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Discussion Starter #1
I am considering getting winter tires... I never used them before, and so I have a couple of trivial questions:

What do you do -- do you swap the tires on the original rims, or do you get another pair of (steel?) rims and mount the tires permanently on those?

What is a good winter tire that is also very good in wet conditions? My winter driving will be a mix of dry, wet, and snow, so I need a tire that is decent in all three.

Many thanks!
 

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(...) What do you do -- do you swap the tires on the original rims, or do you get another pair of (steel?) rims and mount the tires permanently on those? (...)
I always use a second set of rims (steel or alu) and mount the winter tyres permanently on them. When the first snow comes, I don't have to wait for the mechanic, if necessary I can do it on my own. So I can wait as long as possible and can swap at night while snowing and I am fine for the next day.
 

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what he just said - depends on you.

i prefer just having a mounted set ready to go that i install myself.
a set of wheels is easy to come by for a reasonable price or you can even by wheel/tire combos off tirerack.com and sometimes they're very reasonable in price.

or you can take the tires to a shop and have them change them out.

as for which tire - check the reviews on tirerack.com discounttires, any online tire place.
 

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Figure the math - my local tire store charges US$60 to mount and balance four tires. Twice a year plus wear and tear on your wheels each time they go on the machine..... OUCH!

A second set of inexpensive wheels plus snow tires just makes sense, UNLESS you have no place to store them and you are leasing the car. If you plan on keeping the car five or more years and have the garage or basement space, it works great.

If you are a short timer, then buy a set of winter rated All Seasons and forget about changing tires.

For a great snow tire, check out the new Michelin X-Ice 3 - it sounds like a real winner.

John Davies
Spokane WA USA
 

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I am considering getting winter tires... I never used them before, and so I have a couple of trivial questions:

What do you do -- do you swap the tires on the original rims, or do you get another pair of (steel?) rims and mount the tires permanently on those?

What is a good winter tire that is also very good in wet conditions? My winter driving will be a mix of dry, wet, and snow, so I need a tire that is decent in all three.

Many thanks!

Do what works best for you but if you plan on keeping your Subaru for a few years if not longer it may save you money in the long run to buy a dedicated winter wheel and tire set.

Let us know if we can help you with a set. We'd love to earn your business.
 

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I've tried all kinds of snow tires. Blizzak, Nokian Hakkas, Hankook, Winterforce, etc. My opinion--they all work. Buy whatever you can get the best price on. I'll be picking up some Hankook iPike's, since they're the cheapest and they got me through a snow storm going up a canyon in a RWD car a few years back. I see no use in paying more for "better" winter tires. They've all got soft tread compound, and will most likely wear out at about the same rate.

If you need extra traction (if living in snow covered roads all winter long), get them studded.
 

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Get the second set of rims. The money you spend on the rims will be saved after a year or so instead of mounting/balancing tires at the beginning/end of the season.

I love my Blizzaks, but as phsycle said, they all work. I've read that the Blizzak does better in deep snow, but the X-Ice lasts longer, although I hear nothing but praise for the Hakkas. People who are tighter on budget swear by their Altimax Arctics and Winterforces. In the snow, "crappy" snow tires > the best all-season tires, so you can't go wrong.

Disclaimer: the Blizzak is the only snow tire I've actually driven on (WS-60 and WS-70), so I am biased. Yvonne is hard to break loose in an open parking lot with the Blizzak, and she has handled ~10" of snow with ease. Where other peoples' cars slip a bit or slide, Yvonne's Blizzaks stick....almost too well. It makes it a bit hard to hoon, but at least I can still get into work.
 

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With your requirements, go with studless. If you are looking for the cheapest option available, you CAN do studdable tires without the studs, but these tires generally have a harder tread compound, so you don't get the grip that other true studless tires offer. If you are on ice, this is NOT the way to go.

Best snow tire I've owned is the Blizzak, hands down. I'm not sure the added benefit of deep snow, wet driving, and ice performance of the Blizzak is worth the extra price, though. (In other words, you might only get a slight performance boost over other tires, but may pay considerably more.) On the other hand, If you have a Firestone near you, call them up and see if they have an at-cost sale sometime soon. If they do, you can get these tires (with full road hazard warranty) for the cost of other tires. If price is of no concern, then you will not be disappointed with the Blizzaks. But of course, it's all subjective.

Use Tirerack and discounttire to do some research on any tire. You can see reviews from other people. Take into account what car they are driving and what conditions they encounter/where they are in the country.

I would recommend buying steel wheels. On this side of the country, you can pick up 4 new steel wheels for just over $100. Considering most places charge around $60 to swap tires and wheels, you would pay off the cost of wheels in one season. Also, you won't have to wait as long for your vehicle when the wheels/tires are being changed.
 

