Date: Mon, 10 Sep 2001 20:33:47 +0200
From: Robert Brown <>
Subject: Re: Winter vs all season tires on 900SE???

Hi, I'd better say straight off that I don't know what an "all-season tyre" is. In Sweden we have regular summer tyres (e.g. Dunlop SP 8000/9000, Michelin Pilot, Pirelli P6000 and hundreds of others of course), and winter tyres (anything with an "M+S" designation). So I might be a bit OT, considering that the comparison according to the headline should be between all-season and winter . . . More below: Nutmegger wrote: > Robert Brown says... > > > >Nice to see that most posters on this thread are advocates of real winter tyres. > > > >A few years ago we introduced legislation that made obligatory the use of winter > >tyres in winter conditions (ice, snow, or even clear roads with low temperatures). > > Where is this? > > >Two factors that I don't see mentioned in this thread are 1) how summer tyres' grip > >characteristics are affected by low temperatures, regardless of whether there is > >snow/ice or not; > > Summer tires? See above. > > > 2) The reduced grip of studded snow tyres on clear asphalt surfaces > >(compared with using them on snow). > > I don't understand this reduced grip thing about studded snow tires, I've never > noticed it in my driving. This has been dealt with in a few tests reported in local motor magazines. Much has been written surrounding the debate on whether to use studded or studless winter tyres. On bare asphalt (i.e. no frost, snow, or ice), studded tyres are said to give longer stopping distances than studless tyres, regardless of temperature. Should be noted that the stone mix used in our tarmac is much coarser than in many other countries. This is to improve the wear qualities of the road, but at the cost of grip. Studless winter tyres have nice soft flexible rubber (at least if they're less than 6-8 years old) that grip better on bare surfaces and designed to remain pliable down to many degrees below zero Celsius. Studded tyres are of course excellent on ice, but studless tyres are not too bad if you're careful. The good thing about winter tyres is that, even if grip may in some cases be slightly worse than with summer tyres, there won't be any real nasty surprises if you hit a patch of ice or snow. It's a bit like paying premiums for any kind of insurance - it's just a cost, until something unexpected happens. > > > What about all season radials in the summer during a rainstorm, right in the > beginning when the oil on the road makes it very slippery? > Many drivers never understand that. Quite right. > > > > >Many drivers up here do as follows: > > >Where there is a fair bit of driving on cleared roads, as well as snow/ice), > >studless winter tyres (much softer compound) ar often used. What's good about > >studless winter tyres is that they perform very well on clear roads, though the > >tyres wear a bit. The handling is of course sloppy as hell but it's exactly that > >characteristic that ensures that grip is broken less easily. > > I could not stand the way my Saab handled with those tires. Not only that, when > it rained I hydroplaned all over the place because they were too soft. Yeah, it's a weird feeling, feels like the back suspension has come unhooked. Surprised that you say you hydroplane on winter tyres. Most winter tyres channel water away from the contact patch very well. If I were to make it my business of driving through big puddles all the time, I'd rather do in on winter tyres. > > > The tyres also harden > >after about 4-5 years so they should be chucked in the bin after that. Studless > >tyres work less well on ice compared with studded ones, but you can corner and stop > >fairly well nonetheless. Try doing that on summer tyres . . . > > > >And there are still the occasional idiots that like to buy wide, low-profile > >*winter* tyres on alloy wheels . . . in which case, why bother? > > > >From my experience of living in Massachusetts 4 years as a kid, I'd guess that > >studless tyres is the way to go in a New England winter. > > Nope, I used studded tires on the front if the winter is going to be bad. I don't thing we're allowed to do that up here. IIRC the laws in Sweden state that all 4 tyres must be of the same category - studded, studless winter, or summer. Mainly because they reckon that your average Sven isn't so good at parrying if the back end steps out when he has studs on the front, no studs on the back .. . Losing grip at the back under braking can also cause you to swap ends - not nice. OK, rally drivers have been known to set brake bias towards the back, but that's especially to cause the back to swing 'round. Not so good for your everyday driver . . . > > > > >What say you people from that part of the world? > > > >Robert > >Gothenburg Sweden (1983 900 studded tyres, 1999 9-3 studless, 2001 Audi A4 studless) > > are in Sweden? So they passed legislation about snow tires, how is it > enforced? The police can fine you if they - during the period 1 december to 31 march - catch you using summer tyres when there is frost, ice, or snow on the roads. My guess is that using summer tyres in such conditions will also affect the possibilities of claiming on insurance, in the event of an accident, and will render you more liable to pay damages if someone else gets hurt. Maybe someone good at Swedish traffic legislation - who is reading this - can fill in here. Even if there's no ice or snow, but it's simply cold, most people opt for winter studless tyres because of the different rubber compound. Summer tyres harden below +5 deg C which reduces grip. A useful web page (in Swedish) is Search on "vinterd”ck". > > How do you like your Audi? I like it very much. Very interesting trade-offs though. I have the Avant (combi) whose baggage space is less than the Saab 9-3. Back seat legroom is worse. Engine is less powerful - I have the 1,8 Ts which gives 180 hp / 235 Nm, as compared with my wife's 1999 9-3 whose engine has 200 hp / 283 Nm. But . . . the A4's handling is very solid (it is as the 9-3 might have been if the Saab chassis had been built stiffer) and the build quality is much better (I think the 9-3 and 9-5 have suffered due to GM-initiated cost-cutting measures). I don't like the plasticky interior feel of the 9-3, but OTOH I find the Saab engine to be much more fun. My shortlist was the 9-3 Aero (not dramatically better than the regular 9-3), the 9-5 Aero (very nice solid chassis but car was too expensive), the Peugeot 406 combi (good cheap alternative with heaps of payload space), the BMW 330i (not so performant when considering the purchase price), and of course the Audi. I would have chosen the 9-3 if we hadn't had one already ;-) /Robert

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