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Discussion Starter #1
So the OEM Continentals are getting close to their wear bars, with winter coming up and the hope to venture into the sierras 2-3 times a month, I'm seriously considering a good set of winter tires (snow / ice traction).

I hope this page serves as a place for everyone to post suggestions based on tires they've used...

My 2014 Tech is equipped with 19" wheels as standard, and while I'm considering a set of smaller diameter wheels (17's? 18's?) if it would help get a better selection of aggressive all terrain / all season tires. On the other side of the coin, I'd use these OE 19's as winter beaters and get a nice looking set for the summer...

In any case, it looks like 19" winter tires are slim pickin's, these are all I found...

Anyone have first hand opinion on winter tires they've used?

Bridgestone Blizzack

Yokohama Geolander

Goodyear Ultra Grip Ice WRT

Goodyear Ultra Grip
 

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i have FWD 14 MDX. And I am also interesting in winter/snow tires. I am just wondering how much it would cost to have them mounted, (re-balanced too?) for the winter, and again unmounted when swapping back to all-season tires for the summer? Would it be cost effective to just buy better all-season tires (if any is available) than what comes from the factory or not? just want to make an economical decision here.
 

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You have a dilemma there about wheels. I have always been happy with Blizzaks and dropped down an inch with new wheels. But if you plan on using your stock wheels for snow tires, get the Blizzaks.
 

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I can't comment on any of the other tires, and I don't have any first hand knowledge of the ones that I'm going to recommend...but everyone that I know that have bought Blizzaks rave about them.
 

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It doesn't make sense to me to get snow tires for this. It's not like you'll be driving in snow much. Most of the times you go to the ski area you won't even be driving in snow since the roads will usually have been cleared. I've skied in Tahoe, Mammoth, Big Bear, Utah, etc, many times and have never used snow tires - I just carry chains and even then I only used the chains a couple of times. Even when there's snow on the road driving carefully with normal all season tires and the use of chains when really called for has been fine.

I don't know the wear characteristics of the snow tires on normal dry pavement but you should consider that as well - if they have a faster wear rate and thus could cost you even more. Posters from snow country can probably answer that.
 

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Not an expert on winter conditions in California, but based on my impression of "winter" in that area, dedicated winter tires might be overkill?
Around where the ski areas are it can actually snow a lot - a whole lot - typically over 30 feet per year, but that tends to be fairly localized in the vicinity of the ski areas and they usually do a very good job of clearing the roads for access to the ski areas.

I was skiing in Brianhead, Utah one time when it snowed an honest 3 feet overnight and for that I put chains on and used 4wd (but M&S tires - not dedicated snow tires) to get down the mountain (slowly) but that was unusual. By the bottom of the mountain it was only a few inches and on the freeway it was fairly cleared.

So, there can be lots of snow at the ski areas but the areas many of us live never snow and the clearing of the roads between us and the ski areas is good - i.e. we don't need to 'live' in the snow like people from someplace like Quebec, for example. For people living in the area of the ski areas (Lake Tahoe, etc.) it can be a different story where they could benefit from having snow tires.
 

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... i.e. we don't need to 'live' in the snow like people from someplace like Quebec, for example.
What do you mean, "live in the snow"? We don 't get that much ...

Just because my commute looks like this from early December till late March, doesn't mean we live in snow .. :)

 

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Discussion Starter #9
Here's the thing about snow tires - as I've seen it, AWD can be useless with the wrong rubber meeting the road. Even RWD equipped with snow tires would be better than AWD w/all seasons or summer tires in the wrong conditions... considering that our recent rains were heavy enough (and standing water was deep enough) there were half a dozen times the VSC light lit up in an attempt to keep grip. Tires also aid in stopping/maneuvering ability, which is far more important than acceleration concerns.

