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Old 10-26-2008, 11:05 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Studded Tires

In the market for some new studded tires for a 03' Outback and need to know what is the best size and brand. What do the numbers on the tire mean?
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Old 10-26-2008, 01:16 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Studded Tires

Quote:
Originally posted by babea
In the market for some new studded tires for a 03' Outback and need to know what is the best size and brand. What do the numbers on the tire mean?
Numbers are usually for passenger tires:
PNNN/YYRHH

Where NNN is the tread width in millimeters
YY is the sidewall height in percentage of tread width
HH is the wheel radius

For example, for more recent Outbacks:
P225/55R17
225mm tread, sidewall height is 55% of tread width, 17" wheel

For somewhat older Outbacks like my parents' 2004 base model, and from the looks of it the same for your year (at least for base models):
P225/60R16
225mm tread, sidewall height is 60% of tread width, 16" wheel

So most likely yours are 225/60R16

For sizes, to be honest if you're asking what these numbers mean you should be sticking with tires of the exact same size as what came with your vehicle. About the only exception would be if you get a reccommended winter tire and wheel package from tirerack.com for your specific car, although it looks like unlike for the newer Outbacks that come with 225/55R17s, Tire Rack does NOT reccommend wheel undersizing (down to 16" for Outbacks that come with 17") for snow tires on Outbacks that come with 16" wheels.

Goodyear Assurance TripleTreds are extremely popular with many Outback drivers, and they get the highest ratings in their class on both TireRack's user survey and TireRack's own road tests. They unfortunately do supposedly reduce gas mileage a bit. (I don't know as I've had my 2009 for 2 months and so am still on the original Crapenzas and will be for quite a while except in winter)

Edit: Oops somehow missed that you were looking for studdeds. Firestone Winterforce are pretty cheap ($81 each) in P225/60R16 which is your size. Those are the only studdable tires in 225/60R16 on Tire Rack that have any survey results. Bridgestone Blizzak WS-60s are studless winter but are rated as good as or better than the Winterforces in nearly every category. Once you include the studding fee they are only $5 per tire more than the Winterforces.

http://www.tirerack.com/tires/survey...16&type=W&VT=C - entries that are bold with a dot are available in 225/60R16

There are a few more choices in P215/65R16, which Tire Rack seems to think is an OK alternative size.
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Old 10-26-2008, 05:21 PM   #3 (permalink)
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What price range are you thinking of? There are General Altimax Arctic at $88.00 studded up to Nokian Hakkapeliitta 4 studded for $216.00 ea.
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Old 10-27-2008, 11:01 AM   #4 (permalink)
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The Nokian Hakkapeliitta 4s are great. I have them on my car. I do not recomend the "studless" Blizzaks. A co-worker bought a set and he is replacing them with studded after only a week.
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Old 10-28-2008, 11:01 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by cougar
The Nokian Hakkapeliitta 4s are great. I have them on my car. I do not recomend the "studless" Blizzaks. A co-worker bought a set and he is replacing them with studded after only a week.
Which Blizzaks - WS-50, WS-60, or LM-25?

The WS-60s are the ones that get good reviews.

Hakkapellitas are probably the best studded tires around, but they're almost triple the price of Blizzaks or Winterforces for Hakka Vs. They are hard to find too.
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Old 10-28-2008, 12:08 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I have had a couple different sets of studless tires, and really like them. I put Blizzaks (WS-50s?) on my Galant VR4 a few winters ago, and they were AWESOME! After they wore out, I put Yokohama Guardex studless snow tires on it, and they are pretty good, not as surefooted as the Blizzaks in my opinion, but still very good.

I put some Winterforce tires on my gf's 05 Accord, and they did pretty well. She really likes the additional assurance of studs, so she got studded Winterforces last winter, which worked a bit better than studless (of course). With her car being fwd, I can see doing studs, but with an awd car, I wouldnt think that studs would be absolutely necessary.

Pros for studs:
1. additional ice and slippery snow traction
2. reasonably inexpensive


Cons for studs:
1. Noise
2. Vibration
3. They come out of the tire relatively easily
4. You cannot run them year round, its illegal in most states in dry/warmer weather.


I say with an awd car, I would get some inexpensive studless....even Winterforces, and you should be ok.
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Old 10-31-2008, 09:53 AM   #7 (permalink)
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I've been running WinterForce M+S (studded) for the last 4 winters. Here's a list of pros and cons based on my own experience with them:

Pros:
-cheap
-decent dry braking and steering response when inflated slightly higher than OEM
-S-Rated tire
-good in light snow, predictable-but-not-great on ice, excellent in deep snow and mud (althogh if I were to buy them again, I'd go with a 215/60-16 instead of a 225/60-16....narrower IS better in snow)
-excellent off road!
-did I mention they're cheap?

Cons:
-kinda' noisey (wife hates them)
-based on tirerack.com's tests, it seems that these rank significantly worse across-the-board in performance as compared to some of the newer technology studless "friction" tires which don't cost too much more.
-older technology tire...more of a "snow" tire than a "winter" tire, so if you don't see tons of snow--or see more ice than snow...I'd consider other alternatives

Recommendation:
These are not bad tires whatsoever, but given the advancements in winter tires (unless you see A LOT of deep snow/mud or cost is a huge issue) I would probably look into some of the other newer-technology tires. Can't go wrong with the Michelin X-Ice or its new version (who's name I can't remember).

