Tire Rack Consumer Review of the Continental ExtremeWinterContact

Monday, April 21, 2014 by Tire Rack Consumer Reviews

The following post was created from content submitted via Tire Rack's consumer surveys. Information shown is the opinion of the consumer and meant to be used for comparison shopping purposes.


Continental ExtremeWinterContactReviewer's Overall Rating: 8.82

2011 Dodge Grand Caravan
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Miles driven on tires: 5,000
Location: Merlin, ON
Driving Condition: Average

Initial Review, 5,000 Miles on Tires
February 12, 2013

Went from Ontario to Florida with them on. I was worried that the tread would wear faster in the heat of the south during the two weeks. I checked the tread depth and didn't notice. Handled the I75 fine through snow, rain and wind.
I only mention wind because road to tire to steering wheel can make a difference when controlling you vehicle.
I plan on buying these same tires for my Honda Civic.

Tire Rack Consumer Review of the Michelin Latitude Tour

Monday, April 21, 2014 by Tire Rack Consumer Reviews

The following post was created from content submitted via Tire Rack's consumer surveys. Information shown is the opinion of the consumer and meant to be used for comparison shopping purposes.


Michelin Latitude TourReviewer's Overall Rating: 10

2008 Honda CRV EX-L
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Miles driven on tires: 2,500
Location: Lake Peekskill, NY
Driving Condition: Spirited

Initial Review, 2,500 Miles on Tires
February 25, 2010

Ok so here is my story...much of like the previous CR-V owners, the stock tires, whether the Dueler's or the Continentals...don't really satisfy the driver or the car. I was stuck with the Dueler's last winter, and instead decided to drive my Honda Civic in the snow. I stretched out the life of my Dueler's to about 28,500 miles. Since then, about November 2009, I've upgraded to the Michelin Latitude Tour.



I am 25 years old, with a 1 year old daughter. My wife and I share the two cars we own. I bought my CR-V in April of 2008 and by the following spring was looking to get rid of it. The tread wear wasn't really bad so I decided to wait until this winter to put a better set of tires on and see if there was a difference...



I can't put into words the improvement. I live in Putnam County, NY about an hour or so north of Manhattan. And recently we've had our fair share of bad weather as has much of the northeast. I have purposely tested these tires in as many adverse conditions as possible. I drive pretty aggressively on a daily basis so I feel confident I can give you a pretty good review of this tire. It handles, dry, wet, slippery, snow and ice, its a world of difference. No more traction light when you accelerate on wet roads...these tires grip. I can also notice a tremendous difference in the comfort of the ride. It feels like the car is brand new again and I drives better than I ever did. Although I have a heavy foot, there are plenty of times I am easy on the gas...especially when my daughter is in the car. So for those times, when I am not so quick to jump on the gas, I have noticed about 2-3 mi/gal better gas mileage.



Bottom line...The OEM tires on 2008 Honda CR-V's (I'm sure all of the one's from 07-11's) are horrible...anything will be better. If you chose to go with the Michelin Tour's, you won't be disappointed!

Tire Rack Consumer Review of the Bridgestone Dueler H/L 422 Ecopia

Friday, April 18, 2014 by Tire Rack Consumer Reviews

The following post was created from content submitted via Tire Rack's consumer surveys. Information shown is the opinion of the consumer and meant to be used for comparison shopping purposes.

Bridgestone Dueler H/L 422 Ecopia Reviewer's Overall Rating: 5.88
 
 

2014 Toyota Highlander
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Miles driven on tires: 1,000
Location: Cranston, RI
Driving Condition: Spirited
 

Initial Review, 1,000 Miles on Tires
January 30, 2014

The tire is pretty average all around. Decent handling on dry pavement and steering responsiveness and good stability cornering. Everything else is just average and uninspiring. THe snow and ice handling is below average for an all season. Plenty of slipping and the TRAC control and VSC come on regularly due to what seems like a hard compound, a tread design with no siping and smaller spacing in the tread blocks. It does not compare to the Michelin LTX I had on my older Highlander in terms of all season performance. I will likely purchase those again before next winter or maybe the Continental Cross Contact LX 20.