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...I would recommend buying steel wheels. On this side of the country, you can pick up 4 new steel wheels for just over $100. Considering most places charge around $60 to swap tires and wheels, you would pay off the cost of wheels in one season. Also, you won't have to wait as long for your vehicle when the wheels/tires are being changed.
You can pick up a used set of alloy wheels from just about any late-model Subaru (except a couple models--STI and Tribeca) for around $100. I see them for sale quite frequently. Just FYI.

And yes, it totally makes sense to get separate rims. That is a no-brainer.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
thank you all!

Thank you all for the advice!
I will be in the market for a set of tires plus steel rims; I love my Subaru and plan to keep it a long time.
Just curious, if you do change the wheels yourself, do you need a torque wrench to properly torque the nuts? For a spare tire, I just hand-tighten it, but I wonder if this is proper for wheels one uses a long time...
Also, do you advise getting the wheels with TPMS sensors? I don't mind the expense, as much as the hassle of re-synching the sensors to the car each time.
 

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One thing LucaPCP, look up your local laws regarding snow tires. Some areas do not allow studded snow tires at all, while others will allow them only between certain dates.
 

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The TPMS sensor deal seems to be more of a subjective issue. This is probably where we should say "the safe thing to do is to get separate TPMS sensors for your wheels." But realistically, you will already be dumping anywhere from $500 - $1000 into new wheels/tires, that the extra ($60-ish per sensor???) jumps the price up considerably. If money is no issue to you, get the sensors. Keep in mind that not all steels and alloys that fit your model will be TPMS compatible.

Again, highly subjective, but I've never run TPMS on the vehicle's snow wheels. Just ignore the light on the dash. :)

On the torque question, DEFINITELY get a torque wrench. If you're a mechanic and have a keen sense of feel for how much 90 lbs of torque is (or whatever Subaru recommends), then you're probably ok. The problem with not using a torque wrench is twofold: 1. If you under-tighten, you could potentially have a "wheel-off" (where the wheel comes completely off the car.) Generally, when this happens, you damage the wheel and/or tire, damage the hub, sometimes the bearing, and most likely snap off studs. And 2. Over tightening the lugs - when you over-tighten, you are literally expanding the stud, causing it to weaken. Over time, this could also result in a wheel-off, but more commonly, just causes a **** of an ordeal when you get one or two lugs that won't come off (they just spin freely, but wont catch the threads.) Experienced mechanic or not, this situation sucks. Find yourself a cheap torquer if you're planning on doing this job yourself. Otherwise, if you live close to a tire shop, they will more than likely be willing to torque you down for free.

My $0.02.
 

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Not that there is anything wrong with steel wheels, but if you are buying them new and online (like from Tire Rack), you may want to compare the cost of steelies + wheel covers + shipping vs. alloys + shipping. Alloys cost more, but are lighter and cheaper to ship, and don't require wheel covers.

There is also Craigslist :-D
 

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Not that there is anything wrong with steel wheels, but if you are buying them new and online (like from Tire Rack), you may want to compare the cost of steelies + wheel covers + shipping vs. alloys + shipping. Alloys cost more, but are lighter and cheaper to ship, and don't require wheel covers.

There is also Craigslist :-D
Great suggestion on the alloy wheels. For most vehicles we stock the Momo Winter Pro alloy wheel.

These are powder coated for extra durability and are about 20% lighter than any steel wheel when comparing the same sizes.

Link: Find Momo Winter Pro custom wheels by size
 

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be sure to check other threads on the TPMS, the new ones will need to be cloned to work or you can use black electrical tape and a tire pressure gauge...
 

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I always get a dedicated set a wheels for my winter tyres, used 16" WRX wheels makes good winter wheels.

For tyres, I have always been happy with Nokian tyres
...especially since you guys in Quebec were legislated into having to have snow tires...lol...and you need them seeing as you guys get lots of snow. I too have dedicated steelies for my winters.
 

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I have a set of Momo Winters on my son's old Audi and I like them a lot. I'm researching winter wheels for my TL.....

Are the Winter Pros available in a 17 inch for an 2010 Acura TL (120 bolt circle)? Special order?

John Davies
Spokane WA USA
Unfortunately this model in 17" is not produced in the 5-120 bolt pattern and can not be custom ordered. I'll pass this fitment recommendation along to the manufacturer :29:

Here's the link with all the 17" wheel models we offer for your application.

http://www.discounttire.com/dtcs/searchWheelsByVehicleAndSize.do?bp=&yr=2010&wd=17&rw=&vid=016800&sw=false&rc=WAEINT
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Tpms bleh

Ok now I am convinced: no TPMS sensors: too much of a hassle to reprogram. Thanks to all for the advice!!
 
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