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All Season Tires - really that bad????

Discussion in 'Wheels & Tires' started by RBinDC, Aug 19, 2010.

    RBinDC guest

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    I'm getting ready to order a 335is and live in Washington DC where we get weather in the 20s and snow a few times each year (last year being an extreme exception with 40 inches twice). I really don't want to have to switch back and forth to snow tires.

    People have condemned all-season tires on this website but just how bad are the new ultra high performance all-seasons, such as the new Pirelli PZero Nero or the Michelin Pilot Sport A/S Plus, relative to a really good summer performance tire?

    I plan to move next year to the San Francisco Bay Area where a summer tire will be good year-around, but even there one can encounter cold weather and snow in the Sierras.

    Would it be sacrilege to put all-seasons on a 335is?
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    bcweir

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    I have all-season tires on mine. Not a thing wrong with all-season tires.

    I would imagine the only people who would badmouth all-season tires would be those who could afford to maintain two whole sets of tires and wheels at a time. Not everyone has that kind of space and money, and not everyone loves to swap their tires and wheels twice a year.

    I buy all-season tires for my car and I AM DONE. I don't have a second stack of tires with wheels sitting in my garage, and it doesn't require me to double my tire and wheel budget.

    But most important, buy what's right FOR you. Just because John in Maine has snow up to his chest every year doesn't mean that Peter in south New Mexico has to buy the same product.

    Are you confusing all-season tires with RUN-FLATS? Now those are the tires most of us are split on.

    As far as ultra-high performance tires are concerned, that's up to you. Personally I think buying V-rated or Z-rated tires are a waste of money UNLESS you will be tracking the car regularly or taking HPDE classes (depending on the event, some even put dedicated racing tires on a second set of wheels, depending on the rules and requirements). Generally speaking, you're not going to be anywhere near 149 mph or higher on public streets and highways anyway. Most people make do with H-rated tires (limit 119 mph) or similar tires.

    You can go to http://www.tirerack.com to compare tires and buy them online. Tirerack.com sends them to an installer of your choosing, and you are notified when they come in.
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    floydarogers

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    bcweir

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    There's a reason for "all-seasons"

    If this were true, the only place you could buy all-season tires would be in a RAIN forest.

    All season tires are what's called MIXED use tires. They offer reasonable performance in dry conditions as well as wet conditions. Instead of specializing in just type of environment, they're sort of "jack of all trades" in the tire world. Not excelling in any one area, but offering a little bit of talent in a number of environments.

    If you look at the tread of an all-season tire, you'll see different types of tread designs on the same tire.

    As a said before, if you don't have the money or the garage space to maintain two complete sets of wheels and tires (nor the time to have to swap them out twice a year), all season tires do the job for millions of fellow motorists, INCLUDING BMW owners.
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    granthr

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    Yes no seasons are that bad. They are not a performance tire, there IS a difference. However living in VA does present a problem b/c you get enough cold weather w/ snow that summer tires are not a good idea.

    So for a work around if you don't want to buy two sets. Get the car with no-seasons for now, burn the hell out of them and when you move to CA get the summers. IMHO :cool: Then the money you save on the second set you can put towards the rental SUV for you ski weekends. Just an idea.
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    Pyewacket1

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    IMO, attempting to tell someone else (who you don't actually know, nor their driving habits/skills) which type of tires to buy is like telling them which type/brand underwear to buy.

    For the most part, unless one lives in blizzard country, all season tires do just fine....But, not if one is an aggressive driver. And, for some drivers, no tires will be suitable.

    So...what type of driver are you?

    Remember, its just a set of tires, which will wear out relatively soon and be replaced with another set. My suggestion... Find a couple of reputable tire dealers in your area and ask them what they would recommend. That, at least, gets you to a starting point in your decision making process...

