...so they must be pretty good in the snow ;-)
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Last edited by Saabstory34; 27th December 2012 at 01:17 AM.
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  #4  
Old 27th December 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IzeBerg View Post
I just experienced my first snows driving in my saab....i was very unimpressed with the tires on it...which are the OEM Continental ContiPros (with a little more than half tread)

i've been driving an audi for the past 5+ years so had no problems with simply all season tires with the AWD system.

do most of you guys have winter tires to run or go for a better all season variety?

will winter tires make a significant difference in handling?
after barely being able to make it up small inclines in snow covered roads I am tempted to look into an AWD car again
i have read about Saabs being a snow worthy FWD car, but this one is currently not a contender.

sorry if this has been covered. i searched in various posts but they just cover what brands to purchase, not about the increase in driveability.
I live in southern Alberta (currently -30C and covered in snow), my 9-3s were fantastic in the snow. There's no mystery that winter tires are far superior to all seasons, it's really no contest. I was in a $8,000 accident in my old Aero that would never have happened had I had my winters on (first snow of the year, didn't get the chance to throw the winters on). Take a look at this video,
. I had to look up weather in West Virginia to get a good idea of what you're experiencing and can safely say that a decent set of winter tires will do the trick for you. Hell, if they work for us Canadians, they'll work for you.
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  #5  
Old 27th December 2012
IzeBerg IzeBerg is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by billm0066 View Post
I can give you first hand experience, because I have driven on both in the last three days. My wife's car was bought last April had a brand new set of cheap snow tires. Like $80 a piece cheap for 235/45/17 (Mastercraft Glacier Grip II). We pulled those off and put the all season continental dws which did "okay" in the snow. Far from great, but manageable in about 4" we got by the afternoon. I had a cheap set of all seasons on my car, and they are terrible. 2" of snow made the car almost useless in snow (2010 aero). We had the snow tires laying around so I got them mounted today. Took it out for a spin in 7" of snow tonight and holy cow. What an amazing difference. When I forced the car to slide it was predictable. I was passing 4x4 vehicles. A 4x4 can get out of the hole a little faster, but winter tires give you better control. Especially in turns.

BUY WINTER TIRES. I've owned several different kinds. My favorite being blizzak, but any cheap snow tire will do much better than the best all season on snow covered roads. I would rather have a fwd car with snow tires, than an awd car with the best all seasons. You can get about 3 seasons from a set of snow tires before they need to be replaced, so it's money well spent.
bill thanks for the real world info. thats what i was expecting but not sure if it made THAT much of a difference.

Quote:
Originally Posted by saabhutter View Post
I live in southern Alberta (currently -30C and covered in snow), my 9-3s were fantastic in the snow. There's no mystery that winter tires are far superior to all seasons, it's really no contest. I was in a $8,000 accident in my old Aero that would never have happened had I had my winters on (first snow of the year, didn't get the chance to throw the winters on). Take a look at this video, Tire Rack Tire Test - All-Season vs. Winter Tires - YouTube. I had to look up weather in West Virginia to get a good idea of what you're experiencing and can safely say that a decent set of winter tires will do the trick for you. Hell, if they work for us Canadians, they'll work for you.
You bring up a good point

Thanks for the input guys!!! Looks like I'll be in the market for some winter tires this week
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  #6  
Old 27th December 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Saabstory34 View Post
A fun fact. The town of Vail Colorado used Saabs as their police cars until the early 2000's. If you are not familiar with Vail, it is a mountain town in Colorado that averages over 300 inches of snowfall a year...so they must be pretty good in the snow ;-)
Fun fact indeed. I was there last month and couldn't help but notice an abundance of older Saab 900s that people around the mountains drove. Vail is now sponsored by Volvo and has XC90 police cars with rather large brushguards. I'll admit they were quite intimidating.

As for snow tires vs all seasons, it doesn't snow around here a lot, but when it does snow tires make the biggest difference in stopping. My Audi is my inclement weather car and even with awd, snow tires would make it so much better if I could justify the cost for how little it snows. It has no problem going or playing in snow, but it needs more room to stop than my friend's Subaru with studded snow tires.

