Subaru Ascent Forum banner
1 - 12 of 12 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So at almost 25,000 miles, the Falkens have performed well enough but I don't think they will be of much use this winter if we get any snow. I am lucky to live in MD where our winters can go from a foot of snow to 60 degrees in a week making dedicated winter tires not the best option (and going out to western MD you can almost do that in a day). I was looking at getting a set of all weather tires/3PMSF, but there aren't that many options with the limited 20in rims.

So I am looking for opinions on what other folks have done. I figure I can go with the BFGoodrich - Advantage T/A Sport LT which should fit and will hopefully go on sale at Costco around black friday, but there isn't a lot of reviews around them yet,

Or

Go with new 18 inch rims and something like the cross climate SUV from Michelin.

So for others who have made the jump, did you keep the 20s or find that it was better in the log run to get a pair of 18s where more tire options open up? Or would you just run a winter tire for 2-3 months when the average temp is below 50.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
774 Posts
If you keep the car a long time (through multiple sets of tires), you might come out ahead with smaller wheels and tires. With 18"s you'll have a much larger and much less expensive set of tire options, and that may offset the cost of the smaller wheels after a few sets of tires. plus you're not paying $100 twice a year to have them mounted and dismounted off your factory wheels.

Trade-offs, slightly squishier handling due to taller sidewalls, recalibration of speedo if you don't downsize properly ( your shop can size the tires so it's not an issue), potentially slightly longer braking.

Pros- cheaper tires, more options, softer ride due to larger sidewalls, potentially faster acceleration.

I use 18" winter wheels and tires on my touring. In day to day driving, the ride and handling is basically the same ( and winter tires have softer tread and sidewalls), the Ascent isn't a WRX, so you won't notice a real difference unless you push it. With 18" all seasons, it would be even less noticeable.
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
10,942 Posts
recalibration of speedo if you don't downsize properly
Here's the stock or stock matching sizes that will fit the Ascent:
  • 21": (NOT STOCK) 245/45R21 @ ???psi?
  • 20": (STOCK) 245/50R20 @ 33psi
  • 19": (NOT STOCK) 245/55R19 @ 34psi?
  • 18": (STOCK) 245/60R18 @ 35psi
  • 17": (NOT STOCK) 245/65R17 @ 38-39psi
Like mentioned, the smaller the rims the better for tire select, especially for all terrains. There are ridiculously few 17" rims that are both sufficiently load rated for the Ascent, and also fit over our big front calipers. We tried in total about two dozen, and only 3 fit and had a high enough load rating. 21's would likely be horribly uncomfortable and be bad for poor roads and impossible for off-roading.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
667 Posts
...I am lucky to live in MD where our winters can go from a foot of snow to 60 degrees in a week making dedicated winter tires not the best option (and going out to western MD you can almost do that in a day).

<snip>

....would you just run a winter tire for 2-3 months when the average temp is below 50.
Whether for performance or for safety ( it's really the same thing, no? shorter braking distances and higher emergency handling capabilities both translate to enjoyment in the act of driving, do they not? ;) ), there is no free lunch: what you gain in the worst 25% of conditions will be exacted part-and-parcel for what you will lose when it comes to the more common/mundane 75%. Since an accident is by-definition an unforeseen event, you'll have to ask yourself this question: is what I gain in that 25% of conditions I may drive in (i.e. would a declared weather emergency legally close your roads and forbid you from travel, anyway? what if you did go out to run an errand that really didn't need to be run, and was slid into while you were, say, parked at a light or even as you were traveling through a light?) worth the trade-off in the 75% of instances that I will drive in (i.e. your everyday work commute)?

I've written about this before, so I'll save the bandwidth and simply link to that older post of mine:


You'll see that this post (and my follow-ups) address(es) both the greater question of "should I get a winter tire" (and explain what those trade-offs are, in a very concrete way), as well as will help dispel some of that lingering "45-deg. F. and switch" marketing-driven half-myth (I only say "half" because if you're on really, really aggressive summer tires, you may want to switch to winters a bit earlier ;) ).

Don't get winter tires because you drive a Subaru and want to fit in with the rest of the cool kids. :) Realistically explore whether if you'll actually gain benefits from winter tires, or if you may be better served instead with either more aggressively winterized "All Season" or even "All Weather" tires.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
667 Posts
After sleeping on this and a shower, I wanted to also follow-up/clarify..... :)

What I meant with my post above, stein1010, is not to suggest that you don't need/want winter tires.

Rather, it's to help - I hope - both you and other members/readers understand that having winter tires is not a cure-all: that everyone should understand that for the increase in the vehicle's performance envelope (read: "safety") in wintry conditions (with frozen precipitation on the roadways) will demand a commensurate compromise in performance (again, this translates directly to safety) when there is no frozen precipitation on the roadways.

This isn't something that I made up or even a simple viewpoint that I'm trying to propagate.

