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Thread: Winter tire experiences...

  1. #1
    Captain Volvo _HighVoltage_'s Avatar
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    Winter tire experiences...

    I just put my new winter tires yesterday. Drove them over 100 miles to try them out and I have mixed feelings.

    1. Before, with my all seasons, I was experiencing a slight wheel vibration above 55mph and when braking. I got the tires rebalanced - no change. I thought that maybe my rotors are getting warped or I have ball joint issues.
    2. With my all seasons the car ran really stiff. It wasn't comfortable at all.

    Now with the winter 225/45/17's:

    1. No more steering wheel vibration. It's gone. Steering wheel doesn't shake at all no matter what I do. I guess that rules out brakes/suspension.
    2. I know winter tires are a softer compound but my God...car rides so smooth! I've never felt so comfortable in this car before. It grips really well in the cold too.

    So now onto my questions/problems:

    - From everything I've explained, does it mean that I've been running the wrong all seasons all along? Or maybe they were never balanced properly?
    - As good as the car feels and handles now, the road noise of the winter tires is terrible. I've heard they are louder than summer tires, but this is a really noticeable difference. Above 45mph it sounds like I have a diesel generator in my car. In terms of volume - I can't hear the engine when it is under 2000rpm, all I hear is road noise. Is this normal? (bear mind these are wide winter tires; and no it's not engine/gearbox related. I thought it could be wheel bearings, but then the car wouldn't feel as solid as it does now. Plus, the noise started exactly after I put the winter tires on)
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    Labcoatguy's Avatar
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    Noise is mostly down to tread pattern, so it's quite plausible. And if you had all-seasons with a load rating way higher than the actual weight of your car, it's quite possible the ride characteristics would behave as you mentioned.

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    Captain Volvo _HighVoltage_'s Avatar
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    It could be. This is the thread pattern:



    Much less sleeker than my summer tires. Weirdly, a lot of people praise these tires for being quiet for winter tires...but then again, people also praised the Conti DWS for being good in the snow, which was not my experience.

    A review mentioned that they tend to be noisier in the wet/rain. That's what I drove through today, so maybe they won't sound so bad in the dry.

    It's interesting what you said about my summers - I never knew that if their load-rating is higher, the car will handle badly. I'll have to check the specs.

    Edit: I checked. Both tires have a 91 load rating so that's not the issue then. I was also surprised to see that these winter tires only have a 99mph speed rating. Better watch out there.
    Last edited by _HighVoltage_; October 7th, 2012 at 4:27 AM.
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    Sgt. Maj. Buzzkill narf's Avatar
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    Are your all-seasons on 17" wheels as well?


    As for road noise, yup - winters are louder. I don't experience such a drastic change as you describe, but then I don't run 225s maybe those are extra-bad. Here's my tread pattern:



    As for your Q-rated speed, I didn't think those even exist in such a huge width. The slowest-rated tyres I can find in those dimensions are H-rated (210km/h)
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    Looks like that thread pattern is borrowed from 2006/2007 Gislaved Nord Frost 3 tires:

    Name:  729547405.jpg
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    I have those Gislaveds, albeit studded, on my car. They are indeed very noisy, much noisier than studded Nokians I have used.

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    Sgt. Maj. Buzzkill narf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by villej View Post
    Looks like that thread pattern is borrowed from 2006/2007 Gislaved Nord Frost 3 tires:

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    Makes a lot of sense, same parent company (Continental).
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    Captain Volvo _HighVoltage_'s Avatar
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    Thanks villej! They are indeed the same tire, I guess I'll live with the noise.

    The all seasons are the same size on the same wheels (I had them removed and mounted these ones). Same air pressure in both sets. Any other guesses as to why my steering wheel was shaking with the all seasons (all four tires are the same, equal thread left)?
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    Eye-Q's Avatar
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    Are the all-seasons tied to the rolling direction? If yes, do you know if they were mounted according to the rolling direction? They were rebalanced while they were off the vehicle I think (right?), maybe there was some rust or something else at one hub so one wheel was wobbling a little bit. The rust could have been cleaned when the tires were changed.

