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Old 11-21-2012, 08:43 AM   #1
primetime
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Winter Tires

It's my first winter with my Focus and I just wanted people's thoughts, suggestions and experiences in buying and winter tires.

Winter here in Vancouver:
Mostly rain on the odd occasion there will be snow. The highest I've seen the snow go up to is maybe half a foot. Most of the time snow turns to slush in half a day.


1. What brand or type would you guys recommend or are using right now? Studded or just plain rubber?

2. Do you have dedicated wheels for winter tires? Would cheap steel or aluminum wheels do?

3. Does having winter tires affect fuel mileage?

4. Would it be a better deal to just wait until after winter to get good deals on winter tires? (I'd just have to suck it up for a few months with my all seasons.

5. Do you do installation yourself or do you get it done at a shop? Balancing is done when the shop installs new tires right?

6. Any other thing that comes to mind regarding winter tires?

P.S. It would be appreciated if you guys also describe the type of winter you experience where you are.

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Old 11-21-2012, 08:46 AM   #2
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Moved to "Wheels, Tires, Brakes & Suspension - Sponsored By Tire Rack"

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Old 11-21-2012, 09:09 AM   #3
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Deff not studded unless you live in a very icy place
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Old 11-21-2012, 09:18 AM   #4
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Studs aren't allowed in most places, and unless there's densely packed snow or ice all they'll do is tear up the road. Great for severe winter weather and roads that don't see much attention, not not for everyday use in populated areas.

Get the cheapest wheels that will fit your car. Old oem alloys can often be had for less then steelies. As long as the wheels are structurally sound you won't have issues.
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Old 11-21-2012, 09:42 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Indy'sexclusiveZx3 View Post
Deff not studded unless you live in a very icy place
Agreed, the benefit you would get from the studs is only on ice and would just be plain loud the rest of the winter on the rainy days.
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Old 11-21-2012, 09:44 AM   #6
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Thanks for the replies guys. Sorry for posting in the wrong forum.

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Old 11-21-2012, 09:58 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by primetime View Post

1. What brand or type would you guys recommend or are using right now? Studded or just plain rubber? Stay away from studded

2. Do you have dedicated wheels for winter tires? Would cheap steel or aluminum wheels do? You can get a set of steel wheels, that will also allow you to downsize your tires and in the long run save you money from not having to pay someone every spring and fall to mount and balance tires on your current wheels.

3. Does having winter tires affect fuel mileage? Somewhat. The tread design and the compund of the winter tire will grip the road better causing more rolling resistance. Not so much that it should be a factor though.

4. Would it be a better deal to just wait until after winter to get good deals on winter tires? (I'd just have to suck it up for a few months with my all seasons. We actually run our specials here before the snow hits and tend to start running out of options as the season goes on.

5. Do you do installation yourself or do you get it done at a shop? Balancing is done when the shop installs new tires right? If you just did the tires you would have to get them done at a shop. If you bought wheels and tires you would be able to do it yourself with a wrench and a jack. We would mount and balance everything before shipping anything to you.

6. Any other thing that comes to mind regarding winter tires? Keep in mind your TPMS sensors. I know they are required here in the States, but up in Canada you could skip installing those in new wheels, just make sure you do check your pressure and be prepared for a light and "ding" to flash at you when you start up the car.


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Hope this helps, you can give me a call at the information below if you have any more questions on this.

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Old 11-21-2012, 10:15 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by primetime View Post
1. What brand or type would you guys recommend or are using right now? Studded or just plain rubber?
My experience is almost entirely with Blizzaks. They perform well, especially when new. They wear fast. They tend not to track as nicely on pavement as all-season tires do, but that's to be expected from the chunky tread design. Blizzaks have a layer of especially sticky rubber that wears away when the tires are about half used up. At that point, you must decide whether to endure another season without that layer, or to replace the tires earlier than you would otherwise do. Good tires though. I am running a set this winter on my van.

