When TO Put Snow Tires On?

Discussion in 'General Subaru Discussion' started by ToxicCrucible, Oct 15, 2011.

  1. Vinnie
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    Vinnie Well-Known Member

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    This is my first car that even needed snow tires (lived in TX for 14yrs) when do you guys put your snow tires on? Do you wait for the 1st snow? or before it
     
  2. WRX1
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    WRX1 _ Staff Member

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    Generally you want to wait till you get down to the freezing point (if it stays dry). So once it is below freezing at night and close to that during the day, then it will be ok. Of course, if it snows, you can throw all the info out the window.

    Basically, snow tires don't do a good job of handling the heat the is generated while driving. So the cooler he roads stay, the better for your winter tires (and bad for summers). What happens is the rubber is designed to stay soft when everything else is frozen, so once it gets warm out and the roads heat up, your tires become overly soft. That overly soft leads to a very mushy ride and increased tire wear.

    Russ
     
  3. jonny8852
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    jonny8852 Well-Known Member

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    Yep. I usually wait til its below 40-45 consistently before ill throw them on
     
  4. ShortytheFirefighter
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    ShortytheFirefighter Pokemans. I has none. Staff Member

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    I usually throw them on around mid-late October and take them off around mid-April. It just depends on the year and the conditions. I've been doing dedicated winter/summer tires for the last 8 years or so, and it can change year to year.
     
  5. JuStaWRX
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    JuStaWRX Well-Known Member

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    I have been on a similar schedule to Mr. Shorten, and for me personally, just because of scheduling/free time to play around with the car, I am planning on doing it this coming week.
     
  6. ShortytheFirefighter
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    ShortytheFirefighter Pokemans. I has none. Staff Member

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    Mine will likely be going on this week as well, just waiting for my TPMS sensors for my winter rims.
     
  7. Vinnie
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    Vinnie Well-Known Member

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    Great info, thanks guys! It makes me cold just thinking about it.

    Im putting on my lower grill tomorrow too to protect my front mount from the salt
     
  8. Chux
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    Chux Well-Known Member

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    It really depends on what you're running for summer tires. True winter tires are going to wear much faster if the ground isn't frozen. But if you're running some serious summer tires, running them until the ground freezes in the fall would be a very bad idea, so some extra wear on your snows would be a smart trade-off.

    You can get away with it easier in the spring, as the ground temperature warms up much slower than the air, so the snow is typically gone before your tires are in danger.

    So....I have 3 sets of tires. High-performance summers, Blizzaks, and some nice all-seasons (BFG Traction T/As) for the in-between months. This winter will be my 6th season on the Blizzaks.....and they still look brand-new. Had them on my FWD Celica last year, I now think AWD is overrated for street use....
     
  9. dmoo
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    dmoo Well-Known Member

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    when the mid season tires wont grip well any more, so when the snow is more frequent than random inch dusting's. i am with chux, and have three sets at my disposal. but will prob switch next week cause its been cold on the range and my all seasons are starting to cord...
     
  10. SurlyOldManMN
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    SurlyOldManMN Omdat fok jou Staff Member

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    My 06 civic is what sold me on Bizzak's. AWD may be overrated (or rather FWD clad in proper rubber is underrated), but it's a hell of a lot more fun. ;)

    I'm waiting until I don't think it's going to spike above 40 anymore. It's MN, who knows when that will be...
     
  11. Vinnie
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    Vinnie Well-Known Member

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    For my summer tires I have the Hancook ventus evo 12s and for my winter ones I have hancook winter ipike.
     
  12. jonny8852
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    jonny8852 Well-Known Member

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    I also agree with Chux. This will be my 5th year on these blizzaks. They still look the first time I put them on for winter. I love them. One of the best investments I made for my car
     
  13. webcrawlr
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    webcrawlr Well-Known Member

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    Exactly. Extreme performance summers like the RE070, RE011, etc and you want those off as soon as temps start touching the 40s otherwise you'll end up with big ole' hockey pucks. From there you can wait longer and longer as you make your way from extreme performance summers to all seasons, which I wait to replace until the first snow that sticks.
     
  14. heel-&-toe
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    heel-&-toe Well-Known Member

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    I agree with pretty much everyone else. Wait until its consistently below 45 degrees for a week or so. I generally keep an eye one the ten day forcast and when it starts to dip i make the switch. But even then it could spike up into the 60's as as this is MN and the state never seems to know which season it's in when transitioning between them.

