Subaru Ascent Forum banner
1 - 20 of 33 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,847 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have been trying doggedly to track down some hard testing data on this very question (see my other posts on this topic). I finally got a hold of an expert on the subject with a ton of real life experience. I spoke to one the principals testers at the Bridgestone Winter Driving School in Steamboat Springs, CO, which my son will be taking their course. Our discussion was not about Bridgestone but about the primary question in my heading. He stated that none of the manufacturers formally test on this, but rather they test on the three parameters we normally see published which involves snow and icy roads (stopping, cornering and acceleration). He confirmed the winter tires today are nothing like the older versions. He is the person who has been testing the tires on dry, icy and snow covered roads for fifteen years. He stated at 45 degrees and lower there is a night and day difference between the capabilities of winter tires and all seasons on dry cold roads. He stated that with this proper tool mounted on the car, I will notice that the vehicle's safety equipment such as ABS and stability control will activate less and when it activates it will remain active for less time. I will not be driving white knuckle. He lived in the Denver metro area so he is well versed in the dilemma many owners face with deciding on tires since we are not in the high mountains (relatively) and get far less snow than a place like Steamboat. Winter tires are also lasting longer than previous versions and I hope to get three or four seasons out of them. Added safety is my primary motivation, but also to save money from any nuisance accidents that would cost much more than any purchase price for snow tires. After this conversation, I am even more convinced and confident that my decision to mount winter tires on my Ascent and my son's 2018 Impreza is the correct one for us.
 

·
Super Moderator
2019 Ascent Touring (CWP)
Joined
·
4,214 Posts
The key here is "cold". Winter tires are formulated to remain more flexible and grippy at lower temperatures. So folks who live in areas that experience more than just occasional colder weather are likely going to benefit from winter tires, snow or not.

For me, I don't feel the need them. We don't get the kind of snow we used to anymore and "generally" only have a few weeks of "cold snap" weather in the Jan/Feb timeframe. But if I lived farther north, I'd make the investment.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Brandn30

·
Registered
Joined
·
559 Posts
Winters around here can get down into the mid-20's at night and rise to 60+ during the day. Between Jan and early March, often get frost on the lawns in the mornings until about 9am.

However a winter tire will be very squishy and sloppy as the temps warm up. And IMO a winter tire will not be a good safe tire for my drives to the Bay Area. So I'm planning on staying with the stock all-seasons until they wear down. Then I'm going to switch to the Terrain Contacts or something similar.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
771 Posts
I have been trying doggedly to track down some hard testing data on this very question (see my other posts on this topic). I finally got a hold of an expert on the subject with a ton of real life experience. I spoke to one the principals testers at the Bridgestone Winter Driving School in Steamboat Springs, CO, which my son will be taking their course. Our discussion was not about Bridgestone but about the primary question in my heading. He stated that none of the manufacturers formally test on this, but rather they test on the three parameters we normally see published which involves snow and icy roads (stopping, cornering and acceleration). He confirmed the winter tires today are nothing like the older versions. He is the person who has been testing the tires on dry, icy and snow covered roads for fifteen years. He stated at 45 degrees and lower there is a night and day difference between the capabilities of winter tires and all seasons on dry cold roads. He stated that with this proper tool mounted on the car, I will notice that the vehicle's safety equipment such as ABS and stability control will activate less and when it activates it will remain active for less time. I will not be driving white knuckle. He lived in the Denver metro area so he is well versed in the dilemma many owners face with deciding on tires since we are not in the high mountains (relatively) and get far less snow than a place like Steamboat.
Thank you for pursuing this! :)

So there's no objective data - but if there's instrumented measures why would the data not be recorded to prove what they subjectively insist, especially in regions of the world where such data specifically drives consumer spending habits?

Winter tires are also lasting longer than previous versions and I hope to get three or four seasons out of them. Added safety is my primary motivation, but also to save money from any nuisance accidents that would cost much more than any purchase price for snow tires. After this conversation, I am even more convinced and confident that my decision to mount winter tires on my Ascent and my son's 2018 Impreza is the correct one for us.
Depending on your average winter miles, three seasons of driving on one set is very reasonable, even "conservatively" speaking.

With the dual tread compound (overlay of the "special" compound over the base layer) common to many of the "Studless Ice & Snow" in the Bridgestone lineup, you'll want to monitor treadwear a bit more as that first layer only is present through approximately the top half of the tread depth. Other makes of this same sub-genre of winter tires may provide longer lasting treadwear (this was among the initial marketing drives of the Michelin direct-competitors in this sub-genre: for press events, they would call attention to the fact that the tires in the comparo were taken to half-depth), but that top layer on the Bridgestone tires with them truly is pretty magical.

In your area, you may be able to resell your half-tread winters on the secondary market: slash their prices and give a warning to potential buyers to ease your conscience, but still rest assured that even at half-tread and without that top layer, buyers will still fare considerably better with the winter tires than they would have, without. :)

The key here is "cold". Winter tires are formulated to remain more flexible and grippy at lower temperatures. So folks who live in areas that experience more than just occasional colder weather are likely going to benefit from winter tires, snow or not.
Ah, but again, so far, objective data does not say that this is anywhere near the dead lock that tire manufacturers and vendors would insist. :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,847 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thank you for pursuing this! :)

So there's no objective data from the manufacturers, correct?



Ah, but again, so far, objective data does not say that this is anywhere near the dead lock that tire manufacturers and vendors would insist. :)
The manufacturers simply do not test this so they avoid having this as yet another element to fight over. At the school they obviously are running the cars every day and talking regularly with the engineers. They know each tire intimately under all conditions. It is the best info we can get. The modern winter tire is a vast improvement over what existed even a few years ago.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
771 Posts
The manufacturers simply do not test this so they avoid having this as yet another element to fight over. At the school they obviously are running the cars every day and talking regularly with the engineers. They know each tire intimately under all conditions. It is the best info we can get. The modern winter tire is a vast improvement over what existed even a few years ago.
I think that the manufacturers do not publish such results not because it's not an element to fight over - but rather, because it's something that would both confuse the majority of non-enthusiast buyers as well as tear the almighty currency from their bottom-line (due to the incredibly profitable winter-tire segment).

Here's why:

Even in the 2019 Auto Bild (German) SUV All Season tire test, we see that an unnamed premium winter tire only won the hydroplane resistance category. The kicker was that although this un-named premium winter tire performed admirably in the snow, it actually fell to the Nokian WeatherProof SUV (an "All Weather" tire in that market) in snow braking, and was followed in this sector closely by both the Continental AllSeasonContact and Vredestein Quatrac 5 - and this data was mirrored in snow handling testing as well. Similarly, while this reference winter was weaker in the dry and wet than most of the "All Season/All Weather tires," it also wasn't the worst, running mid-pack.

Stepping back a year, this same publication's 2018 "All Season/All Weather" tire test (27 tires, plus summer and winter references) showed precisely what the results from as far back as a decade ago did: that unless there is wintry precipitation on the ground, "All Season" and "All Weather" tires maintain a significant performance gap over winter tires. Their SUV tire test (6 SUV fitments, plus reference summer and winter, plus an AT fitment) showed much the same, with dry and wet favoring the "All Season/All Weather" tires and the reference winters finishing mid-pack, while the results flip to favor the winters when there is snow in the equation (although, somewhat surprisingly, the top "All Season/All Weather" tires trail the reference winters only very slightly in these measures).

