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  1. #1
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    Snow Tires for SUVs

    What SUV snow tires do you snow area drivers like most? I'm thinking of getting a set of Blizzaks for my Tahoe as a second set to used only for winter driving in the NorCal area. I've read the Nokian tires are pretty good as well.

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    Most of the time you don't need show tires. Just get a good set of all terian tires and you'll be fine. Unless you are driving 100% on ice and snow you're wasting money.

    Tirerack.com has ratings for various conditions on all there tires. It's very helpful. I have the Michelin Defender LTX on my f250 and like it. Plus the tread life is rates at 50k miles.

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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by gundrted View Post
    Most of the time you don't need show tires. Just get a good set of all terian tires and you'll be fine. Unless you are driving 100% on ice and snow you're wasting money.

    Tirerack.com has ratings for various conditions on all there tires. It's very helpful. I have the Michelin Defender LTX on my f250 and like it. Plus the tread life is rates at 50k miles.

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    Most of the time I'm running All Season tires, these tires/wheels are for heavy snow trips.

  4. #4
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    If you are going to be driving on colder surfaces, snow and ice, nothing beats good winter tires, plus, if you have decent summer tires, you basically maximize your safety in each season. The I've had pirelli sottozeros, the nokian hakapilleta (or whatever it's called) and blizzaks. The blizzaks I have right now (LM32?) are NOT the full winter ones and the difference is pretty big, so just because it says "blizzak" doesn't mean it's all that. That aside, these are all still pretty amazing tires, able to stop a vehicle on ice, with traction that is far and above what you get in an all-season tire. These are not for driving 100% on snow and ice, they are for driving on colder surfaces where your tread compound is compromised. Below about 40 degrees most summer tires go rock hard and any kind of ice or snow is like trying to balance on marbles. All seasons extend the range down below freezing for a good bit, but true winter tires really maximize your grip on ice, snow and cold surfaces.

    The negative is in warmer temps, you'll wear them down quickly, so IMO, I'd only have them if I lived in Truckee, Tahoe, Colfax, etc. Living further down the hill where the trip up to the ski-resorts is going to be the one-off, it would be hard to justify.

    If that vehicle is only going to be used for winter trips, like 40 degrees or below, including possible snow and ice, sure. If it's going to be used for other stuff and it's going to be driven most of the time in temps well above that, naw.
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    If you are going to be driving on colder surfaces, snow and ice, nothing beats good winter tires, plus, if you have decent summer tires, you basically maximize your safety in each season. The I've had pirelli sottozeros, the nokian hakapilleta (or whatever it's called) and blizzaks. The blizzaks I have right now (LM32?) are NOT the full winter ones and the difference is pretty big, so just because it says "blizzak" doesn't mean it's all that. That aside, these are all still pretty amazing tires, able to stop a vehicle on ice, with traction that is far and above what you get in an all-season tire. These are not for driving 100% on snow and ice, they are for driving on colder surfaces where your tread compound is compromised. Below about 40 degrees most summer tires go rock hard and any kind of ice or snow is like trying to balance on marbles. All seasons extend the range down below freezing for a good bit, but true winter tires really maximize your grip on ice, snow and cold surfaces.

    The negative is in warmer temps, you'll wear them down quickly, so IMO, I'd only have them if I lived in Truckee, Tahoe, Colfax, etc. Living further down the hill where the trip up to the ski-resorts is going to be the one-off, it would be hard to justify.