Tire Rack Consumer Review of the Continental ExtremeWinterContact

Friday, April 18, 2014 by Tire Rack Consumer Reviews

The following post was created from content submitted via Tire Rack's consumer surveys. Information shown is the opinion of the consumer and meant to be used for comparison shopping purposes.


Continental ExtremeWinterContactReviewer's Overall Rating: 6.6

1998 BMW M3 Sedan
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Miles driven on tires: 1,000
Location: Littleton, CO
Driving Condition: Spirited

Initial Review, 1,000 Miles on Tires
December 20, 2009

This tire is awesome in the snow. Several times in empty parking lots with packed snow I have punched it and the traction control never kicked in. The car just moved. So far we have had over 30 inches of snow here in Denver, and they have been great!



The dry traction is a bit less than desired. I drive my car spirited and these tires are just awful in the dry. On a twisty, dry road, they feel unsettled and nervous. I have had the back end step out a couple of times. Understand they are not performance tires, but they don't loss it in a controlled fashion.



For a pure snow tire, these are perfect and would highly recommend them. If you want more of a performance snow, I would not recommend these.

Tire Rack Consumer Review of the Pirelli Scorpion Ice & Snow

Friday, April 18, 2014 by Tire Rack Consumer Reviews

The following post was created from content submitted via Tire Rack's consumer surveys. Information shown is the opinion of the consumer and meant to be used for comparison shopping purposes.


Pirelli Scorpion Ice & SnowReviewer's Overall Rating: 8.25

2010 Toyota Sienna XLE
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Miles driven on tires: 7,500
Location: Laurel, MD
Driving Condition: Average

Initial Review, 7,500 Miles on Tires
March 29, 2012

Had almost no snow or ice this winter but lots of rain. As expected these tires handled the rain without issue. Superior wet weather performance.

After two mid-Atlantic winters these tires impress for their relative quiet, smoothness and overall competence on dry and wet roads. My mpg suffers only a little. I still have 12/32 tread on all 4 tires. Wear has been even, keeping the pressure at 38 to 40 psi.

Just (Mar 28, 2012) took them off for the summer. Put on a set of Continental ProContact with EcoPlus Technology on my OEM wheels.

Tire Rack Consumer Review of the Continental ExtremeWinterContact

Friday, April 18, 2014 by Tire Rack Consumer Reviews

The following post was created from content submitted via Tire Rack's consumer surveys. Information shown is the opinion of the consumer and meant to be used for comparison shopping purposes.

Continental ExtremeWinterContact Reviewer's Overall Rating: 8
 
 

2009 Mazda Mazda5
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Miles driven on tires: 4,000
Location: Alameda, CA
Driving Condition: Spirited
 

Initial Review, 4,000 Miles on Tires
April 16, 2014

Living in Germany where snow tires are required during the winter months. I am running Michelin Pilot Exalto A/S tires the rest of the year. I can compare them to each other. The Michelin tires are by far the best tires I have ever put on any of my cars for warm or wet driving. But when it is cold (40 degrees or lower) or icy, the Conti's are mind-blowing. I am 45 years old and grew up driving in snow and ice covered steep, curvy mountain roads. The Conti winter tires brake and handle astonishingly well on snow and ice. They are superior to the Michelin Pilot Exalto A/S in very cold temps on both wet and dry. They have two weak spots. First, when pushed hard in sustained turns, they fall off suddenly and dramatically, which is forgivable for winter tires that perform so well as intended. Second, at high speed in a strait line the car is very unsettled. It just won't track straight. My my oldest son eventually gets queazy.
This comes on at about 60mph and gets worse all the way to 'can't go any faster" mph. The Autobahn is smooth as freshly Zambonied ice and yet the exhausting high frequency instability is ever present. (tried rotating tires, no effect)
Bottom line:
Astonishingly good winter traction in cold dry, cold wet, snow covered and ice covered roads. If you travel at high speeds for long periods of time, maybe look at another tire.