    And remember, few vehicles actually will go ANYWHERE in a 40" snowfall, unless they have tracks.
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    CRKrieger

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    Actually, I'd kind of like to get DOWN TO only two sets at a time. I have at least three sets of wheels waiting for some kind of summer/hi-po tires and my track/autocross tires have to live in the cellar because they're not allowed to get below 14ºF.
    A stack of tires takes up less space than a lawn mower; it can be covered as a nice handy place to set a box you don't want on the floor; and you don't need to get at it every week to cut the grass. I know spending twenty minutes twice a year swapping tires (and checking brakes and suspension at the same time) can be a terrible burden for some, but my 11-y-o daughter loved playing with the electric impact wrench when I taught her how to do it. :D Many tire and service places that you patronize offer cheap or free tire storage between swaps - and they'll do the swap in lieu of a rotation.
    In case it hasn't occurred to you, let me point something out: One drives on only one set of tires at a time. When you're on snow tires, your summer tires don't wear. When you're on summer tires, your snow tires don't wear. If each one of these sets goes 30,000 miles, you can drive 60,000 miles between them. While the initial investment may be higher, the final cost is only the extra set of wheels. So, let's look at the sense of that investment. For most BMWs, you can buy a perfectly good set of used wheels for under $500. How much is your collision deductible? Does it make sense to save that deductible by having better traction on slick surfaces? I think it does. OTOH, Grant, above, makes a compelling case for getting past living near D.C. on one tire purchase.
    See? We don't disagree on everything ... ;)
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    floydarogers

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    Perhaps a better, re-phrased statement would be: "Since most people have to deal with rain more than snow, the design of all-season tires is weighted to handle dry and wet roads more than snow."
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    Zeichen311

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    No. Tires are consumables, you can always buy different ones after you move. Sacrilege would be bending that pretty sheetmetal because you failed to tiptoe through a mid-Atlantic winter on tires that can't cope with freezing temperatures.

    If you don't want to deal with seasonal tire swaps, you want all-seasons. It's why they were invented. You'll give up a little performance but not enough to notice in most daily driving.

    The other option, if this isn't your primary vehicle, is to simply park the car in weather unsuitable for the tires. ;)
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    Steven Otto

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    Have driven on all seasons for the past 25 years. We average about 36" of snow/year. The drive home on 4-6 inches of new fallen snow goes slow due to the amount of traffic, but I've never slid off the road nor gotten stuck on a hill. Current ride has Dunlop SP 01's and I'm contemplating a set of snow tires just because the Dunlops are a pure summer tire and they sucked in the winter.
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    tiFreak

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    what about these since you don't want to spend a whole lot of money on tires and you're going to move to San Francisco soon anyway

    http://baltimore.craigslist.org/pts/1865169788.html

    don't know if 17"s will fit a 335is but you can always keep an eye on Craigslist and see if anyone else is selling their used tires
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    x888jmo

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    Wise Advice...

    IMO, attempting to tell someone else (who you don't actually know, nor their driving habits/skills) which type of tires to buy is like telling them which type/brand underwear to buy.

    I have run about all combinations over the past two decades. All-seasons are a compromise (not necessarily a bad one). Base a decision on your driving style, car's capabilities, climate and budget.

    Have an '07 328xi as a year-round daily driver. I run Continental all seasons and they have performed very well even in deep snow (Northeast Ohio winters can be brutal with the lake effect) but I give most of the credit to the x-drive. Handling is very good in the summer but I don't "push it" to the limits.

    I ran dedicated sumer and winter tires on my '02 540 (before I got the 328). I tried all-seasons one year and got stuck many times in the winter and did not like the handling in the summer. Picked up a set of wheels on e-bay for $400 which I used for the winter tires (Dunlop Graspic) with two 50 lb. tubes if sand in the trunk. Car went through the worst winters with no problems. Run Dunlop Sportmax in the summer. They stick like glue but wear quickly.

    Only you can decide what is best for your situation. There is nothing wrong with all seasons as long as you know their limitations.

