Winter Tires = Different Vehicle

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xcmtb83
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Joined: Mon Jul 30, 2012 3:49 pm

Winter Tires = Different Vehicle

Post by xcmtb83 » Sun Dec 16, 2018 11:11 am

I have posted most of this already in an attempt to help another member in a different thread but I thought I would share my budget/practical mods with the rest of the crew here. After all, if the Vibe/Matrix crew doesn't appreciate it, no one will!

My better half was suffering awful traction in the winter months, to the point that we were considering selling the Vibe and buying another 4Runner. To make matters worse the Vibe's throttle response is so sensitive it can make gaining traction very difficult. Well we opted to try dedicated winter tires and if these weren't satisfactory we would sell the Vibe. The winter tires are a night and day difference! I realize having two sets of tires seems like alot of money but if you are the type of person that drives a lot the cost is almost a wash as both sets are going to last a long time when the duty is split between them though the year. The only real expense is the purchase of the second set of wheels. I highly recommend not swapping tires on and off of the same set of wheels each spring and fall as it gets expensive fast and can pay for the second set of wheels in one year.

The Vibe is a light vehicle, IMO far too light for the factory 205/55R16 tires for winter duty so we opted for a skinner 195/65R15 tire that offers the same overall height. For tires we went with Cooper Evolution from Discount Tire Direct. After the Black Friday promos we got a set of tires for less than $300. Keeping with the budget theme I headed off to the local self serve salvage yard for a cheap set of Prius wheels and Pontiac center caps. I slapped some paint on the wheels and machined some adapter rings to run the smaller diameter Pontiac center caps, yes, I am an OCD machinist. Long story short, she now can live with the Vibe again and hasn't complained once about traction!
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Mark
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Re: Winter Tires = Different Vehicle

Post by Mark » Sun Dec 16, 2018 5:22 pm

Agree 100% on the dedicated winter tires.

A 2000 Corolla I sold a few months ago came with a set of studded snows, Hancook's I think. So I bought a set of steel wheels from someone on CL and had them mounted. Then I stored the spare set, summer or winter, in the rafters in my garage. It was a light enough car that I could lift one side at a time with a floor jack, set a couple stands, and swap all four wheels in about 30 minutes. The Corolla was just a "spare" car, but with the snow tires that little sucker could dig it's way through some drifts. Some early and late season storms it was the only thing besides my 4x4 truck that could get out to the highway.

With two of the Vibes, my daughter's 04 and my 08, I let the tire dealer store the tires. Costs more, $15 to unmount/mount, so about $120/yr each car, to have the second set mounted but I was pretty much over climbing a ladder and getting down / putting up mounted tires twice a year. The 04 has Cooper Weather Master 2's and the 08 has Firestone Winterforce. Most days I just drive my 05 with Cooper CS3's. All of these tires are 205/60/16.
'04 Base Frosty, '08 Base Stealth, '05 Base Satellite

xcmtb83
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Re: Winter Tires = Different Vehicle

Post by xcmtb83 » Mon Dec 17, 2018 3:01 am

I really wanted the Weather Masters ST2 but they have been discontinued. I would have preferred a non-directional tire. The Evolution is the replacment for the ST2.

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tpollauf
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Re: Winter Tires = Different Vehicle

Post by tpollauf » Mon Dec 17, 2018 8:15 am

Where you located? Geographical area(s)? Just curious how much snow you see in a typical winter? Nice write up and I can relate to being OCD as I too have the resources and equipment to fabricate just about anything out of metal. I second the idea of keeping a designated set of winters on preferably steel rims. Store them safely out of the way for the few months that you'll need them.

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vibrologist
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Re: Winter Tires = Different Vehicle

Post by vibrologist » Mon Dec 17, 2018 8:43 am

xcmtb83 wrote:I really wanted the Weather Masters ST2 but they have been discontinued. I would have preferred a non-directional tire. The Evolution is the replacement for the ST2.
I bet the Evolution provides a better steering response compared tot he ST2. We have the ST 2 on one car and General Tire Altimax arctic on the other. The V-pattern of the grooves gives the Arctic excellent steering response. The block pattern of the ST 2 just can't do that. It's not bad though.
Vibrologist
'05 Vibe

"It is important to know the difference between 'accurate' and 'precise' even if you are neither!"

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xcmtb83
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Re: Winter Tires = Different Vehicle

Post by xcmtb83 » Mon Dec 17, 2018 12:10 pm

tpollauf wrote:Where you located? Geographical area(s)? Just curious how much snow you see in a typical winter? Nice write up and I can relate to being OCD as I too have the resources and equipment to fabricate just about anything out of metal. I second the idea of keeping a designated set of winters on preferably steel rims. Store them safely out of the way for the few months that you'll need them.

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We are in Northwest Iowa. According to the data from the nearest cities we are between 38" and 42" of annual snow.

xcmtb83
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Re: Winter Tires = Different Vehicle

Post by xcmtb83 » Mon Dec 17, 2018 12:30 pm

vibrologist wrote:
xcmtb83 wrote:I really wanted the Weather Masters ST2 but they have been discontinued. I would have preferred a non-directional tire. The Evolution is the replacement for the ST2.
I bet the Evolution provides a better steering response compared tot he ST2. We have the ST 2 on one car and General Tire Altimax arctic on the other. The V-pattern of the grooves gives the Arctic excellent steering response. The block pattern of the ST 2 just can't do that. It's not bad though.
You are probably right about the steering response. I couldn't find any non-directional tires in that size so it must be the way to go!

zbyers
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Re: Winter Tires = Different Vehicle

Post by zbyers » Thu Dec 20, 2018 5:02 am

I also agree dedicated winter tires are a must. Living near Erie, PA that got nearly 200 inches of snow last year, they are a night and day difference. I have Blizzaks on one car and Goodyear Ultra Grips on the other. I do not like the Ultra Grips, but got a good deal on them. I am going to try out a set of Altimax Arctics when I need to purchase a new set.
Ruby- 03 Salsa, Ray[is]AWD- 04 Salsa AWD, Simon- 03 Silver "Faux by Four"
Raven- 03 Abyss GT, Neptune- 05 AWD, Robyn- 07 Stealth Gray Metallic, Mystic- 09 AWD

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vibenvy
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Re: Winter Tires = Different Vehicle

Post by vibenvy » Sat Jan 12, 2019 4:09 pm

I couldn't agree more about having two sets of wheels and tires! We have had 16" steel winter wheels for both our 2009 GTs since the first winter we had them (2009-2010). We ran Kelly Explorer all season tires (205/55/16) up until this winter. I figured it was time for new tires since the Explorers were 9 years old. I decided I'd go with dedicated snow tires instead of just all seasons. After researching, I decided to go with Blizzak WS80s. While looking at Tire Rack, I noticed the optional sizes and ended up going with 195/60/16. I ordered them and had them installed at a local independent tire shop. We haven't had a ton of snow in Chicagoland yet this winter, but the few times I have driven in a little bit of snow, I have definitely noticed a difference. I have to really TRY to get the tires to spin!

And of course, our OEM 18" wheels are in very decent shape for being 10 years old since they have never seen snow, ice, salt, sand, etc. which is a huge bonus!
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Bookworm
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Re: Winter Tires = Different Vehicle

Post by Bookworm » Sat Jan 12, 2019 8:03 pm

I have one set of wheels. I also have a full sized spare (made from the one unwarped wheel from my first Vibe).

Never have had winter tires, even when I drove to Detroit (From Houston) in the winter to pick up my wife. I was lucky enough to beat road closures on the way up, and be between storms on the way south.

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