    If that vehicle is only going to be used for winter trips, like 40 degrees or below, including possible snow and ice, sure. If it's going to be used for other stuff and it's going to be driven most of the time in temps well above that, naw.
    I'm going to keep a separate set of wheels/tires for Tahoe, Yosemite, and other snow trips. I can swap them out pretty easily. My main tire for the Bay Area is a low rolling resistance all weather tire.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by 5k bike 50cent legs View Post
    What SUV snow tires do you snow area drivers like most? I'm thinking of getting a set of Blizzaks for my Tahoe as a second set to used only for winter driving in the NorCal area. I've read the Nokian tires are pretty good as well.
    I have the Blizzak DM-V2 and my dad has the Nokian Hakka (8?) SUV, both on 4Runners, both about 2 years old now. Really, there doesn't seem to be much to choose between them. They are both great for getting to ski hills in the worst conditions. I have used Nokians for a while and they are always great snow tires. The Blizzaks do seem to wear faster, and they are almost as good on snow, and probably better than the Nokians on ice. So the generally cheaper price of the Blizzak is offset by the wear. It's a tossup to me.

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    You could always run all terrains and keep a set of chains in the truck for when you go into heavy snow.

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    Is your Tahoe a 4x4 or 2x4?


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    https://www.nokiantires.com/winter-t...eliitta-9-suv/

    Have an older set for my truck, great tires

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by gundrted View Post
    Is your Tahoe a 4x4 or 2x4?


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    It's a 4x4 LT with the Max Trailering package, so the gear ratio is a bit lower than standard for extra torque.

    Snow Tires for SUVs-img_0612.jpg

  11. #11
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    In the past I've had Nokian and Blizzak, currently am running the Michelin Latitude X-Ice, can't really tell any differences between the three. They are all far superior to any mud & snow for winter driving. I leave mine on all winter but I don't live in the Bay area. They will wear faster on dry roads.

  12. #12
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    michelin ltx winter

    /thread

    if you want studded, then any studded tire
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  13. #13
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    Just switched out our studded snow tires for some studless ones. Found a good deal on TireBuyer for our older Ford Escape and got the Michelin latitude ice x.

    My wife was concerned looking at them online because the studded snow tires we were replacing looked pretty burly and the ice x donít really have any big lugs and obviously no studs. But i guess studless tires have a softer compound than stud-able snow tires. I was originally going to get some studable snow tires and just run them without the studs, but read studless tires will perform better due to the softer compound.

    Our other car is a company car and they will not let me put on winter specific tires, so I have to go with all season. However, I called tiresplus and they told me to try the falken ziex ze950. I have to say I am very impressed with these tires considering they are just all season.

    So far both sets of tires grip great and have no problem getting out of our uphill, unpaved and unplowed driveway. I will be curious to see how the falkenís perform as we get deaper into winter and they wear. If you live in the bay and come up to Tahoe often, then the falkens seem like a great option as a tire to keep on all winter down in the bay without having to worry too much about wear.

    Falken video:


    Ice x tires and our driveway. Might not look like much, but with a half foot of snow and just enough of a grade, most all season tires canít make it out.
    Snow Tires for SUVs-4d92eedd-93c5-409c-8834-238ce55d4bf2.jpg

    Snow Tires for SUVs-f6065b86-93bf-4ba9-a7ec-74eee45ff912.jpg
    Get out of the gutter and onto the mountain top.

  14. #14
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    Blizzaks are like race tires for winter conditions imo. All seasons will get you buy in the pinch or you live somewhere that only sees rare/occasional ice or snow, but arenít anywhere near as safe or effective as real snow tires. Especially on ice.

  15. #15
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    If you don't mind a good tire, but not a dedicated set of snow tires. GoodYear Duratrac is the way to go.
    A set of chains for the 'just in case' moments.
    Duratrac with 4x4 and a limited slip rear diff is gonna get you through the snow pretty well. I assume those Tahoe's do not come with an open differential, especially with the tow package. If it has the G80 rear, you'll golden.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Forest Rider View Post
    If you don't mind a good tire, but not a dedicated set of snow tires. GoodYear Duratrac is the way to go.
    A set of chains for the 'just in case' moments.
    Duratrac with 4x4 and a limited slip rear diff is gonna get you through the snow pretty well. I assume those Tahoe's do not come with an open differential, especially with the tow package. If it has the G80 rear, you'll golden.
    It has a G80 locker on the rear.