In their winter tire test for this year, we again see the reference "All Season" (as-usual, un-specified) perform admirably in both wet and dry conditions, falling to the bottom once actual wintry precipitation is on the ground.

This same year, AMS (German) enthusiast publications test saw the Continental AllSeasonContact take top ranking, however, we see the Continental WinterContact TS 860 - a "Performance Winter," actually beating it in raw scores in both wet (in which its braking performance was shockingly strong, which was something that the reviewers were puzzled at - more on this later) and snow testing. In dry testing, this test saw the Continental WinterContact TS 860's performance significantly fall off towards the bottom. The confounding factor? Both the summer and winter reference tires (Continental WinterContact TS 860) were tested in 205/55/16 fitment, while the seven tested tires were 225/45/17 fitment.

And we can see just how confusing things get when we looked at the ADAC's tests from this winter, with regard to "All Season/All Weather" tires. That the raw results were not published certainly contributes to the confusion here, but we can still see in the take-away that even the top-finishing "All Season/All Weather" tires on this test could not earn ADAC's "highly recommended" label. However, if readers looked at how the ADAC - a German association - weighed their test data, we can see why this is the case, as snow and ice performance EACH weighed-in at 20% of the final score (dry 15/wet 30, NVH 5, fuel consumption 10, and wear accounting for the final 10 percent). With actual wintry precipitation being more of a consideration for continental Europe, we see a natural swing in the bias of test-scores. Even so, we see some rather strange results, with, notably, what's typically considered as a second-tier "All Season/All Weather" taking top ranking in the ice testing category, and the until-then perennial favorite Michelin CrossClimate taking last place in virtually all testing categories in this particular test.

The ACE tests (again, German) from the same year (9 winter tires, 6 "All Season/All Weather") placed the Continental WinterContact TS860 first, with a not insignificant scoring (no raw data found) advantage over the second place Continental AllSeasonContact in not only snow, but also both the wet and dry testing - surprisingly making it effectively more "all season" than the same makes' "All Season" tire! The Nokian WR D4, another "Performance Winter" tire, came in third overall, followed by two "All Season/All Weather" tires (including Nokian's own WeatherProof), but here, the WR D4 lagged significantly behind the fourth and fifth place overall finishers in terms of its wet performance, flipping that with its snow performance, while running neck-and-neck in dry. The Michelin CrossClimate, again strangely, fell to the bottom of the pack in this testing (perhaps signaling problematic compounding that year? this kind of weird blip is something that's historically seen when one make/model has an "off" year, with tires such as the Bridgestone Blizzak WS-series, for example, with the WS 50 variant being completely bashed in overseas testing c.2004 [while strangely still receiving praises from drivers here in the US, that same year; note that this tire was quickly supplanted the following year with the WS 60 /clue as to who was right, popular opinion versus objective testing, LOL ;) ! ]). Their winter tire test would seem to confirm this "off batch" theory, with the Michelin CrossClimate+ (new variant) being one of the best tires in snow testing. This marketed "summer bias All Season" tire proved to be very strong in the dry, and lagged slightly behind winter and other "All Season" tires in the snow. Despite this it still came in at third overall in snow testing and was the best in the snow braking category. The winning winter tire in the test, the Continental WinterContact TS860, lagged significantly behind the CrossClimate+ in the dry (but was marginally stronger than that tire in the wet).

Shooting over to the British sector with AutoExpress, we see again that the reference winter (the "Performance Winter" Continental WinterContact TS 860) take top raw performance in both the snow and wet, but fall significantly behind in dry testing.

I'm still working 2017 data, so, more to come. :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,847 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
I think that the manufacturers do not publish such results not because it's not an element to fight over - but rather, because it's something that would both confuse the majority of non-enthusiast buyers as well as tear the almighty currency from their bottom-line (due to the incredibly profitable winter-tire segment).

Here's why:

Even in the 2019 Auto Bild (German) SUV All Season tire test, we see that an unnamed premium winter tire only won the hydroplane resistance category. The kicker was that although this un-named premium winter tire performed admirably in the snow, it actually fell to the Nokian WeatherProof SUV (an "All Weather" tire in that market) in snow braking, and was followed in this sector closely by both the Continental AllSeasonContact and Vredestein Quatrac 5 - and this data was mirrored in snow handling testing as well. Similarly, while this reference winter was weaker in the dry and wet than most of the "All Season/All Weather tires," it also wasn't the worst, running mid-pack.

Stepping back a year, this same publication's 2018 "All Season/All Weather" tire test (27 tires, plus summer and winter references) showed precisely what the results from as far back as a decade ago did: that unless there is wintry precipitation on the ground, "All Season" and "All Weather" tires maintain a significant performance gap over winter tires. Their SUV tire test (6 SUV fitments, plus reference summer and winter, plus an AT fitment) showed much the same, with dry and wet favoring the "All Season/All Weather" tires and the reference winters finishing mid-pack, while the results flip to favor the winters when there is snow in the equation (although, somewhat surprisingly, the top "All Season/All Weather" tires trail the reference winters only very slightly in these measures).

In their winter tire test for this year, we again see the reference "All Season" (as-usual, un-specified) perform admirably in both wet and dry conditions, falling to the bottom once actual wintry precipitation is on the ground.

This same year, AMS (German) enthusiast publications test saw the Continental AllSeasonContact take top ranking, however, we see the Continental WinterContact TS 860 - a "Performance Winter," actually beating it in raw scores in both wet (in which its braking performance was shockingly strong, which was something that the reviewers were puzzled at - more on this later) and snow testing. In dry testing, this test saw the Continental WinterContact TS 860's performance significantly fall off towards the bottom. The confounding factor? Both the summer and winter reference tires (Continental WinterContact TS 860) were tested in 205/55/16 fitment, while the seven tested tires were 225/45/17 fitment.

And we can see just how confusing things get when we looked at the ADAC's tests from this winter, with regard to "All Season/All Weather" tires. That the raw results were not published certainly contributes to the confusion here, but we can still see in the take-away that even the top-finishing "All Season/All Weather" tires on this test could not earn ADAC's "highly recommended" label. However, if readers looked at how the ADAC - a German association - weighed their test data, we can see why this is the case, as snow and ice performance EACH weighed-in at 20% of the final score (dry 15/wet 30, NVH 5, fuel consumption 10, and wear accounting for the final 10 percent). With actual wintry precipitation being more of a consideration for continental Europe, we see a natural swing in the bias of test-scores. Even so, we see some rather strange results, with, notably, what's typically considered as a second-tier "All Season/All Weather" taking top ranking in the ice testing category, and the until-then perennial favorite Michelin CrossClimate taking last place in virtually all testing categories in this particular test.