Hope that helps,
Tim
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Old 09-28-2009, 09:06 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by TimGinCentralNJ
I've been running WinterForce M+S (studded) for the last 4 winters. Here's a list of pros and cons based on my own experience with them:

Pros:
-cheap
-decent dry braking and steering response when inflated slightly higher than OEM
-S-Rated tire
-good in light snow, predictable-but-not-great on ice, excellent in deep snow and mud (althogh if I were to buy them again, I'd go with a 215/60-16 instead of a 225/60-16....narrower IS better in snow)
-excellent off road!
-did I mention they're cheap?

Cons:
-kinda' noisey (wife hates them)
-based on tirerack.com's tests, it seems that these rank significantly worse across-the-board in performance as compared to some of the newer technology studless "friction" tires which don't cost too much more.
-older technology tire...more of a "snow" tire than a "winter" tire, so if you don't see tons of snow--or see more ice than snow...I'd consider other alternatives

Recommendation:
These are not bad tires whatsoever, but given the advancements in winter tires (unless you see A LOT of deep snow/mud or cost is a huge issue) I would probably look into some of the other newer-technology tires. Can't go wrong with the Michelin X-Ice or its new version (who's name I can't remember).

Hope that helps,
Tim
I can see that you are from NJ as well which is cool to see, but do you keep these tires on all winter or do you only put them on when you know it is going to snow?

I'm just not sure how these tires will do considering they are studded as far as treadwear?!?!?

I think here in NJ we get more normal condition roads than snow roads all the time, but these tires are such a cheap price compared to others and with excellent performance, which makes them hard to pass up. I also travel a lot to PA for snowboarding, so that is another reason that I think these would be a good choice.

Andre
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Old 09-28-2009, 09:38 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by 8kGoodENuff


I can see that you are from NJ as well which is cool to see, but do you keep these tires on all winter or do you only put them on when you know it is going to snow?

I'm just not sure how these tires will do considering they are studded as far as treadwear?!?!?

I think here in NJ we get more normal condition roads than snow roads all the time, but these tires are such a cheap price compared to others and with excellent performance, which makes them hard to pass up. I also travel a lot to PA for snowboarding, so that is another reason that I think these would be a good choice.

Andre
Hey Andre-

I always wait to put them on until the first taste of inclement weather is "rumored" to happen, and then leave them on all winter. I know what you mean about us getting "more normal conditions than snow roads" but I live out near the PA border and we tend to get a lot of frozen stuff on the back roads, not to mention that the DOT takes forever to plow Route I-78 which I take to work.

Although Winterforce tires are not the latest technology in winter tires, they're very competent tires both in dry/wet and in snow/ice. Handling-wise in the dry, they're really not bad at all and since they are "S" speed rated, they're not like driving around on the old all-seasons your grand dad has on his Buick ;o)

I paid $63/each for them back in 2004 and have 5 seasons on them (probably in the neighborhood of 20k miles). Although the smallest sipes in the treads are pretty much gone, the primary tread blocks are still in good shape. Good luck getting that kind of longevity from a Dunlop WinterSport 3D, etc which costs easily twice the price.

If I had to do it over again, I would personally "downsize" to a size 215 since the stock 225's are a little too wide on these cars and tend to make the car "surf" on the snow/slush rather than "slice" through it as is desirable.

Hope this helps...any other questions, lemme' know!

Tim
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Old 09-28-2009, 10:29 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by TimGinCentralNJ


Hey Andre-

I always wait to put them on until the first taste of inclement weather is "rumored" to happen, and then leave them on all winter. I know what you mean about us getting "more normal conditions than snow roads" but I live out near the PA border and we tend to get a lot of frozen stuff on the back roads, not to mention that the DOT takes forever to plow Route I-78 which I take to work.

Although Winterforce tires are not the latest technology in winter tires, they're very competent tires both in dry/wet and in snow/ice. Handling-wise in the dry, they're really not bad at all and since they are "S" speed rated, they're not like driving around on the old all-seasons your grand dad has on his Buick ;o)

I paid $63/each for them back in 2004 and have 5 seasons on them (probably in the neighborhood of 20k miles). Although the smallest sipes in the treads are pretty much gone, the primary tread blocks are still in good shape. Good luck getting that kind of longevity from a Dunlop WinterSport 3D, etc which costs easily twice the price.

If I had to do it over again, I would personally "downsize" to a size 215 since the stock 225's are a little too wide on these cars and tend to make the car "surf" on the snow/slush rather than "slice" through it as is desirable.

Hope this helps...any other questions, lemme' know!

Tim
That is a great review... thank you. It's good that you knew what I meant cause I really didn't know what other way to explain it... haha. I was reading the Tirerack. com review of the studless tire vs. the Winterforce Studded tire and they make it sound like the Winterforce tire is horrible, which from their ratings don't show as such, so it was throwing me off a little. What I really like hearing is that you've had these tires for 5 seasons now, which is amazing and eliminates any doubt I had of getting them due to fast treadwear, but that is great. They're actually offering these tires now at $55/tire, which is why I wanted to jump on them. I'm also up near PA on route 15 every week for pheasant hunting and there's always snow up there, so they should come in handy.

Thanks again,
Andre
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