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Winter tires, or no winter tires?

tander

Active Member
Jul 23, 2012
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1,563
We could get another set of All-Weathers (that was our original plan), but, since we do get a fair bit of winter driving (in town with the ice storms, and up to Mt. Hood as often as possible), I wanted to get more opinions about winter-dedicated tires (not to mention that we were considering putting them on the stock wheels and getting a set of black wheels for all-weather tires for the rest of the year). Are winter tires worth having?
Good AWD and decent all weather tires is pretty good, you can probably do fine most of the time. You could just do that and have some chains for really bad conditions. But snow tires really make a big difference and if you go up a lot they'll probably turn a lot of close calls into barely even worried type things. Having finally tried proper snow tires it takes a lot of the guesswork out of winter driving, and it makes avoiding others a lot easier. I'd go for it, it's good insurance especially considering wait times I've heard to fix Xs, and you'll almost certainly never have to use your chains.

We have a set of Nokian WRG3 All-Weather (as opposed to All-Season) tires. The Oregon coast does not get the ice storms you do, but we make frequent trips to the valley and over the Willamette and Sexton Summit passes. I found them to perform very well in the snow.

The tires are rated for severe winter weather, and you can use them as winter tires. They are not as effective in full time winter conditions, but they can tolerate warm weather. I also find them to be excellent rain tires.

Nokian WRG3 - All-Weather Tires / Nokian Tires
I've had those too since last spring I think. Seem to be holding up okay but rotations every 5k is a bit much imo. I did notice they felt a little squirmy a few times last summer when I was going through 100 degrees+ areas and midday sun, but not a big deal, definitely worth it for the winter performance. I've only got about 10k on them so I'm curious how long they will go. They're on my rwd, and with that in snow the tires help a ton. Pretty good in the rain so far too.
 
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tander

Active Member
Jul 23, 2012
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It's that time of year again...leaving this out there...
TL;DR: AWD is useless without winter tires.
I've seen that it's not as simple as the video implies, there are a lot of factors that go into it. I had an awd Subaru for many years with all season tires and carried chains. After 10+ years when I sold it I realized I'd never even opened the chains, and never gotten stuck or even had a close call. All other things being equal if you have to choose between a rwd with snow tires and a awd with all seasons I'd probably still take the snow tires because they stop a little better, and if you put someone who doesn't know how to drive in the snow they are the clear winner, but the awd is definitely not useless it can be very helpful in some situations.
 
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The question is: Should I get winter tires for my 2016 MX 90D? Not studded, just (softer rubber) winter tires.

Last winter, it drove great, but now the original factory tires are wearing down (I've heard this is not uncommon) and we have a number of mountainous snow drives and road trips to do in the coming months.

Thanks,
Mark
Winter tires for sure. What's the point of the safest SUV in the world if you're going to handicap it in the winter? I was the person who rode in max performance summers in my RS4 all year round. Drove in some heavy snow without an issue for years. Then I got married and had kids. With the precious cargo, every vehicle now has dedicated tires for the winter. Wouldn't be able to live with myself if something happened that could've possibly been prevented that easily.
 
I'm not sure you need winter tires in Portland, OR. . .

Find some very good M+S all Seasons with good wet traction - you should be 'ok' Looking through TireRack tests and reviews is a good start.

Unless you live where there is regular accumulating snow - you don't need snow tires.

You will burn through winter tires just in normal conditions in Portland - the tread is snows is designed for under 50f and many rubber compounds are designed for under 40F - you routinely see temps above those even in winter.

And you don't want soft winter rubber on the 5 going 75 . . .


If you routinely drive to mt hood “as often as possible” then yes. I definitely recommend winter tires.

The thing about the “need” for winter tires is it really just takes one instance of driving I. Winter tire conditions to “need” winter tires. It’s not like all season tires recognize the one off opportunity and decide to overperform. He Oregon cascades get more consistent snowfall than almost anywhere else in North America (except for the Washington cascades).... mixed with ice. I started using winter tires 3 seasons ago in Oregon. (Based in Corvallis) and the difference is huge.


You will however burn through a considerable amount of tread driving from Portland to LA and back on winter tires.
 
The question is: Should I get winter tires for my 2016 MX 90D? Not studded, just (softer rubber) winter tires.

Last winter, it drove great, but now the original factory tires are wearing down (I've heard this is not uncommon) and we have a number of mountainous snow drives and road trips to do in the coming months.

Thanks,
Mark

I have the Pirelli Scorpions winter tires on my X now.
Have about 10K miles on them. I have used in the fall, winter, and spring between Lake Tahoe and San Jose. I have not noticed any difference in handling no matter which road conditions. My original manufacturers set of Continentals lasted only 25K miles.
There are only 2 brands available for this 20” size:
Continentals and Pirellis Scorpions (winter).
The only difference is the Scorpions are noisier and lowers range. I am compelled to
go back to the Continentals when I need a new set.
I wish Bridgestone’s Drive Guard (run flats) were available in this size.
 
We have a set of Nokian WRG3 All-Weather (as opposed to All-Season) tires. The Oregon coast does not get the ice storms you do, but we make frequent trips to the valley and over the Willamette and Sexton Summit passes. I found them to perform very well in the snow.

The tires are rated for severe winter weather, and you can use them as winter tires. They are not as effective in full time winter conditions, but they can tolerate warm weather. I also find them to be excellent rain tires.

Nokian WRG3 - All-Weather Tires / Nokian Tires

I tried getting Nokian R2 for the stock 20" rim this winter, couldn't find the 265 45 20 anywhere.
Kaltire recommended the wrg3. They are an all weather tire. They are snow rates for winter. Drove them all winter through heavy snow storms and even an ice storm last weekend in mid April. Had no issues. Great tire. I'm in Toronto Canada so we do get a lot of snow by the way.
 
I have the Pirelli Scorpions winter tires on my X now.
Have about 10K miles on them. I have used in the fall, winter, and spring between Lake Tahoe and San Jose. I have not noticed any difference in handling no matter which road conditions. My original manufacturers set of Continentals lasted only 25K miles.
There are only 2 brands available for this 20” size:
Continentals and Pirellis Scorpions (winter).
The only difference is the Scorpions are noisier and lowers range. I am compelled to
go back to the Continentals when I need a new set.
I wish Bridgestone’s Drive Guard (run flats) were available in this size.

Continentals and the Pirelli scorpion are not worth the price.
 
I live in Eugene which has pretty much identical weather to Portland. ...
I'd prefer to have snow tires and burn a tiny bit of rubber driving around the city for a week. With this swap set up, tires last for 3-5 seasons so I don't notice extra wear.

Thanks for this information! Grew up in Eugene. Last year I thought about buying snow tires...this year I did. Will see how it works out.
 

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