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So I had the local morning news on this morning and they’re showing the snow out west. It was live tv so I missed the location but they showed a highway with a pileup that included a white Ascent :( Someone’s car didn’t do well in the snow unfortunately.
 

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We got hammered the last 2 days in CO with snow. The Ascent did well. The XTerra did well.
The true test will be driving to WY in a cold blizzard. We do that like 2-3 times a year.
 

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I can't wait for the first significant snow fall in my NY location to try out my Superu Ascent !
Join us on the 48hrs of Tristate #SubaruEnthusiasts Charity Drive Team and help us raise money for Make-A-Wish, and spend a thousand adventure and snow filled miles testing your Ascent alongside my Ascent and many dozens more Subies.


Spoiler alert...
With some good 3PMSF winter rated all terrains, my Ascent was an absolute beast in the snow and on the frozen Lake Algonquin.
 

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So first snow fall in the East Coast and wanted to know how the ascent and stock tires did. Unfortunately I had some major surgery this past Monday and I am restricted from driving for about 2 weeks :crying: Lets hear some feedback!
Winter tires on my Ascent handled wonderfully in 12 inches of snow in Colorado. Mile after mile of stuck vehicles with little clearance, traction control, front wheel drive and or no winter tires. I assisted when I could.
 

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Friends, I had the "luck" of driving from Minneapolis to Milwaukee in the blizzard before Thanksgiving and driving back into another blizzard, the Sunday after Thanksgiving. I experienced everything from slick, wet snow, icy conditions and torrential rain all in 1 night from Mpls-Mil. Then cold icy blinding snow on the way back! I have got to say, for OEM tires, the Falken Ziex performed very nicely. Here's what I mean by that. They did not slide around when I had to change lanes to overtake someone going REALLY slow. They did not lose traction when I had to slow down. They tracked straight for me through all the conditions mentioned. I was really, really nervous that I was knowingly driving straight into the belly of the storm on stock tires, but I drove as the conditions warranted and made sure I kept far back from anyone in front of me. I had read an expert on tires say that above 40mph in snowy/icy conditions it doesn't matter if you have Winter Tires on. And I take that to heart. Drive slowly and the Subaru will take care of you. Several weeks ago we also drove to Colorado and back. While we were up in Estes Park, it snowed too and I had to navigate a steep icy curvy downhill at one point. Using the paddle shifters was key, but once again, the tires didn't fail me. These tires are obviously not as good as proper winter tires. We have Blizzak's on my wife's Forester and those are fantastic. I can't get her car to drift at all after a fresh snow or even slick icy conditions with those on. With that, I have a means of comparison. Once our Ascent's stock Falken's wear out, I'll get better tires for our region, but until then, I feel pretty good about how they handled when mother nature showed us some nastiness.
2407
 

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Here in MI, I just drove about 40 minutes in rush hour on surface streets on stock 20-inch wheels/tires. Temperature is just below freezing, but the ground is cold enough the roads were snow covered. Snow is coming down in big flakes at the time. My frame of reference is a previous 2008 Outback/H6 and current MK7 VW GTI. With both cars, we switch to Blizzak winter tires around the end of November through March.

The Ascent seemed to have decent traction moving forward from a stop – no problem. The new tires really helped cut through the snow with around 1 inch of snow cover. But, both turning and stopping were not great when the tires couldn't break through to pavement. During more snow I would be really cautious. Near the traction limit, its huge bias for understeer was clear – it just plows through turns. This is one of the main reasons I switch to winter tires. I was happy that I could rotate around corners with a bit of right foot similar to how the Outback behaved. I wasn't sure how front-biased the Ascent was in comparison, but plenty of torque makes it to the rear quickly. The Ascent is a larger car than I'm used to, but I had the sense it would do a good job keeping things going straight and safe.

We have a set of Blizzak DM-V2 mounted on 18-inch wheels ready to go on this weekend. That should make things pretty solid. Would be great to hear other opinions.
Colorado mountain snow storm presented no challenge for my Ascent with my DM V2 winter tires. Never a suggestion of getting stuck or sliding. Very comfortable and good visibility.
 

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Just brought my son home from swim practice in western New England in this nasty snow we're getting tonight, I was the only car that made it up the mountain- I lost the cars behind me when I drove around the Audi that got stuck in the middle of the road. Used x mode to come down multiple hills, went by probably two dozen cars on either side of the road - not all of whom pulled over intentionally, based off the guardrail contact. I was also the only one to make it through the intersection when the light turned green (I was the lead car, and although I slipped a bit, I did pretty much get going right away), all the other cars were stuck, as there is a slight incline at the light. It was still a harrowing experience( there was ice under the snow), but I'm glad the car did as well as it did with the factory 20s on it. Unfortunately I did not get a chance to put the winter wheels and tires on it yet. While it would not have encouraged me to drive any faster, it would have given me additional safety margin, which is all I care about when my family is in the car.
 

