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irish56
10-02-2009, 02:17 PM
Winter's coming, and my wife has always been afraid of driving in snow and ice. I'm thinking of buying a set of snow tires for her '01 SL2. Anybody on here used snow tires on a Saturn? Which brand did you get and how did they perform in snow and ice compared to new all-season tires?

Is a premium snow tire (like a Michelin X-Ice) that much better than a cheaper one (like a Firestone Winterforce)?

rc1488
10-02-2009, 02:22 PM
All my saturns use Pacemark Snow Trackers from Walmart...for the last 4 years :)

Amazing tires.

MiSaturn
10-02-2009, 06:45 PM
Well, you usually get what you pay for, but in this case I think the Michelins are a bit overpriced. Might I suggest Hankook Ice Bears? Not the most agressive tread design, but won't turn you deaf with drumming on dry roads.

mattelderca
10-02-2009, 07:18 PM
All my saturns use Pacemark Snow Trackers from Walmart...for the last 4 years :)

Amazing tires.
^^^^X2 Buy the cheapest stock size SNOW tire you can find. Don't be hyped by advertising. Look at the tread, does it look like a snow tire? Then buy it.

ute
10-02-2009, 07:24 PM
so what rim size 14"-15"-16" ???

i know its a 4x100 bolt pattern but what steelies would be a good fit ?

mattelderca
10-02-2009, 07:27 PM
so what rim size 14"-15"-16" ???

i know its a 4x100 bolt pattern but what steelies would be a good fit ?
Best would be the same as stock. match your summers!
Edit: If by chance you do not know the stock size you can not go wrong with a 175/70/14 winter wheel/tire combo. Just don't expect them to handle like your 205/55/15 summers.

hholbein
10-02-2009, 07:37 PM
We drive our Subaru most of the time when traction's a question. The low-cost Michelin X/Weatherhandler works very well as a year-round tire here in Western Oregon, dealing with heavy wet snow and ice. Near-top ratings by Consumer Reports.

A neighbor, who travels extensively in the mountains, swears by Dunlop Graspics; these get top marks from Consumer Reports.

eRic 02sc2
10-02-2009, 08:39 PM
Winter's coming, and my wife has always been afraid of driving in snow and ice. I'm thinking of buying a set of snow tires for her '01 SL2. Anybody on here used snow tires on a Saturn? Which brand did you get and how did they perform in snow and ice compared to new all-season tires?

Is a premium snow tire (like a Michelin X-Ice) that much better than a cheaper one (like a Firestone Winterforce)?

I'm using Hankook IceBear W300 snow tires size 195/60R15 on my OE alloy wheels in winter. They work great. No comparison to the all-season Firehawk GTA tires that came on my car. and they were less than $50 each.

thutton
10-02-2009, 09:35 PM
I run Blizzak Revos on spare 15 inch steelies with some Pontiac wheel covers (hey, they were free!). Blizzaks are great -- with them, traction control and ABS our SL2 passes its fair share of SUVs.

mattelderca
10-02-2009, 10:04 PM
I run Blizzak Revos on spare 15 inch steelies with some Pontiac wheel covers (hey, they were free!). Blizzaks are great -- with them, traction control and ABS our SL2 passes its fair share of SUVs.

Off of the original post,
Hey, I live in the rural GTA of Ontario Canada and I run cheap all seasons. I can still out drive most SUV's on the road. NO ABS or traction control. And I can drive quite hard! I have actually reduced my driving style now that I know about the diff pin! I'll take a vehicle without ABS any day. But that's another post!

bumpdraft
10-02-2009, 10:36 PM
I'm using Hankook IceBear W300 snow tires size 195/60R15 on my OE alloy wheels in winter. They work great. No comparison to the all-season Firehawk GTA tires that came on my car. and they were less than $50 each.

IceBear W300 look good. $50? That's cheap!
High performance is great for metro driving...

I have to sacrifice a little and got something that can out run the big boys Up North. Thinking about $Michelin X-Ice$, but leaning towards another set of Blizzak.

Looking for more continuous tread near the center of the tire and side lugs that don't flex too much. The side lugs flex and put all the drive on the narrow center strip of tread. At high speed on dry pavement, the center strip gets chewed away. At least it seemed that way. The new Blizzak looks improved.