Last edited by Pace; 27th December 2012 at 09:45 AM.
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  #7  
Old 27th December 2012
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IMHO, from my experience with snow tires. Had my first set of Gislaved Nordics ( I think that's the model as far as I remember) on my Sonett in 1978

Snow tires have a different rubber compound that stays more "supple" in cold temps and often are hydrophilic. I believe it's from silicon being added

Many snows with special compound rubber lose that layer when about half the tread is gone

Obviously the tread pattern expells snow more readily (some would say the tread grips better, think it is more like it doesn't allow snow to build up)

Get a minus one, or even -2, size on smaller diameter wheels. Concentrates the weight of the car in smaller patch and there is less width of surface that helps prevent plowing (where snow builds up in front of tire from pushing the snow, especially in turning). Also somewhat reduces cost.

Buy a separate set of cheap alloys. Over a few years it is cheaper than mounting and balancing tires twice a year and I think better for the tires also than many mounts and dismounts.
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  #8  
Old 27th December 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by billm0066 View Post
BUY WINTER TIRES. I've owned several different kinds. My favorite being blizzak, but any cheap snow tire will do much better than the best all season on snow covered roads. I would rather have a fwd car with snow tires, than an awd car with the best all seasons. You can get about 3 seasons from a set of snow tires before they need to be replaced, so it's money well spent.
I would add that Nokian WRG2 ("all-weather plus", > "all-season tires" but slightly < "winter tires") are very impressive on ice/slush/wet snow (we get here) and can be used ALL-YEAR ROUND. I got them on my '04 Outback and they were simply amazing last winter and this winter. I would imagine they'd be equally good on a FWD car.

"Nokian WRG2
Forget the Forecast


The WR G2, Nokian Tyres’ third generation in the unique line of “All-Weather Plus” tires, offers the best performance in every season. The asymmetrical inside-out tread pattern allows our engineers to design different areas of the tread to focus on the different driving conditions you will encounter throughout the year. So while seasons may change, your choice of all-weather tires remains the same: Nokian WR G2.

Ultimate Year Round Performance

The asymmetrical tread pattern gives Nokian WR G2 the diverse properties needed to be an outstanding tire in any driving conditions. The shape and siping of the outer shoulder make the tire easy to handle and stable to drive on all surfaces, even at high speeds, while the inner shoulder ensures superb grip in winter conditions. The tire’s center rib features new 3D siping for better handling and stability on wet and dry roads.

Nokian Tyres is also the pioneer in developing new solutions for safer driving in slush: its innovative slush wedge and polished grooves force heavy slush and water aside to prevent aquaplaning.

Naturally Nokian Tyres

Nokian Tyres is the world’s first tire manufacturer to introduce a production method using earth friendly oils. The WR G2 is manufactured using only low aromatic, purified oils. These purified oils keep Nokian tires from polluting the environment as the tire gradually wears down. The WR G2 also features a new rubber compound made from cool silica and canola oil, reducing rolling resistance and thus improving your car’s fuel efficiency.

Properties:

Safety through good grip on wet, sno
  • wy and dry roads
  • Stable handling qualities even at high speed
  • Purified oils eliminate carcinogens that harm the environment
  • Low rolling resistance saves fuel
  • Efficiently prevents slush and aquaplaning
"
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  #9  
Old 27th December 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by saabhutter View Post
I live in southern Alberta (currently -30C and covered in snow), my 9-3s were fantastic in the snow. There's no mystery that winter tires are far superior to all seasons, it's really no contest. I was in a $8,000 accident in my old Aero that would never have happened had I had my winters on (first snow of the year, didn't get the chance to throw the winters on). Take a look at this video, Tire Rack Tire Test - All-Season vs. Winter Tires - YouTube. I had to look up weather in West Virginia to get a good idea of what you're experiencing and can safely say that a decent set of winter tires will do the trick for you. Hell, if they work for us Canadians, they'll work for you.
This video of the 2010 winter storm in Seattle shows how the west coast's wetter climate is a killer for icy roads even with little snow on the ground. I love how the red 9-3SS (4:33 mark) just scoots by so non-nonchalantly