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I got to do a a before/after test of my OEM tires (with 1000 miles on them) I had siped at Les Schwab a few days ago. Drove up to Lake Tahoe from Placerville and back. Stopped at Sierra-At-Tahoe ski resort where I could play a bit in their overflow parking lot that had been plowed smooth with a layer of hard pack snow. The sipe made an impressive difference on traction. A lot more than I thought. Enough to convince me I won't be needing to buy Blizzak's with this vehicle like I have with my Foresters (3 in the past 18 years). Cost was $15 a tire and should help with fuel economy although I haven't had 'em long enough to tell.
 

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I got to do a a before/after test of my OEM tires (with 1000 miles on them) I had siped at Les Schwab a few days ago. Drove up to Lake Tahoe from Placerville and back. Stopped at Sierra-At-Tahoe ski resort where I could play a bit in their overflow parking lot that had been plowed smooth with a layer of hard pack snow. The sipe made an impressive difference on traction. A lot more than I thought. Enough to convince me I won't be needing to buy Blizzak's with this vehicle like I have with my Foresters (3 in the past 18 years). Cost was $15 a tire and should help with fuel economy although I haven't had 'em long enough to tell.
It will be interesting to see how this works out for you down the road - pun intended 😉.

I had never heard of after market siping, I guess no tire stores around here do iit. Some Googling brought me to this article:
Jalopnik On Siping

Looks like they and CR are not in favor of after market siping which they say has negatives that outweigh the increase in winter performance.

Hope it works out well for you. I was gung ho on getting winter tires, now I'm back on the fence trying to decide if it is worth it. Your siping post gave me a glimmer of hope but now that has flickered out as well.
 

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Well, you can believe what you want from what you read. I've found that the sipe increased snow/ice traction enough to not only be noticeable, but enough to off put buying specialized snow/ice tires that I've done in the past. I only tested braking on the hard pack snow of the parking lot and I was able to detect a rather stark difference in stopping distances and controlability. With the sipe, the vehicle came to a straight line stop. Without, the vehicle slid side ways to the very gradual pitch of the parking lot, about the same pitch as the crown in a road might be. Both allowed me to steer the vehicle with the no-sipe a little mmore understeer but that was subjective, so not entirely sure of that. The anti lock brakes did a fine job keeping either one loosing control. Even trying hard maneuvers under full brake pedal pressure, at 30mph I could not loose control and spin out. I wasn't able to test on off camber as the lot was pretty flat, only enough pitch to drain rain or runoff. Under hard throttle, neither would loose enough traction to spinout, but traction control engages so there's that. I could get both to spin donuts with throttle and hard turn both left and right. The sipe tires recovered quicker after lifting throttle enough to notice.
CR and others who debunk siping site cost, not safety. Or at least cost before safety concerns. I'd say there is a likely chance tire manufacturers debunk because there's market to selling specialized tires over the profit of siping. And that's their primary incentive; making more money. If they can do that by bad mouthing tire cutting, then that's what they are going to do.
BTW, the sipe cuts are invisible unless you get right down and physically try to flex a knob of tread. They are cut into the tread, like a box knife plunge. No material is removed. I'd bet no tire warranty claim is going to be able to detect a tire was siped unless deliberately looking for it and knowing what to look for. The sipe isn't real deep, I imagine it will wear out within 10,000 miles of wet/dry use. Maybe less. Tire squirm, if any, due to sipe won't be around for long. In my driving, I didn't notice any difference in feel over the past 170 miles with them siped.
 

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That siping article, GaryInMI, needs to be balanced by the fact that even a modern winter tire isn't completely without compromise.

The problem with the (Jalopnik article) author's conversation with the ex-Pirelli R&D head is the same as the pro-siping arguments from Les Schwab: they're each vested-interest sources.

In this case, perhaps the best look at both sides of the equation was the CR test that the author cited - which I think was a mistake to downplay just as it was a mistake to seemingly place so much credit/faith on the words of the ex-Pirelli R&D head. Those marginal improvements really is what this small modification is about and can be equated to the same marginal performance increases that a driver will receive upon fitting "budget" winter tires - and what's more, the same compromises that the siped tires exact are also on the same order as that of those "budget" winters.