The ACE tests (again, German) from the same year (9 winter tires, 6 "All Season/All Weather") placed the Continental WinterContact TS860 first, with a not insignificant scoring (no raw data found) advantage over the second place Continental AllSeasonContact in not only snow, but also both the wet and dry testing - surprisingly making it effectively more "all season" than the same makes' "All Season" tire! The Nokian WR D4, another "Performance Winter" tire, came in third overall, followed by two "All Season/All Weather" tires (including Nokian's own WeatherProof), but here, the WR D4 lagged significantly behind the fourth and fifth place overall finishers in terms of its wet performance, flipping that with its snow performance, while running neck-and-neck in dry. The Michelin CrossClimate, again strangely, fell to the bottom of the pack in this testing (perhaps signaling problematic compounding that year? this kind of weird blip is something that's historically seen when one make/model has an "off" year, with tires such as the Bridgestone Blizzak WS-series, for example, with the WS 50 variant being completely bashed in overseas testing c.2004 [while strangely still receiving praises from drivers here in the US, that same year; note that this tire was quickly supplanted the following year with the WS 60 /clue as to who was right, popular opinion versus objective testing, LOL ;) ! ]). Their winter tire test would seem to confirm this "off batch" theory, with the Michelin CrossClimate+ (new variant) being one of the best tires in snow testing. This marketed "summer bias All Season" tire proved to be very strong in the dry, and lagged slightly behind winter and other "All Season" tires in the snow. Despite this it still came in at third overall in snow testing and was the best in the snow braking category. The winning winter tire in the test, the Continental WinterContact TS860, lagged significantly behind the CrossClimate+ in the dry (but was marginally stronger than that tire in the wet).

Shooting over to the British sector with AutoExpress, we see again that the reference winter (the "Performance Winter" Continental WinterContact TS 860) take top raw performance in both the snow and wet, but fall significantly behind in dry testing.

I'm still working 2017 data, so, more to come. :)
The gentleman I spoke with does not gain from misrepresenting the facts on the ground. 15 years of testing the tires is significant. His business involves teaching on ice and slippery packed snow where no one disputes the advantages of using winter tires, so his comments about their performance on dry cold pavement would not impact his bottom line. Brad Robinson is the product manager at Bridgestone to talk with for Blizzak if you care to reach out to him.

What tires to mount will always be a compromise for those of us who drive in four seasons. This article is the best explanation I have read so far regarding the compromise that real driving will throw at us in those varying conditions. http://www.skstuds.ca/2015/10/07/do-winter-tires-really-outperform-all-seasons-on-cold-dry-roads/. The slightest moisture on the road stemming from even a change in temperature compared to actual precipitation can be dangerous for those all seasons in winter. Of course this involves ten year old technology.


https://jalopnik.com/winter-tires-are-great-for-ice-and-snow-but-not-on-dry-1821468055 but he modified the tire size between the summer/winter tests. Also ambient temperature was not the same (12 hours aclimation to assure same parameters).

"Few drivers understand that all-season tires are a compromise intended to provide acceptable traits under a wide variety of conditions. That prevents them from being a master of any one of them. All-season tire tread designs and compounds are less effective in freezing temperatures. Winter tires deliver better snow and ice performance. " I find this to be true with tools and virtually anything else in this world. As the design parameters increase the ability for any one product to be great through that wide range decreases compared to a narrower set of parameters to meet. https://www.tirereview.com/breaking-winter-tires/
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
771 Posts
The gentleman I spoke with does not gain from misrepresenting the facts on the ground. 15 years of testing the tires is significant. His business involves teaching on ice and slippery packed snow where no one disputes the advantages of using winter tires, so his comments about their performance on dry cold pavement would not impact his bottom line.
Ah, you misunderstand.

My post(s) are not meant to discredit the gentleman you spoke with - and I am not suggesting that the performance or lack thereof of any particular tire or brand of tire would impact his bottom line (and thus make him a vested party).

Rather, my post is simply to point out that modern data makes the 45-deg. F/7-deg. C. switch-point a generalization that is non-tenable once we start to look at the actual tires involved. The data we have from 2004-on shows this, and this is not just "old data," but rather, is even true as of today (2018 tests and the single [so far] 2019).

We have to look at the specific tires - generalizations fail.

Brad Robinson is the product manager at Bridgestone to talk with for Blizzak if you care to reach out to him.
It's not about talking to any one or another of the tire-makers, either. What would I talk to Mr. Robinson about, exactly? Would he be able to explain the nuiances of why one or another of Bridgestone's offerings performed better/worse in any of the tests that the various consumer/enthusiast sources any better/more any of the enthusiasts on many car Forums have debated? Honestly, I wouldn't expect him to - nor would I expect him to be able to give me a discount on either the DM V2s on my Ascent now, or the WS90s that my in-laws are about to mount to their two late-model Legacys (or could he? :))

It's simply what the data (modern data) shows, with all its imperfections and weirdness, at that.

What tires to mount will always be a compromise for those of us who drive in four seasons. This article is the best explanation I have read so far regarding the compromise that real driving will throw at us in those varying conditions. http://www.skstuds.ca/2015/10/07/do-winter-tires-really-outperform-all-seasons-on-cold-dry-roads/. The slightest moisture on the road stemming from even a change in temperature compared to actual precipitation can be dangerous for those all seasons in winter. Of course this involves ten year old technology.
I used the same article/comparo in Car & Driver as the Saskatchewan Studded Tire Club did in my reply on the other thread ( https://www.ascentforums.com/thread...rsus-snow-rated-all-terrain.8684/#post-117155 ), supplementing it at the time with both earlier (2005) Russian data as well as later (2014) UK expert analysis.

And again, remember, this isn't decade-old technology: the 2018 tests and comparos I cited above come from the ADAC, AMS, ADE, Auto Bild, and AutoExpress - all of which are highly regarded European motoring sources (ranging from consumer associations to enthusiast publications) that use accredited testing facilities and resources for such services.

We'll see if 2019 shows something different - but with the sole Auto Bild test so far, what's true a decade ago is still so far true today.

And also, that compromise has been my point all along. :)

I specifically wrote of this very compromise (as well as the counterpoint to the delayed switch) in that very same post:

<snip>

Tires are a compromise, and we need to understand where that compromise comes in. Winter tires are not a cure-all to everyone's winter travel woes. There are no right or wrong choices - only choices that better or worse fits the requirements and desires of the individual driver.

The differences do not need to be drastic in order for them to be valid - by going the "safety" route, we are necessarily examining the unlikely scenario where the performance capabilities of the tires are going to be pushed towards their 10/10th or even beyond, toward failure. It's there that the differences of even a few feet become magnified by the real-world implication of insurance deductibles and premium costs and the hassles of an collision.

Living where I do, on the cusp between the primary and secondary snow-belts here in NE-Ohio - given our typical commute distance/hours - really, a "Performance Winter" or even an "All Weather" tire is really all that's truly necessary for the winter months. However, given what my wife and I do for a living - we can't really call in a sick day, and when others do, the need for us to show up actually becomes even more mportant - our vehicles are shod with "Studless Ice & Snow" winters (previous to this vehicle, I ran studded winters: our lifestyle changes for this vehicle pretty much demanded that I not have studs anymore).