  17. #17
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    Sounds like your vehicle is gonna do just fine. I have no experience with snow tires, per say. If you go that route you'll be great. Studded tires probably won't help much off road. But a good all terrain tire on your setup will do just fine -if you end up going for a daily tire instead of a dedicated snow tire.
    Once the snow is too deep, tire won't matter too much anyway. Depending on where you end up too, weather conditions play a factor. The warmer it is here in CA, the more difficult it is to get through regardless.

    I have the Cooper ATP. They are less aggressive than the BFG A/T tires. I had it in the snow for the past 2 winters and they did okay on maintained dirt roads. I could get through several inches of snow as well following tracks. But they are not as good as the Duratrac would claw through. I have an open diff Canyon. I've been in hub deep snow following tracks from others and struggled as well. It was warmer and a more damp snow. Humps in the tracks would hold me up and I couldn't "climb" over the small humps without spinning. I was by myself and didn't want to get too deep into the back roads. I Just made my way back and called it good.

    I carry chains, shovel. Couple 50# bags of gravel. Gravel is just there in case I need to break open the bag and throw it down for traction. So far I've been lucky enough to not have to use either.

    The Duratrac tire is surprisingly quiet considering the tread pattern. They do generate more noise as they wear beyond 50%. And the rain weather is junk by time you are 60% worn. With that said, my Coopers are currently 60% or so worn and they too are showing signs of poor wet weather traction. Still better than the Duratrac was for a similar amount of wear. With that said, I've had these tires now 4 years, so remembering exactly the wear on the GoodYear from 4 years ago may be a bit fuzzy.

  18. #18
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    I think you'll find a 4WD Tahoe is pretty capable in snow regardless of your tires considering its ~5500 lb curb weight, and 52/48 weight distribution. I don't drive daily where snow is expected to fall (but it does once and a while), but do travel to the mountains in New Mexico and Colorado where we do encounter snow. One of our Tahoe's has Cooper ATP's, the other BF Goodrich All Terrains. The Coopers do pretty good in snow over road surfaces. The BFG's are very good, and equally as good on snow going off road. I've never had to use full time 4WD (4H/4L) on snow covered roads with either of these tire on the Tahoe's. AWD is sufficient, and better since when driving on snow covered roads, you may encounter cleared hard road surface. Making turns in the Tahoe's with the front end locked in 4WD on unforgiving tarmac can be a strain on the front axles and CV joints. Done that a coupe of times... nasty groan while the inside tire hops and chirps trying to keep up with the outer tire. Just stick it in AWD and forget about it (it only engages one or the other front wheel as needed). Off road, different story...

    If it were me, I'd go with BFG's year 'round. Fairly quiet tire, but gain a little more hum when they wear down. Surprisingly good at disbursing water at highway speeds. I use LT versions for their stiffer sidewalls for off roading and occasional trailer hauling, and get 50k miles out of them. A close second choice would be the ATP's. Very quiet and smooth rolling for an all terrain tire, and we've easily reached 50k+ miles on them. In fact, I believe the ATP's have a 40 or 50k mile tread life warranty (non LT's). The LT version of BFG's don't have a tread life warranty, but I think the non LT's do. Both of these tires have been great daily drivers, and do just fine on the highway. I've tried a few others, including the Goodyear AT's the Tahoe's came with. For tires this size, weird tire wear is sometimes common. The ATP's and BFG's both exhibit a nice even wear, even when you forget/neglect to rotate them as recommended. Just sayin'.