Thanks everyone for the good discussion so far - here's some replies:

...just wondering how much it would cost to have them mounted [...] swapping back to all-season tires for the summer? + cost effective to just buy better all-season tires (if any is available) than what comes from the factory or not?
Typical places charge ~15-20/tire for mount & balance, so there's that issue if you decide you need dedicated snow tires.
on the note of dedicated snow tires, I believe it's a very much personal preference. I do ~30k+ yearly, Tires that grip without worry are what I need. If you don't hit dirt roads, snow roads, heavy rain roads often, then it's more economical and practical to stick w/all-seasons.

You have a dilemma there about wheels. I have always been happy with Blizzaks and dropped down an inch with new wheels. But if you plan on using your stock wheels for snow tires, get the Blizzaks.
A few things here:
-Definitely a dilemma on wheels, I like the OE's, but don't mind making them dedicated winter beaters, come summer, it'll be time for new wheels.
-I've heard Blizzaks are where it's at, I have a feeling that's where i'm headed if;
-the overall diameter is the same as OE? I don't want to throw off any sensors, odometer etc, esp ride height. So I wouldn't want to lose any ground clearance. (what was the aspect ratio of your Blizzaks? 255/45/19?)

I can't comment on any of the other tires, and I don't have any first hand knowledge of the ones that I'm going to recommend...but everyone that I know that have bought Blizzaks rave about them.
[...]It's not like you'll be driving in snow much. Most of the times you go to the ski area you won't even be driving in snow since the roads will usually have been cleared. [...]I just carry chains and even then I only used the chains a couple of times. Even when there's snow on the road driving carefully with normal all season tires and the use of chains when really called for has been fine.

I don't know the wear characteristics of the snow tires on normal dry pavement but you should consider that as well - if they have a faster wear rate and thus could cost you even more. Posters from snow country can probably answer that.
I'm with you on this 'stang - In the 20 years I've been driving to Tahoe, I can count on one hand how many times I've used chains on my FWD cars over the years - with more weight (and probably more cargo+passengers) I figure the safety of tires that stick better (coupled with safe driving) is good confidence. Plus I plan a few drives to Utah, Co, Az etc this winter to get to better snow. I hit a few fire roads each year too, the extra grip would be welcome....
...but with that comes wear rate, which you're right, but I'll pay to play, and probably have a dry-season set of tires too (mostly for commute)... good thoughts!

Not an expert on winter conditions in California, but based on my impression of "winter" in that area, dedicated winter tires might be overkill?

You might be better off with something like Nokian WRG3's which are all-weather (NOT "all-season")
we have nothing on Canada winter that's for sure (or even east coast winters) - I do a lot of driving in varying conditions w/little prep, could be summer one day and in the snowy foothills later that evening... that said, we don't even have standing snow often enough to worry, I don't think I'd ever even have to go studded like the PNW area, but studless winter tires for grip in surprise black ice areas, or back roads are what I'm thinking...

Around where the ski areas are it can actually snow a lot - a whole lot - [..]
That's my concern for driving to CO/UT/AZ and the like this year, I figure the extra grip is worth it, if I can manage 40k from a set of winter tires, that'll work for me haha
 

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I'm was like you Tesh. I used to live in SF and drive to Tahoe a couple times per winter. Ultimately, I stuck to a better all-season in conjunction with my AWD system on my Subaru rather than utilizing winter tires because the drive from SF to about 3k feet elevation was just too fricken noisy for my liking (though the Subaru is a tin can in comparison to the MDX for noise) and bad for the tires too (figured why spend so much on winter tires when I'm using most of it up on i-80?).

If you really want to keep a set of winter wheels around, you could carry them on say... a roof basket and then drive to a shop close to the snow boundary to finally put them on, but you'll always have a set of wheels to carry around. For me that was a lot of work.

BUT, that being said, if you're going to potentially icy conditions, nothing beats winter tires! I think you got all your bases covered to make a good decision.

I do remember once though, where I hit a patch of ice and spun 180 degrees at the entrance of Squaw... it was all in slow motion and my friends in the car were like :O while I was like *shift to 1* *turn opposite* *step on gas slowly for traction* and whewph missed all the cars.
 