Tire Rack Consumer Review of the Continental ExtremeContact DWS

Tuesday, April 15, 2014 by Tire Rack Consumer Reviews

The following post was created from content submitted via Tire Rack's consumer surveys. Information shown is the opinion of the consumer and meant to be used for comparison shopping purposes.

Continental ExtremeContact DWS Reviewer's Overall Rating: 8.75
 
 

2010 Acura TL SH-AWD
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Miles driven on tires: 650
Location: Newtown, PA
Driving Condition: Spirited
 

Initial Review, 650 Miles on Tires
April 08, 2014

The DWS is in a different league as the original Michelin. While the DWS is slightly noisier than the OEM Michelin, it more than makes up for it in how much better it absorbs bumps and shocks to the wheel. Also, with the Michelin's, even though the TLS is all wheel drive I could easily spin the tires while shifting in to 2nd gear and could shake them loose coming out of tight turns (upon acceleration) I could not make these Continental tires break loose under the same conditions. The Continentals are cheaper and have been a best buy for me for the TL AWD. Also, the Michelin's were horrible in snow. I actually have to use snow tires to get anywhere. While I expect these Continental's to perform better than the Michelin's in light snow, I already have a dedicated set of snow tires that have the sever snowflake rating for the heart of winter.

Winter Tires Off and Ultra High Performance All-Season Tires On?

Thursday, April 10, 2014 by Cy Chowattukunnel

It looks like spring has actually sprung! This week we'll get more than one warm day in a row. That's great for us, especially after this winter, but consistent warm weather isn't so good for your snow tires. Their specialized rubber compound will wear prematurely in warmer temperatures. So winter tires off, summer tires on, right? Not necessarily, as you may want to consider an all-season tire. Consider the following factors on whether you should get a summer or all-season tire.

Summer tires, especially on a powerful sporty car with great innate handling, allows you to push your vehicle to its limits. In order to benefit from the higher grip and crisper steering response of summer tires, you really have to love to drive and/or your vehicle is so performance oriented that it needs summer tires to handle correctly.

Are you not as intense during your daily commute? Exact attributes will vary from tire to tire, but you might be disappointed with a summer tire's higher tread noise, harsher ride, faster wear and poor grip in colder temperatures. Maybe you'd rather emphasize a quiet, more comfortable ride, with better longevity and cold weather versatility combined with enhanced emergency handling? Then consider options in the Ultra High Performance All-Season category instead of a summer tire.

I'd take a good look at the Michelin Sport A/S 3 for its superior wet and dry grip, the Continental ExtremeContact DWS for its versatility in the face of an unexpected spring or fall snowstorm and the Kumho Ecsta 4X for its combination of decent wet grip, crisp steering response and value.

Ultra High Performance All-Season Michelin Pilot Sport A/S 3
Michelin Pilot Sport
A/S 3
Ultra High Performance All-Season Continental ExtremeContact DWS
Continental ExtremeContact
DWS
Ultra High Performance All-Season Kumho Ecsta 4X
Kumho Ecsta
4X


Shop by vehicle to view all options available for your application.

Do I have to Put Run-Flat Tires on My BMW?

Thursday, April 10, 2014 by Zig Ziegler

When it comes to tires for a BMW, many aren't pleased with the harsh ride and short treadlife of the Original Equipment run-flat tires. However, many owners are unsure if they're able to make the switch to a standard tire. The answer is not as difficult as you might think.

BMWs can make the switch to non-run-flat tires, the same is true when switching to dedicated winter tires. It's important to note that in most cases, the vehicle did not come with a spare tire. If you decide to make the switch to non-run-flat tires, a road hazard would leave you stranded on the side of the road without a spare to put on the car.

A solution to this issue is to purchase the Continental ContiComfortKit. The kit is capable of comfortably sealing typical tire punctures, making it possible for you to complete the drive home, to work or to a tire repair facility. It combines a powerful, high-volume, 12-volt air compressor, integral pressure gauge and a latex liquid tire sealant packaged in a compact, lightweight unit that's easy to store in a vehicle.

