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Unread 10-01-2012, 12:48 PM   #1
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Default Studded Tires vs Ice Tires

Well, its that time of year again where we start to notice the temperature is dropping and it is the prime time to buy winter tires. But what do we choose? Studded tires, or ice tires? There have been countless discussions about what tire is superior. Studded tires claim to have more grip, whereas Ice tires don't wear on roads. Some have even gone as far as to suggest the cars with 4WD or AWD don't need either. Some have said studs do nothing!

So what are your thoughts?
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Unread 10-01-2012, 12:57 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KSIMP88 View Post
Well, its that time of year again where we start to notice the temperature is dropping and it is the prime time to buy winter tires. But what do we choose? Studded tires, or ice tires? There have been countless discussions about what tire is superior. Studded tires claim to have more grip, whereas Ice tires don't wear on roads....So what are your thoughts?
It depends on three things.

Thing the first: Some areas ban studded tires entirely. They do this for one main reason: Studded tires are MURDER on the roadways. In areas where ice may only form three to five days out of the year the cost of repairing the damage studded tires does is not outweighed by the benefits drivers receive on them. So they ban them outright. I believe my area does this as well, I cannot buy and have mounted studded tires at any local tire shop yet I know they're made in a 235/75R15 size.


Thing the second: Even if they aren't banned they still pose a bit of a problem. Driving studded tires on dry pavement is about as tricky as driving non-studded tires on ice. The studs pretty much preclude any hope of traction when they're not on ice. Therefore, if you only have one set of wheels you're going to be sliding all over the place during spring, summer and fall. Either that or you're going to spend a fortune having them demounted and remounted every winter. A snow-rated tire is a better choice for such a person, it will still be safe to drive on dry pavement even if it's life is mutilated.

If, however, they have a second set of rims and live somewhere where snowfall is frequent and heavy, then by all means toss studded tires on. There's no questioning their grip on ice, there's a reason WRC cars running on ice, ice racers, zambonis, and other such vehicles run studded tires over non-studded ice and snow tires.

Thing the third: How often will they truly be needed. Even if they are legal in TN, and they might be, I have no justification to spend $800 on a set of studded tires. There's been years where we get no snowfall whatsoever. When we do, it's only an inch or two, and the ice is almost always covered by a layer of powder that a good M+S or Blizzak could grab a good hold of. By the time that's gone the salt and warm temps have melted the ice entirely. Most of the time it's gone by mid-afternoon, if it persists three or four days max and the roads are good again. So there's just no reason for me to spend money on even a non-studded winter tire, as they would go bad from dry rot with barely any mileage whatsoever on them. A normal Mud and Snow is all I need due to how little I would actually need them. But if I lived where you or Mike do, then damn straight I'd have a set of studded tires mounted and ready to go, because then I'd need 'em.

Quote:
Some have even gone as far as to suggest the cars with 4WD or AWD don't need either.
These people are idiots. Here's a Range Rover stuck in six inches of snow.


If it had proper tires it would have plodded through that snow bank without a second thought. But, because it was on summer tires, it just bogged down and wouldn't move an inch.
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Unread 10-01-2012, 01:04 PM   #3
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Studded tires

Pros
- Excellent grip on ice

Cons
- Noisy
- Costs more
- Many places only allow studs to be used at certain times
- Excessive wheel spin can cause studs to fly out of tread!
- Skittery on dry or wet road, wheel spin on hard acceleration, longer stopping distance on any surface other than ice.

Personally I would use a good brand of ice radial on all 4 corners. Unless you are driving 90% of the time on ice I would not recommend studs.

Hakkapeliitta is a brand of tire that has long been associated with ice and rally racers in Finland and Sweden. I have used these tires and they are amazing.
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Unread 10-01-2012, 01:10 PM   #4
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Living in an area that gets a decent amount of snow, I've driven in my share of it. With the blazer, I never ran into a situation where my bfg A/T's couldn't get me through it and most of the time I did it in RWD as well (for the fun factor). However now that I'm in a fwd compact I'm curious how my all seasons are going to do.

As for studs, I would rather keep a set of chains for "just in case" situations to get me through some known nasty areas. If you're too worried about damaging your car from them, you shouldn't be driving in icy conditions anyway.
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Unread 10-02-2012, 01:31 AM   #5
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Doesn't matter much to me...
I drove my 240sx with a welded diff and half worn federal 535's on snow...sucked but doable.. My truck has a year old set of a/t tires but also have a fairly good set of studded tires at my mother's house.
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