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PaleoCook
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PaleoCook
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PostTue Jan 03, 2017 10:05 am 
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I just got a new toy (2017 Subaru Forester) with AWD and a few other traction bells and whistles (XMODE, etc). That said, I know that just having an AWD car doesn't make you invincible by any means.

I'm curious what would be the best tires for hiking around Seattle? I live near Green Lake and work in South Lake Union so if anything, during the week my drive is wet. I try to hike every weekend and like to get into snow so on the weekends I have snow and ice to deal with. Obviously, changing my tires every weekend doesn't seem to make sense which leads me to all season tires? There seem to be some tires more geared towards the snow while still being all season (Goodyear Assurance® TripleTred™ All-Season for example).

Does anybody have any personal experience with this type of thing? How much am I looking at for a set of four new tires w/ installation (rough guess)? Are there situations where I'll still want to put on a set of chains (or two -- although putting on four chains sounds like a nightmare)?

Happy snowy driving everyone =).

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Jeff
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PostTue Jan 03, 2017 10:16 am 
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What roads are you looking to drive on?
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Opus
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PostTue Jan 03, 2017 10:20 am 
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I'm on my second set of TripleTreds with my '06 Outback.  They work great for pretty much everything.  Far better than the tires that come with the car.  There are few trips that I wish I had legit snowtires, but not enough to spend the money on them.  If you do a fair amount of city driving you'll also wear down your snowtires since they're softer rubber.  I also carry chains just in case but they're more to get unstuck in parking areas if needed, then come off as soon as possible.  You'll still at least need to carry chains for driving up to Paradise or other areas.
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PaleoCook
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PostTue Jan 03, 2017 10:40 am 
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At the moment I've just been going up through or around the passes to access hikes in the area. I'm planning on hiking every weekend this year and imagine I'll start to find myself venturing further out (potentially on some rather snowy or icy roads).

Part of me is wondering if I should just go for snow tires and switch them out in February or March for some all seasons. Doesn't seem worth it for this year though (2 months of tires and then switch back?)...

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Old Not Bold Hiker



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PostTue Jan 03, 2017 12:51 pm 
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My personal experience.
We have a Forester (with x-mode, or beast mode, as we call it)  and Impreza.

I did not have a good experience with Triple-tred, at least compared to Nokians.

Note that "all-season" is not a snow tire.  If it doesn't have a snowflake on the sidewall, you will be asked to chain up in the mountains by the state patrol.

When I lived in the Seattle area, I used Nokian WRG's for many years.  Usually getting about 40k miles out of them, and that is swapping them out with reasonable tread wear left.
If you put a lot of miles on your car, you need to figure out if that tire life is worth it.
They have the snow flake rating, but are a shade less grippy on ice than a dedicated snow tire.
The Nokians also claim to have very tough sidewalls, which is nice for backroading.  I never had a problem with them

Note that dedicated snow tires are generally crap on dry or wet roads, which you will see often even in the winter in the Seattle area. I always found they were good enough on snow or ice that if I drove with some caution, they were good enough, and far surpassed any All-Season tire I tried.

I am now in Bend OR.   Fairly fresh Nokian WRG's on the Impreza(our town car) get around town just fine in all conditions.  Nice and grippy.    I have somewhat worn Nokians WRG's on the Forester.  Also just fine for around town.  And this winter in Bend is starting to get the long time locals dredging back quite a few years to say they remember a tougher winter.

I have studded Nokian Hokka 8's on order.  Unfortunately won't be arriving before the storm tonight.  I said I would NEVER buy studded winter tires.  I am eating crow on that one. Lots of ice in town and snowplowing is similar to Seattle.....i.e. very little and no side roads.

The clincher is going up to the sno- parks, which is nice to do a few times a week.   I assumed the short distance would make the WRG's sufficient.  I did not count on the 2 lane road being covered with ice and cars going 60-70mph on my tail.    And yes there are lots of crashes on the road.   

I am not looking forward to swapping wheels twice a year and storing a set of wheels,  but I am looking forward to hitting the icy round abouts with studs on.  biggrin.gif   up.gif

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PaleoCook
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PostTue Jan 03, 2017 1:21 pm 
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So -- maybe something along the lines of WRGs would cut it for all seasons in Seattle it seems.

On the dedicated snow tire route, how bad are they on dry/wet roads? I like the idea of having that extra level of comfort knowing I'm driving dedicated snow tires (like the Hokka 8 for example), and would probably be okay switching them out twice a year, but would having Hokka's on during my more normal commutes be absolutely terrible? I guess I'm trying to get at, how bad is a good snow tire when there isn't snow? Is it having to seriously slow down or is it more subtle?

I'm doing my homework reading about stopping distances, etc. There are so... many... options. =). Thanks for all the advice!!

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Old Not Bold Hiker



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PostTue Jan 03, 2017 2:03 pm 
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I can only say that WRG's served me well on 4 different cars, over the course of quite a few years in the Seattle area.   And they are awesome on wet roads.

You can also get a dedicated snow tires without studs.  They might only lose you a bit of stopping power over studs in the worst icy conditions. (which seems to be a fairly common condition around here on the High Desert).
Blizzaks have been the Big Name in non-studded snow tires for a long time, but they wear down REALLY fast on dry pavement.   
Michelin Ice-something tires are supposed to wear better than the Blizzaks.
Nokian makes an R2 unstudded, or you can buy the Hakka's non-studded.