    PA128i guest

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    I agree that this is a very tricky question for a lot of people. I have lived in Colorado, Pennsylvania and Tennessee with my 1 series. When I lived in PA and CO I ran two sets of tires (both run flats). It worked great. I loved the summer tires for their performance, and my snow tires on the BMW performed better than my old 4x4 pickup (light back end and NO traction control or ABS). I drove through 14+ inches of snow in Colorado in the 1er with absolutely no problems at all. Big SUVs would be stuck in a ditch long before I would be (probably due to driver error). However, this all changed when I moved back to Tennessee (where I lived for 18 years prior to buying a BMW). When I first moved back to TN i still had 2 sets of tires and 2 sets of rims. We get all sorts of weather here, from below freezing to well over 100F. I moved back in December from Colorado with my snow tires on. A week later (still in DEC) it was over 60F... Needless to say I burned through my snow tires so fast that I could not get up my driveway (1/2 mile long gravel road) in 2" of snow. Two sets of tires just do not work here because we get such warm temperatures in the winter and such huge ranges in the temp throughout the year. I quickly grew tired of 2 sets of runflat tires that would (if i was lucky) last me 15k miles. I drive my car very hard as the rural roads that lead to my house are very twisty, have no stop lights or stop signs, and very little traffic. I thought I was going to die switching to all season tires, but I have been very happy with my Continental DWS tires (non-runflat). I have not yet driven on them in cold temperatures, but so far they have been good in the dry and the wet. At first they felt really squishy to me, but after going through a few heat cycles they have firmed up a bit(or maybe i got used to them). I know they will never compare to the performance i got while running a set of tires specific to the season, but I can no longer afford to go through tires like i was previously and it is not nearly as bad as I had expected or as so called "experts" on many different message boards may claim [and by experts i don't mean the ones who actually sell and develop the tires, I mean the know-it-all types who bash anything that they do not use themselves]. I could ramble on about this for hours and if you have any questions feel free to message me privately. I know it is coming so feel free to flame all you want, but just because something may work for one person, does not mean it is going to be the right choice for someone else.
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    granthr

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    Ah we don't flame over here at BMW CCA! :D Well at least not usually. I would say your experience is valuable and agree that snows don't work in all parts of the country.
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    14th BMW

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    Couldn't have said it better...

    That's the exact reason I bought Michelin PS All Seasons for my wife's X3; there just isn't enough snow and/or cold weather in Portland OR to warrant wearing out a set of winter tires every year or two just driving in the unending rain here (the joke is, it only rains 2x a year in PDX; once from Jan thru July and the second time from Sept through Dec). If I lived in the upper Mid-West (grew up in Chicago), I'd have two sets, but here it may snow once, at most twice a year, and not that deep usually and it doesn't last very long (besides, everything...and I do mean EVERYTHING, shuts down when it snows). And when we go up to Mt Hood to go skiing, the A/Ss work just fine or we put on the mandatory chains.

    Freude am Fahren...
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    dms540i

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    I've run Nokian WRs in the winter and summer here in Massachusetts and recently went to a dedicated set of summer wheels & tires to reduce the mileage on each (and, yes, the fashion statement also factored in there somewhere). By far Nokian WRs are the best handling all season tires I have ever run in snow.
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    Deutsch Marques

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    Just keep in mind that all-season tires are a compromise. Like it was said above, they are a jack-of-all-trades and master of none. For the average driver, an all-season tire is adequate.

    My personal preference is to run a set of winter tires in the winter (~4 months of the year here in Massachusetts) and summer tires the rest of the time. Here's why: More than once, I've gotten stuck in snow with my all-seasons. And I'm not talking about a 2-foot nor'easter. In only 3-5" of snow in an un-plowed parking lot, I was stranded until a plow cleared a swath. And this was in a FWD car to boot!

    I'm an automotive enthusiast. I like to drive... "enthusiastically" within reason and speed limits, and I don't track or driver-school my cars. But I still prefer the added dry and wet weather handling of a decent summer performance tire, and the go-anywhere grip of a dedicated winter tire.

    My DD VW has the winters mounted on the stock 16" OEM wheels. Like many other enthusiasts, I've purchased a larger set of wheels for my car, and shod those with the summer performance tires. Yes... the cost of the second set of wheels is an added expense, but I was going to buy them anyway regardless of what kind of tire I put on them. Luckily for me, I'm able to garage the M3 for the winter so the only tires I ever need for it are summer performance.

    In the end, do what you can afford and what meets your needs. All-seasons work fine for typical drivers. But if you want undiluted performance, or sure-footed winter grip, seriously consider dedicated sets.

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