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Summer Report On Winter Tires: Nokian WRG3

(LMB spouse)

There's been a lot of debate about winter tires on this forum. Many think the Nokian Hakka R2 is the best no-compromise snow tire, but of course it's not suitable for warm weather.

LMB and I live in south suburban Boston where the roads are usually cleared within 24 hours following a snowstorm. After reading all the discussions last year, we decided to replace the stock (early 2013 S85) 19 inch Goodyears with Nokian WRG3 so-called all weather tires. Our hope was that we could run these year round with reasonable performance in snow, rain, and hot weather.

We had the Watertown service center install these at the beginning of January (thanks Mat). Two weeks later, it started snowing and didn't stop much, setting a season record of 119 inches. The tires performed very well in varying snow conditions, including a day trip to New York city with heavy snow both ways. The only winter condition we didn't experience was glare ice, and performance was very good otherwise.

This spring, we did some driving in heavy rain with standing water and again, performance was very good, much better than the stock Goodyears.

Dry handling is also much better than the Goodyears (probably not saying much), with very little squirm during hard cornering. We do keep the tires at 48 psi except during multi-day hot weather road trips so this may be helping a bit.

Road noise is quiet on good surfaces, moderate on rough ones. So far we have about 10,000 miles on the tires and tread depth is down less than 1.5 millimeter (they've been rotated once). There has been no obvious loss of range on long trips either, suggesting that rolling resistance is pretty good.

To this point, the tires have lived up to our most optimistic expectations. We'll see how they do over several years, but I would highly recommend them for owners that need good but not ultimate winter performance in a year-round tire and don't want to have two sets of tires and rims.
 
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LMB (and spouse)-
Thanks for the report. I used a set the same way on our XC-90 and was happy year-round with them. It did have AWD though and I was scared to try that with the Model S. Also from Boston (Metrowest) and went with the R2's this time around. (Thanks Mat and Watertown for the help with wheels and mounting). 2 winters later I am very happy with them but would enjoy your updates so I can make a more informed decision when it's time to replace the sets I have now. With a swap every 6 months between summer/winter tires I hope to get double the time between replacements.
 
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Lyon

2016 S P100DL, 2016 X P90D
Supporting Member
Dec 26, 2011
2,005
216
Eugene, Oregon
Thank you for the wonderful write up. It would appear as though I've made a good decision. I've just ordered a set of these for my car along with stock 19" wheels. Normally I drive around on 21s with the Contis. They're fantastic in the dry and I will continue to use them in the summer. During the winter I deal mostly with lots, and lots of wet roads. On occasion it will snow where I live (though it usually melts quickly) and I frequently drive over mountain passes to the other side of the Cascades. When it does snow, the highway department will require severe service rated tries on the passes. Here's hoping that my "classic" RWD Model S will have sufficient traction on the steep, windy bits.
 

AWDtsla

Active Member
Mar 3, 2013
4,284
4,258
NE
I've been driving on WR/G2/G3 as winter tires for about 7 years now, precisely because most of my winter driving is spent on dry roads. They won't melt down on those freak warm days and they have high speed ratings as well. The sipes are also cut so that they still have good winter performance even at low tread depths, whereas your standard snow tire is useless after it's half worn.

The only thing bad about them is that the 245/45/r19 size is very expensive (this year?), ~$300 per tire. Michelin X-ice is almost 2/3rd's of the price.
 
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Lyon

2016 S P100DL, 2016 X P90D
Supporting Member
Dec 26, 2011
2,005
216
Eugene, Oregon
I've been driving on WR/G2/G3 as winter tires for about 7 years now, precisely because most of my winter driving is spent on dry roads. They won't melt down on those freak warm days and they have high speed ratings as well. The sipes are also cut so that they still have good winter performance even at low tread depths, whereas your standard snow tire is useless after it's half worn.

The only thing bad about them is that the 245/45/r19 size is very expensive (this year?), ~$300 per tire. Michelin X-ice is almost 2/3rd's of the price.

Yes, they are not what I would call cheap. They do seem, however, to fit my needs pretty closely.
 
Thank you for the wonderful write up. It would appear as though I've made a good decision. I've just ordered a set of these for my car along with stock 19" wheels. Normally I drive around on 21s with the Contis. They're fantastic in the dry and I will continue to use them in the summer. During the winter I deal mostly with lots, and lots of wet roads. On occasion it will snow where I live (though it usually melts quickly) and I frequently drive over mountain passes to the other side of the Cascades. When it does snow, the highway department will require severe service rated tries on the passes. Here's hoping that my "classic" RWD Model S will have sufficient traction on the steep, windy bits.

