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06 2.5i OBW 5spd man
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Discussion Starter #1
help me not be stupid: treadwear & tire types (perf/touring/etc), four-season-winter

so I'm annoyed because on another car my Conti extreme DWS just gave me 25K miles and need replacing. And now I'm looking for all-season tires for my 06 OBW.

Shopping on tirerack, I finally notice that the tire types seem to correlate with treadwear warranties. In particular, the "high performance" and "ultra-high performance" types don't frequently have high treadwear guarantees, while the "touring" and "grand touring" types do.

This is the first time I'm buying non-snows for the OBW. My goals for this car are to drive safely and precisely and make the car last, I will continue to mount snows for the winter, I want all-seasons for the rest of the year.

My usage is 700-mile roundtrip interstate runs once a month through Jersey between NY and DE/MD, and 40-mile roundtrip commutes on state roads (55mph) most weekdays. I try to treat my cars well, decelerate before turns, coast early rather than braking, etc. I want precise handling though, I'd trade "ride comfort" for that any day - no slop.

Given that, do I "need" an (ultra) high performance tire ? Or would I actually do better to begin with, with a (grand) touring tire ? If someone can give me a thumbnail sketch of the philosophy behind the tire classes, or point me to some useful reading, I'd appreciate it.

Second question, I'm seeing mention of "four season winter tires". I currently have a set of Michelin x-ice/2 which probably need replacing after one more season. Given my need for tires for the rest of the year, is it worth looking at "four season winter tires" ? In particular, will they give me the same winter performance as dedicated winter tires, but OTOH have treadwear characteristics in the summer which will make them last ? (There's classic stories about "general purpose solutions" in all kinds of arenas that end up doing no job well...)

Thanks all!
 

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03 H6 OBW & 06 WRX Sportwagon
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17,621 Posts
you could stop by a local Discount Tire and have a conversation - then, if you want, walk away, go home and research what they said.

DT has a good reputation generally. Tell them how you drive, what your budget is and what seems to be working for people in your area/with your driving style.


everyone in DT store started out slinging tires in the shop, they promote from within and pride themselves on customer service.
 

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2016 2.5i Outback, 2002 Audi S4 Avant, 1980 CB750F Supersport, 1985 Carrera 3.2
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568 Posts
Firstly, a tire will only last as long as the maintenance you give it; 25k seems fairly low for a DWS, but alignment, older manufacturing date causing dry rot, or pressures could easily affect it's lifespan. It really depends on the statistics of the tire as well and there are some details you need to pay attention to when buying a tire:

UTQG ratings are a big factor in the difference between snow and all season/touring tires because it deals with the rubber compound. Generally the lower the number, the quicker they heat up and provide more grip but don't last as long because they use softer tire compounds. This is often why snow tires don't have UTQG ratings because they are usually very low so the tire will heat-up quicker in cold climates to provide better grip. On the contrary, a snow tire will wear very quickly if used year round because the softer compound in a warm climate will cause it to wear quicker. This is why they are recommended only for winter use. A 4-season winter tire generally has a UTQG rating that is adequate for all climates but need to be heated-up before getting the most out of them as far as traction and grip (same goes for an all season tire with a similar rating).

Apart from overall tread design which has a big factor in snow/wet performance, UTQG (as stated, rubber compound) and load/speed ratings (internal construction) are what decipher how a tire is classified as either high performance (typically higher speed rating and lower UTQG for more grip) vs a touring tire (typically lower speed ratings and higher UTQG to last longer). You can mix-match these ratings all day but it comes down to what you want out of it so paying attention to those details and picking one based on your annual mileage, highway or city driving, and climate make a big difference in how long they last. Conversely, a lower UTQG with lower speed rating can generally be more comfortable and quieter due to the softer construction. Tire selection is kind of an art and it's important to pay attention to your own driving rather than owner reviews because most people will say things like "only lasted 10k miles, rubbish" and yet they had a high UTQG rating and poor alignment on the car that wore them out quickly.

If you want the security of a snow tire then a 4-season one would be fine but pay attention to those other details and balance it to your driving habits. I quite like the DWS / TrueContact for an all season tire because the tread pattern is very good for snow performance, but keep an eye on the other ratings when making comparisons.

EDIT: obviously tread design on a snow tire will affect it's feedback and cornering stability as well. They typically squish more due to the complex tread design and don't offer a lot of feeling.
 

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06 2.5i OBW 5spd man
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58 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
you're right - I felt like my original thread had too many questions in it:
  1. what's a good 3-season tire for an 06 2.5 OBW ?
  2. what tire types give the best treadwear, vs. performance, notably given my "bad" experience with Conti extreme DWS ? that's general info, not specific to choosing a good 3-season.
  3. is there any wisdom in going to a wider tire for spring/summer/fall ? opened a separate thread
the forums are great, but they only work if posts are well organized - if a post is a big pile of multiple topics then it seems to quickly age out and BTT posts are unpopular and don't really fix the situation anyway.

I was trying to improve things by splitting the topics, in general I try to observe good netiquette by not being over-prolific with posts.
 
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