With my Firehawk GTA, I got cought Up North in wet snow/slush and highway driving was scary:no: Slow in a small car is bad when the 4x4's and semitrucks can out-run you....or run up on you:x

vtsl2
10-03-2009, 12:37 PM
i use COPPER WEATHER MASTER S/T2 's. i deliver pizza all winter with them and have not had an issue yet

you can have them studded also(just remember studs dont work well in "snow" they work well on ice)

i go any where i want to in my town(mostly all hills) but i try not to spin my tires, lugging the engine down is the best way to get around, also i do not have T.C. so i have to be careful not to pop a diff pin.

awelch
10-03-2009, 01:44 PM
I use Blizzak WS-50 's and steel rims from the TireRack on a '92 SL2.

http://www.tirerack.com/

They are almost unstoppable for accelerating in deep snow and more importantly give safe braking and steering even on ice. Well worth the price if they even allow you to avoid 1 minor accident and help keep your insurance rates low.

Starduster_Sat
10-03-2009, 08:53 PM
awelsh beat me to it.

You now have at least a half a dozen recommendations and one really good place to research and buy- Tire Rack. They do their own testing, and have a database of surveys from customers. Very easy to do your own research. They sell either the tires or complete tire/wheel sets. I have just purchased from them (Michelin Pilot Exalto A/S's for my wife's SL2) and wish I had shopped with them years earlier. That good an experience.

Frankd1
10-03-2009, 09:51 PM
I have been using Michelin X-ice on my Saturn and I do plenty of winter driving between London and Toronto Ontario and between London and Bay City Michigan and they have been quite good, there was a great sale when I bought them so the price was right!!
I'm looking for snow's for my Toyota Yaris and if the Michelin's are on sale again then I will go that route, otherwise I will be looking at other options for winter tires simply because if the Michelin's aren't on sale then they can be somewhat pricey...

fetchitfido
10-04-2009, 06:30 AM
i use COPPER WEATHER MASTER S/T2 's. i deliver pizza all winter with them and have not had an issue yet

i go any where i want to in my town(mostly all hills) but i try not to spin my tires, lugging the engine down is the best way to get around, also i do not have T.C. so i have to be careful not to pop a diff pin.

The coopers are good, even better when you haven't worn the fronts down to nothing :D

I made the traction control go away. Stupid useless system tries to get me stuck. I never popped the diff pin last winter and I did a couple "doughnuts" in my driveway, as well as a full throttle reverse out of a ditch never getting above 1-3mph actual speed. Didn't use Coopers last year, used a set of random studded tires a coworker gave me for free.

On snow, other then takeoff from a sign/light I didn't exactly give a hoot about spinning tires.

MacTech
10-04-2009, 02:36 PM
I've driven on the high-tech snow tires, and on the blocky traditional snow tires, here's what I found

High-Tech- wears slightly better on dry pavement, handles a little more like summer tires, great grip on icy roads

Traditionals- wears fast on dry pavement, squishy handling on dry pavement, okay on icy roads, but utterly unstoppable in snow, the blocky tread lugs are almost "self-cleaning"

if you encounter more ice than snow, you might be better off with high-tech snows, if you encounter more snow than ice, the traditional, blocky snow tires are great

mattelderca
10-04-2009, 04:09 PM
I've driven on the high-tech snow tires, and on the blocky traditional snow tires, here's what I found

High-Tech- wears slightly better on dry pavement, handles a little more like summer tires, great grip on icy roads

Traditionals- wears fast on dry pavement, squishy handling on dry pavement, okay on icy roads, but utterly unstoppable in snow, the blocky tread lugs are almost "self-cleaning"

if you encounter more ice than snow, you might be better off with high-tech snows, if you encounter more snow than ice, the traditional, blocky snow tires are great

Put good tires on your car and learn to drive!
I have driven crappy cars in crappy weather and NEVER had an issue.
Do not overdrive the abilities of your car and yourself, simple.
Don't get cocky!!!!!!!!!!!
That is also applied to lighting, do not drive faster then you can stop in the distance you can see.
I actually prefer bad tires, they control the way I drive!
I can not exceed the cars ability, a good thing.
If you can drive in any conditions with marginal vehicles, you will know what I am saying!