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I went down a in size to 245/60-18 and purchased wheels with them. That way it was free shipping, mount, and balance.
The way I use snow tires is this. When it snows or will be icy, I install on the car. Once the snow is over, I take them off. Repeat if it happens in another month, etc, etc. I don't like leaving them on for a season, since they are not as good on wet pavement, as compared to all season tires.
 

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FWIW if you go to true winter tires - in my experience Nokians are more durable than Blizzaks. I've had Hakkapeliitta 8, 9, 1, 2, 5, RSi and now R2 SUV. They're typically more $$ than Blizzaks but last way longer
 

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If you have the snow tires on an extra set of rims and if you either don't mind a little work in your driveway or paying a place to do it, you could switch back and forth between the sets of tires frequently - i.e. along with packing up the vehicle with the skis, etc., swap out the tires for the weekend, drive to the mountains, and then when you get back swap them out again before you head out on the regular weekday commute. It really doesn't take all that long to swap out the wheels - I've rotated them on the MDX a couple of times now so far when I've done the oil changes - you s/b able to swap them in less than a half hour. It's some good exercise and muscle stretching in prep for skiing to boot.

This way the extra wear of the snow tires probably won't be such a big deal since you'd use them less.
 

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So the OEM Continentals are getting close to their wear bars, with winter coming up and the hope to venture into the sierras 2-3 times a month, I'm seriously considering a good set of winter tires (snow / ice traction).

I hope this page serves as a place for everyone to post suggestions based on tires they've used...

My 2014 Tech is equipped with 19" wheels as standard, and while I'm considering a set of smaller diameter wheels (17's? 18's?) if it would help get a better selection of aggressive all terrain / all season tires. On the other side of the coin, I'd use these OE 19's as winter beaters and get a nice looking set for the summer...

In any case, it looks like 19" winter tires are slim pickin's, these are all I found...

Anyone have first hand opinion on winter tires they've used?

Bridgestone Blizzack

Yokohama Geolander

Goodyear Ultra Grip Ice WRT

Goodyear Ultra Grip
I do a lot of skiing every winter. I have only ever used the all season tires that came with the MDX. The vehicle performs awesome in the snow. SHAWD and all seasons work just fine.
 

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Winter Tires shouldn't be used above 40F.

Winter Tires help you stop much better than all-season tires. AWD just gets you going but doesn't help with stopping.

If you do the changeover, get new wheels with the tires.
 

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Agree with above, winter tires should not be driven above 40 degrees.

The benefit of winter tires is just as much about stopping and handling on cold, clear pavement as it is about traction in the snow. Besides just the different tread, the rubber compound and how it reacts to colder/hotter temperatures makes a world of difference. An all-season tire gets hard in colder temperatures which means they don't grip the road, they slide across it increasing your stopping distances and reducing handling. Softer winter tires stay soft and continue to grip better in freezing temps. But that's also why you can't drive them warmer temps because they'll become too soft and start to fall apart.

Personally, I don't think you can beat the Bridgestone Blizzaks for winter tires; that's comparing them to Michelins, Continentals, Generals and Pirellis. No, I wouldn't ever put a regular Bridgestone tire on any of my cars again, but for winter tires they're great.

I've never driven Nokian tires, but I've heard great things about them.
 

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If you have the snow tires on an extra set of rims and if you either don't mind a little work in your driveway or paying a place to do it, you could switch back and forth between the sets of tires frequently - i.e. along with packing up the vehicle with the skis, etc., swap out the tires for the weekend, drive to the mountains, and then when you get back swap them out again before you head out on the regular weekday commute. It really doesn't take all that long to swap out the wheels - I've rotated them on the MDX a couple of times now so far when I've done the oil changes - you s/b able to swap them in less than a half hour. It's some good exercise and muscle stretching in prep for skiing to boot.

This way the extra wear of the snow tires probably won't be such a big deal since you'd use them less.

Town Fair Tire here in MA, will do it for free once you buy tires from them. The same goes with lifetime balance and rotation.