    Having said all this, we do go off roading... rocky, dusty, steep, cantered, on and off trail, but never (usually) mudding unless it's in the way, so a year 'round all terrain tire fits our bill. But if I lived where snow is common and I didn't go off roading, I'd still use these tires all year since they work fine as daily drivers, and I wound't want the hassle and expense (I'd rather more mountain biking stuff!) of swapping wheels and tires just because of the weather. That's just me.
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  19. #19
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    Yeah, Duratracs do ok in the snow
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Snow Tires for SUVs-img_20180323_180611729.jpg  


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    Quote Originally Posted by drag_slick View Post
    Yeah, Duratracs do ok in the snow
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    Doing ok and safest, best choice are not the same thing. If you donít want to swap tires or have an extra set of wheels I get it. But an all-season or mud-snow rated tire isnít going to perform anywhere near as well as snow tires. Not even close due the compound differences between a true winter tire and a tire that needs to wear well in warmer conditions. Most people donít even know the difference until actually having them, myself included. Said my peace, best wishes on whatever decision you make.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by 5k bike 50cent legs View Post
    What SUV snow tires do you snow area drivers like most?
    Blizzak DM-V2, here.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheUnknownRider View Post
    Doing ok and safest, best choice are not the same thing. If you donít want to swap tires or have an extra set of wheels I get it. But an all-season or mud-snow rated tire isnít going to perform anywhere near as well as snow tires. Not even close due the compound differences between a true winter tire and a tire that needs to wear well in warmer conditions. Most people donít even know the difference until actually having them, myself included. Said my peace, best wishes on whatever decision you make.
    Good point! Some of us are looking at this from a practicality point of view based on our climate. And you're right, an all terrain tire isn't necessarily a true winter snow tire. But from a practicality stand point, a spare set of snow tires would probably dry rot between uses here.
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  24. #24
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    I found the best success with a set of Hankook Atms in a 255/80/17. The combo of a tall and narrow tire really worked well in winter conditions.

  25. #25
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    I've had these on a year, and they're a bit more winter biased than regular AT's, I've liked them a lot so far. Nothing is ever as good as a dedicated snow tire, but with 4wd, these have been fine.

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  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheUnknownRider View Post
    Doing ok and safest, best choice are not the same thing. If you donít want to swap tires or have an extra set of wheels I get it. But an all-season or mud-snow rated tire isnít going to perform anywhere near as well as snow tires. Not even close due the compound differences between a true winter tire and a tire that needs to wear well in warmer conditions. Most people donít even know the difference until actually having them, myself included. Said my peace, best wishes on whatever decision you make.
    Amen to that. In the tire industry they call all-season tires "no-season" because they are a compromised tire for all conditions and not best for any particular one. I feel like it's worth the investment to spend 10% or less on the purchase price of an average vehicle and get two sets of wheels and tires if you're living in that type of climate.

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    I have used a couple and the Blazzaks are the best so far BUT past the first season, the grips does go down since it is only the top layer that is covered with those grippy particles. They are still quite good. That said, the DuraTrac is almost as good. The KO2 is not even close, though a good AT tire otherwise.

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    Quote Originally Posted by manpurse View Post
    Amen to that. In the tire industry they call all-season tires "no-season" because they are a compromised tire for all conditions and not best for any particular one. I feel like it's worth the investment to spend 10% or less on the purchase price of an average vehicle and get two sets of wheels and tires if you're living in that type of climate.
    +1. I was on the BFG All Terrain bandwagon for years, they have a snowflake and I never really had much of a problem in the snow and ice. I got a FWD VW Wagon, got some snow tires for it, real eye opener. I'd take that wagon any day over my lifted Tacoma w/AT's, more control, way safer and much easier to get around.

  29. #29
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    Studded Cooper Discovery here in the work truck, sheet of ice? No problem.
    If you need to deal with deeper snow and ice, studded duratracs

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by gundrted View Post
    Most of the time you don't need show tires. Just get a good set of all terian tires and you'll be fine. Unless you are driving 100% on ice and snow you're wasting money.

    Tirerack.com has ratings for various conditions on all there tires. It's very helpful. I have the Michelin Defender LTX on my f250 and like it. Plus the tread life is rates at 50k miles.

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    Depends where you live, but AT are no comparison to dedicated winter tires.

