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Old 11-18-2010   #1
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Snow tire sizing problems

Well it's that time of year.... on go the snow tires!

Here's my question:

I bought a 2008 civic two winters ago. Prior to that I was driving an '03 civic sedan, and when the snow tires went on it drove like a dream (Toyo something or others, 14" rim)

When I got my new civic I got a new set of tires...

Stock is 195/65/15. My mechanic at the time installed some 205/60/15 Pirelli Winter Carving tires.

I've hated these tires from the get-go - they just don't seem to offer much traction, especially compared to how my '03 civic handled in the soft stuff.

On ice I find that the car really 'skates' around - every gust of wind sends me into a small slide. I just moved out to the mountains, so having poor confidence in my snow tires is no longer an option.

(1) - is it the new civic? (8th gen): perhaps it's just not as good in the snow/ice as the 7th generation?

(2) - is it the tires? Are Pirelli Winter Carving tires just not that good?

(3) - is it the tire size? Going to a wider tire is traditionally NOT recommended for snow tires... is this the winter to finally take my losses and just buy some 195s?

Thanks a lot!
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Old 11-18-2010   #2
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Re: Snow tire sizing problems

Its not unusual for tire shops to install tires that are one size larger than stock, probably only because they cost more, but most of the year its not necessarily a bad thing since they give better traction. In the snow however, you should run the narrowest tires possible for a couple reasons. A narrower tire has less resistance pushing through snow, and by distributing the cars weight over a smaller contact patch narrower tires provide better traction on ice. If you get new tires, go for 185s.

Tires are an example of something where its well worth it to buy the best you can afford. Pirelli Winter Carving tires, have pretty good ratings and Pirelli is a great manufacturer, but they are on the lower end of winter tires. I personally use Nokian Hakkapeliitta R winter tires, they`re expensive, but driving through snow drifts feels like driving on asphalt. At my local shops they are around $300, or online for $200 if you can someone with them in stock.
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Old 11-19-2010   #3
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Re: Snow tire sizing problems

Thanks for the info!

If I have my 205s on a set of winter rims right now, is it likely that those rims will work with 195s or 185s? Is there an easy way to find out the rim size without pulling the wheel (or tire) off?

thanks a lot!
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Old 11-19-2010   #4
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Re: Snow tire sizing problems

post you wheel size - should be stamped someplace if they are 5.5, 6, 6.5" or similar.
if you have them in steel wheels, most likely yes
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Old 11-19-2010   #5
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Re: Snow tire sizing problems

My friend put Pirelli Winter Carving on her car, so I took it for a spin today to see how they perform. They're terrible, no comparison to the Nokian tires, I'm seriously glad I don't have them.
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Old 11-19-2010   #6
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Re: Snow tire sizing problems

Haha! Glad somebody else thinks they suck!

Any thoughts on the Michelin X-ice Xi2? They seem to get similar reviews to the Nokians and are about half the price.
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Old 11-19-2010   #7
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Re: Snow tire sizing problems

Most of the reviews I've heard on the the Michelin X-ice Xi2 are good, but not great, I think I read a couple complaints about traction on ice. If I hadn't bought the Nokians, I would have gone with the Hankook W409 Winter i*Pike, much less and a better rating than the X-ice.

On 1010tires.com
X-ice Xi2:149.99
Hakkapeliitta R:174.99
Hankook W409 Winter i*Pike: 119.99
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