Where are you getting your tires from? We live on the coast, but my wife needs to make monthly trips to the valley. I'm wondering if we need a set of winter tires just for those occasions. Do these tires mean no chains necessary over the mountain passes?
 

Lyon

2016 S P100DL, 2016 X P90D
Supporting Member
Dec 26, 2011
2,005
216
Eugene, Oregon
Where are you getting your tires from? We live on the coast, but my wife needs to make monthly trips to the valley. I'm wondering if we need a set of winter tires just for those occasions. Do these tires mean no chains necessary over the mountain passes?

Tire Factory on Fillmore in Eugene. Yes, they have the little Severe Service emblem so unless it's REALLY bad (conditional road closure) you won't need chains.

Given all the rain you guys get, these should be perfect for you.
 

jerry33

(S85-3/2/13 traded in) X LR: F2611##-3/27/20
Supporting Member
Mar 8, 2012
20,501
27,494
Texas
are there any opinions on if these would work well in very hot places? I am going to be in CO for 45 days, I need tires but the majority of my driving in in FL
I use the WR-g3 as winter tires in Texas. I have used prior versions all year round and there was no heat problem. The Model S size doesn't seem to have the same low rolling resistance as the earlier versions--but that just a first impression. I'll need to do a bit more investigating before I can confirm it. It could be V7 or something else.
 

Lyon

2016 S P100DL, 2016 X P90D
Supporting Member
Dec 26, 2011
2,005
216
Eugene, Oregon
so the question is should I get the nokians for about 1500 miles of winter usage while the other 97% of usage would be in FL

That's the beautify of the WR. They're capable of handling snow but won't melt in the heat. Another consideration is wet handling. My few experiences in Florida have all included torrential rain, having tires with a tread pattern that can expel water would seem to me to be really important.
 

jerry33

(S85-3/2/13 traded in) X LR: F2611##-3/27/20
Supporting Member
Mar 8, 2012
20,501
27,494
Texas
so the question is should I get the nokians for about 1500 miles of winter usage while the other 97% of usage would be in FL
Whether to keep the Nokians on all year or not mainly depends on how sensitive you are to Wh/mi. If you are sensitive then don't because you'll be fretting the whole time. Otherwise go for it.
 

Lyon

2016 S P100DL, 2016 X P90D
Supporting Member
Dec 26, 2011
2,005
216
Eugene, Oregon
Whether to keep the Nokians on all year or not mainly depends on how sensitive you are to Wh/mi. If you are sensitive then don't because you'll be fretting the whole time. Otherwise go for it.

Has it been your experience that they reduce range? I was hoping for a slight increase but I'm coming from the 21" Continentals.
 

Pollux

Active Member
Supporting Member
Hi, @LMB (spouse) & LMB,

First let me say: LMB makes an AWESOME raffle poster! Deeply appreciative of LMB's time & effort.

Second: does anyone have comparative experiences between those WRs and the Hakka R2s? I invested in PS2s+21s and R2s+19s and have been very happy with both summer and winter performance, respectively. I admit that there's still some appeal in all-seasons, given ease of maintenance and lower cost. But after 30 years on all-seasons and 2 years on summer-switching-to-winter tires, I'm now provisionally in the camp of, "can all-seasons really be good at anything?". I've even switched our 2012 Prius v wagon over to winter tires (albeit cheaper ones than the R2s), and been quite happy with the handling improvement on that car, as well.

Thanks,
Alan
 

Lyon

2016 S P100DL, 2016 X P90D
Supporting Member
Dec 26, 2011
2,005
216
Eugene, Oregon
Looking at my local Tire Factory website (thanks, Lyon!), I noticed their tires size is 255/40R19. Do the 245/45/R19 need to be special ordered?

Yes, they had to special order them for me. You can either pay $30/tire in freight or wait for a regular shipment which can take 8 weeks. I opted for the speed.

If enough of us order them I'm hoping the local Tire Factory warehouse will start stocking this size.
 

mknox

Well-Known Member
Aug 7, 2012
10,103
1,894
Toronto, ON
The Ontario government has been running this promotion:

10-19-2015 9-37-14 AM.jpg


Curious to know if the WRG3's have this mark on them?
 

jerry33

(S85-3/2/13 traded in) X LR: F2611##-3/27/20
Supporting Member
Mar 8, 2012
20,501
27,494
Texas
Has it been your experience that they reduce range? I was hoping for a slight increase but I'm coming from the 21" Continentals.
Unfortunately, yes. How much is still up in the air. This was surprising to me because Nokian has been exceptionally good with rolling resistance. Note: this is from 19" to 19".
 

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