    If you're a geek like me you can also reference past years temps to get an idea of when the cold may come to stay:

    Oct 2009...

    http://www.nws.noaa.gov/climate/get...d=msp&pil=CF6&recent=&specdate=20091031111111

    November 2009...

    http://www.nws.noaa.gov/climate/get...d=msp&pil=CF6&recent=&specdate=20091130111111

    Oct 2010...

    http://www.nws.noaa.gov/climate/get...d=msp&pil=CF6&recent=&specdate=20101031111111

    November 2010...

    http://www.nws.noaa.gov/climate/get...d=msp&pil=CF6&recent=&specdate=20101130111111

    You'll see that last year although it was getting consistently cold at the end of October the temps then shot up to 57-68 degrees from 11/6 to 11/10. Then three days later temps dropped to a high of 36 and it snowed 7.7".

    So there you have it, ,your guess is as good as mine :)

    Best of luck!
     
  15. SurlyOldManMN
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    SurlyOldManMN Omdat fok jou Staff Member

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    Oh I don't need any stats to remember that one. That's the day I learned how dangerous summer tires are on snow. Parked the scoob for about a week after that.
     
  16. DIRTY D
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    DIRTY D Well-Known Member

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    +1 for Blizzaks I learned my leason with the summer tires AWD doesn't work with plastic bags on your feet. Running all seasons until the snow hits then it winter bite time.
     
  17. Vinnie
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    Vinnie Well-Known Member

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    all this talk of snow is making me miss Texas more and more
     
  18. heel-&-toe
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    heel-&-toe Well-Known Member

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    Not to clutter up this post with "what to use" as opposed to "when to use it", but here's my $.02 anyway...

    Blizzaks are a great tire, I ran them on my Civic Si Sedan and was stuck only once (last years mega storm, my stupidity not a tire issue).

    That said, when I picked up the WRX on New Year's Eve I decided to downgrade a bit to a less performance oriented tire. My assumptuion was that as the new car had AWD I wouldn't need to go all crazy with the Blizzaks. I bought a set of General AltiMAX Arctics because the reviews were good and they were cheap ($548 compared to $740 for a set currently). I could not be happier.

    While the Blizzaks offer superior handling while there's no snow on the ground and great traction in moderate snow, the Generals are more of a deep snow tire. As I don't take corners too quickly in the winter and was looking for more of a "get through anything tire" these were exactly what I was looking for.

    - Driving through a blizzard from Mpls to Superior WI, while taking back roads the whole way with 12"+ of snow = no issues
    - Touring rally from Duluth to Grand Marais, all backroads with 12"+ of snow = no issues
    - Glacier Lakes Quattro Club Ice Event on Cynthia Lake with lots of water and ice = good not great, but the conditions were the most challenging I've ever driven while trying to go fast.
    - Rallycross in a farmers field outside of Cannon Falls = Awesome

    The General's still look like new after half a season of driving and I'm sure will last me a few more. Yes, you're handling will be more "squishy" on dry pavement but for me, to be able to hop in the car and go anywhere in just about anything (turns out they don't work so well on snowmobile trails... last time I ever let a friend drive) it's worth the trade off. You can stud them as well if you live way up Nort.

    Only downside I've found is that at times there can be too much traction. Meaning you've really gotta give it the beans to break the backend loose if you're out having fun in the snow:).
     
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  19. heel-&-toe
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    heel-&-toe Well-Known Member

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    Too funny. You haven't have fun until you've driven an AWD car in the snow. It will make the unbearable cold totally worth it!
     
  20. xluben
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    xluben Well-Known Member

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    I also currently have General Altimax Arctic's on my car. I feel they are the best option out there. I pretty much agree with everything heel-&-toe posted. You do give up a little bit of dry pavement handling, but you gain it back in deep snow traction. For me, deep snow traction is what really matters in a winter tire. I don't mind a bit of squishiness on dry pavement if it means better grip when it actually snows. Even if the Generals and the Blizzaks cost the same, I would have the General's. Deep snow traction is my number 1 priority in a winter tire.
     
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  21. Chux
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    Chux Well-Known Member

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    Blizzaks are absolutely designed for ice. If you like the Generals, you should try Nokian Hakkapalittas....Same idea, but better.
     
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  22. Deride
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    Deride Well-Known Member

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    My next snow tires I'm going back go Nokian Hakka's for sure.
     
  23. xluben
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    xluben Well-Known Member

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    I believe the General's and the Nokian's come out of the same mold. I've definitely heard good things about the Nokian's as well.

    Check out Consumer Reports ratings for snow tires:

    [​IMG]
     
  24. curly2k3
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    curly2k3 Well-Known Member

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    I loved every set of Nokians I've owned, the Blizzaks were nice but still weren't enough for the heavy snow and STEEP hills I had to deal with on the Saab
     
  25. ofspunk7
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    ofspunk7 Well-Known Member

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    I have the Generals on my car and I love them
     
  26. LegacyPGT
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    LegacyPGT Well-Known Member

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    I just threw on the Hakka 4's on the gf's 02 LGT 2 days ago as her Summers were pretty much done and rock hard. I'll be throwing my Hakka 4's on the Outback in the next week or two. I am one of those people that don't wait till after the first snowfall. I have been caught in that before and it sucks! summer tires on ice and snow = white knuckle driving and No fun...
     