Instead, it's just plain logic, and can be see easily from the data that many consumer advocacy bodies and enthusiast groups have collected over the last decade to decade and a half, and still holds true today (perhaps the greatest leap in winter tire technology occurred in the early oughts - we've been kinda skating on those improvements in an incremental factor since: hopefully, the next big leap is just around the corner). This data was presented both in the thread that I cited above, as well as in the following: https://www.ascentforums.com/thread...ds-versus-all-seasons-tires.8765/#post-118307 .

The question has been and continues to be whether preparing for that worst 25% of conditions is worth the trade-off in the everyday 75%.

And the only person who can decide if it really makes sense is going to be the driver of that specific vehicle. :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
160 Posts
Last year (different vehicle), I decided it was time that I installed winter tires (live in MN). This particular vehicle burns through tires in about 25K which is what I put on in a year. I looked at 20" winters and was shocked by the price. For the same money, I was able to purchase new rims and 18" tires. Now I can simply change them out myself.

For my Wife's OB, which was due for tires, we debated about putting Winters on this year, she was due for tires anyway. She had been happy with her car without winters, so we decided to put on a good all around tire this year and will maybe switch to Winters in the next couple of years while they wear. Our mechanic recommended the following tires. On paper they look really good to me and they have had great feedback from other clients.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
774 Posts
I know we're all adults here, and we can make our own decisions, but for those who are a little curious ( or maybe recently moved to a new area, and don't know what the weather is like year round), here is a link to a map from tire rack that gives some suggestions as to what kind of tires to use in what geographical areas. As mentioned above, it's good to consider that any tire is a trade-off, so what you gain in bad weather traction, you might lose a little bit in warmer weather.

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
62 Posts
So at almost 25,000 miles, the Falkens have performed well enough but I don't think they will be of much use this winter if we get any snow. I am lucky to live in MD where our winters can go from a foot of snow to 60 degrees in a week making dedicated winter tires not the best option (and going out to western MD you can almost do that in a day). I was looking at getting a set of all weather tires/3PMSF, but there aren't that many options with the limited 20in rims.

So I am looking for opinions on what other folks have done. I figure I can go with the BFGoodrich - Advantage T/A Sport LT which should fit and will hopefully go on sale at Costco around black friday, but there isn't a lot of reviews around them yet,

Or

Go with new 18 inch rims and something like the cross climate SUV from Michelin.

So for others who have made the jump, did you keep the 20s or find that it was better in the log run to get a pair of 18s where more tire options open up? Or would you just run a winter tire for 2-3 months when the average temp is below 50.
Specifically speaking winter tires (sizes aside)

Given your geographic location, I would skip dedicated winter tires. I lived in NoVA for 20 years and your description of winters is pretty spot on. Growing up in that area, I never knew anybody that ran winter tires actually. The time that area does get snow, VDOT and MDOT do such a good job at clearing the roads along with sand/salt, that you don't have to live with it for that long. On top of that, I'm not sure if there are even 2-3 months you could count on the weather staying cold enough, long enough for winter tires. December - February might be your best bet, but even then you'll get those weird warm weeks mixed in at times.

After living in Northern Japan and Utah for a period of time and the NW now, I do firmly believe in the importance of a winter tire when the region dictates it, but winter tires anywhere south of PA and east of the Blue Ridge mountains seems really unnecessary 98% of the time. Not to mention, you have a Subaru, so you already have a leg up on winter weather before you start talking tires.

In the snow, I'll take a Tucson with "all season" Michelin Defenders (wife's car) driven safely over a Subaru with Blizzaks (my car) driven aggressively.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
667 Posts
In the snow, I'll take a Tucson with "all season" Michelin Defenders (wife's car) driven safely over a Subaru with Blizzaks (my car) driven aggressively.
The reality is that this cannot be over-stressed: physics will always win. (y)

Safe driving - allowing for sufficient braking/reactionary distance as well as modifying one's acceleration/deceleration habits - should be given extra attention in adverse conditions, regardless of what one's wheels are skinned with.

The Click and Clack Tappet Brothers coined the word "Subris" to describe those hoonin' Subaru drivers off in the ditch in snowstorms. Every time I think about hoonin', I remember their voices and their laughter, and I think better of it. :giggle:

I know we're all adults here, and we can make our own decisions, but for those who are a little curious ( or maybe recently moved to a new area, and don't know what the weather is like year round), here is a link to a map from tire rack that gives some suggestions as to what kind of tires to use in what geographical areas. As mentioned above, it's good to consider that any tire is a trade-off, so what you gain in bad weather traction, you might lose a little bit in warmer weather.

^ That map and its recommendations, I think, actually makes decent sense!

It's rare when my opinion and that of retailers align...... :LOL::ROFLMAO:

That said, the graphic actually serves as an excellent jumping-off point for yet another lesson for those who are shopping for winter tires: note that the picture does not specify what type of winter tires the customer should purchase.

