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Winter tyres maybe worth investing.

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I use Dunlop Winter Sports and they are great, but not used anything else to compare.

I think the Michelin Alpin would be a good one from the reviews I have read, and also the Nokain M+S tyre, a few of the guys use that all year round with no problems, again a very highly rated tyre in the cold and snow.

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How will 'winter' tyres cope in snow/ice?

I need to decide what to get to put on my spare steel wheels as the 225 18" alloys fitted on the Galaxy with budget 'normal' tyres are hopeless, it's been snowing on top of the compacted ice tonight, and I've been getting stuck on the most pathetic gradients, it's ok until you have to stop, then I can sit there in 1st gear, feet off all the pedals while the wheels slowly spin round, and I go either nowhere or backwards.

It's really annoying having to orchestrate all the traffic behind to get out the way so I can reverse down the hill!

So, are 'winter' tyres significantly better in the snow and ice, or do I really need 'snow' tyres? the fact the steels are only 16" and 215 wide will probably help a bit anyway.

Whatever I get, will be looking for cheapest, possibly part worn Ebay specials, as they'll get used for a few weeks a year if that.

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Winter tyres will crap on ice, in fact all tyres are crap on ice unless you use studded tyres which are illgeal in the UK (and 90% of Europe) nevertheless they will be a lot better than standard summer tyres. Where you'll have the advantage is in pulling away and stopping in snow and slush.

I have Dunlop Winter Sport 3D on my A6 allroad, great in Germany & UK but lethal here in Sweden as I fill my pants more than once a day.

When buying try to stick to brand names that you've actually heard of as many of the Chinese specials will be worse than decent summer treads.

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I have found my car invaluable in the snow getting through and up roads many were stuck on. The Goodyear Eage F1's are very much summer tyres and the Goodyear website even says no good for snow and ice.

I am going to invest in some steel rims and some of these in a few months for the winter. I have read lots of reveiws and the difference in a typical UK winter is apparently huge. So I am thinking November to March use these then switch back to the alloys and summer tyres for the rest of the year.

mytyres.co.uk - Details: Vredestein Wintrac xtreme 225/40 R18 92W XL

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Vredestein Wintrac xtreme are overkill for the UK.

I fitted Vredestein Quatrac 3 to my wife's 2wd Kia and they have been more than adequate in the snow/ice/slush. I highly recommend these. +++

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I too have the F1's on my A6 and they've been useless. Got them in April/May I think it was and with only 5000 on them since, I'm needing to change them pretty soon due to the snow.

No traction at all in the snow, spent a good 15mins of spinning in the mornings trying to get out of parking bays/driveways/road for 3-4 days. In that, I've burnt off most of the tread :(

Just went to Mtyres for a quote on winter and the cheapest was £1000 for all 4 from Dunlop. Gotta hate the Le Mans tyre sizes the A6 has!

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My a8 has the factory spec 19" bridgestones and I have had no problems going anywhere at the moment even with the side roads like ice rings. We had 12 inches of snow here earlier on in the week and the tempratures have been as low as -15 so its pretty much as bad as anywhere in the UK really except parts of scotland and high areas with the drifts that are not geting gritted and plowed.

I guess 4wd and quattro is actually useful in this country. Haven owned a fair few rear wheel drive cars in my time I can imagine they are completely undrivable in these conditions regardless of the tyres you put on them. The reality of the situation is the last time we had these weather conditions was 1947, is it worth getting another set of tyres for something that happens every 60 years ?

Edited by alera

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I'm guessing to maximise the benefit of winter tyres you'd want wheels as well that are narrower and with a small diameter. Narrower to increase pressure into the snow, ice than standard wide low-profile and the smaller diameter to create more space in the wheel arch so it doesn't get clogged up with slush?

The problem I've had this week is more to do with low suspension as the front spoiler pushes snow into a nice pile in front of it. Secondly snow packing under the car when you follow in the tracks of other vehicles, the snow then acts to lift the the body up and reduce still further the available grip. Both of these incidents have happened to me this week causing me to get briefly stuck even with Quattro. At one corner I just couldn't turn right its on a bend and the tyres couldn't turn and grip so had to change route and carry-on in a straight line. Second instance was when I pulled over in a layby and the front must have pushed the snow up in front. For a while couldn't go forward or backwards, just sideways. Eventually I could reverse as the back has greater clearance than the front.