You can read the details on their website Town Fair Tire | 91 Tire Stores Located in CT, MA, ME, NH, RI & VT. just navigate to the bottom of their webpage.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
[...] Ultimately, I stuck to a better all-season in conjunction with my AWD system [...] because the drive from SF to about 3k feet elevation was just too fricken noisy [...]

If you really want to keep a set of winter wheels around, you could carry them on say... a roof basket [...] For me that was a lot of work.

BUT, that being said, if you're going to potentially icy conditions, nothing beats winter tires! I think you got all your bases covered to make a good decision.

I do remember once though, where I hit a patch of ice and spun 180 degrees at the entrance of Squaw... [...]
That's a thought, better all-seasons are a thought (esp. w/the comments of winter tire use in warm climates), I'm def concerned about road noise, since I plan to use them all winter and it'll still be 20-25 days of pavement with 5-10 days of snow a month...
...maybe as set of spares swapped on the driveway... but yeah! the random patch of ice is why i'd rather be safe than sorry (and a few bucks in tires vs a car sliding out of control..well..)
I slid sideways taking the boreal offramp one year.. couldnt believe it happened... changed my driving habits forever though!

I went down a in size to 245/60-18 and purchased wheels with them. [...] I don't like leaving them on for a season, since they are not as good on wet pavement, as compared to all season tires.
ah, yeah I'll stick w/oe size for ride comfort etc, it's tempting to buy another set of wheels already and dedicate the OE's for the snow...

FWIW if you go to true winter tires - in my experience Nokians are more durable than Blizzaks. I've had Hakkapeliitta [...]
I've heard lots of good things about the Hakkas when I had my STI, didn't even consider they had them in 19's for the MDX.. I'll look them up!

If you have the snow tires on an extra set of rims and if you either don't mind a little work in your driveway [...] It's some good exercise and muscle stretching in prep for skiing to boot.

This way the extra wear of the snow tires probably won't be such a big deal since you'd use them less.
Seems to be the popular opinion - I might just have to get a second set... I have an air impact set etc (did a lot of wrenching in my day) and you're right, good lil stretch the day before hitting the slopes! haha

I do a lot of skiing every winter. I have only ever used the all season tires that came with the MDX. The vehicle performs awesome in the snow. SHAWD and all seasons work just fine.
That's impressive to know - the continentals? I heard there were two different All Seasons that came on the MDX... I've taken the MDX in the sand, dirt, some light snow the first year when the tires still had tread... I've always been impressed.

Winter Tires shouldn't be used above 40F.
[...]/QUOTE]

...did not know that - I'll have to look up some ratings and learn more about which set would be all around good for this climate but better than the Conti's anyway.

[...]
The benefit of winter tires is just as much about stopping and handling on cold, clear pavement as it is about traction in the snow. Besides just the different tread, the rubber compound and how it reacts to colder/hotter temperatures makes a world of difference. An all-season tire gets hard in colder temperatures which means they don't grip the road, they slide across it increasing your stopping distances and reducing handling. Softer winter tires stay soft and continue to grip better in freezing temps. But that's also why you can't drive them warmer temps because they'll become too soft and start to fall apart.

[...].
reposting for posterity - that's exactly why i'm looking at winter tires, I know I'm naturally a spirited driver, I'll take the extra grip if I can haha.. as for durability etc, I'll have to look it up, thanks for that advice!
 

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Every time a thread like this shows up I am surprised that no one but me ever mentions the Nokian WR-G3 SUV tires. They are better than all-season tires, with an official traction rating (mountain-snow flake logo) and great year around performance. In Oregon the passes in winter often require chains or traction tires (meaning the logo on the sidewall, not marketing BS) and these tires do the job - not just legally, but practically. Until I got my 2016 MDX I was driving a 1985 Maxima (FWD) with WR-G2s and was merrily passing SUVs going up the hill.

The WR-G3 SUV tires are available now for the 19" rims, and production of the 18" size has begun but may not be in US stores yet. Personally I bought chains for this winter, and will switch to the Nokians when the OEM tires wear down a bit.
 
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