beermonkey
10-04-2009, 08:59 PM
goto www.tirerack.com and search there. tires are really cheap too. i have winters on mine, but there some no name cheapo brand and they work well.

yottabit
10-04-2009, 09:21 PM
I've found a great variety of all season performance in the snow, many terrible, some not so bad at all. That being said even cheap snow's will likely be significantly better than the best all season. I bought a cheap set last year called "Arctic Claw" from VIP auto parts and haven't looked back, made a huge difference in stop/stop acceleration and especially turning confidence, only cost about $300 in 195/60/15 (I had a spare set of wheels) and no visible wear after last winter.

irish56
10-05-2009, 09:33 AM
Lots of good info here, thanks. Where are you guys finding Hankook IceBears for $50? Discount Tire Direct has Hankook Winter iPikes for $59, but no IceBears.

I'm going to go with 14" tires, because I have a set of SL1 14" steelies sitting around collecting dust. And when it comes to snow tires, tall + skinny = good (ever seen a WRC snow rally?). My wife will just have to get used to the speedo reading a little faster than she's actually driving (probably not a bad thing).

irish56
11-16-2009, 08:24 AM
The Michelin X-Ice's are here! They're mounted on 14" steelies, but I'm not going to install them on the wife's SL2 until we get a forecast with snow in it.

This month's Car and Driver had great things to say about these tires. I'm actually looking forward to snowfall now.

bumpdraft
11-16-2009, 11:54 AM
The Michelin X-Ice's are here! They're mounted on 14" steelies, but I'm not going to install them on the wife's SL2 until we get a forecast with snow in it.

This month's Car and Driver had great things to say about these tires. I'm actually looking forward to snowfall now.

They are proably perfect for OH.
I'm going to buy Blizzak because the aggressive tread is sharp right up to the edge of the tire = Better for deeper snow Up North.

Maybe you want another set of rims so you can switch back to regular tires around March 1st (Around here (south-east MI) XC ski trails melt by second week of March)

eRic 02sc2
11-16-2009, 02:12 PM
Lots of good info here, thanks. Where are you guys finding Hankook IceBears for $50? Discount Tire Direct has Hankook Winter iPikes for $59, but no IceBears.

mine are two years old now...wow the price jumped to $85. ouch.

irish56
11-17-2009, 08:36 AM
Maybe you want another set of rims so you can switch back to regular tires around March 1st...

I agree. She's got four-year-old Kumho Solus KH16's on the factory 15" alloys. I figured we'd run those April-Nov and run the Michelin X-Ice on 14" steelies Dec-Mar.

dorisSL
11-18-2009, 04:06 PM
Off of the original post,
Hey, I live in the rural GTA of Ontario Canada and I run cheap all seasons. I can still out drive most SUV's on the road. NO ABS or traction control. And I can drive quite hard! I have actually reduced my driving style now that I know about the diff pin! I'll take a vehicle without ABS any day. But that's another post!

i drove on all-seasons all winter last year, including a trip in white-out conditions up Snoqualmie pass.
the only time i ever got stuck was when the snow melted and refroze and was higher than my bumper.
my sister had snow tires on her Focus and her boyfriend had snow tires on his Outback, and i was the one who was grabbing groceries and such in the storms.

snow tires do help you, but knowing how to drive well in the snow is far more valuable.

megsaturn
11-18-2009, 04:19 PM
i drove on all-seasons all winter last year, including a trip in white-out conditions up Snoqualmie pass.
the only time i ever got stuck was when the snow melted and refroze and was higher than my bumper.
my sister had snow tires on her Focus and her boyfriend had snow tires on his Outback, and i was the one who was grabbing groceries and such in the storms.

snow tires do help you, but knowing how to drive well in the snow is far more valuable.

I second that.
Just a note: Snow tires are not manufactured for use on ice! If it's icey out? Your best bet is to stay home with a book and a blanket.

eRic 02sc2
11-18-2009, 05:15 PM
I second that.
Just a note: Snow tires are not manufactured for use on ice! If it's icey out? Your best bet is to stay home with a book and a blanket.

What? Today's winter / snow tires utilize tread designs and compounds that give you traction in snow and ice.

bumpdraft
11-19-2009, 10:03 AM
What? Today's winter / snow tires utilize tread designs and compounds that give you traction in snow and ice.

