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2018 2.5i Limited w/EyeSight
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We just recently moved up to New England, so I'd love for some pros to weight in... Does anyone have any recommendations about running a winter 'performance tire' (e.g Nokian WRG3s) vs a true winter tire (e.g. Nokian Hakkapeliitta R2) for use in the moderate winters (regular snow, but warm enough for snow to clear and melt, along with occasional warm days) up here in New England?

I only plan on using this set in the winter either way, but there are relatively few days with snow on the road overall, so I want good cold dry traction. I've seen more than a couple of complaints about poor dry traction and hydroplaning of the R2s. On the flip side, I must be able to make it to work 100% of the time, no matter the weather. Will the 'performance winter' be good enough on the few really bad days or should I just get the winter tires and worry less about the dry days?

Thanks! 0:)
 

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'03 outback limited, '01 Outback Limited, '01 Legacy L wagon, '96 Legacy Brighton wagon
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2,548 Posts
Where in New England? Northern VT is a lot different in the winter than southern Connecticut!

Oops - never mind - just saw that you were in Manchester.

Grew up in southern Maine, and spent a LOT of time up in the mountains in the winter - '60's 2wd cars with bias ply "snow" tires of those times. If you know how to drive properly in snow, even summer tires will work, as long as you aren't trying to plow through 6 inches or more.

If you are NOT thoroughly versed in winter driving, I'd probably go with the Nokian Hakkapeliitta or any other well-recommended winter tire, and use them only in the winter.
 

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Like Richard says, I will go with standard Nokian winter tire (Hakka 8 or 9) or any other good winter tire. In my opinion, performance winter tire for the Outback doesn't do more.

The question is would you like winter tire more oriented to snow or to ice?
 

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2011 Subaru Outback 2.5i Limited
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187 Posts
I'd like to ask what exactly you are hoping to achieve/solve with a) winter tires b) performance winter tires?

I've owned winter tires and probably would never buy them again. A good all season tire with deep tread should perform well in snow and icy conditions. I'd argue if your all seasons can't perform in winter it is time to replace them (mainly for tread depth) and this way you'll have good, safe tires all year round!

If you are an unskilled driver you may benefit from some more traction but also consider you'll have to store your second wheel/tire setup or pay for seasonal changes of your tires.
 

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2018 Outack Limited, with Eyesight (Canadian model) Crystal white pearl, black leather interior
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84 Posts
I just ordered Blizzak DM-V2's , very highly rated. Got them in 225-65-17 and ordered alloy wheels to go with them. I never use all seasons (3 seasons) in winter.
 

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Outbrat XT, Foz, 3.0R Limited
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I'd like to ask what exactly you are hoping to achieve/solve with a) winter tires b) performance winter tires?

I've owned winter tires and probably would never buy them again. A good all season tire with deep tread should perform well in snow and icy conditions. I'd argue if your all seasons can't perform in winter it is time to replace them (mainly for tread depth) and this way you'll have good, safe tires all year round!

If you are an unskilled driver you may benefit from some more traction but also consider you'll have to store your second wheel/tire setup or pay for seasonal changes of your tires.
Where do you live? All season tires are useless on ice. The whole purpose of winter tires is largely due to the fact that all seasons get rock hard below 32 degrees and therefore traction is extremely reduced on ice.
 

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2017 Outback 2.5i Limited, Ice Silver
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433 Posts
I too will not drive in winter on all season tires. The biggest benefit is traction on ice but they work really good in snow too.
 

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06 3.0R JDM facelift SI Drive-shift paddles. 87 Brumby EA81 (Brat) 4MT D/R
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609 Posts
I just ordered Blizzak DM-V2's , very highly rated. Got them in 225-65-17 and ordered alloy wheels to go with them. I never use all seasons (3 seasons) in winter.
Had 2 sets of Blizzards over 7 winters and found them good for ice as well as dry road performance.
 

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OBW H6 VDC, Tribeca, XT6
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I run higher end snow tires on one dedicated vehicle.

Everyone's driving conditions are different. A few lesser discussed variables:

Grades - if you have any grades you want better tires. Flat driving = easy.

Snow tires - some are better than others.

All seasons - some better than others.

Age/degradation - first year performance of a tire isn't always the same as 3rd year performance.
For instance many people have noticed Blizzacks not performing at year 3 like they did at year 1.

Do not buy used tires for snow driving.

Someone who gets off work or can flex or make choices around weather, or drives flat roads, or well maintained roads, or areas where there's so much traffic is turns to slush quickly.....there's so many variables it's hard to compare.
 

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2011 Subaru Outback 2.5i Limited
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Where do you live? All season tires are useless on ice. The whole purpose of winter tires is largely due to the fact that all seasons get rock hard below 32 degrees and therefore traction is extremely reduced on ice.
Minnesota. Just like WI we have snow, ice, snow on top of ice, black ice, sleet. I've driven a FWD sedan with no ABS/stability control for 8 years and have never spun out or been in an accident. I've gotten stuck a few times but it wasn't the tires' fault - ground clearance.