Another option worth considering is buying a full-size matching spare tire and wheel. Going this route essentially creates a set of five tires that will last longer than just four. The spare should be integrated into the vehicle's tire rotation from the beginning, as this will wear out the spare tire before it becomes too old.

The choice to switch to non-run-flat tires boils down to your comfort level. If having a tire failure and being on the side of the road until roadside service arrives or changing a spare on a busy highway are things you could never cope with, then staying with run-flats is probably best for you. If you're confident changing a spare tire in only a matter of minutes or waiting for roadside service is not a big deal, then you may be someone who could easily make the switch to a non-run-flat tire.

To view available non-run-flat tire options for your BMW, shop by vehicle.

Tire Rack Consumer Review of the Continental CrossContact LX20 with EcoPlus Technology

Thursday, April 3, 2014 by Tire Rack Consumer Reviews

The following post was created from content submitted via Tire Rack's consumer surveys. Information shown is the opinion of the consumer and meant to be used for comparison shopping purposes.

Continental CrossContact LX20 with EcoPlus Technology Reviewer's Overall Rating: 9.71
 
 

1998 Lincoln Navigator
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Miles driven on tires: 1,000
Location: Shippensburg, PA
Driving Condition: Average
 

Initial Review, 1,000 Miles on Tires
March 17, 2014

It's true that these tires can suffer from being out of round. When I first had these mounted and balanced, I got the dreaded hobble. BUT I took them back to my installer and they road forced them, dismounted them, turned them on the wheel, rebalanced them, and they're about as perfect as you can get now. I saw the numbers on the balancer myself because my local shop lets me stand there and watch and talk to them since I've been going there for years as has my entire family.

As long as they hold up I'll be tickled pink. My huge SUV now knows what a straight line is, corners well, grips well, and can almost be driven like a car. These tires are also very quiet, especially for being in the Low Rolling Resistance category. I also picked up a couple highway MPGs over my old All-Terrains, which are still in the shed for winter and fun.

Tire Rack Consumer Review of the Continental ExtremeContact DWS

Thursday, April 3, 2014 by Tire Rack Consumer Reviews

The following post was created from content submitted via Tire Rack's consumer surveys. Information shown is the opinion of the consumer and meant to be used for comparison shopping purposes.

Continental ExtremeContact DWS Reviewer's Overall Rating: 9
 
 

2010 Honda Fit
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Miles driven on tires: 500
Location: Ada, MI
Driving Condition: Average
 

Initial Review, 500 Miles on Tires
April 02, 2014

This is my second set of these tires. The first set was on a Mazda Protege 5 and lasted for over 30,000 miles. These are slightly wider than the OEM tire for the Fit. They provide a much smoother and quieter ride than the OEM tires. Traction is great in dry, wet, and light snow conditions. I switch to winter tires for deep snow (this winter in Michigan they were a lifesaver)! I really like these Continental tires. The only down side to them is the limited sizes available. I'd install them on all my cars if they had sizes available. They really transform the ride of these light cars as they are so much smoother and quieter.

Tirerack's delivery and the quality of the tires delivered were impeccable.

Tire Rack Consumer Review of the Continental ExtremeContact DWS

Thursday, April 3, 2014 by Tire Rack Consumer Reviews

The following post was created from content submitted via Tire Rack's consumer surveys. Information shown is the opinion of the consumer and meant to be used for comparison shopping purposes.

Continental ExtremeContact DWS Reviewer's Overall Rating: 8.64
 
 

2006 Mini Cooper Non-Runflat Tires
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Miles driven on tires: 20,000
Location: Dearborn, MI
Driving Condition: Spirited
 

Initial Review, 20,000 Miles on Tires
March 31, 2014

This is my first experience with Conti's that I can say was outstanding! I am a very spirited driver in Michigan, in the worst winter we have had in 50 years and these tires performed wonderfully! 20K and these tires are still going strong and still handle competently. The only negatives (but very nominal negative) is they do generate just a bit of road noise, the sacrifice was comfort for handling (they don't take bumps great)but they are absolutely outstanding in the turns, on wet pavement and in the snow. For you high end tech. guys......These tires road-force wonderfully! I have installed 2 sets and every tire road forced to less than 10 lbs and balanced with minimal weights. The last set I installed (205 50 16's) only required a total of 3 ounces of wheel weights for all 4 tires and the tire with the worst road force numbers had 9 lbs of road force. These are GREAT tires! Forget about the Continentals of yester-year!

