Snow tire question - studded or not?

Discussion in 'Gen 3 Prius Accessories and Modifications' started by yoeddy, Oct 1, 2015.

  1. yoeddy

    yoeddy New Member

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    I did search but didn't see much discussion about studded vs studless. We have always used studless snows on our cars over the last 15 years, but this will be our first winter with only FWD cars. We do live and commute in the "city", but we live in hilly Vermont. We are avid skiers and drive to ski nearly every weekend regardless of the weather (well unless there is no snow :()

    If I buy studless, my first choice would be the WS80 Blizzaks. We have a set of XIce3 from our previous Impreza and I wasn't too excited about the snow traction. I used studded last winter on my Fit and didn't like them for the highway noise and large drop in gas mileage. In the past, we have had other Blizzak and Nokian tires and were happy with them, but that was with AWD. I know how different tires corner and descend in the snow and am mainly worried about climbing steep hills with FWD.

    So, any other Prius driving ski enthusiasts - what snow tires do you use?
     
  2. ForestBeekeeper

    ForestBeekeeper Active Member

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    We live in rural Maine, a little North of Bangor. We have one road in our town, it follows the river. As fog comes off the river, it forms black ice on the pavement. It is very difficult to get traction on black ice. We use studds all winter.

    Of course once winter arrives, our road is a layer of snow/ice. We do not see pavement until spring. Our town [like most towns in Maine] does not use salt on the roads.

    I do not know if Blizzaks really give any additional advantage when crossing over lakes and rivers. I think that once you add studs on a cheap winter tire that is about the best gripping and handling you will get from any tire. Unless maybe if you went somewhere that had exposed pavement.
     
  3. David Beale

    David Beale Senior Member

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    If you expect to see ice a lot then studs. Otherwise just snows. A friend put Nokian Hakas on his Prius C and has to keep telling himself he shouldn't try to climb the ice cliffs. He says they feel that good. They come with and without studs.
     
  4. Toasty

    Toasty Junior Member

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    any tires do good on ICE?
     
  5. 348

    348 Junior Member

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    Studs are best if you have ice.
     
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  6. Redpoint5

    Redpoint5 Senior Member

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    I plan to get chains. Then again, we only get on average 2 days of significant snow each year, and the highways are plowed.
     
  7. Lucifer

    Lucifer Senior Member

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    You can get by without studs, why stop, what need is there?
    But, if you insist on stopping, studs work;)
    Two sets of wheels, just change 'em yerself
     
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  8. kinglew

    kinglew Member

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    Stud snows best for winter
     
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  9. cyclopathic

    cyclopathic Senior Member

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    TireRack did a test on winter tires, and they found studded not justified any more. Studless improved so much that they are on par. Get yourself a set of Nokians and forget about studs.
     
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  10. kinglew

    kinglew Member

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    Sorry I disagree .stud out preform stud less.
     
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  11. cyclopathic

    cyclopathic Senior Member

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    Take it to those guys.. they spent weeks testing them.
    Stud Vs Studless at Tire Rack
     
  12. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Sand Pounder

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    My (very personal) take: even if there's a advantage to studs, I wouldn't want them, for various reasons. For starters, our situation on the wet coast, they'd be totally overkill. They're also noisy, and hard on roads.
     
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  13. David Beale

    David Beale Senior Member

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    Actually you should check your local regs. regarding studded tyres. I know in B.C. they are illegal most of the year. Here in Alberta there are no regs. that I'm aware of.

    Of course, everyone knows "illegal" is just a sick bird. ;)
     
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  14. Sporin

    Sporin Prius Noob

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    Another Vermonter checking in. I've always been happy without studs, but I live on a paved road and don't ski.

    Most of the people I know that use, and swear by, studs are living on dirt roads where they are driving on snow a ice pack daily, all winter long.

    Studded tires have a distinct disadvantage on wet and dry pavement. And you are driving on wet and dry pavement a LOT all winter long.. probably more than you are driving on truly snow and ice covered roads.
     
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  15. Lucifer

    Lucifer Senior Member

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    Tire wrack, a retailer with one motive...
    Let's see, they started the "put the two new tires on the back"... Debate that the insurance companies glommed onto, putting new on the back means there are used tires going on the front, they will wear much quicker then new tires on the front, hence tire wrack sells more tires.
    Now they don't recommend studs, my guess would be studs last longer, they sell less tires, bottom line, they have an underlying motive, and the insurance industry is certainly above any scrutiny.
     