Folks should realize that this can impact their driving tremendously - perhaps just as much as their initial decision to go with an "All Season," "All Weather," or winter tire.

Don't just head into a tire shop or hit that "purchase now" button online on any winter tire. Nor should you take a brand-name such as "Blizzak" as your frame-of-reference.

Realize that there are several different types (sub-genres, if you will) of winter tires:

  • "Performance Winter"
  • "Studless Ice & Snow"
  • studdable winter

...and that for any given brand (i.e. Bridgestone) whose winter tires may be marketed under a specific name (i.e. Blizzak), that "name" may cover several different sub-genres - or even ALL sub-genres.

For example, the Blizzak line of winter tires made by Bridgestone covers everything from passenger vehicle fitment "Performance Winters" and "Studless Ice & Snow" tires all the way to SUV/LT fitments of the same. Some manufacturers have distinct names and/or product prefixes/suffixes for their various offerings....others, not so much, and heading into a store and just asking for, say, "Blizzaks" would be akin to walking into Baskin Robins and asking for "some ice cream." ;)

Finally, don't let any salesperson corner you into a winter tire sub-genre decision without first having made certain with you your driving habits and mobility desires.

Those of us who live in areas with notable winter precipitation typically understands that your precise location within even a rather small geographic area can dictate whether you'll have 50 versus 100+ inches of snow per season. Alternatively, some who live in more coastal areas can see more ice, whereas those inland more powder, etc. Make sure that your salesperson understands the actual winter conditions of where you live, instead of what he/she thinks your area is like (less likely at a local brick-and-mortar, but very common when dealing online).

Similarly, make sure that you factor in your actual driving conditions, like Justin.Poe noted - to include when and how you may see municipal street grooming/clearance.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
62 Posts
I used a smaller rim, taller tire on our 2005 Subaru XT. I hated it. The car leaned a lot in corners. I now match the snow tire sizes to the OEM size. Not for everyone, but it has worked well so far for me.
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
10,942 Posts
17": (NOT STOCK) 245/65R17 @ 38-39psi
I used a smaller rim, taller tire on our 2005 Subaru XT. I hated it. The car leaned a lot in corners. I now match the snow tire sizes to the OEM size. Not for everyone, but it has worked well so far for me.
Though, the Ascent is pretty behaved with the tire pressure adjusted for the added sidewall, I wouldn't suggest my route to anyone who's not needing the extra sidewall for off-roading and doing some of the other ridiculous things I do...

...then again, I wouldn't suggest people do some of the ridiculous things I do, period. :ROFLMAO: :ROFLMAO: :ROFLMAO:

The first part of this video was in a real ocean tidal pool at Robert Moses State Park at Democrat Point in my Outback.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
667 Posts
I used a smaller rim, taller tire on our 2005 Subaru XT. I hated it. The car leaned a lot in corners. I now match the snow tire sizes to the OEM size. Not for everyone, but it has worked well so far for me.
(y)

Different folks definitely prefer different subjective "feels" - this is something that I totally agree with.The way I see it, there's no true need to minus-size: OEM will do just fine.

Here's for those who do not like "TL; DNR" answers, and want some thought-out reasoning for proof. :

The taller sidewall added to the taller treadblocks and more pliable compounding will definitely make that "floaty boat" feeling worse, and the vehicle will track with a bit less certainly. These are both undeniable properties of wheel minus-sizing and the commensurate need to up the sidewall, and the switch to "winter" compounds.

Typically drivers - particularly those new to winter tires - experience this event as a triple-bogey: (1) They're convinced to not only minus-size, but to also (2) decrease width and were at the same time (3) somehow influenced/guided into buying a winter tire that is significantly more "winterized" than they need. Now, not only does the sidewall - since it has more sidewall! ;) - flex more, but the vehicle also sees a smaller contact patch (the significance of this, or lack thereof, will be pursued in a minute) and this "taller/more wobbly setup" is now on a tire that - while it is designed to be more pliable for a very specific reason - is now even moreso due to the fact that it's being operated in conditions for which it really wasn't optimized (i.e. being talked into a "Studless Ice & Snow" - either because of salesmanship or due to ignorance on the part of the shopper - when what really was a better match would have been a "Performance Winter" - note in my in-linked posts above the objective data which shows this bias in clear [w/o frozen precipitation on roadway] performance).

Knowing this, one can somewhat counter these compromises by making sure that the tire they selected is one that is suitable for conditions (i.e. picking that "Performance Winter") or is simply better matched to their driving preferences (i.e. the desire for less uncertainty at-footprint), and to resist the impulse to automatically "go narrow" ( for perspective on this - https://www.ascentforums.com/thread...y-k02s-or-an-18-inch-set-up.8712/#post-117469 , and https://www.ascentforums.com/thread...now-rated-all-terrain.8684/page-2#post-117702 ; and note that even in the TireRack blog above, TR recants/reconciles their blanket statement after a reply was made in the comments to that blog entry).
 
1 - 12 of 12 Posts
Top