Tire Rack Consumer Review of the Continental ExtremeContact DWS

Wednesday, April 2, 2014 by Tire Rack Consumer Reviews

The following post was created from content submitted via Tire Rack's consumer surveys. Information shown is the opinion of the consumer and meant to be used for comparison shopping purposes.

Continental ExtremeContact DWS Reviewer's Overall Rating: 8.36
 
 

2008 Acura TL
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Miles driven on tires: 10,000
Location:  
Driving Condition: Average
 

Initial Review, 10,000 Miles on Tires
March 18, 2014

These are a great tire for the price and are a major upgrade from the OEM Bridgestones the car came with. These tires are smoother, quieter and more fuel efficient than my previous tires. It's been a tough snowy winter and these tires never failed to get me where I needed to go. Dry traction is good with excellent wet traction. Treadwear is even but a little to early to judge tread life. Based on my experience to date I would buy these tires again.

Tire Rack Consumer Review of the Michelin Pilot Alpin PA3

Wednesday, April 2, 2014 by Tire Rack Consumer Reviews

The following post was created from content submitted via Tire Rack's consumer surveys. Information shown is the opinion of the consumer and meant to be used for comparison shopping purposes.


Michelin Pilot Alpin PA3Reviewer's Overall Rating: 9.29

2010 BMW 335d Sedan
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Miles driven on tires: 1,500
Location: Oakville, ON
Driving Condition: Average

Initial Review, 1,500 Miles on Tires
January 19, 2011

The dry and wet weather performance of this tire is excellent at low temperatures in fact I would say the car handles better than it does on the OEM Continental Run-Flats. The tires are good in light snow and traction is excellent but when snow gets deeper, although the car never gets stuck,the tires do not feel as if they are gripping that well and you have to be careful not to brake too hard or they will slide. The tread pattern is not an aggressive winter tire patten. I have had no problems so far due to the fact I drive on roads that usually get ploughed soon after a snow fall but if I was diring in deeper snow more often I'd get something with a slightly more agressive winter tread and forego some of the really excellent dry and wet wether performance.

Tire Rack Consumer Review of the Continental ExtremeContact DWS

Tuesday, April 1, 2014 by Tire Rack Consumer Reviews

The following post was created from content submitted via Tire Rack's consumer surveys. Information shown is the opinion of the consumer and meant to be used for comparison shopping purposes.

Continental ExtremeContact DWS Reviewer's Overall Rating: 8.75
 
 

2008 Audi A4 Avant 3.2 quattro
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Miles driven on tires: 31,000
Location: Nashua, NH
Driving Condition: Spirited
 

Initial Review, 31,000 Miles on Tires
March 23, 2014

Great tire that just works. I only use them 7-8 months/year (have separate winter tires). They are responsive, secure in the wet, perform well in dry and have great longevity. Enough tread left after 31K miles that the "S" is still visible. Should easily go 50K+. Will get a set for our other car (MINI) now.

Tire Rack Consumer Review of the Continental ExtremeWinterContact

Tuesday, April 1, 2014 by Tire Rack Consumer Reviews

The following post was created from content submitted via Tire Rack's consumer surveys. Information shown is the opinion of the consumer and meant to be used for comparison shopping purposes.