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My a8 has the factory spec 19" bridgestones and I have had no problems going anywhere at the moment even with the side roads like ice rings. We had 12 inches of snow here earlier on in the week and the tempratures have been as low as -15 so its pretty much as bad as anywhere in the UK really except parts of scotland and high areas with the drifts that are not geting gritted and plowed.

I guess 4wd and quattro is actually useful in this country. Haven owned a fair few rear wheel drive cars in my time I can imagine they are completely undrivable in these conditions regardless of the tyres you put on them. The reality of the situation is the last time we had these weather conditions was 1947, is it worth getting another set of tyres for something that happens every 60 years ?

...and 1963....and I seem to recall the winter of 1981/2 was pretty bad as well.....If your having no problems then there`s no point in investing in a set of winter rubber, but the the vast majority of motorists are slithering all over the place, so there has to be a case for the Department of transport informing the masses that there are tyres available that can make motoring in these conditions a lot easier....Winter tyres are`t perfect but their infinitely better than standard tyres when the roads are covered in the white stuff.....plus their designed to work best in low temperature's(ie winter)....so regardless of whether the roads are covered in snow they offer far better performance for the conditions we normally experience during the winter....with the added bonus that if it snows they drastically increase traction.+++

When push comes to shove the rubber on 99% of the UK`s cars was not designed to cope with these conditions.....Modern tyres are all about the balance between dry/wet weather grip and wear rates....Their virtually useless in snow.....some would say dangerous.

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I'm guessing to maximise the benefit of winter tyres you'd want wheels as well that are narrower and with a small diameter. Narrower to increase pressure into the snow, ice than standard wide low-profile and the smaller diameter to create more space in the wheel arch so it doesn't get clogged up with slush?

.

That`s right....I use to regularly travel down to Alps...I had skinny steel wheels fitted with winter rubber.The car looked a bit weird....and any sense of it`s sporty credentials was thrown out the window....but the combination of the correct wheels and tyres for the conditions made life a lot easier......but then I knew I needed to make this investment to travel to the Alps.Whether it`s worth getting both wheels and tyres for the typical British winter is another matter all together.

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There is a couple of Conti Winter contacts in the correct size on Ebay at the moment for £56, but they have only 4.6mm of tread on them, is that worth bothering with, or are they too worn?

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I changed to Toyo Proxes T1Rs on my Audi (225/40/18) and I have to say that the Toyos are suprisingly good in the snow/ice so far Ive not had any major issues with them, they seem to cope well. The F1s I had before wouldn't have been as good in the current conditions, so +++ from me.

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I'm not having too many problems with my F1 Asymmetrics. If you drive carefully, think ahead, err on the side of caution, take it easy, etc, etc, then most people would be ok.

I guess it would be different if I were somewhere like Scotland, with more snow, but as it is, I think a full set of winter wheels/tyres is just too expensive for me.

I am thinking about a set of snow socks, or whatever you want to call them. £60odd a pair won't break the bank and can be kept in the boot for when the going gets tough.

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I believe in America the norm is to user all-weather tyres, how much better are these over summer tyres in the snow? Or are they just a compromise between summer and winter tyres so basically rubbish all the time

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I suppose the problem is that until you drives on snow with the winter tyre you have no idea how much better it is than the 'summer' tyres. The fact that these tyres work from about 8oC downwards must mean that they have better general winter performance and could properly be used November through to early March.

Their life expectancy, for best performance, is only 2 -3 years I believe but then 'summer' tyres are much the same - they all have an optimum life, as the MGB driver's widow found out a couple of years ago ( he bought a set of 'new' tyres one of which blew out, car ended up rolling, driver died ,investigation showed that the new tyres were over 20 years old and totally unsuitable for use.)

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I'm sold on winter tyres. Just about to move up to Scotland to work so I picked these up from fleabay.

Vredestein Sportrac2

Going to shove them on the 8 on some cheap alloys

Sorry to rain on your parade, but the Sportrac's aren't "Winter" tyres - they're not even all Season: they're out and out summer tyres...

There is a significant difference between Summer - All Weather - Winter and Studded tyres... granted that the Winter versions will not perform quite as well as fully studded tyres on ice, but the advantage is that you can drive on normal roads and at motorway speeds using them.

I have friends that live in Switzerland and they swap their tyres over every year (legal requirement) and when we were driving around the Alps in a little Citroen Estate, I was stunned at the car's ability to stop quickly on smooth ice and even hill-starts when loaded up with 5 people and luggage wasn't a problem at all!