Dry pavement stopping for high quality studs is being addressed by shorter studs and better technology.   Nokian studs are backed by little "pillows" that make them easier on roads, less noisy, and I would guess stop better on dry pavement. 

I am guessing cheap studded tires would likely be bigger offenders of the dry pavement stopping issues.

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friluftsliv
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DIYSteve
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PostTue Jan 03, 2017 3:09 pm 
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Following bootup's post, ice tires (Bridgestone Blizzak, Michelin X-Ice, Nokian Hakkapaliitta) are a subset of winter (snowflake) tires. Ice tire performance (i.e., traction, braking, cornering) on ice is manifestly superior to other snowflake tires. No contest.

If I still lived W o' crest non-ice AS snowflake tires would be my choice. Now that we live E o' crest, we have ice tires on our vehicles.

Michelin X-Ice do indeed last much longer than Blizzaks and AFAICT perform the about the same on ice, i.e., outstanding. IME, Michelin X-Ice performs a bit better in dry and wet conditions, but Blizzak gen3 is a big improvement. Word is that gen3 Blizzaks wear better than gen1 and gen2. (I'll know in 3 years cuz Blizzaks will be on our new truck this Friday.)

I've also read that warm temperatures contribute to ice tire wear. That is, Blizzak, X-Ice and Hakka wear considerably faster on 50F dry roads than on 15F dry roads.
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Old Not Bold Hiker



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PostTue Jan 03, 2017 3:26 pm 
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BigSteve wrote:
If I still lived W o' crest non-ice AS snowflake tires would be my choice. Now that we live E o' crest, we have ice tires on our vehicles.

Having lived both East and West of the crest now, I would agree with this viewpoint.

Very rare that it gets up to 50degF east of the crest in winter (we are High Desert here).  But that is pretty common west of the crest and will cause even more wear on the dedicated ice tires whose compound is designed to be nice and grippy at freezing and turns to mush at higher temps.

That being said, my bro-in-law has been lazy and has been leaving blizzaks on year round in Bend on his Subie XV.   I should point out that he only puts about 5k miles on per year on that "town car" and his retirement funds are in much much much better shape than mine for replacing tires often. 

Irony here....  My special order Hakka 8's (had to be shipped in from another Discount Tires in Utah) are delayed due to weather and definitely won't be here in time to help with tonight's  storm.   I think I can safely predict that when I get them in a few days, the weather will suddenly turn warm for the rest of winter here.   haha.   Actually, they would still be handy for getting to the sno-parks which are mostly above 6000 feet elevation.(Bend is 3600 feet elevation, which I quickly realized is a bit higher than Snoqualmie pass and could explain some of the weather.)   cool.gif

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Magellan
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PostTue Jan 03, 2017 8:58 pm 
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If you want to go with a single set of tires you can purchase all seasons from Les Schwab and pay to have them siped. Maybe $15 per tire. My limited experience shows them to perform better in snow than non-siped, and also delay wear. 90k on my last pair, and they weren't done.
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Jeff
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PostTue Jan 03, 2017 10:04 pm 
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PaleoCook wrote:
At the moment I've just been going up through or around the passes to access hikes in the area. I'm planning on hiking every weekend this year and imagine I'll start to find myself venturing further out (potentially on some rather snowy or icy roads).

Part of me is wondering if I should just go for snow tires and switch them out in February or March for some all seasons. Doesn't seem worth it for this year though (2 months of tires and then switch back?)...

You'll be fine with all season tires. There is a small overlap of roads/conditions too treacherous for all seasons, but still passable with a small SUV.
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RandyHiker
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PostWed Jan 04, 2017 5:28 am 
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https://youtu.be/mfuE00qdhLA
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jinx'sboy
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PostWed Jan 04, 2017 8:17 am 
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Magellan wrote:
If you want to go with a single set of tires you can purchase all seasons from Les Schwab and pay to have them siped. Maybe $15 per tire. My limited experience shows them to perform better in snow than non-siped, and also delay wear. 90k on my last pair, and they weren't done.

Yes.  I sipped a set of 4 all season from Schwabbies, for a 4WD Tacoma, replacing a set of dedicated M&S that I had run.  I'd say they perform about 95% of what the winter tires did.
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Old Not Bold Hiker



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PostWed Jan 04, 2017 8:58 am 
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There is a lot of debate about siping tires versus tires designed with siping built in.

Slight better performance on ice/snow, but worse performance on wet/dry.  Voids your warranty. And I have also heard it can affect handling on dry as the siped blocks wobble in cornering.   Tires may wear faster.   My daughter had chunks of the siped tire actually fall off the tire.

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PaleoCook
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PostWed Jan 04, 2017 9:09 am 
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Wow, thanks for all the advice and personal experiences! I don't think I'm comfy sipping my tires, even though some people have had good experiences (sorry Mr. Sipe).

I think I'm just going to go with Nokian WRG3s for now. If I find myself east of the crest and/or starting to get into situations that I don't feel comfortable in, I'll consider a set of Blizzaks and switching them out.

Next I get to figure out how to actually buy them, lol (can you tell this is my first time doing this?). It looks like Discount Tire has the Nokian's I want here in Seattle. What should I expect to pay roughly? ~$700-800ish? I imagine from what I've read I'll expect to pay for the tires, adjustments, installation, and a warranty.... is there anything else? I'm sure there is.. Like, what happens with my current tires? Sell them? Store them? Trash them (seems like a waste)?

Thanks all smile.gif. Making a truly happy Subaru driving Seattle hiker here.

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