Quote:
2. Do you have dedicated wheels for winter tires? Would cheap steel or aluminum wheels do?
I've been having my tires swapped on both vehicles for years. This winter though, I plan to buy a second set of rims for my Focus. I'll go steel because I need to hold down costs. I might even minus-size, also to hold costs: My SE has 16" wheels. I might go with the 15" size that is stock on the Focus S model. Doing so saves enough on the tires to almost pay for the steel rims.

Quote:
3. Does having winter tires affect fuel mileage?
The safety benefit from snow tires is so great for me that mileage does not even begin to factor into the equation. Higher rolling resistance though. I would expect lower mileage.

Quote:
4. Would it be a better deal to just wait until after winter to get good deals on winter tires? (I'd just have to suck it up for a few months with my all seasons.
After years of mistakenly believing that all-seasons really were for all seasons, I bought a set of snows. Huge, freakin', amazing, life-changing difference. All I can say here is that I wish I had known years earlier how much better they made winter driving.

Quote:
5. Do you do installation yourself or do you get it done at a shop? Balancing is done when the shop installs new tires right?
Shop. And yes, they balance.

Quote:
6. Any other thing that comes to mind regarding winter tires?
Buy some. I'm a believer. I recommend them. If you don't get much actual snow, there is still benefit from the rubber compound. But you can look at a tread more suitable to just cold pavement--the Nokian Hakka R, for example.

Quote:
P.S. It would be appreciated if you guys also describe the type of winter you experience where you are.
I live in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, just a few blocks uphill from Lake Superior. I'm in one of two notable snow belts in this region. Winter often begins with several weeks of frequent, lake-effect snow. Plowing is decent, but roads are still often covered with a layer of hard-packed snow. It just depends upon the weather of the moment, but it's not unusual for me to go for days, even a week or more, without seeing much in the way of pavement. Winter tires were a revelation to me when I first tried them after moving up here, and I have run them every winter since that first one.

Sounds like you get less snow, and more in the way of just cold and rain.
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Old 11-21-2012, 10:50 AM   #9
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The sad part is that snow tires will wear more quickly on dry pavement especially as it warms up. The really soft super pliable snows (e.g. Blizzaks) are impacted by this more than others. Tires that can be studded usually have a little harder tread compound in order to retain the studs. As a result these tires get a little better wear but give up a "little" stickiness in the process. The point I'm getting to is that a snow tire designed for studs may actually be better from a tread wear standpoint for areas that only get occasional snow or have wider temp extremes. Naturally, if you consider this option, do so without installing the studs.
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Old 11-21-2012, 02:29 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by primetime View Post
1. What brand or type would you guys recommend or are using right now? Studded or just plain rubber?

2. Do you have dedicated wheels for winter tires? Would cheap steel or aluminum wheels do?

3. Does having winter tires affect fuel mileage?

4. Would it be a better deal to just wait until after winter to get good deals on winter tires? (I'd just have to suck it up for a few months with my all seasons.

5. Do you do installation yourself or do you get it done at a shop? Balancing is done when the shop installs new tires right?

6. Any other thing that comes to mind regarding winter tires?
my first questions is if you spend most your time in richmond, or if you will be travelling at all to whistler, the interior or even the local ski hills.

the other question is regarding your current tires. If you have high perf summer tires on, then you will need another set for winter. If you plan on skiing or travelling, then u need snow tires.

1. non studded, whatever is on sale.
2. dedicated wheels. steel or aluminum. 15" size
3. yes, slightly
4. you can try finding used wheels tires on craigslist, but if you are on summer tires, dont wait too long.
5. you only need to mount and balance once. then its easy with a jack and wrench
6. I live in vancouver and i have snow tires on my two Foci. it allows me to drive normally even in the snow. never gotten stuck, and much safer for my wallet having snow tires on the wifes car. I buy my snow tires from Tirerack, and get them shipped to Point Roberts in Washington state, then drive accross and pick them up. I get a local hole-in-the-wall tire shop to mount and balance for cheap.
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