Can someone living in a more temperate area benefit from winter tires? Certainly for those few times in the winter that they experience snow, ice, sleet and slush. However, they must realize that for the majority of days of their winter - days when they do not see wintry frozen precipitation on their roadways - they're actually going to be compromising wet and clear-roads performance, and realize that performance and safety are synonymous in this context.

It's logical to say that a tire that meets the demands of the worst weather conditions will keep you safer under such conditions.

However, if we say that we are preparing for the worst quarter of the possibilities, we must then also concede that we are compromising on the most common three-quarters of conditions.

Certainly, when the weather is bad, accidents happen.

But accidents are by definition unexpected - and if so, then can we, in good faith, say that we can avoid accidents by simply driving more carefully on our weather-compromised tire in that 75% of conditions for which our worst-case-scenario tires are not optimized for? And if one is inclined to answer "yes, it's reasonable to be more careful in clear conditions on winter tires," then could one not just as logically argue that one would be just as well off being commensurately "more careful" with "All-Season" tires in "wintry" conditions?

Logic doesn't just flow one way: we must realize that there is always a compromise.

At the insistence of logic, the only truly reasonable solution rests not in what anyone else chooses to shod their vehicles with. Rather, it is up to you - your personal needs and wants.

If you need to go out into that snowstorm because you're a first-responder or your occupation (or even hobby) otherwise requires it, then yes, it would make absolute sense to prepare for the worst.

But if you can telecommute or take public transportation when the white stuff is just "coming down" outside - or even hitch a ride with your buddy who has a monster of a winter setup for her vehicle or if you have another vehicle in the household that's specifically set up for winter-weather use - then perhaps it actually makes more sense for you to prepare for the more common scenarios that you'd face in your daily driver, rather than compromise "safety" in such conditions for the "safety" that you'll only rarely, if ever, need to call upon.

It's really about understanding one's unique needs and wants and how that plays into the actual weather conditions likely to be experienced. :)

------

Counterpoint:

A further complication that we have to keep in mind with the "switch point" between your "three-seasons" and your "winter" setup is just how fast the weather can swing in your area, and how readily you can respond to this change.

If you're able to haul out your winter setup and mount them on your vehicle at the drop of a hat, then yes, waiting until that first winter storm is right about on-you to change is completely viable.

But if you need to take your winter tires (un-mounted) into your local tire-shop to get them mounted on your existing wheels (because they're your only set) or if you're physically unable to do so or lack the equipment/space to do so and must rely on the kindness of a friend or relative, then you may even want to change to your seasonal setup somewhat earlier, realizing that late-fall is typically the busiest time for brick-and-mortar tire shops in cooler regions as they strive to accommodate a near-endless stream of customers who are either looking to purchase new tires so that they will be able to face the coming winter weather - or are facing the same needs as you.

We we start seeing temperatures around 40-45 deg. F., for those of us who live in cooler areas, we know from experience that the season really is turning. Here in NE-Ohio, at those temperatures, we can see swings up to 60 one day, and well below freezing the next.

Sure, the swing upwards causes a compromise in terms of safety (above) and tire-wear - but I think it's very reasonable to argue that a swing the other direction, with colder temperatures and some frozen precipitation on the roadway may be more cause for concern.

<snip>
You wrote that:

[The skstuds.ca] article is the best explanation I have read so far regarding the compromise that real driving will throw at us in those varying conditions..... The slightest moisture on the road stemming from even a change in temperature compared to actual precipitation can be dangerous for those all seasons in winter.
^ And this matches precisely what I'd written about in the previous thread - I don't see how our opinions are failing to align, at all, if this is the case. :)

^ I'm not understanding the point of this video?

https://jalopnik.com/winter-tires-are-great-for-ice-and-snow-but-not-on-dry-1821468055 but he modified the tire size between the summer/winter tests. Also ambient temperature was not the same (12 hours aclimation to assure same parameters).
Also a confounding factor is the fact that he's looking at a true summer tire, not an "All Season/All Weather."

[/quote]
"Few drivers understand that all-season tires are a compromise intended to provide acceptable traits under a wide variety of conditions. That prevents them from being a master of any one of them. All-season tire tread designs and compounds are less effective in freezing temperatures. Winter tires deliver better snow and ice performance. " I find this to be true with tools and virtually anything else in this world. As the design parameters increase the ability for any one product to be great through that wide range decreases compared to a narrower set of parameters to meet. https://www.tirereview.com/breaking-winter-tires/
[/QUOTE]

I completely agree....

And I think it's necessary to highlight the wording above, to note specifically that "less effective" does not necessarily translate directly into "worse than," as we've seen in the many tests that I've referenced, both past and present.

That this "less effective" versus "worse than" is much more about the specific tire which we choose to fit to our vehicles - and that just as there can be specific "All Season/All Weather" choices that may be better in the snow than another specific "Performance Winter," there can also be specific "Performance Winters" that actually perform better in clear dry/wet conditions than specific "All Season/All Weather" tires.

Generalities are what I want us as an enthusiast community to get away from: to dismiss marketing catchphrases and old beliefs.

But then again, that TireReview article does date to 2014..... ;)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,847 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Ah, you misunderstand.

My post(s) are not meant to discredit the gentleman you spoke with - and I am not suggesting that the performance or lack thereof of any particular tire or brand of tire would impact his bottom line (and thus make him a vested party).

Rather, my post is simply to point out that modern data makes the 45-deg. F/7-deg. C. switch-point a generalization that is non-tenable once we start to look at the actual tires involved. The data we have from 2004-on shows this, and this is not just "old data," but rather, is even true as of today (2018 tests and the single [so far] 2019).

We have to look at the specific tires - generalizations fail.



It's not about talking to any one or another of the tire-makers, either. What would I talk to Mr. Robinson about, exactly? Would he be able to explain the nuiances of why one or another of Bridgestone's offerings performed better/worse in any of the tests that the various consumer/enthusiast sources any better/more any of the enthusiasts on many car Forums have debated? Honestly, I wouldn't expect him to - nor would I expect him to be able to give me a discount on either the DM V2s on my Ascent now, or the WS90s that my in-laws are about to mount to their two late-model Legacys (or could he? :))

It's simply what the data (modern data) shows, with all its imperfections and weirdness, at that.



I used the same article/comparo in Car & Driver as the Saskatchewan Studded Tire Club did in my reply on the other thread ( https://www.ascentforums.com/thread...rsus-snow-rated-all-terrain.8684/#post-117155 ), supplementing it at the time with both earlier (2005) Russian data as well as later (2014) UK expert analysis.

And again, remember, this isn't decade-old technology: the 2018 tests and comparos I cited above come from the ADAC, AMS, ADE, Auto Bild, and AutoExpress - all of which are highly regarded European motoring sources (ranging from consumer associations to enthusiast publications) that use accredited testing facilities and resources for such services.

We'll see if 2019 shows something different - but with the sole Auto Bild test so far, what's true a decade ago is still so far true today.

And also, that compromise has been my point all along. :)

I specifically wrote of this very compromise (as well as the counterpoint to the delayed switch) in that very same post:



You wrote that:



^ And this matches precisely what I'd written about in the previous thread - I don't see how our opinions are failing to align, at all, if this is the case. :)



^ I'm not understanding the point of this video?