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  16. Stevevee

    Stevevee Active Member

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    They also tested the old studded tires, since that was eight years ago. The newest studdable tires are the same, studded or not. When it comes to ice or near ice, the studded tires run circles around the non studded. Case in point, the General here Tire Test Results : Winter Testing at the Arctic Circle: Studdable Winter / Snow

    The trouble with studded tires is the usual, dry roads, noise, etc... They also have many tires available today for those that get winter, but little winters, as opposed to our northern WINTERS. I've had so many different snow tires, but I remember the ones that worked. The very best ones I've had to dat are still the Blizzaks (WS series) and the General Altimax Artic. I'd give the overall edge to the Blizzaks. This is my experience through over thirty winters in Vermont, through a variety of mild to severe winters, and even blizzards and ice storms. My old schedule for decades was 100 miles/day, rain/snow, or even the occasional sunny day;)

    Now If I lived several hundred miles South, I'd have a different preference, or maybe just go with all seasons. I'd prefer to move quickly 1,500 miles South;)
     
  17. 348

    348 Junior Member

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    Not in my expierence. I've found stud less Blizzaks to be far superior in all conditions on my truck.
     
  18. Stevevee

    Stevevee Active Member

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    All very true. I lived on a "dirt" road for over eight years, and studs were an incredible help. I hated them on my car, but dirt roads always freeze up, and I needed them.

    One other point to look up is that not all studless or studded tires are created equal. It depends on how many studs a tire has, and how they're positioned. There's a much more recent article on TireRack showing that. Not to mention, Modern studded tires based on Modern snow tires are awesome. The comparison video cited studded tires based on ancient tech.

    Where you live makes an immense difference with whether you even need snow tires, or can go to a more Boutique "winter" tire, Small w intentional, or require one with some real guts.
     
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  19. JimboPalmer

    JimboPalmer Tsar of all the Rushers

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  20. Stevevee

    Stevevee Active Member

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    Good assessment. I've long chuckled at the numerical ratings and various other tests on snow tires. He mentions "Slush". Great point. In Vermont, we have sorta, kinda plowing. Meaning that even on interstate, you're likely to be driving along on a narrow track made by vehicles that preceded you. If you're tire touches the yuck outside of that track, it could be either firm or of the slushy category. Either way, you should have firm control on the wheel, and a very steady speed. The Yuck could be small, or perhaps even 3-5 inches high. With normal all-seasons, many times it's a tenuous journey. With "performance" snow tires, it can feel much the same as all seasons.

    When reaching higher elevations, and colder temps, you might not have any pavement at all. Mind you, safe speed for conditions is a given for those of us that know not to push our luck, in any vehicle. At times, you might encounter anything from six inches of untracked snow to snow with ice underneath. After all this time here, I've learned to expect anything. I've also had a large variety of tires over the years. That store pushes Cooper big time, and the winter Coopers I had were actually pretty good. The very best were the Blizzaks, followed closely by the Generals I now have. The absolute scariest I've ever had on in the winter were by many people's favorite company, Michelin. Wishing for "more grip on snow" is the understatement of the century. Then myself and another employee bought the all new Nokian winter tire, the one that claimed to be incredible on all surfaces, and very performance minded. I bought into the hype as I've owned a set of Hakas in the past, and they were very good. Not as good as the Blizzaks though. For the two of us, they were a disaster. Turning was horrible in anything other than dry, and on lightly snow-covered roads they might has well have been summer treads. In the slush they were white-knuclkle inducers.

    I've shied away from studded tires due to their wet/dry performance and noise, like many. Could have used them many times last year. My schedule is far more flexible now so I just don't need them. As I said, my last studded snows were on a dirt road. Dirt roads can be glare ice when everything else is bare/wet. I mean ice for most of the road's length, not just spotty. This was the type of road the town plow installed chains on before attempting to navigate it. They grew tired of having a front end loader pull the plows out of the ditch with.

    At any rate, he's correct. You can't quantify the winter tests as easily as they do. Nor could you do a real world test and covey with accuracy how driver's "feel" about the tires. Nor can you quantify and measure the driver.
     
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