Continental ExtremeWinterContactReviewer's Overall Rating: 7.91

2013 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport
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Miles driven on tires: 10,000
Location: London, ON
Driving Condition: Average

Initial Review, 10,000 Miles on Tires
March 22, 2014

We needed affordable yet excellent performing winter tires for my wifey's SUV. In Canada these tires are almost twice the price, so we drive over the boarder and have them installed by one of Tire Racks suggested garages to save serious $$$. The tires do very well in our snowy winters in Southern Ontario. The best attribute of these tires are the communication it gives you. In the situation that it is loosing it's traction it is very progressive and predictable. The most surprising aspect of this tire is it's traction on ice, it's very very good. Road noise is surprisingly minimal given it's thick block tread design. Handsome looking, aggressive tire as well. One of it's only downfalls is it's cornering ability, it was very noticeably decreased in comparison to the OEM All Seasons. This is very negative is very forgivable given that it is a winter tire and it's aspect ratio is much higher on the 17" rim versus the 20" OEM All Season tires. I would highly recommend this tire to anyone who demands a excellent performer with a value price in mind.

Tire Rack Consumer Review of the Bridgestone Blizzak WS70

Tuesday, April 1, 2014 by Tire Rack Consumer Reviews

The following post was created from content submitted via Tire Rack's consumer surveys. Information shown is the opinion of the consumer and meant to be used for comparison shopping purposes.

Bridgestone Blizzak WS70 Reviewer's Overall Rating: 7.82
 
 

2005 Mazda MAZDA6 s Sedan
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Miles driven on tires: 4,000
Location:  
Driving Condition: Spirited
 

Initial Review, 4,000 Miles on Tires
March 26, 2014

Coming from Continental ExtremeWinterContact's, the Blizzaks are more comfortable, steadier, and more predictable. My old Conti's actually had better take-off grip than the WS70's and had better dry weather grip and dynamics, but rode harsher, made the rear end squirrely, and were less predictable in breakaway events under all conditions. The Blizzaks are better in wet weather versus the Conti's and light years ahead in slushy conditions. I have not been stuck with them on during the winter of 2014, where we have received over 100" of snow. The only thing holding them back would be my car's ride height and lack of all wheel drive.

The only thing I would the WS70's to be better is in absolute grip (acceleration, brake, corning) but only if the predictability and stability were not compromised. Better to have a tire with lower limits that doesn't scare you than one with higher limits that does.

Best Tires for Subaru Outback

Monday, March 31, 2014 by Gary Stanley

If the tires on your Subaru Outback are nearing replacement, be sure to check out the Pirelli Cinturato P7 All Season Plus. While many drivers associate Pirelli with producing ultra high performance tires for exotic high-end sports cars like Ferrari and Lamborghini, they also make outstanding all-season touring tires. In fact, the Pirelli Cinturato P7 All Season Plus is currently ranked number one by our customers in the Grand Touring All-Season performance category.  

The tire's great balance of traction, handling and ride quality to go along with a 70,000-mile treadwear warranty make the Pirelli Cinturato P7 All Season Plus an ideal match for many Subaru Outback drivers.  

Take a look at what Outback owners are saying about their experience with the Pirelli Cinturato P7 All Season Plus:

"So glad I did my research with Tire Rack and compared the tires side-by-side. After a full week of research, I went with the Pirelli Cinturato P7 All Season Plus and the difference is amazing. The noise level from my previous Bridgestone Potenza is a 180. The Pirelli is hands down the best tire I've owned!" -- Tire Rack Consumer Review, 2003 Subaru Outback Wagon 

"This tire has amazed me since it was installed 10,000 miles ago. Immediately, I noticed a difference in decreased road noise and increased ride comfort over the O.E. Continental. It has been a great tire while driving in heavy rain and an equally as great tire when taking corners a little faster than you should." -- Tire Rack Consumer Review, 2011 Subaru Outback 2.5i Limited

"I bought these tires a month ago to replace tires damaged by road debris. These are by far the best tires I've had on this car, including O.E. Potenzas, Kumho Solus KH16 and two sets of General AltiMAX HPs. These Pirellis are amazing. The car is noticeably quieter and rides smoother - it's like a new car. We have had a snowy winter so far in Connecticut, so I have had many chances to test these on snow and ice. Truly impressive." -- Tire Rack Consumer Review, 2003 Subaru Outback L.L. Bean

While you're thinking about tires, check your tires' air pressure since they can lose 1 psi per month. To learn more about this important safety issue, read "Winter Air Pressure Versus Summer Air Pressure."