Also a confounding factor is the fact that he's looking at a true summer tire, not an "All Season/All Weather."
"Few drivers understand that all-season tires are a compromise intended to provide acceptable traits under a wide variety of conditions. That prevents them from being a master of any one of them. All-season tire tread designs and compounds are less effective in freezing temperatures. Winter tires deliver better snow and ice performance. " I find this to be true with tools and virtually anything else in this world. As the design parameters increase the ability for any one product to be great through that wide range decreases compared to a narrower set of parameters to meet. https://www.tirereview.com/breaking-winter-tires/
[/QUOTE]

I completely agree....

And I think it's necessary to highlight the wording above, to note specifically that "less effective" does not necessarily translate directly into "worse than," as we've seen in the many tests that I've referenced, both past and present.

That this "less effective" versus "worse than" is much more about the specific tire which we choose to fit to our vehicles - and that just as there can be specific "All Season/All Weather" choices that may be better in the snow than another specific "Performance Winter," there can also be specific "Performance Winters" that actually perform better in clear dry/wet conditions than specific "All Season/All Weather" tires.

Generalities are what I want us as an enthusiast community to get away from: to dismiss marketing catchphrases and old beliefs.

But then again, that TireReview article does date to 2014..... ;)
[/QUOTE]
I do think we agree on this topic. Quite frankly, the safety experience of mounting any particular tire probably has more to do with the way someone drives compared to the tire (with obvious exceptions). A vehicle can have the very best performing tires for the road conditions and push them to the extent the occupants are not safe. Anyone who does not recognize that driving over an overpass or bridge in the winter will expose the tires to colder temperatures is not a safe driver (assuming they do not adjust their speed). With the advent of all wheel drive or four wheel drive came the drivers who thought they were invincible. They are not and the same goes for driving in the winter regardless of what rubber the vehicle wears. I appreciate the safety features of the Subarus, but I will never rely on them to save me from fundamentally unsafe driving. They do add an extra layer of protection which I would rather not have to use.

I often drive on the highways and see the frequent tailgating that occurs. There is no way that tailgating driver would stop in time and avoid an accident. The specific vehicle and its equipment will not save anyone from ignorance. This is why I am sending my newly licenced son to learn to drive on ice and packed snow. Drivers need to respect road and weather conditions that impact their lives as well as others.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
771 Posts
^ Absolutely - every time I even remotely contemplate doing something stupid, I hear the voices of "Click and Clack Tappet Brothers" in my head, laughing about "Subris."

Then I reel it in! :)


-----


2017 data - I promise, this is the last I'll bore anyone with data! :)

AutoExpress 2017 All Season Tire Test - virtually no difference between the top-tier "All Season/All Weather" tires (Michelin CrossClimate+, the second-generation Goodyear Vector 4Season, and Nokian WeatherProof) and the reference winter (Continental WinterContact TS860 - "Performance Winter"). What's more interesting is that the tests were run at both 7 deg. C. and 3 deg. C., and the results were unchanged (and even more interesting is that by the hard numbers, the reference summer tire only lost 1% of its performance, between the two temperatures). Keep in mind that in the European market, the CrossClimate+ is what's considered a "summer biased all season tire."

Auto Bild ran two test of "all Season/All Weather" tires this year. The of 225/455/17 fitment test from this year resulted in data that aligns with the above, that clear-dry/clear-wet gives the advantage to "All Season/All Weather" tires more than the reference winter. Surprising this year was the fact that the Nokian WeatherProof put forward winter performance that was pretty much right on top of the reference winter (again, although undisclosed, this is traditionally a "premium" winter tire for their market; it's like The Stig of their testing :) ). The same year, they also performed a test of the 205/55/16 fitment with the same dry and wet results. In this test, however, the then-new Continental AllSeasonContact actually beat out the reference winter tire in snow testing.

Auto Zeitung published a test this year that directly compared "All Season/All Weather" tires versus winter tires. pitting ten of the former versus the by-then already highly cherished Continental WinterContact TS 860 "Performance Winter." Perhaps as a sign of things to come in 2018, this test saw the TS 860 overpowering the leading "All Season/All Winters" in both aquaplane resistance (a test in which it literally blew away all other comers) and in the wet (by over a car-length in the braking test), falling to mid-pack only in the dry tests. Just as suprisingly on the flip side of the equation, a few of the top-tier "All Season/All Weather" tires managed to either beat or hang very close to the TS 860 in snow testing. Here begins the first speculation that perhaps where the TS 860 truly belongs is to serve as the most winterized of "All Season" tires, rather than its categorization as a true winter tire, which, given the following year's testing, we see just how precinct these testers are.

In terms of winter tire tests for this year, the 2017 Auto Bild was a wowzer: they started with fifty (!!) tires, and dropped the worse performing 20 in a wet braking test before fully testing the remaining thirty (!). Athough they did not concurrently test a reference "All Season" tire, they did test a reference "Summer" tire. Unsurprisingly, the summer tire performed best in dry testing, but it did prove rather shocking that its performance held in the wet as well, even if it was only a slight margin. True to form, however, the summer tire's performance fell apart once frozen precipitation made itself known on the testing surface, where it came dead last (by a good margin) in the braking test, but even more tellingly in that it could not even complete the handling course. As a side note, there was a 20+ meter snow braking difference (~65 ft.) difference in the braking distance between the best and worst of the remaining 30 tested tires - with this in-mind, it's perhaps not hard to see why some "All Season/All Weather" tires manage to wedge themselves in, here.

AutoBild also performed an SUV-fitment winter tire test this year, and while it sadly did not include a reference "All Season/All Weather," it did include a reference summer tire. Results were typical, and mirrored the above passenger-tire test.

---

As an aside - but an important one - the AutoCentrum (Polish) winter tire test from this year demonstrated the importance of not just having winter tires, but selecting the winter tires that are actually the most appropriate for one's conditions. Two of the tires tested were of "Nordic" classification, which is perhaps more akin to our "Studless Ice & Snow" tires than the typical European winter tires (more akin to our "Performance Winter" tires, but slightly even moreso winter-biased). In this test, the Nordic tires came in dead last in both dry and wet performance as well as also fared poorly in aquaplaning resistance; however, when ice was on the roadway, these two tires completely trounced their competition.

This harks back well to not only our discussion here and in the other thread of the appropriateness of selecting "All Season" or "All Weather" tires versus "Winter" tires for those who live in milder climates or in transition zones, but also highlights the fact that winter tires are not all equals in and among themselves.

Importantly, for the North American consumer, the distinction between a "Performance Winter" and a "Studless Ice & Snow" is a very important split point in one's decision tree, where it comes to winter tire selection.

---------

Oh, and I found another 2019 test - AutoExpress Winter Tyre Review. Surprisingly, the "All Season" Continental AllSeasonContact's final numerical score actually places it in the top three. Raw scores, however, showed that it was really only superior in the dry, and that it was only top half in terms of wet and snow performance.

It will be interesting to see what tests from the rest of the season says, and how we can reconcile what's seen in this test versus the Auto Bild test cited above.