http://www.youtube.com/watch?annotat...&v=rhZCyQ3emQg
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  #10  
Old 27th December 2012
billm0066 billm0066 is offline
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Buy another set or wheels. I paid $106 at Discount tire to dismount and then mount the new tires. I will have to pay that again in a month or so when I move. I'm going to buy a set so put on when I come home to visit for Christmas.
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Old 27th December 2012
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Yeah had I put my winter tires/wheels on like I was supposed Dec 1st, I wouldn't be ordering a new lower control arm and looking for a replacment ALU59 right now.

It had been so warm here 45 - 55 with rain, then it turned cold yesterday and snowed 1" early this AM; just enough to turn the roads into sheet ice after a few cars pack it down.
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Old 27th December 2012
Alfisti Alfisti is offline
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I find the 9-3 outstanding int he snow/cold but our very light and otherwise twitchy Hyundai Accent ****s allover it because the Accent has winter tyres. The Saab has Conti DWS too, about as good an all season as there is for winter weather bar the Nokians and still, there's just no comparison.

HOWEVER, running a second set of rubber is very expensive to say the least and I firmly believe that most people drive to the grip limit anyway. If one lives in a city/suburban environment the traffic is so achingly slow with anything resembling snow that all season should be able to handle it.
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Old 27th December 2012
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I find the 9-3 outstanding int he snow/cold but our very light and otherwise twitchy Hyundai Accent ****s allover it because the Accent has winter tyres. The Saab has Conti DWS too, about as good an all season as there is for winter weather bar the Nokians and still, there's just no comparison.

HOWEVER, running a second set of rubber is very expensive to say the least and I firmly believe that most people drive to the grip limit anyway. If one lives in a city/suburban environment the traffic is so achingly slow with anything resembling snow that all season should be able to handle it.
Couldn't disagree more, and the people I saw stuck on side streets would also agree with me. I drove dws and my cheap snow tires in 7-8" of snow last night and there was no comparison. The snow tires outperformed in every single aspect by a mile.

I dont think they are very expensive by any means. $700-$800 total if you buy used wheels, and they should last 3 years minimum. That's about $250 a year and you can just replace the tires after for a lot less money.
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Old 27th December 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alfisti View Post
I find the 9-3 outstanding int he snow/cold but our very light and otherwise twitchy Hyundai Accent ****s allover it because the Accent has winter tyres. The Saab has Conti DWS too, about as good an all season as there is for winter weather bar the Nokians and still, there's just no comparison.

HOWEVER, running a second set of rubber is very expensive to say the least and I firmly believe that most people drive to the grip limit anyway. If one lives in a city/suburban environment the traffic is so achingly slow with anything resembling snow that all season should be able to handle it.
If you keep a car for 5-10 years the cost of the four wheels is like $40-80 per year amortized. And the tires themselves cost only a small premium (they seem to wear faster than All Season) because if you aren't putting miles on the snows your other tires would wear out faster (you'd drive them in the winter too). And as others have said, one accident or a few missed days of work and the cost of having snows doesn't seem so high!
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Old 27th December 2012
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I am with Alfisti on this one, for sure.
I had to decide on tires in August and chose DWS. Along with my other (Z1 and Z2) tire purchases for my other car, no way I could spring for a summer performance tire in August, and a full snow tire set three months later. I also have two sets of wheels; I chose Conti DWS.

The DWS are surprisingly good in snow, and lane changing in deep snow provided some level of skill is available, is ok. For braking I find DWS very good, and also for starting traction ( fine with a gentle foot). The Saab 9-5 wagon inherently hates to turn into corners, and the DWS are not a big help, so slowing down well ahead of time works.

Given better timing, I would go with Nokian every time, and maybe next year that will happen. But with the usual caveats, DWS are a decent compromise.