The idea of "Winter" tyres is that the Rubber has special properties that will allow it to stay supple enough to be able to release ice and snow from the tracks and the newer generation ones have special fragments in the rubber than are supposed to act like mini-spikes (not that you'd know it to touch the tyres). But I'm not a tyre specialist: there's a few websites that get into the technical detials of it all: e.g. TireRack.com)

I started driving this winter on my Toyo Proxes T1-R's and was amazed at the Quattro's ability to get me moving forwards very effectively, but braking was severely impaired on ice / snow and steering was more hover-craft than car when the ice was smooth.

When the December predictions of heavy snow came along, I decided to buy some Wintrac Xtremes and chuck them on my original (16" Audi Sport alloys). Best decision ever!!! The only time I see even a blink from the traction control is in I'm accellerating HARD out of a solidly iced side-road or on ramp.... aside from that, the car behaves impecably, even on glass-smooth ice! You can get the car to start to break traction iff you turn the traction control off and accelerate too hard and you will still get a "shudder" from the ABS when braking to a stop, so they're not working complete miracles, but they really do improve grip significantly.

Come late Feb / March I'll put my 18" AvusIII's back on (nicely cleaned) and I will have saved myself from some silly fender-benders and protected my nice 18" alloys :)

edit: When looking around at other options, the Avon Ice Touring came highly recommended. And I gathered that Pirelli Sottozero were prone to excessive wear at "marginal" temps (0-10 deg C), but my local tyre place said the only winter tyres they normally fitted were the Vredestein Wintrac's and I'd seen some decent reviews on those too...

also - have a look on YouTube and also some Canadian / American websites (e.g. TireRack.com) as there are a lot of reviews and tests there, including a whole series of showing the differences in accellerating, stopping and handling on snow and ice using various ice tyres.

edi2: remember - just ;'cos you have grip, doesn't make you invincible:

1) other people are still tryign to drive on the ice with "summer" / "all-season" tyres, so they're still slipping around (I've have to swerve to avoid a few stupid Range Rover drivers that seem to think that 4x4 + seat warmers = the "ice handling package", and have come sliding back down the slope they've just tried to tackle).

2) It is still a car and only has that much ground clearance: I was driving on solid ice with 2ft of snow on top over the weeknd and hence why my Cupra-R splitter has now been taken off: it wasn't working well as a snow plough ;)

Edited by LostBok

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I'm not having too many problems with my F1 Asymmetrics. If you drive carefully, think ahead, err on the side of caution, take it easy, etc, etc, then most people would be ok.

I guess it would be different if I were somewhere like Scotland, with more snow..

I am thinking about a set of snow socks, or whatever you want to call them. £60odd a pair won't break the bank and can be kept in the boot for when the going gets tough.

....Same for me. Much worse problems from low suspension and snow-ploughing.

If we're going to get longer snowy winters I'd prefer to get a Landy Defender. I'm lucky cos I don't work and so don't have to travel if I don't want to - I've driven once in 4 weeks.

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Forgot to mention before (and have been prompted via PM):

The "winter" wheels I'm using are the OEM "Avus Silver" Audi Sport 16's that came with the car: they're 16", 7J, ET45, PCD 5x112 with Vredestein Wintrac Xtremes (215/55/16).

And my "summer" wheels are OEM S4 "AvusIII" wheels: 18", 8J, ET45, PCD 5x112 with Toyo Proxes T1-R's (235/40/18).

I'd recommend going the 16" route as it seems more manufacturers do higher profile verison of winter tyres: if you're looking for 19" 35 profile "winter" tyres, then you essentially have Sottozero's and nothing else...

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....Same for me. Much worse problems from low suspension and snow-ploughing.

Agreed - I have a front splitter that's being "straightened" on my workbench to proove that they're no good for that.... :ffs:

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....

I saw a new Land-Rover Defender today, short wheelbase. That's what I should invest in to go with winter tyres!

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....

I saw a new Land-Rover Defender today, short wheelbase. That's what I should invest in to go with winter tyres!

Granted: a PROPER off-roader (i.e. Defender) is going to be better than any other combo once it's equipped with the right tyres: but a friend of mine who has a Mk2 Shorty in deepst darkest Surrey reckons although there's never any fear about getting stuck in the snow, "fear" is the operative word when you get near any compacted snow or ice; he reckon's he's got less chance of sliding across juctions or spinning out in his (summer-tyre-shod) BMW 330d... and that Landy is on deep-tread Army-spec off-road tyres.

Edited by LostBok

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