----------

I will try to get to summarizing the 2015 and 2016 data if anyone's interested, but seeing as this covers the last two active years and gives us a start on this year's data (which should be forthcoming in the next few months), I don't know if this is necessary. If anyone's interested, let me know, otherwise, I'll save the Forum its bandwidth and also won't bore anyone anymore with my TL : DNR tendencies!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,847 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
^ Absolutely - every time I even remotely contemplate doing something stupid, I hear the voices of "Click and Clack Tappet Brothers" in my head, laughing about "Subris."

Then I reel it in! :)


-----


2017 data - I promise, this is the last I'll bore anyone with data! :)

AutoExpress 2017 All Season Tire Test - virtually no difference between the top-tier "All Season/All Weather" tires (Michelin CrossClimate+, the second-generation Goodyear Vector 4Season, and Nokian WeatherProof) and the reference winter (Continental WinterContact TS860 - "Performance Winter"). What's more interesting is that the tests were run at both 7 deg. C. and 3 deg. C., and the results were unchanged (and even more interesting is that by the hard numbers, the reference summer tire only lost 1% of its performance, between the two temperatures). Keep in mind that in the European market, the CrossClimate+ is what's considered a "summer biased all season tire."

Auto Bild ran two test of "all Season/All Weather" tires this year. The of 225/455/17 fitment test from this year resulted in data that aligns with the above, that clear-dry/clear-wet gives the advantage to "All Season/All Weather" tires more than the reference winter. Surprising this year was the fact that the Nokian WeatherProof put forward winter performance that was pretty much right on top of the reference winter (again, although undisclosed, this is traditionally a "premium" winter tire for their market; it's like The Stig of their testing :) ). The same year, they also performed a test of the 205/55/16 fitment with the same dry and wet results. In this test, however, the then-new Continental AllSeasonContact actually beat out the reference winter tire in snow testing.

Auto Zeitung published a test this year that directly compared "All Season/All Weather" tires versus winter tires. pitting ten of the former versus the by-then already highly cherished Continental WinterContact TS 860 "Performance Winter." Perhaps as a sign of things to come in 2018, this test saw the TS 860 overpowering the leading "All Season/All Winters" in both aquaplane resistance (a test in which it literally blew away all other comers) and in the wet (by over a car-length in the braking test), falling to mid-pack only in the dry tests. Just as suprisingly on the flip side of the equation, a few of the top-tier "All Season/All Weather" tires managed to either beat or hang very close to the TS 860 in snow testing. Here begins the first speculation that perhaps where the TS 860 truly belongs is to serve as the most winterized of "All Season" tires, rather than its categorization as a true winter tire, which, given the following year's testing, we see just how precinct these testers are.

In terms of winter tire tests for this year, the 2017 Auto Bild was a wowzer: they started with fifty (!!) tires, and dropped the worse performing 20 in a wet braking test before fully testing the remaining thirty (!). Athough they did not concurrently test a reference "All Season" tire, they did test a reference "Summer" tire. Unsurprisingly, the summer tire performed best in dry testing, but it did prove rather shocking that its performance held in the wet as well, even if it was only a slight margin. True to form, however, the summer tire's performance fell apart once frozen precipitation made itself known on the testing surface, where it came dead last (by a good margin) in the braking test, but even more tellingly in that it could not even complete the handling course. As a side note, there was a 20+ meter snow braking difference (~65 ft.) difference in the braking distance between the best and worst of the remaining 30 tested tires - with this in-mind, it's perhaps not hard to see why some "All Season/All Weather" tires manage to wedge themselves in, here.

AutoBild also performed an SUV-fitment winter tire test this year, and while it sadly did not include a reference "All Season/All Weather," it did include a reference summer tire. Results were typical, and mirrored the above passenger-tire test.

---

As an aside - but an important one - the AutoCentrum (Polish) winter tire test from this year demonstrated the importance of not just having winter tires, but selecting the winter tires that are actually the most appropriate for one's conditions. Two of the tires tested were of "Nordic" classification, which is perhaps more akin to our "Studless Ice & Snow" tires than the typical European winter tires (more akin to our "Performance Winter" tires, but slightly even moreso winter-biased). In this test, the Nordic tires came in dead last in both dry and wet performance as well as also fared poorly in aquaplaning resistance; however, when ice was on the roadway, these two tires completely trounced their competition.

This harks back well to not only our discussion here and in the other thread of the appropriateness of selecting "All Season" or "All Weather" tires versus "Winter" tires for those who live in milder climates or in transition zones, but also highlights the fact that winter tires are not all equals in and among themselves.

Importantly, for the North American consumer, the distinction between a "Performance Winter" and a "Studless Ice & Snow" is a very important split point in one's decision tree, where it comes to winter tire selection.

---------

Oh, and I found another 2019 test - AutoExpress Winter Tyre Review. Surprisingly, the "All Season" Continental AllSeasonContact's final numerical score actually places it in the top three. Raw scores, however, showed that it was really only superior in the dry, and that it was only top half in terms of wet and snow performance.

It will be interesting to see what tests from the rest of the season says, and how we can reconcile what's seen in this test versus the Auto Bild test cited above.

----------

I will try to get to summarizing the 2015 and 2016 data if anyone's interested, but seeing as this covers the last two active years and gives us a start on this year's data (which should be forthcoming in the next few months), I don't know if this is necessary. If anyone's interested, let me know, otherwise, I'll save the Forum its bandwidth and also won't bore anyone anymore with my TL : DNR tendencies!
Okay, my next vehicle will be a hovercraft.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
771 Posts
To back-track a bit to 2019 tests, which, in post #6 above (https://www.ascentforums.com/thread...ds-versus-all-seasons-tires.8765/#post-118325), at the time only the Auto Bild SUV All-Season results were available -

We can now add the following 2019 testing, too:

The Auto Bild (German) All-Season tire test again shows that the "reference Summer" and "reference Winter" tires laying down the expected patterns in their performance/effectiveness, with the Summer tire taking easily taking the win in both dry and wet conditions, while the Winter tire totally reverses this and comes to dominate when there's actually frozen precipitation on the ground. Again, these "reference tires" are premium tires in their market, not just some random or low-brow item. What's perhaps surprising with this test is just how well the top-tier All-Season tires performed in snowy conditions, with performances in both braking and handling nearly equal that of the reference Winter tire. Since this is a German test, the final tally is biased towards snow performance: with that in-mind, note that while the Goodyear tire that tops snow handling is not available here in the North American market, the Michelin CrossClimate+ (which is a more "summer" biased All-Season) and Vredestein Quatrac Pro both are.

The 2019 Auto Express (UK) All-Season tire test again provided typical results While the overall rankings and more importantly numerical raw data do not exactly match what Auto Bild saw above, the overall gist remains the same: that the idea of a good All-Season tire somehow falling apart in terms of its performance when the weather turns cooler is outright ridiculous. Looking closely at the data, one can see that the reference Winter tire (Continental TS 860) performed nearly as well as the best All-Season tire, and vice-versa, leading TyreReviews.uk to wrirte the following in its summary: "While this won't apply to all winter tyres, it's a good example of how close a winter bias all season tyre, and a full winter tyre can be!" In this test, "wet" testing occurred at just above the 7-deg. C "switch point" that has driven discussion here.