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by chansen View Post
    I have the Blizzak DM-V2 and my dad has the Nokian Hakka (8?) SUV, both on 4Runners, both about 2 years old now.
    Quote Originally Posted by MSU Alum View Post
    Blizzak DM-V2, here.
    Ditto. 4xDM-V2 on dedicated wheels for winter use.

    Testing Studless Ice & Snow Winter Tires for Crossovers and SUVs

    Snow Tires for SUVs-img_1015.jpg

    Snow Tires for SUVs-img_4945.jpg

  32. #32
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    If I lived in an area that didn't allow studded tires, I'd go Blizzak.

    I found this video interesting: (2wd w/ snow tires vs 4wd non-winter tires)
    https://youtu.be/atayHQYqA3g

    Another:
    https://youtu.be/EC1E2eDt1JY

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flyer View Post
    I have used a couple and the Blazzaks are the best so far BUT past the first season, the grips does go down since it is only the top layer that is covered with those grippy particles. They are still quite good. That said, the DuraTrac is almost as good. The KO2 is not even close, though a good AT tire otherwise.
    Not sure that's right, the entire tire needs to have high silica content to flex and conform and grip. As an example, my summer tires can't be used under 20 degrees, they crack, under 40 degrees they are seriously compromised in terms of traction due to the entire tire not flexing and gripping. All-seasons are good down to colder temps, where the entire tire remains pliable, but going cold enough and once again, it will get too hard. Winter tires are for those times when you need the below freezing a lot of the time or want to maximize grip below freezing. It's not just particles on the outside of the tire, that's not how they work. They do wear out fast in the summer.
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  34. #34
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    I ended up going with the Cooper AT3 4S. Best all around tire for what I use it for. So far I'm really liking it, great on/light off road performance, amazing wet traction. Haven't used in the snow yet. Nice looking tires.

    Snow Tires for SUVs-img_1028.jpg

  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by 5k bike 50cent legs View Post
    I ended up going with the Cooper AT3 4S. Best all around tire for what I use it for. So far I'm really liking it, great on/light off road performance, amazing wet traction. Haven't used in the snow yet. Nice looking tires.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    My father runa those on his Tacoma and is quite happy with them in the snow. Better than the Cooper CS5's on his Cherokee.

    I recently went with Yokohama Geolader G015's on my GMC Terrain. I wanted to do winter tires, but my Firestone Destination AT2's were starting to crack badly (after 3 years, same as the Michelins before). So I would be buying 2 sets of tires for a vehicle we plan to only keep 2-3 more years. Anyway, I am pretty impressed with the G015's thus far, snow traction is better than I expected. Not as great as past snow tires (Firestone winterforce, Blizzaks, Dunlop ?????), nor the wifes current Cooper snow tires, but not as far off as the Firestone Destinations were.
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  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by 5k bike 50cent legs View Post
    I ended up going with the Cooper AT3 4S. Best all around tire for what I use it for. So far I'm really liking it, great on/light off road performance, amazing wet traction. Haven't used in the snow yet. Nice looking tires.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    A severe snow rated a/t tire like that is probably the best compromise option. The GY Duratracs and BFG A/T KO2 offer that as well. Other extreme snow rated tires include the GY A/T Adventure and Nitto Exo Grappler for trucks. SUVs like yours may offer more options than I have with my pickup, which requires E rated tires.

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    Not sure that's right, the entire tire needs to have high silica content to flex and conform and grip. As an example, my summer tires can't be used under 20 degrees, they crack, under 40 degrees they are seriously compromised in terms of traction due to the entire tire not flexing and gripping. All-seasons are good down to colder temps, where the entire tire remains pliable, but going cold enough and once again, it will get too hard. Winter tires are for those times when you need the below freezing a lot of the time or want to maximize grip below freezing. It's not just particles on the outside of the tire, that's not how they work. They do wear out fast in the summer.
    I can't speak to the latest Blizzaks, but the older ones (such as the original WS-15) did indeed have multiple layers with different rubber compounds. The outermost layer was extremely soft and gripped incredibly well on snow and ice, but once it was gone, then the tire behaved like a typical all-season.