Sips work, and even premium modern winter tires' gross architecture carries this feature. However, just as real is the physical tread-block flex/"squirm" (you're right, SkiPro3, us average drivers won't likely "feel" them, but I assure you that when the tires are made to perform to their absolute limit - as in an emergency braking scenario in the clear, the braking distance will without a doubt be longer due to those extra cuts in the treadblock). The science underlying why this modification works well in one context are the same that insist it must compromise in the other.

The tire industry up-sells winter tires because it's a big profit-maker for them:


^ Industry sources, and that's just the tip of the iceberg (no pun intended).

I know you've read my spiel on this in the past, GaryinMI, but I'll throw it out here yet again for any newcomers who may be reading this thread. ;)

Both propagated myths left-over from the days of our father's - and their father's - time with "snow tires" (such as "narrower is better" and "studs will kill you on wet roads") as well as shadily couched modern "education points" (such as switch to winter tires at 45-deg. F./7-deg. C.") that are but thinly disguised marketing catchphrases continue to hold-back North American tire shoppers from the real data - and their "truths" - that drivers from European and Nordic countries have appreciated for not just years, but decades: https://www.ascentforums.com/threads/dedicated-winter-tire-versus-snow-rated-all-terrain.8684/#post-117155, https://www.ascentforums.com/threads/dedicated-winter-tire-versus-snow-rated-all-terrain.8684/page-2#post-117702 , and https://www.ascentforums.com/threads/how-much-of-a-difference-will-winter-tires-make-on-cold-dry-roads-versus-all-seasons-tires.8765/ .

The biggest issues with winter tire use that consumers must be aware of is that first and foremost, it is incorrect to think that ANY winter tire will "beat" ANY "All Season" tire in wintry conditions. The base tire matters, and there has to be a willingness to make at least a modest investment in the winter tires to insure that they will ACTUALLY perform well, and this can be seen in the many tests that I cited in the last of the referenced threads above. Secondly, consumers must be willing to accept the fact that for those performance (read: "safety") increases that they gain with winter tires, there will be some form of equivalent and opposite degradation in the performance (again, this is the same as "safety") they will see when the roadways are not covered in frozen wintry precipitation.

There is no free lunch.

[ And for newcomers to the winter tire discussion, I'm not writing the above to somehow justify why I don't have winter tires. Actually, I've had winter tires on all 9 of our Subarus since 2005 - https://www.ascentforums.com/threads/factory-tires-ok-for-snow.2607/page-3#post-121129 . My screen-name has been largely the same through the various online Subaru communities in which I've participated during the last decade and a half or so, so this claim can easily be verified by anyone that desires to do so. :) Winter tires are a passion of mine, but I don't want fellow Subaru drivers buying winter tires simply because it's fashionable to do so our out of mistaken ideas/feelings about supposed safety/performance improvements. I want folks to judge their needs critically, and with open eyes about what known data confirms. ]
 

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Sips work, and even premium modern winter tires' gross architecture carries this feature. However, just as real is the physical tread-block flex/"squirm" (you're right, SkiPro3, us average drivers won't likely "feel" them, but I assure you that when the tires are made to perform to their absolute limit - as in an emergency braking scenario in the clear, the braking distance will without a doubt be longer due to those extra cuts in the treadblock). The science underlying why this modification works well in one context are the same that insist it must compromise in the other.

The tire industry up-sells winter tires because it's a big profit-maker for them:


^ Industry sources, and that's just the tip of the iceberg (no pun intended).

I know you've read my spiel on this in the past, GaryinMI, but I'll throw it out here yet again for any newcomers who may be reading this thread. ;)

Both propagated myths left-over from the days of our father's - and their father's - time with "snow tires" (such as "narrower is better" and "studs will kill you on wet roads") as well as shadily couched modern "education points" (such as switch to winter tires at 45-deg. F./7-deg. C.") that are but thinly disguised marketing catchphrases continue to hold-back North American tire shoppers from the real data - and their "truths" - that drivers from European and Nordic countries have appreciated for not just years, but decades: https://www.ascentforums.com/threads/dedicated-winter-tire-versus-snow-rated-all-terrain.8684/#post-117155, https://www.ascentforums.com/threads/dedicated-winter-tire-versus-snow-rated-all-terrain.8684/page-2#post-117702 , and https://www.ascentforums.com/threads/how-much-of-a-difference-will-winter-tires-make-on-cold-dry-roads-versus-all-seasons-tires.8765/ .

