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Old Not Bold Hiker



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Old Not Bold Hiker
PostWed Jan 04, 2017 8:29 am 
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Tire Factory used to be the only source of Nokians.    I finally talked Discount Tires into special ordering them years ago(I did not like the local Tire Factory) and they were several hundred dollars cheaper than Tire Factory with the installed price.   I notice DT now carries them as a regular item, although they are so popular you may still have to special order them.   

They had one hakka 8 locally when I went in recently.  But the guy searched all their stores until he found 3 more in Utah and they bring them in at no extra cost to you.  Normally they can get them in less than a week.  ....weather willing.

Don't forget to get your alignment checked.   You can get "lifetime alignment" at Firestone for a very reasonable price.  There is some debate about how good of a job they do on the alignment. Although according to the print out I get from them, they keep it in spec.

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InFlight
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PostWed Jan 04, 2017 5:02 pm 
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Been Running Michelon LTX Mud/Snow on our Jeep Grand Cherokee for years.  I own a set of chains to be legal, but have never used them.  A decent all season tire will get you around fine in a four wheel drive.

Experience driving in the snow is more important then any specific tire.

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I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately...  ― Henry David Thoreau
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PaleoCook
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PostWed Jan 04, 2017 6:27 pm 
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The experience in snow I have, snow in the mountains is new for me though. I grew up in Chicago smile.gif.

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DIYSteve
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PostWed Jan 04, 2017 8:45 pm 
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InFlight wrote:
Michelin LTX

LTX come in different flavors, e.g. MS/S, A/T, Premier, Defender, Winter (snowflake). Which do you run? All of them are siped, Winter version moreso. I had a set of MS/S on a Highlander AWD when I lived W o' crest and they were a good winter tire. None of the LTX have the grippy ice compound of X-Ice but any of them would be a good choice for W o' crest resident.
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AlpineRose
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PostThu Jan 05, 2017 12:27 am 
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Chicago snow.  Nope, doesn't count.  Driving in Chicago snow only means you know what snow looks like.  Chicago is flat.  There is a reasonable ratio of plows to roads.  Salt and sand are applied generously.  Or at least used to be.  The snow on the north side will be the same as that on the south side, east side, west side.

It's a whole different ball game in Washington.  You are smart to research the best tire for your vehicle and planned winter driving destinations.  Think Fifty Shades of Snow, only one of them matching what you experienced in Chicago.  To paraphrase that famous line from Blood Simple (..down here, you're on your own), I've found it useful to anticipate when driving Washington roads in the winter, you're on your own.
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RandyHiker
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PostThu Jan 05, 2017 2:31 am 
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jinx'sboy wrote:
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.

Thing is about sipped tires from Les Schwab, the cost is 1/2 what big name winter tires.  The option from Les Schwab are All Terrain tires with have noticeably nobby tread and work great on dirt roads as well, but are noisier and less fuel efficient, but the rubber compound is durable in the summer.
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PaleoCook
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PostThu Jan 05, 2017 6:51 am 
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I know I'm new to this snow. The Avalanche Awareness course I took last night solidified that knowledge. That said I do believe in being super over prepared and knowing how to use your gear. So, I'm hoping that when I do get stuck on some snowy hill, even with the "right" tires and car, that I'm as prepared as can be.

I've seen those traction boards, kitty litter, etc...but also agree that no tool beats experience. I'm hoping to get that experience without learning the hard way too much, lol wink.gif.

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DIYSteve
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PostThu Jan 05, 2017 7:59 am 
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Word over here in Les Schwab country is that you can buy tires sold by Les Schwab elsewhere for less money if you shop around, although for some maybe it's worth paying more to LS for free rotation, balancing, etc. (I've heard some go as far as saying that LS is "a ripoff.") Les Schwab private label tires are made by Toyo and perhaps others. Mastercraft is Cooper's off-brand. Before I heard the word re LS, I paid LS for a set of Mastercraft Courser LTs for my old truck and had them siped. (I now know I could have gotten them cheaper elsewhere.) They had an ostensibly aggressive tread and were fine dirt road tires but only so so as snow tires and completely sucked on ice compared to Michelin LTX M/S (factory siped, AS rubber) that I had previously on the truck. YMMV.

ETA: I'm a firm believer in Consumer Reports tire reviews.
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Old Not Bold Hiker



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PostThu Jan 05, 2017 8:21 am 
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I live in the town that has the headquarters of Les Schwab and their main plant is just down the road.   So there is a lot of pressure to buy LS around here and in fact I did want to like them.