Both the Auto Bild All-Season tire overview (consider it a pre-test to the above, with only qualifying entrants proceeding to the final) and the ACE/GTÜ (the former is a German motoring club, while the latter is a German vehicle inspection organization) both highlighted that rather than generalizations, we as consumers need to pay more attention to specific details where it comes to our tire purchases. Instead of assuming that "All Season" tires are less optimal in winter conditions or that "Winter tires" are less so in the clear, we must understand that it is the specific make/model of tire that we purchase that will actually impact our driving performance. In the Auto Bild pre-test, the best tires stopped the test vehicle in less distance in the wet than the worst tires did in the dry. Similarly, with a near-65-ft gap between the tested best/worst in the wet (over 4 car-lengths distance), the test highlights this drastic safety gap. Similarly, in the ACE/GTÜ test, we see that while none of the tested tires are a perfect year round solution, we can nevertheless bias our performance/safety needs by selecting the right tire - the one that performs strongest in the conditions which we deem we need such margins the most, but at the same time, this also means that we should keep in mind the other trade-offs.

And in-reality, I think that it is this last bit that we should all remember.

All too-often do we in the Subaru community see strong recommendations for winter tires as the solution to all of our winter commute concerns. We are pounded by both marketing catch-phrases as well as institutional inertia/groupthink into believing that there's some magical temperature at which our All-Seasons become rocks or that we somehow are putting ourselves at significant risk should we drive in even the lightest winter conditions without winter tires.

Modern test data shows that none of these beliefs are true, and that we should realize that as any one specific tire may be stronger in one aspect of performance than another, that same tire will demand a compromise in anther area. To wit: just having a winter tire on your car does not automatically make you also "safer" when it's 37 deg. F. and raining outside - which is the conditions I see as I look out of my windows as I type this very post. Rather, I must realize that while my winter tires will give me a greater performance envelope/safety-margin should frozen precipitation start falling some time later today (forecasted), until then, with the roadways only wet, my braking distances will actually be LONGER than that of a comparable-quality All-Season tire. Ditto in the dry.

With current techology, as advanced as it may be, there's still no magical one-tire solution, that there's simply not "One Ring to rule them all...." ;)

----

Winter test results in a bit....... :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
771 Posts
On to winter -


This is a very interesting article/video by TyreReviews.uk, as it shows the different compromises that we step through as we progress from one end of the tire compound/architecture spectrum to another. Nokian supplied the tires as well as the testing facilities, but any potential biases are held in-check by the fact that much as in the referenced C&D article from 2009, we are limited to only the tire offerings from this very make.

The LineAS is the "American All-Season," with the European All-Season being the Weatherproof (equivalent to what we would call an "All Weather" tire). Winter tires begin with the "Winter" Stormproof (not available Stateside, it is a tire that is between what we know in the North American market as "Performance Winters" and "Studless Ice & Snows"), and goes to the "Nordic" (aka "Studless Ice & Snow" in our market) R3 and the studded Hakka 9.

Wet and dry testing came at between 60 to 70 deg. F., unfortunately - so it's definitely no surprise, there. Yet, while results are "typical," it does once again show that the difference is not brand-based by far, but drives down deep into the sub-category/sub-genre level of the equation.

The enormous "2019 Winter Tyre Test Market Overview" (53 tires tested!!!!) by Auto Bild (German) as their "pre-test" showed again what we saw in the above-cited "All Season" pre-test, with a vast disparity between the top and bottom tested tires, and again highlights the importance of the need to choose carefully. Their full test, which consisted of the top twenty finishers, again showed no surprises when compared against the "reference Summer." Instead, we are called to the fact that both the Dunlop and Pirelli entries tested quite poorly (bottom quarter for both), proving that we can't just shop by the reputation of the brand/marque - we have to drill down our purchase decision deeper than just this surface call. Demonstrating this need to drill-down is the fact that the 2019 ADAC (also German) testing placed both the Dunlop and Pirelli much higher in the standings: the difference? the former tested 225/45/17 fitment, while the latter is 185/65/15, and that the specific tires tested were completely different as well.

The devil is in the details. ;)

The 2019 Auto Express (UK) winter tire test was rather unremarkable, and again affirmed the same performance compromises exhibited by winter tires as compared to both a summer and winter "reference" tire in wet and dry conditions free of frozen precipitation. Yet again this year TyreReviews - a UK source - highlights these test results as the impetus behind their assertion that "A good all season tyre is a better option for the most of the UK than a full winter tyre," which I personally believe to be both a very accurate statement (as based on years of past data) , and should be taken heed by Forum members who either live in areas where significant frozen accumulation is only an infrequent concern or for those who can simply avoid driving in the worst of such.

I'm trying to digest the 2019 AMS (German) Winter SUV tire test, now....there's some really interesting - puzzling - results....... More on this one in a few days.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,324 Posts
Winter tires, like all tire types, are a trade-off. You may be trading considerably worse dry and wet braking for excellent snow traction, and ice braking.

I live in Northern New England where we often have particularly difficult winters. However, during the winter, the roads are mostly dry or wet the majority of the time. The only time they're icy or covered with snow is usually during winter storms and some time afterward until the road crews can clear them. There's no question that snow tires are superior when the roads are snowy or icy, but when the roads are dry or simply wet, which again is the majority of the time, some of these winter tires may have markedly worse braking performance.

Take this chart from Consumer Reports for standard winter/snow tires as an example:
2052

As well as this chart for standard truck snow/winter tires:
2056

As you can see, the dry and wet braking performance of these top-rated winter/snow tires is not great. Is it worth trading superior snow traction and ice braking for worse dry and wet braking? Certainly during a storm, but what about the majority of the time when the roads are not snowy or icy?

Now if you're willing to spend big bucks for performance winter/snow tires, things improve a bit:
2053

But these tires can run you twice as much.

With performance all-season tires you can do quite well with snow traction and ice braking as well as dry and wet braking in some brands which even things out a bit:
2054

Again, the costs are high, but at least you only need to purchase one set of tires and no extra wheels.

With standard performance all-seasons, the type the Ascent comes with, they're not something I would recommend for the snow belt states. I went through last winter with the stock Falkens, and while they were ok in the snow, ice braking could only be described as scary. But other standard performance all-seasons might do well enough:
2055

Everyone will need to decide for themselves which tradeoffs are best for them given their own circumstances. If you can generally avoid driving in winter storms, you may be able to get away with performance all-seasons, provided you pick the right ones because, in the snow belt, it can be difficult to avoid such storms. You can head to work in good weather and be driving home that evening in a blizzard or an ice storm (been there, done that). The choice may be difficult, but at least we have choices and can choose from a number of excellent tires which seem to get better year to year.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
771 Posts
^ Just remember that these CR comparisons should be taken "within sub-category only." What's ranked better or worse for that particular sub-category cannot be extended to another category: i.e. an "excellent" ice-braking ranking in the "Winter/Snow" category is -NOT- the same as the same "excellent" ice-braking ranking in the "Performance Winter" category!!!!!!