Are snow tires better? Of course. What I'm getting at is this: dollar for dollar, I'd argue a vehicle is safer with new all seasons every 3 years than having a winter and summer set and replacing every 6 years.

Like someone else said, there are tons of variables that can swing this argument in any direction and definitely make snow tires a worthy investment. Like being a less confident driver or living in a hilly area.
 

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OBW H6 VDC, Tribeca, XT6
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I'd argue a vehicle is safer with new all seasons every 3 years than having a winter and summer set and replacing every 6 years.
I'd like to see some testing/data on age related materials degradation and traction, I think it's very important just from simple correlations i've seen.
 

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2017 Outback 2.5i Limited, Ice Silver
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Any tires performance envelope will degrade over time and as they wear. But a worn (to a point) true winter tire will still out perform a new all season tire. I have driven winter tires for over 20 years and will continue to do so til they take my keys away from me. Do you “need” winter tires or AWD? Not at all. A friend at work lives way out in the boonies and drives 45 miles to work with most of the 45 miles on back roads. Only once in 20 years was she not able to get to work and that was because she could not get out of her driveway and only has owned FWD vehicles and cheap all season tires. But that said, I still choose the safety and traction that winter tires afford. YMMV.


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On the Super Mod Squad
2002 3.0 VDC Wag + 2018 2.5 Leg Ltd
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26,846 Posts
I have never been stuck in a front drive car or a 4wd / AWD anything enough I needed a tow or a tow strap.

from 1990 to now in icy mountains of upstate NY.

I have driven subaru outbacks on 35,000 mile all seasons, ...and they suck. what you get is All wheel spin, and yes you get from one place to another,...but the brand new log truck with its fresh tires is going to kill you before you can get out of its way. all seasons impact with snow and don't toss it like snows....as they age they act like racing slicks.

I have also driven with studded cooper snows in about 16" of granulated powder, at about 45mph on a 4 lane,...and did not feel like I was getting stuck ever. at the time I did get passed by like 4 snowmobiles and their 2 off road pickups following them to pick them up. (I did not mean to drive on so much snow, it just got deeper then 6" all of a sudden and stayed that way for 10 miles....plow trucks were slow in getting out and finally crawled up behind me at 20mph and 200 cars behind them, they caught up to me when I stopped to beat the ice off the wipers).

been on ice a few times that the studded tires had to save the day, as no one was going to salt / sand etc. for hours. ...when just a grocery run 20 miles out and 20 miles back with a slight 20% chance of freezing rain, ...turned into a sheet of ice in spots.

(my cooper studded tires outlast on the calendar the sticky ice tires that dry out faster and don't stick anymore
... @traildogck uses the same cooper studded type in the Denver metro).

my all seasons have seen there day, ....I have no great rush to swap them though. the VDC / AWD handles the rain just fine with them,
...and the studded snows are on waiting on a cart,...with a floor jack. (typically around thanksgiving).

these cooper weathermaster st2 are some of the last old style multidirectionals made and I put them on my H6 wagon.
most snows are one directional V treads, that can only be rotated front and back without remounting,...the coopers can be rotated in a X despite them being on their own rims ...for years. they are old school,...and noisy, but I feel I could climb a frozen water fall if the need should arise.

(I got a cheap set of V tread snows off another member used for my 2.5 sedan and I use that on nicer days in winter)

 
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Outbrat XT, Foz, 3.0R Limited
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Minnesota. Just like WI we have snow, ice, snow on top of ice, black ice, sleet. I've driven a FWD sedan with no ABS/stability control for 8 years and have never spun out or been in an accident. I've gotten stuck a few times but it wasn't the tires' fault - ground clearance.

Are snow tires better? Of course. What I'm getting at is this: dollar for dollar, I'd argue a vehicle is safer with new all seasons every 3 years than having a winter and summer set and replacing every 6 years.

Like someone else said, there are tons of variables that can swing this argument in any direction and definitely make snow tires a worthy investment. Like being a less confident driver or living in a hilly area.

Ground clearance? Riiiight. That’s what skid plates are for.

I know guys with slammed Evos and STIs and GTIs. They don’t get stuck. Ever. Why? Tires.
 

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2003 VDC
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"How much snow tire do you need?"
Get some decent used wheels and put some quality studded snows on them.
Get a cheap(ish) floor jack.
Put them on only for the worst part of the year. 30 minutes, tops, once you get the hang of it.
Store them properly.
Great investment that will last for years.
AWD is no good if you can't get any grip.
 

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2011 Subaru Outback 2.5i Limited
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Ground clearance? Riiiight. That’s what skid plates are for.

I know guys with slammed Evos and STIs and GTIs. They don’t get stuck. Ever. Why? Tires.
Skid plates increase ground clearance? I've never heard that one before.

That is great your friends make the most of their minimal ground clearance and AWD with snow tires. I'm guessing they are good drivers and know the limitations of their vehicles which is why they don't get stuck. You're talking like snow tires make these cars invincible in the winter which simply isn't true.

If your argument was true, if I had snow tires and skid plates on my pontiac grand prix it could never have been hung up in a snowbank?

I promise if any of your friends were tasked with getting their car stuck they could do it in about 10 seconds on a snowbank.
 
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