But every time I try to investigate LS tires, I hit a blank wall.   That bothers me.  There seems to be a complete blackout on reviews of their tires.  And I keep hearing that "they might be Toyos or others" which makes me wonder if they are buying from various sources.

They are known for their customer service, with the cute gimmick of running out into the parking lot to great you.  So I figured Yelp should have some good reviews of them for service at least and maybe mention product satisfaction.   I was shocked to find so many bad reviews and a lot of lack of customer satisfaction.

Maybe they are a good product, but I couldn't find anything but second hand references to their customer service and cheap prices.  It just didn't give me a warm fuzzy feeling.

Discount tires gives similar services, but you can get name brand and know what you are getting.   You do have to know what you want and stand by your decision at DT though, or they will sell you whatever is laying around the shop.    Do your homework online before going in.

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Malachai Constant
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PostThu Jan 05, 2017 8:39 am 
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I have also had good luck with Bibs LTX MS on the 4Runner including two Ottawa winters and two cross continent drive with bikes and boats on the car once in Januarry. They have wore well as compared to most snowflake tires. In Ottawa snow starts sticking some time in Dec and usually does not melt until April at the earliest. They use a lot of salt but secondary roads are often icy or snowy. Experience is more important than tyres IMO.

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DIYSteve
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PostThu Jan 05, 2017 8:56 am 
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boot up wrote:
There seems to be a complete blackout on reviews of their tires. And I keep hearing that "they might be Toyos or others" which makes me wonder if they are buying from various sources.

Yes, various sources. Some LS house brands are made by Toyo or Cooper (Mastercraft) for sure. Maybe Kumho too? I agree that LS plays hide-the-ball re who manufactures its tires and that LS seems to chill and parse reviews. (Contrast Costco and Tire Rack, which seem to enable open reviews, good and bad.)

boot up wrote:
Discount tires gives similar services, but you can get name brand and know what you are getting.

Agree. And there are regional shops, e.g., Tire Centers (Ellensburg Tire Center + 3 shops in Yakima + 1 in Tieton) that have similar pricing and great service. They work with Tire Rack so you can get anything you want.

I encourage Consumer Reports subscribers to check out CR tire reviews, specifically winter tire reviews and light truck winter tire reviews this time of year. I start with CR then back it up with broader Google-based research. I'm a tire research nerd because tires are by far the most important component in your car in terms of safety and performance.

We've been buying our tires at Costco. I have specific preferences based on my research and I usually have to order my desired tires from Costco.com and have them shipped to our local Costco for installation. Costco's road hazard warranty is nice. ETA: Costco tire service gets mixed reviews on Yelp, etc., but the bad reviews seem to be re service at some Costco localities. I am pleased with the service at Costco store #1 (4th Ave S Seattle) and Yakima (Union Gap).
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RichP
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PostFri Jan 06, 2017 9:51 am 
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+1 on the Nokian WRG's. I've been using them for 2 years on my Forester and have had a good experience. Got them at Tire Factory and they replaced one that got damaged and was still under warranty. It's the only snow/all weather tire they guarantee from what I was told.
I was never even remotely comfortable driving on ice and snow until I got these tires.
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DIYSteve
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PostFri Jan 06, 2017 6:55 pm 
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RichP wrote:
It's the only snow/all weather tire they guarantee from what I was told.

Nope. Michelin's standard warranty (workmanship, defects, etc.) covers all of its winter tires. Michelin X-Ice is the only (non-studded) ice tire with a mileage warranty (40,000 miles). Blizzak has no mileage warranty. AFAIK Nokian Hakka has no mileage warranty.
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rolsen
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PostSun Jan 08, 2017 10:18 pm 
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Using Michelin Defenders on my 2010 Outback. Before this, I owned a 2000 Impreza Outback Sport for 10 years, using Triple Treds among others. I've never been stuck on any highway passes and secondary roads and drove on many in the snow. While I've heard it's possible I've never been in a situation requiring chains on AWD vehicles. I understand Subaru recommends against them citing clearance issues - maybe someone can chime in on this. If I ever get into real trouble I plan to deflate all tires, maybe 10 psi to provide more contact on ground then fill them up down the road. So, 16 yrs of Subie use in WA and never needed chains.
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Schroder
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PostMon Jan 09, 2017 7:41 am 
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I recently replaced my stock Michelin S+M tires on my Honda Pilot with the top end Toyo tires from Les Schwab and I'm really disappointed.  I never lost traction with the old tires and now I'm all over the road if there's a little packed snow.  It was a very expensive mistake.
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