  27. Ninjaplease!
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    Ninjaplease! Well-Known Member

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    I've had good luck with the I-pikes so far. I don't plan on replacing them anytime soon....they have little to no wear it seems after 3 winters.
     
  28. heel-&-toe
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    heel-&-toe Well-Known Member

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    Well, I think it's official, we've hijacked your post and turned it into a "What snow tire should I buy?" thread.

    Getting back onto the original subject, unless something changes I'm waiting until November to toss on the snow tires. The 10 day forecast say's highs from 61-47 (with a 30% chance of rain/show next Wednesday)... and the dice have been rolled.
     
  29. badbennyb
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    badbennyb Has no title

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    Both our STi and Forester use the Generals. Put them on the STi today but sadly they are just being put on during winter storage(just in case I need to drive it)
     
  30. heel-&-toe
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    heel-&-toe Well-Known Member

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    STI... Winter storage? MADNESS!
     
  31. BroCo
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    BroCo Moderator Staff Member

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  32. dmoo
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    dmoo Well-Known Member

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    just put my winter wheels on today, rain snow mix yesterday and temps not getting above 40. waiting for the first snow to stick.

    i am running michelin pilot alpin tires for the 3rd season, tread blocks are starting to disappear due to rally crossing on them so i need to find little brakes soon...
     
  33. RexNEffect
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    RexNEffect Well-Known Member

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    Same here. Sliding across three lanes on 100 without any reponse and nearly hitting a truck taught me to never procrastinate switching tires.

    I'll likely switch in a couple weeks to my all-seasons. They're the Continental DWS Extreme Contacts, and are rated as one of the best all-seasons for snow.
     
  34. kickin_81
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    kickin_81 Well-Known Member

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    +1 on switching summer tires to winters earlier than later. One mid-autumn frosty morning when I still had my 2000 Impreza RS with summer tires mounted, I spun out from lightly tapping the brakes going down a hill with a 3-5% grade. I almost crapped my work pants! Good thing no one was around and the street was vacant. My advice is if its your daily driver and you drive mornings, do yourself a favor and swap them over to winters--or if anything put on some all-seasons.
     
  35. heel-&-toe
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    heel-&-toe Well-Known Member

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    Weather forecast says light snow showers this evening and tomorrow morning. No accumulation, but any snow is enough snow as far as I'm concerned. I've got an appointment to put the snow tires on at 4:00 PM today... So much for waiting until November.
     
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  36. ofspunk7
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    ofspunk7 Well-Known Member

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    ^ yeah I am going to get burned on this one. I know it won't stay but I am prepping and painting my wheels tonight. I doubt they will be ready by morning... if it is snowing I'll just work from home and finish up the clear coat (assuming it isn't done tonight).
     
  37. blak04wrx
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    blak04wrx Well-Known Member

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    Put my winter set up on last night. I found a little piece of metal in my Star Specs so I figured I would just do it now. FYI, changing all 4 wheels out with the spare tire jack and wrench sucks big time.
     
  38. ofspunk7
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    ofspunk7 Well-Known Member

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    Next time just ask for help... I have a jack + wrench.
     
  39. ShortytheFirefighter
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    ShortytheFirefighter Pokemans. I has none. Staff Member

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    Got mine put on tonight, a big thanks to Brian P. for all his help tonight. So far, I like the ride with the snows. The stock wheel/tire setup can be really harsh on potholes and road gaps after a while. Now it just floats over them all squishylike.

    Bring on the snow damnit!
     
  40. heel-&-toe
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    heel-&-toe Well-Known Member

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    False Alarm! False Alarm!

    Suddenly no snow in the forecasts for the next 10 days. That's MN I guess.
     
  41. ShortytheFirefighter
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    ShortytheFirefighter Pokemans. I has none. Staff Member

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    I've heard that before, then you get a bunch of it. I'm ready for it now, I don't have to worry about the forecasts anymore.
     
  42. SurlyOldManMN
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    SurlyOldManMN Omdat fok jou Staff Member

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    Mine are going on this weekend, or close to it. I'm due for a 30k service so I figure I'll just have them put the winters on when they put it all back together.
     
  43. AWDimprezaL
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    AWDimprezaL has more posts than you

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    My winters stay on year round, as my Impreza is my winter car. These weathermasters are the tits.
     
  44. Vinnie
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    Vinnie Well-Known Member

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    I think Im going to roll the dice for a while longer and keep my non-snowies on.

    Granted, I ride my bike to work (2.2mi commute) so if it does snow Id rather have snow tires on my bike
     
  45. blak04wrx
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    blak04wrx Well-Known Member

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    Thanks, I sure will. :)