The biggest issues with winter tire use that consumers must be aware of is that first and foremost, it is incorrect to think that ANY winter tire will "beat" ANY "All Season" tire in wintry conditions. The base tire matters, and there has to be a willingness to make at least a modest investment in the winter tires to insure that they will ACTUALLY perform well, and this can be seen in the many tests that I cited in the last of the referenced threads above. Secondly, consumers must be willing to accept the fact that for those performance (read: "safety") increases that they gain with winter tires, there will be some form of equivalent and opposite degradation in the performance (again, this is the same as "safety") they will see when the roadways are not covered in frozen wintry precipitation.

There is no free lunch.

[ And for newcomers to the winter tire discussion, I'm not writing the above to somehow justify why I don't have winter tires. Actually, I've had winter tires on all 9 of our Subarus since 2005 - https://www.ascentforums.com/threads/factory-tires-ok-for-snow.2607/page-3#post-121129 . My screen-name has been largely the same through the various online Subaru communities in which I've participated during the last decade and a half or so, so this claim can easily be verified by anyone that desires to do so. :) Winter tires are a passion of mine, but I don't want fellow Subaru drivers buying winter tires simply because it's fashionable to do so our out of mistaken ideas/feelings about supposed safety/performance improvements. I want folks to judge their needs critically, and with open eyes about what known data confirms. ]
Sips are the main difference between the 3 peak tires, snow 'rated' tires, taking the market by storm and all season/all terrain tires.
 

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^ Actually, it's more than just sipes and other visible differences.

It's also compounding.

There's a lot that goes into modern winter tires - all tires in general, actually. :)

In-reality, what that "3PMSF" symbol actually means is only that the tire's traction capabilities in "medium packed snow" exceeds that of a benchmark USTMA/RAC tire by a certain measure under ASTM tests (https://www.tirerack.com/tires/tiretech/techpage.jsp?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIwfjHu6Ka5gIVbxitBh0pJQUGEAAYASAAEgLKh_D_BwE&techid=125&ef_id=EAIaIQobChMIwfjHu6Ka5gIVbxitBh0pJQUGEAAYASAAEgLKh_D_BwE:G:s&s_kwcid=AL!3756!3!386427243784!b!!g!!&gclsrc=aw.ds&&affiliate=HM5).

Some modern "All Weather" as well as A/T and even certain "All Season" tires carry the "snowflake on the mountains" branding - it's not exclusive to modern winter tires.

Similarly, some modern "All Season" tires, such as the Michelin CrossClimate+, carry evolutionarily more advanced "siping" that visually differs from the surface zig-zag that is more traditionally regarded as sipes or are cut into surfaces of treadblocks as sipes by tire shops that continue to do so.
 

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^^^
Thanks guys for taking the time to add your wealth of information to this discussion.
 

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Les Schwab claim independent studies from US National Safety Council and Mobility Research show stopping distances are decreased as well as increased tire life, smoother ride, improved break-away traction as well as rolling traction.
Siping Explained
 

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According to the Jalopnik article, the NSC asked Schwab to remove this citation as they have never studied or endorsed siping.

Just going by what I read.
 

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I think both view points have made their case. I am going to continue to test my OEM tires since they are siped and report back regularly on their performance. I will focus on wet, dry, ice and snow traction as well as wear and mpg changes. I'll also make observations on road noise and drive feel.
My driving consists of;
Living at 2,000' elevation in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada range along hwy 50 between Sacramento and Lake Tahoe.
One thing about traveling between temperature zones as I do; I traverse across all sorts of snow/ice conditions. I've found the zone where snow is sticking to where snow accumulates runs around 36 down to 34 degrees. I call this the 'plastic' stage of snow as it readily turns for white snow to slush, filling lugs and causing hydroplane easily. Unfortunately, this is usually the zone where chain controls go up and as drivers approach that zone on their way up the hill, they have the least traction and the most traffic congestion as vehicles move on and off the lanes to install chains. Very dangerous, this zone. I drive 3 days a week average to ski resorts, targeting the snowiest conditions so that I get the freshest snow. I also will drive any conditions to get in my 3 day-a-week 'exercise' in. I also drive to Sacramento area 2 times a week to visit my father in a retirement home and other family as well as shopping. Since I travel from no snow to many inches of snow, elevation changes from 2,000' to over 8,000' and back down to 200' above sea level, the roads are not flat and straight for the most part, but hilly. Especially when getting above the snow line at approx 3 to 4,000' and above.
I will carry my testing through the seasons and conditions and how those may change the testing parameters mentioned. If anyone has other suggestions on what to observe and report on, let me know and I'll add.

I'm looking forward to the results. I want to know if I've spent my money wisely or should have applied the sipe fee towards dedicated winter tires. I consider myself very critical when it comes to value for my money and I will call out siping if it turns out it is not worth the cost, or worse, deminished the tires more than improved their performance.
Cheers!
 
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