    The issue in the Midwest is that winter ain't what it used to be. Today it's 11F and snowy, which would be perfect for a set of dedicated snow tires. Just three weeks ago, we were still in a long stretch of dry weather with temps in the mid-40s, and anyone who puts on some miles can kill a set of snows in short order in those conditions.

    I don't pretend to have the right answer for anyone else who operates in these conditions, but the wife's car (an AWD Ford Flex) gets a set of M&S-rated all-seasons and I run all-terrains on my vehicles (BFG A/T KO2s on the van and Michelin LTX A/T2s on my pickup). I'd be making different decisions if I lived in the mountains.

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by twodownzero View Post
    A severe snow rated a/t tire like that is probably the best compromise option. The GY Duratracs and BFG A/T KO2 offer that as well. Other extreme snow rated tires include the GY A/T Adventure and Nitto Exo Grappler for trucks. SUVs like yours may offer more options than I have with my pickup, which requires E rated tires.
    I think the best compromise for (4) 'equal' seasons are the Nokians:

    https://www.nokiantires.com/all-weat...ian-wr-g4-suv/

    They are a bit more winter-centric, certainly don't look cool and are not as good as the ones you mention in the mud and rocks, but probably a bit better in the sand, but a good overall compromise...guys seem to love em' here in Oregon for year round use....

  39. #39
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    Just adding a note to this thread for other folks looking into which snow tire to get. I've run both Bridgestone Blizzaks (WS70s) and Michelin X-Ice winter tires (Xi3 and Latitude Xi2s). The Blizzaks might be SLIGHTLY better on snow, but I would recommend the Michelin winter tires for people that aren't 100% on snow/ice all winter. Driving from the SF Bay Area to Tahoe is similar to our conditions here in the Seattle area. We very rarely get snow in the metro area, but there is snow on the ground about 5 months out of the year 40 minutes east of us.

    The Blizzaks do great on snow and ice, but have a more vague steering feel due to their soft rubber compound. The Michelins with their claim of having a 'silca-based rubber compound' that is firmer at higher temperatures (>32F) while remaining flexible at lower temperatures has a steering response that feels just like all-season tires around the 40-50F temperature range. The Blizzaks in contrast feel distinctly mushy to me in their steering response on dry or wet roads. The Blizzaks aren't much fun to drive on dry or wet roads. The Michelin feel and drive pretty much like our all-season or summer tires.

    The Michelin winter tires also have a 40,000 mile treadwear warranty while the Blizzaks do not have any treadwear warranty. I can vouch for the fact that Blizzaks wear out pretty quickly, while the Michelins last a surprisingly long time.

    This is a Tirerack.com test comparing winter tires for SUVs and Crossovers with quantitative data on handling limits on ice. (Bridgestone Blizzak DM-V2, Michelin Latitude X-Ice Xi2, and Yokohama iceGUARD iG51v): https://www.tirerack.com/tires/tests...y.jsp?ttid=205

    This is a similar Tirerack.com test comparing winter tires for cars: (Bridgestone Blizzak WS80, Dunlop Winter Maxx WM01, Michelin X-Ice Xi3, Yokohama iceGUARD iG52c )

    Also, we are also currently running the Pirelli Scorpion Winter tires because they were one of the few tires that fit my wife's car. I didn't expect that much from them but they seem pretty competent on snow as well as having nice steering response on dry and wet roads: https://www.tirerack.com/tires/tires...nter&tab=Sizes
    Dirt Merchant Bikes
    www.dirtmerchantbikes.com
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  40. #40
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    We ran xice tires on the wifes wagon and Cooper st Maxx on my land Rover this winter. We live in the mountains in co and ski every weekend. This setup worked really well. Note the Cooper's aren't snow tires but I've found them to be excellent in the snow.

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