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Old 11-04-2012, 09:54 AM   #1
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Running performance winters in Vancouver/Victoria


Thinking about getting some winter tires for my car as my girlfriend is likely to have a 30 minute commute with it so I'm wondering if anyone here is running performance winter tires and whether they work well for the typical snow conditions we have here.

I'd prefer to minimize noise levels and have decent dry performance without making too big a compromise for safety.

Performance winters meaning: Dunlop Winter Sport M3, Pirelli Winter Sottozero, Michelin Alpins etc.

Regular winters: General Altimax, Bridgestone Blizzaks WS70 etc

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Old 11-04-2012, 11:00 AM   #2
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Performance winters have softer compound compared to all season tires which allow them to maintain their grip in cooler temperatures.

however, their tread patter is still relatively shallow, and designed for more "dry cold" grip rather than snow/ice grip.

so as long as you are driving in conditions where there are not heavy snow, and just cold weather, performance winters are fine.

If you want a more versatile tire, go for a studless ice/snow
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Old 11-04-2012, 11:37 AM   #3
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I bought a performance winter tire, And to be honest i regret it. It shows up looking like it's at 50% tread life of a snow, It handles like crap, I can't imagine it being good in the snow at all...
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Old 11-04-2012, 12:03 PM   #4
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I've run the Pirelli Winter Sottozero's for the last two years and they have been awesome. Great grip in dry, rain and pretty decent in snow as well.
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Old 11-04-2012, 12:08 PM   #5
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im running the dunlops and tbh as long as you're not driving in deep snow then its fine. first winter i had them on the s2000 in 08 and only got stuck when i was forced to drive onto the side of the street where it was untouched, ground clearance probably contributed as well. other than that, it performed quite well in light snow (1-3inches) and made it up some fairly steep hills as long as i kept everything smooth and my car moving.
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Old 11-04-2012, 01:15 PM   #6
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think you're better off shelling out a little more for those Nokians
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Old 11-04-2012, 06:16 PM   #7
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Well, for our "typical" winter conditions (rain) all seasons are fine. It's that one big dump of snow we get, and/or a freeze that may come with it that's the problem.

If you have the facilities to mount your winter tires the day of a big snow dump, full snows are the best bet.

If you can't, than the performance winters are probably the better choice.

With my XIce's (and proper driving) I have had no problems whatsoever in the last 3 winters here in Victoria. My work's old office had a really steep driveway to get into the complex, and only my car and AWD/4x4's could get into the parking lot when it would snow, every other sucker couldn't get up and had to park on the street.

But the XIce's really complain when pushed. I run them all winter because I drive up to Duncan quite a bit. Once they wear out I'm thinking about Performance Winters myself.
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Old 11-04-2012, 09:41 PM   #8
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I've run the Pirelli's for the last two seasons. Plenty of mountain runs to Mt Baker (where its actually snowing up the mountain pass). They've been pretty good in the snow. Nothing amazing but they keep me going without fault for sure. Wet and dry performance has been great too.
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Old 11-05-2012, 07:44 AM   #9
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I'll vouch for the SottoZeros as well, they got me through all of last winter fine with around 40% of tread left. Very good, for a winter, on dry pavement, ok on ice, good on light to medium snow, had some trouble through slush. I've heard good things about the Dunlop Winter Sport 3Ds as well, but never tried them.
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Old 11-05-2012, 08:07 AM   #10
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I'm running performance winter tires as opposed to studless winter tires because I know that I won't be seeing snow or ice all that often, and it gives me better performance on wet/dry pavement around Vancouver. The performance tires will also last longer than the studless winter/snow tires because it is a harder compound designed to last longer under high speeds, which means that it wears less in regular use. For commuting, I would suggest performance winter tires. Mine are 3 seasons old now - I got them when I got my car in December 2009, and there is still over half the tread remaining. I think I'm at 7/32nds or around that.

The Dunlop Wintersport 3D's I have (the newer version of the M3) are terrific for winter weather - handles great for a winter tire, quieter than my summer tires by quite a bit, comfortable, wears well. I've taken them up to Whistler, Big White, Kelowna, Penticton in winter with no problems. I was confident driving up and down the Coquihalla in my GTI without worrying about getting stuck, and never had an issue on the highway.

The only time I've had issues with the tire is when the snow gets too deep for it, and that's more because of the lack of ground clearance with my car rather than the tire itself. I got so confident with the tire I overcooked it on the road up to Big White; anyone who's been up there knows of the hairpins that the road has, and I understeered on one of them because I came in too hot. Should've known better, haha. For severe winter conditions Blizzaks are probably the better tire, but they wear fast and are a bit squishy otherwise. I have my mom on them for ultimate grip, but might switch to Michelin Xi-series tires when they wear out on her.
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