When the Cameros are spun-out on the side of the road ideling and their rear tires are spinning at idle, the SC2 can easilly do 45mph on glare ice....
...it's the other cars on the road that are in the way! (and that whole "stopping" thing is a problem:hmpf:)

It took me 4 hours to drive 40 miles north on I-75 from Troy.
The other cars on the road were using All (read: "no") Season tires.

For humanity's sake, people, get some snows on a spare set of junk yard rims.

eRic 02sc2
11-22-2009, 02:13 PM
When the Cameros are spun-out on the side of the road ideling and their rear tires are spinning at idle, the SC2 can easilly do 45mph on glare ice....
...it's the other cars on the road that are in the way! (and that whole "stopping" thing is a problem:hmpf:)

It took me 4 hours to drive 40 miles north on I-75 from Troy.
The other cars on the road were using All (read: "no") Season tires.

For humanity's sake, people, get some snows on a spare set of junk yard rims.

my dad got a set of BFG KDWS tires mounted on some knockoff OE alloy wheels for his Trans Am WS6. they helped keep him on the road when he drove I-75 and I-696 to and from Troy every day. sometimes the traction control would kick in and the car would not move. he would switch it off and spin the tires a bit to get going.

MarkChicago
11-30-2009, 06:18 PM
Nokian WR G2

No need for two sets of tires.

But they are very expensive and the treadwear rating is low.

CND_SC1
12-21-2009, 03:34 PM
Using Gislaved Nord Frost 5 - bought used, manufactuerd in May 2008 so only one season used but probably some miles on them because previouos owner went to cottage for snowmobiling every weekend with his '92 Accord.

Only one snowfall so far, but they were great. I tried them up steep hills, tired sudden braking & acceleration - even tried them with two wheels on an ice patch and two on try pavement - nothing I did could provoke the Traction Control or ABS. I could tell form the sounf of snwo hitting the splashguard how much more snow was being shrugged off the tire than with all-seasons.

I imagine the big single longitudinal groove will pack in when the snow is wetter, but it is an acceptable compromise to have some water-pumping capability - I have driven on winter tires that were prone to hydroplaning during thaws ( BFG Winter Slalom, TigerPaw Ice, Signet WinterTrax & the older Yoko's...).

They are quite pleasant and adequate in regular conditions and actually more straigh line stability than my all season Yokoham AVID T4 (maybe the directional pattern?)

CND_SC1
12-21-2009, 03:49 PM
More Reflections form Canada

* A relative of mine has been a Winter Tire guy for many years living well north of Toronto where the snowfalls are heavier. He used Firstone Winterforce last winter on his Saturn LS wagon and though they were the best tires for snow traction he's ever tried (usually used Cooper or Blizzak in the past). Not the greatest on ice or deep water during thaws though.

* Another friend was hugely impressed with Hankook iPike W409. He made trips up north at least twice a month for skiing and he said they made his Golf feel unstopable in any amount of fresh snow. Quite noisy on dry roads at speed though, and noticable flex in sidewall, though not as bad as previous Dunlop Graspic-1.

* My sister has used BF Goodrich winter Slalom (older style) on a Civic for 3 years now. Says it's about 25% better than all seasons in deep snow but doesn't stop quite as well on dry pavement and feels vague in heavy rain or melting snow. I have also experienced the insecure feeling of these tires with water on the ground.

* Examine your winter conditions and driving style. Many satisfied owners of both Hankook Ice Bear and iPike w409. But different applications. The iPike W409 is more of a classic "snow thrower" with very soft rubber and sidewalls not suited for agressive driving. The Ice Bears are not really a deep snow tire, they are like a high performance tire with more of a winter compound and more heavilly sipped. They are appreciated by performance car owners for their stiffer sidewalls and by luxury car owners for lower noise. Seem to excell more on ice, frozen snow than deep snow.

* X-ice & Blizzaks seem to be more of a an Icebear-type application. Excellent all round tire, less sacrifice on warmer days & good roads. Owners from WAY north rave about their traction on ice & frozen in areas where there is no salting or ploughing and they get a few snowfalls which then freeze over and stay on the ground for weeks.