Choosing Between Performance Winter / Snow Tires and Studless Ice & Snow Tires

Monday, March 17, 2014 by Gary Stanley

As a moderator of several forums, I have received many questions on snow tires this winter. Recently, a customer had a question about choosing between Studless Ice & Snow tires and Performance Winter / Snow tires:

I’m getting ready to order winter tires and wheels. My concern is that here in Denver, we can have big changes in temperatures. It’s not uncommon to be able to wear short sleeves during February and March, while the ski resorts are getting pounded less than 80 miles away. Given the temperature range, are there any brands I should stay away from that get squirmy when it gets warmer? 95% of my driving is in the Denver area. I only have two clients in the foothills just west of town.

Here was my response to his question:

Most of the tires in the Studless Ice & Snow category like the Bridgestone Blizzak WS70, Continental ExtremeWinterContact and Michelin X-Ice Xi3 will have slower steering response in warmer temperatures, and thus, feel a little squirmy. Of these choices, the Michelin X-Ice Xi3 feels the least squirmy, but would still give you outstanding snow and ice traction for the times you have to drive on snow-covered roads. 

If you move to a Performance Winter / Snow tire like the Bridgestone Blizzak LM-32 or Dunlop SP Winter Sport 4D, you'll find that these tires have more responsive handling even in warmer temperatures. Unfortunately, there's a noticeable step down in snow and ice traction when compared to Studless Ice & Snow tires.

Are you trying to make a similar decision? You may want to lean towards one of the more aggressive snow tires like those listed above if one or more of the following are true :

  • Your geographical area gets heavy snowfall and/or lake-effect snow.
  • You are often driving on packed snow and ice.
  • You are willing to give up some dry grip and steering response for maximum winter traction.
  • You are a newer driver or want more confidence when driving in winter conditions. 

Choosing between these two performance categories may be difficult and is mostly a personal preference choice for the trade-off between snow traction and dry road handling. When making your decision, keep in mind what are the worst conditions you'll experience. This is the time when you will need traction the most!  You can read about my experience with winter tires by reading, "My Story on Winter Tires."

What Causes Tire Bubbles?

Wednesday, March 12, 2014 by Neal O'Neal

After this year's harsh winter, the roads are worse than ever. I've not only seen many stranded motorists parked next to potholes they've hit, but single replacement tire requests have been more frequent lately. While a bubble can be caused by a handful of scenarios, the most common is impact damage such as hitting a pothole.  

Tires are made of specialized rubber compounds reinforced by plies of fabric cords and wires. The underlying fabric cords and wires actually define the tire's shape by limiting stretching. In order to bond these dissimilar materials, the cords and wires are coated with adhesives and/or rubber before the other components are bonded to them during curing. This bond can be compromised by contamination during assembly, damage by underinflation or being overloaded and finally by blunt force trauma or impact from potholes, curbs or other road hazards. Any one of these scenarios can cause a sidewall bubble.

Typically, incomplete bonding caused by contamination during assembly will appear within the first six months of service. These types of bubbles are small in size and usually appear before the tire's strength is significantly compromised. However, since typical tires roll about 800 times every mile and the air pressure inside the tire is greater than outside, tire separations/bubbles that are unseen or ignored will continue to grow in size and further reduce strength, while generating noise and vibration. This ultimately leads to tire failure as the tire stretches under load. If a sidewall bubble appears six months after service, prolonged driving on overloaded/underinflated tires or a road hazard impact are the most likely causes. It can sometimes take weeks or even months after an impact for a separation or bubble to appear. The varieties of possible causes make it necessary to inspect the tire while mounted on the wheel, as well as dismounting it to inspect the inner liner for damage.

While taller profile tires can be damaged by more severe impacts with deeper potholes and sharper curbs, low profile tires mounted on large diameter wheels are the most susceptible to this type of damage. The driver of vehicles equipped with low profile tires should make special efforts to avoid potholes, curbs or other road hazards.

If you do experience a road hazard, be prepared with a Continental ContiComfortKit and Accutire Excursion Road Kit.