Winter tires, like all tire types, are a trade-off. You may be trading considerably worse dry and wet braking for excellent snow traction, and ice braking.

....

I live in Northern New England where we often have particularly difficult winters. However, during the winter, the roads are mostly dry or wet the majority of the time. The only time they're icy or covered with snow is usually during winter storms and some time afterward until the road crews can clear them. There's no question that snow tires are superior when the roads are snowy or icy, but when the roads are dry or simply wet, which again is the majority of the time, some of these winter tires may have markedly worse braking performance.

....

As you can see, the dry and wet braking performance of these top-rated winter/snow tires is not great. Is it worth trading superior snow traction and ice braking for worse dry and wet braking? Certainly during a storm, but what about the majority of the time when the roads are not snowy or icy?

<snip>

Everyone will need to decide for themselves which tradeoffs are best for them given their own circumstances. If you can generally avoid driving in winter storms, you may be able to get away with performance all-seasons, provided you pick the right ones because, in the snow belt, it can be difficult to avoid such storms. You can head to work in good weather and be driving home that evening in a blizzard or an ice storm (been there, done that). The choice may be difficult, but at least we have choices and can choose from a number of excellent tires which seem to get better year to year.
Exactly.

This is something that the data has shown us for not only the past decade to decade-and-a-half, but also even holds true today, as I've shown above.

Folks really need to realize that there's a trade-off, and that just slapping "winter tires" (and not minding which type of winter tire they choose) on the vehicle for "the winter" (regardless that their winter has actually rather mild temperatures [I get deeper into this aspect of things here: https://www.ascentforums.com/thread...rsus-snow-rated-all-terrain.8684/#post-117155 , trying to dispel the "45-degs. and change" misconception] and where frozen precipitation is truly rare) isn't the mindless solution that so much marketing makes it out to be.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,324 Posts
^ Just remember that these CR comparisons should be taken "within sub-category only." What's ranked better or worse for that particular sub-category cannot be extended to another category: i.e. an "excellent" ice-braking ranking in the "Winter/Snow" category is -NOT- the same as the same "excellent" ice-braking ranking in the "Performance Winter" category!!!!!!...
You know, I've often wondered about that and it's bugged me for years. So I went directly to the source and asked CR themselves. They have an "Ask CR" chat feature for online subscribers. What they said surprised me because I believed as you do, that they must be compared within each sub-category only.

What they said was that each tire, regardless of brand, model, or sub-category, is tested individually to the same standards. So if a "performance all-season tire" has an "ice-braking" ranking of "very good", and a "performance snow/winter" tire had the same rating, they would perform similarly for ice-braking. In other words, the sub-categories don't matter in regard to the individual tests. This is not to say that a "performance all-season tire" is a suitable substitute for a "performance winter/snow" tire for winter driving because all tests must be considered together to evaluate the tire as a whole for any specific purpose. But it does appear that the ratings are the same across sub-categories.

I wanted to be absolutely certain of this because I use CR all the time to make purchasing decisions, so I grilled the poor chat person for nearly an hour asking the question in several different ways to ensure the answer was the same. After getting a bit frustrated with me ? she offered to escalate my questions to the actual experts who perform the tests. I said that would be great. I'm supposed to hear back soon (hopefully). I'll share whatever I learn here, so stay tuned.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
771 Posts
^ Interesting..........

I had been under the impression from years ago that they tested to individual categories, not towards a standard - so, definitely, pro10is, thank you for this correction!

Now, THAT said........

I really do -NOT- understand their logic, as with testing and subsequent ranking towards a set standard, they're effectively suggesting that a "Performance Winter" such as the PA4 can effectively match the ice performance of the "Studless Ice & Snow" Xi3, while giving up just a little in terms of snow performance?

If this is the case, will they supply the raw data and give readers/members access to testing conditions?

I'm really curious as to what their testers will hopefully get back to you with, and how they reconcile their observations and conclusions with that from European, Scandinavian, and Russian consumer groups, clubs, and enthusiast sources alike.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,324 Posts
^ Interesting..........

I had been under the impression from years ago that they tested to individual categories, not towards a standard - so, definitely, pro10is, thank you for this correction!

Now, THAT said........

I really do -NOT- understand their logic, as with testing and subsequent ranking towards a set standard, they're effectively suggesting that a "Performance Winter" such as the PA4 can effectively match the ice performance of the "Studless Ice & Snow" Xi3, while giving up just a little in terms of snow performance?

If this is the case, will they supply the raw data and give readers/members access to testing conditions?

I'm really curious as to what their testers will hopefully get back to you with, and how they reconcile their observations and conclusions with that from European, Scandinavian, and Russian consumer groups, clubs, and enthusiast sources alike.
The CR chat person I spoke with seemed confident but I kept asking more and more questions until I shook her confidence just a bit. That's when she suggested escalating my questions to more knowledgable people. She assured me that someone would indeed get back to me, but after almost an hour she might just have wanted to get rid of me. I guess we'll see.

I really hope I do get an answer, if not I'll write them a letter and pursue it. I have a feeling there's more to this than meets the eye, but it's only fair to hear what they have to say before any more speculation.

My only gripe with Consumer Reports is that over the years they have been dumbing down their magazine and reports so that almost anyone can understand them (as so many things have been dumbed down lately). They used to go into much more detail and present things more scientifically, but in order to maintain readership, they've oversimplified their presentations. I think their methodology, research, and data is probably detailed and excellent, but their presentation to their readers tries to simplify everything so much that a lot is lost in translation. Such a shame, I wish they would release more raw data or at least more details to people who requested it. If I get the chance I'll ask them about that.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
40 Posts
This is an interesting and entertaining discussion. I am from a place (Quebec) where winter tires are mandatory to be put on your car by Dec 1rst. And if you don’t you run the chance of getting a fine, which would prove that you are taking a chance with your safety and other’s too.

One interesting comment from a previous poster - Is it worth trading superior snow traction and ice braking for worse dry and wet braking? - IMO, this is a no-brainer. If you drive at a reasonable speed, you should always be reasonably safe on dry or wet. But ice, and worst, snow OVER ice can be magnitudes more dangerous than less-than-perfect dry and wet breaking. Plus with snow over ice conditions, you often get no warning. In the case of wet, you know it usually immediately...by watching the wipers !

Joking aside, if you invest in a premium snow tire, some of them are so good now, there isn’t much compromise to be made. I am currently using Michelin X-ice 3’s WINTER tires on my Ascent. They are as quiet, and handle better than the stock Falken tires, which is incredible. And on snow and ice, no contest of course. If you can, don’t cheap out with cheap winter tires. Not worth it. Previous tires were Blizzak DM-V2 on two previous Infiniti QX60’s (could not re-use them, going to 20 inch with the Ascent), Found them also great in the snow, but not as good handling, not as quiet, and thread wearing out faster. In short, they felt like snow tires where the Michelin does not feel like one on dry and wet, yet works beautifully on snow and ice. But....they ARE expensive, and you do wonder if they are worth the money when you take out the plastic at the cash register. There is something to be said for technology here, I’m impressed so far.
 
1 - 20 of 33 Posts
Top