PS. This "drive to grip" is a good point. Especially with younger folk, I beleive there is a tendency to beleive that summer tires are for summer, and snow tires are for winter, and they expect "summer grip" as they have "winter tires"
Aint so.
As a rule of thumb from my years of ice racing, I always figured on slowing down way more than I needed for corners. Turns out, oftentimes more than I needed was barely enough....
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Old 27th December 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Saabstory34 View Post
I run Hankook Ipikes in the winter time and they are amazing! They are designed to be studded also if that is something you need (I live in Denver, not much need for studs here, maybe if I lived in a small mountain town or something)

So yes, a good set of winter tires will make a world of difference with the handling in the snow. While I still cant outpace my old Jeep Wrangler in 4 wheel drive, I do feel safe in my winter tires in the snow.

A fun fact. The town of Vail Colorado used Saabs as their police cars until the early 2000's. If you are not familiar with Vail, it is a mountain town in Colorado that averages over 300 inches of snowfall a year...so they must be pretty good in the snow ;-)
Same here I have my Ipikes on right now! They are just awesome, this is the first set of tires that I have bought that I am truly happy with. They are amazing in the rain and just as good in other conditions, I almost want to run them year round.
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Old 27th December 2012
Alfisti Alfisti is offline
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Originally Posted by billm0066 View Post
Couldn't disagree more, and the people I saw stuck on side streets would also agree with me. I drove dws and my cheap snow tires in 7-8" of snow last night and there was no comparison. The snow tires outperformed in every single aspect by a mile.

I dont think they are very expensive by any means. $700-$800 total if you buy used wheels, and they should last 3 years minimum. That's about $250 a year and you can just replace the tires after for a lot less money.
This is a myth. Ok you buy wheels once but tyres are a solid $150 a pop installed including ancillary charges in Toronto anyway. Then twice a year you need to either swap the rim/tyre combo yourself and just hope the lack of balance is ok or do it right and get slugged $100 for swapping the tyres/rim and balancing correctly.

Even doing it yourself, you're left with summer tyres that after 3 years are starting to degrade badly and likely need replacement, not from wear but from age. So it's a myth that the cost is negligable because winters replace the summer wear unless you do massive miles each year and would replace your tyres frequently in any event.

I come from Australia ffs, been driving in canada for 8 years with all seasons and have never come close to binning it in snow/ice. I run winters on the Hyundai because the mrs drove it and she feels more at ease, 5 minutes with her in the car suggests that yes, she just drives to the new grip limit.
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Old 27th December 2012
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I live in Calgary, same city in Canada as Saabhutter who posted earlier, and i saw first hand how big a difference they make. My brother and I both drive 2.0t's and last winter I put my very cheap snow tires on before he did (he was still using his all seasons which were one of the best on the market at the time) and we drove eachothers cars to test it out..it was a night/day difference. Even a set of cheap snow tires are waay better than the best all seasons due to the softer rubber compound.

Also AWD with all seasons may accelerate you faster/up hills, but have fun hitting the guy in front of you when you cant stop in time thats why SUV's are statistically the cars that get in the most accidents in the snow- the drivers think they can do anything cause they can accelerate fast but they dont realize they cant stop nearly as quick.
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Old 27th December 2012
Alfisti Alfisti is offline
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SUV's have a disproportionately high crash rate in all conditions because they are the preferred transport of scared white women who have no ****ing clue what they are doing behind the wheel. They would have the skill set if they tried but they are more worried about taking that phone call or if Holt Renfrew is open past 7pm. Just pressing the big "S" button on the dash would solve a lot of problems as it shortens the gearing but nope, not interested in learning.
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Old 27th December 2012
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SUV's have a disproportionately high crash rate in all conditions because they are the preferred transport of scared white women who have no ****ing clue what they are doing behind the wheel. They would have the skill set if they tried but they are more worried about taking that phone call or if Holt Renfrew is open past 7pm. Just pressing the big "S" button on the dash would solve a lot of problems as it shortens the gearing but nope, not interested in learning.
haha very true, but still I've seen and heard of a lot of different people/races/genders driving SUV's and ending up in ditches here where I live and the excuse is always "my car is awd, i thought i could take that turn, or make that stop.etc"
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