But many drivers closer to the Great Lakes area with more frequent fresh & wet snow that gets heavy & slushy from traffic & salt feel that they overpayed for tires like Michelin or Bridgestone because they need more of a "digging" tire. They also loose more capability as they wear down - seems they are really best suited for places where it stays VERY cold and they get driven mostly on uncleared roads of hardened snow.

irish56
12-22-2009, 09:16 AM
I had heard good things about Nokians and Gislaveds, but Tire Rack didn't have them, and I thought the X-Ices would be good enough for central Ohio. Most winters, we get one or two big snowfalls (6-12"), three or four minor snowfalls (3-6"), and lots of freezing rain. Ice is the biggest problem for us.

I installed the X-Ices two weeks ago, but all we've had is a half-inch snowfall and a couple of dustings, so they haven't been put to the test yet. But I'm impressed with their dry-weather performance. They're a little "squirmy" compared with the Kumho all-season tires - you find yourself making more minor corrections at the wheel - but they're surprisingly quiet for a winter tire.

I found a set of cheapo wheel covers for $10 at Advance Auto (wife hated the exposed-black-steelies look), and my rebate check from Michelin just arrived ($70), so this isn't costing me a fortune.

bumpdraft
12-22-2009, 10:09 PM
More Reflections form Canada

* X-ice & Blizzaks seem to be more of a an Icebear-type application. Excellent all round tire, less sacrifice on warmer days & good roads. Owners from WAY north rave about their traction on ice & frozen in areas where there is no salting or ploughing and they get a few snowfalls which then freeze over and stay on the ground for weeks.

But many drivers closer to the Great Lakes area with more frequent fresh & wet snow that gets heavy & slushy from traffic & salt feel that they overpayed for tires like Michelin or Bridgestone because they need more of a "digging" tire. They also loose more capability as they wear down - seems they are really best suited for places where it stays VERY cold and they get driven mostly on uncleared roads of hardened snow.

Completely agree. More for frozen tundra than around town slush.

When traffic permits, I like them for fearless black:banana: ice driving at full highway speed.
The tire's squzziness helps to soak up frost heave bumps:grnjump:

Overpriced you betcha. (or is the $ plunging?)



my dad got a set of BFG KDWS tires mounted on some knockoff OE alloy wheels for his Trans Am WS6. they helped keep him on the road when he drove I-75 and I-696 to and from Troy every day. sometimes the traction control would kick in and the car would not move. he would switch it off and spin the tires a bit to get going.

Today, saw a Mustang with aggressive winter tires. Seeing more and more cars with snow tires. This is good.

wishihadacamaro
12-23-2009, 07:51 AM
Just came back from getting stuck. I pulled to the right to let opposing cars past, so I was in the deep snow on the side spinning my right wheel trying to keep momentum going past them, but had to stop because I started sliding towards the ditch. Luckily the homeowner who's house I got stuck in front of came out and shoveled, and then pulled me out with his Volvo. I called my friend who was at work to come pull me out, and he came in an open-diff Colorado, which probably wouldn't have helped anyway. By the time he arrived, me and the Volvo guy had already hooked a chain between our recovery hooks. Lesson learned, just go in reverse to the nearest intersection to let someone past instead. I have pirelli P4 (all season) tires, by the way.

irish56
02-11-2010, 08:59 AM
Mid-winter update: the Michelin X-Ice's were money very well spent. They can handle black ice, and they can handle a foot of unplowed snow. And they're reasonably quiet and easy to live with when it's dry (though it's been so long since I saw dry pavement that I might not be remembering correctly).

I still wonder how a cheaper brand with studs (like Winterforce) would compare. I'm guessing they'd be even better in the snow and ice, but would be unlivable on dry pavement.

I hate winter. I'd like to see how far I could punt Punxatawney Phil.

Rum Runner
02-11-2010, 10:09 AM
Hey all.

24 years of winter driving. I've had all kinds of vehicles from 2wd Pickups to 4x4 Jimmy. I also race MTB/Cyclocross and tire selection and pressure is pretty important :)

First when making your tire choice you have to consider your what your typical conditions are going to be. Do you get lots of snow? Maybe lots of chances of black ice or freezing rain. Snow tire or ice tire...studs ??? etc

I have tried expensive tires and cheap tires. For me I have found an ice type tire (with lots of snipes) and larger blocks to be the best all around tire.