    One other thing: if you plan to change the tires regularly, it's much better having two sets of rims where the tires stay on over the season. Mounting and dismounting tires on rims regularly can lead to failures which aren't visible normally. Additionally, if you do regularly change tires it's much better having dedicated summer- and winter-tires, all-seasons are neither here nor there.
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    Captain Volvo _HighVoltage_'s Avatar
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    Yes, I am aware that the inner rim is degrading due to installation/removal, but I don't change them too often. I will try to look for a second set of wheels.

    I could go with dedicated summer tires, but I haven't seen any good ones. Most of the time here they are labeled as "performance tires". I am also worried about traction in the wet (it does rain sometimes in the summer).
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    Sgt. Maj. Buzzkill narf's Avatar
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    If summers didn't work in the wet, all of Germany would skate off the road during a summer thunderstorm all-seasons exist, but are a niche market.
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    Yeah, summer tires are optimized for temperature not dryness, otherwise they'd just be slicks.

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    Sgt. Maj. Buzzkill narf's Avatar
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    this is my summer tyre, plenty of grooves to displace water.

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    Quote Originally Posted by _HighVoltage_ View Post
    Thanks villej! They are indeed the same tire, I guess I'll live with the noise.

    The all seasons are the same size on the same wheels (I had them removed and mounted these ones). Same air pressure in both sets. Any other guesses as to why my steering wheel was shaking with the all seasons (all four tires are the same, equal thread left)?

    It is possible that there was some dirt or gunk on the wheels that were throwing it out of balance. Or a broken belt in one of the tires.
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    HatePersonified's Avatar
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    So you found the Conti Extremecontact DWSes to be not so good in the snow? I've had the opposite experience. This was on your lolvo, correct?

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    Captain Volvo _HighVoltage_'s Avatar
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    Yes. It may have something to do with size - I'm running 225's.
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    Ik ben niet alleen lekker met kaas! NooDle's Avatar
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    Nice timing on the thread, just fitted mine back yesterday...
    Also noticing the better ride and more noise (especially at highway speeds and up)... somehow I get a lighter steering feel but better grip at the same time... did a comparison from standing start on the same piece of road and even though it rained today I did not get the frantic ESP light flicker at all

    Another thing : how much pressure is a tyre supposed to lose lying in my garage? My front left lost 1 bar! the others were between 0 and 0.5 bar, but 1 bar seems extreme...could i have a slow puncture?

    I have to admit that due to space constraints I have to stack them on top of each other, so the bottom one has a lot more weight to carry than the ones above it....

    oh and if anyone cares i went from Conti Sport II's to Conti Wintercontact... even the summer variant of these is TONS better than my wife's Michelins... get wheelspin even in mild turns (and thats with a petrol engine that needs revs to produce some torque, my car has buckets of torque in comparison from 1.500 RPM onwards)
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    Quote Originally Posted by _HighVoltage_ View Post
    1. Before, with my all seasons, I was experiencing a slight wheel vibration above 55mph and when braking. I got the tires rebalanced - no change. I thought that maybe my rotors are getting warped or I have ball joint issues.
    It is possible that a tire started to bulge and that could cause that vibration, even if the bulge is unnoticeable with the naked eye. This is what happened to me at the end of the summer and I had experienced similar symptoms. I went to three different shops to re-balance the tire and only at the third shop I was told that there's a problem with the tire itself. I bought all 4 tires brand new in march, so I got it replaced on warranty.

    I also fitted my winter wheels a week ago because we had some cold days(+1 to +7 degree C) and with my summer tires the ESP/ASR light started flickering very easy when starting from traffic lights, during summer I never saw the ESP light on when leaving from a traffic light. On winter tires the things came back to normal but the ride feels more bumpy and the road noise increase is really noticeable in my case too. My summer tires are Dunlop SP Sport FastResponse 205/55 on 16"x7j wheels and my winters are Dunlop SP Winter Sport 3D 205/55 on 16"x6.5j wheels.

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    GRtak's Avatar
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    Winter tires are going to tend to make a bit more noise because they need wider gaps to help the tires clean themselves as you drive.
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    Sgt. Maj. Buzzkill narf's Avatar
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    the snow is supposed to stay in the zig-zag gaps, because snow-on-snow friction is greater than rubber-on-snow friction.
    The larger gaps are for funneling out slush and water.
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    And those larger gaps tend to be a bit wider than non snow tires.
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