I believe you are better off with the cheapest snow/ice tire you can get for your vehicle as long as its rated as a true winter tire. These tires have softer rubber and is formulated not to freeze rock hard until usually -20C (-4F)temps.
Most ICE tires loose there snipes and softer outer layer of rubber compound with the first half of their tread life and become more of a snow tire.

Even if it costs you the same money at the end of the day I think you would be better off replacing a $50 tire every two years than $100 tire every 4 years.
I would bet big money that on the same car that had a top rated name brand(read $$$$) winter tire with two or three seasons on it would be totally out performed by a brand new cheapy winter tire.

I usually get 3 winter seasons out of my winer tire then use it as a summer tire for the following summer before sticking on new tires.

I paid $280 Cdn tax in for my winter tires on my SC2. They were Walmart Nexan snow/ice tires and I found hey have worked great so far.

I live in the country and in the hills. My street was private for a while and was often not plowed or graveled and you could not get up to my house in te winter without snow tires.

My wife just picked up a New Beetle Convertable with brand new Mich X-ICE so I can try compare traction with some other tires I have by trying to start from a stop half way up my hill. Hard to get going without 4wd most times but would be an interesting test. Just need to get the Saturn back up and running. Possible burnt valve.

Cheers,
Paul

coolbikeguy
02-11-2010, 02:24 PM
are you guys only putting snows on the front ?? no since spending the money to put them on the rear since they dont do anything back there right ???

Rum Runner
02-11-2010, 03:22 PM
are you guys only putting snows on the front ?? no since spending the money to put them on the rear since they dont do anything back there right ???

Altho this sounds like it makes sense it is VERY dangerous to only run winter tires up front.
Your cars handling will be comprimised and you may find that in a braking or turning situation the back end swinging out and passing you.... not that I ever tried this before myself :p
You would be surprised how dicey this was. :dizzy:

On a different note I once bought a set of Yokohama all season touring tires for my 89 Civic SI I had in college. They were great when dry, ok when wet and if there was a dusting of snow I could hardly move. I guess they were all season for Florida or Texas or something !
Once I finally got winter tires this car was great in the snow.
All season does not mean they are necessarily good in snow ! !

Cheers,
Paul

SLCraig
02-11-2010, 04:40 PM
I see many other mini reviews in here so I'll add mine.

I do a lot of driving. In a typically very snowy and harsh condition area of Ontario. (between London - Stratford, ON, highway 7)

I picked up a set of General Altimax Arctics. Share the same tread pattern as the Gislaved NordFrost 3.

They are awesome.

They are quiet, comfortable riding, excellent snow tires. I think they might be my favorite set of snows I've ever had..

I've had:

Blizzak WS-50
Blizzak MZ02
Cooper ST/2
Motomaster IceTrak
Hankook iPike RC01

eRic 02sc2
02-11-2010, 10:02 PM
are you guys only putting snows on the front ?? no since spending the money to put them on the rear since they dont do anything back there right ???

When you put winter tires on your vehicle, always put them on in a set of four. If you were to put winter tires on only the front or rear of your vehicle, you would create a vehicle with a split personality. The traction capabilities of the tires on a vehicle play the largest single role in determining how that vehicle will react in any given situation. And with the great difference in traction capabilities between Winter tires and All-Season or High Performance tires, you can understand the loss of control when one end of the car performs very well and the other end just seems to have a mind of its own. By installing four winter tires, you maintain the most balanced and controlled handling possible in all winter driving conditions. It is imperative to keep the same level of traction at all four corners of the car; otherwise, the full benefits of ABS or traction control systems will be lost.

Zero_DgZ
02-11-2010, 11:29 PM
I see many other mini reviews in here so I'll add mine.

I do a lot of driving. In a typically very snowy and harsh condition area of Ontario. (between London - Stratford, ON, highway 7)

I picked up a set of General Altimax Arctics. Share the same tread pattern as the Gislaved NordFrost 3.

I just put a set of these on my SL2. They're pretty danged good. I haven't gotten myself stuck once in the twin blizzards we've had in the northeast over the last week... And I'm a delivery driver, working and driving every single day. During the blizzard, after the blizzard, after the aftermath from the blizzard freezes... They seem to perform quite well.

I did not get them studded. Maybe I'll do so after I switch back to road tires in the spring.