need advice on snow tires

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    My wife just got an '02 525 wagon. I assume she'll need snow tires for the ~5 times that we get enough snow to make side streets slippery.
My question is, does she need 4 snow tires, or would 2 on the rear wheels be sufficient?
    Also, any recommendation for a brand of tires for occaisonal snow, but mostly dry-road conditions?
Tia,
Mike
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"Mike Klein" wrote

The car's handling will be more predictable having all 4 tires the same. As it is, winter driving can be tricky. Do you really want the additional 'excitement' of having the front of the car behave much differently from the back?

Nokian WR. Dunlop M3.
Cheers,
Pete
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Plus your wife will need the front traction to both steer and stop! Definitely get 4 winter tires, preferably mounted on cheaper wheels to both save your good wheels and to make the twice a year changeover that much easier.

I just mounted the Dunlop M3 (V rated) tires on my 328i - very good handling in both dry and wet conditions (no snow yet!), although they are a bit noisy above 50 mph on certain road surfaces. You might check out www.tirerack.com for a great deal of helpful info.
Tom
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You need four. It's nice to be able to stop as well as start :-)

Goodyear ultragrip if you don't see heavy snow all the time. They're also great in heavy rain and don't screw up the dry road handling too much. I've tried a few brands and like these the most.
For really heavy duty snow use I'm told Bridgestone Blizzaks are best, but I'm also told they handle badly in normal conditions.
--
Who needs a life when you've got Unix? :-)
Email: snipped-for-privacy@unixnerd.demon.co.uk, John G.Burns B.Eng, Bonny Scotland
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John Burns wrote:

I have Blizzaks on a FWD car (SAAB) and they do not seem too bad in the dry. I have Michelin Arctic Alpins on my 325i and those work well in the slop and handle well in the dry too, but would be overkill for only 4-5 times snowfall a year. I also just put Michelin X-Ice on a different SAAB and those seem as good as the Alpins.
--
-Fred W

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Mike Klein wrote:

All 4 - and it's good if they are on dedicated wheels.. I'm running 17" stock wheels in the summer with 245/40/17's on them (Dunlops) and 15" wheels and snows in the winter (forget the exact size, but probably 225/60/15's) - the narrower higher tire is better in the snow - less of a wedge is created in front of it in loose snow.
If you go to someplace like www.tirerack.com - you'll get some recommendations. My 525i with 4 snows will outperform SUV's with "all-season" tires in most any condition.
I have had good luck in the past with Pirelli P210 "SportSnow" and am currently running Yokohama's.
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admin-- seriously... dont make claims that are total bs. sorry but your 525 with 4 snow tires is not going to outperform any suv except maybe an escalade with dubs and slicks. Even if you claimed an IX you would be hard pressed to outperform much. rwd is never going to be anywhere close to parttime 4wd, let alone full time (like Land Rover and Cruisers). Sorry but that was the biggest load of crap Ive heard in a while. As to tires, most any winter tire will perform about the same, just get them siped and if your snow is bad you may want to consider studs. Also, adding a few bags of salt or pea gravel to the back of the car wont hurt. Best bet is just to assume that the bimmer is the sled that it is and dont drive it when there is snow on the roads. Its usually only a matter of a few hours before the side streets are cleared. (at least here in Utah)
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Corey, there's a lot of bs in your posting, too. Let me just enumerate.

1st, any car with snowtires will CORNER and BRAKE better than anything with all-seasons. Since a RWD with snows will accelerate about as well as an awd/4wd car with all-seasons, it's quite obvious that his assertion is correct, which means that your paragraph above is bs.

2nd bs paragraph. Any "good" snow tire will already have sipes. If it doesn't, it's arguably not a snow tire. Snow tires constructed with cold-weather compounds perform better than those with normal compounds. Tires such as Blizzaks perform as well as studded snow tires - if you don't believe me look at http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/winter/studtire/Studded_Tire_Report_Final_Nov_2002.pdf .

Only non-bs paragraph.
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Floyd, floyd, Listen to yourself, we are talking about driving in snow, a rwd will not outperform awd or 4wd, even if it has spikes on the tires!! There is no pull, only push. think about this!! regardless of how well the tire bites, it still is only capable of pushing the car, not grabbing up front to turn the vehicle. Its really pretty simple. Second.. If you want to believe the studded tire report, thats fine, but its "BS" a you put it, anything less than studs on ice (which is what packed snow will become) will slip all over, I dont care if it has a Jesus Juice anti slip compound sprayed on it.
GRL-- you are high as well, see my comments above, your 50/50 balance may be a good arguement if you were talking about 4wd, but the closest bmw has come to 50/50 is the MCoupe which is not 4wd so the 50/50 doesnt matter in the snow. And ground clearance shouldnt have a thing to do with it, if your Lexus has trouble when the snow is above the ground clearance level than you must have a pretty poor SUV. I can blast through snow that goes over tire height in my rovers. (but if I stop Im screwed.)
Not trying to start a flame war here.. I love my bimmers as much as the next guy but comparing BMW handling to any decent SUV in snow is just ludicrous...
Dont pretend the bimmer is something it isnt, thats what has spawn all of these 2wd "SUVs" that are "speedy". An SUV isnt a sports car and vice versa... you may get by in the snow but you wont out perform any real (AWD or 4WD) suv. Its called reality.
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You are wrong. Any vehicle - rwd, fwd, awd - that has snow tires (real snow tires like Blizzaks, or studded, etc.) will out-perform any vehicle with only all-season tires. It may not climb hills or accelerate as well, but in every other category of vehicle performance, it will beat the all-season-shod vehicle.
FloydR
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On Wed, 30 Nov 2005 21:04:36 -0800, "Floyd Rogers"

I don't know about the rest of you, but the only thing I'm interested in when it snows is staying warm and getting from A to B in one piece!
Save performance for the summer! I'd rather get up/down the slopes and round the corners in one piece!
Not to mention if it does go all horribly wrong, I know which I'd rather go hitting lamp posts and other car drivers (ones doing performance test probably) in... A saloon car or a Land Rover... Hmmm.... Landy Please!
Oh, and the Landy will get itself out of a ditch nicely too. Yet to see a winch on a Beemer!... Or a night heater come to think of it...!
Dodgy.
--
MUSHROOMS ARE THE OPIATE OF THE MOOSES

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Actually, I drive an AWD 330xi with Michelin Pilot Alpine snow tires (it has Pilot MXM on it during the summer). I run rings around my wife's Highlander AWD with all-seasons, and for that matter around my 4x4 Toyota pickup with all-seasons.
FloydR
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Did you put your toyota in 4wd before attempting your test, memory serves that without locking in, the toyota runs in rwd unless locked in... As to the rest your making my point for me... AWD will outperform rwd (your toyota)...
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Actually - and you seem to have reading comprehension problems since you don't know that and I included it in my post specifically - the Highlander is AWD (just like my 330xi). The truck (a T100 SR5) is a 4x4 with auto- locking hubs, no need to stop and get out. My car doesn't slip at all going up our drive in Cle Elum (as long as it's not so deep to high-center), but neither the Highlander or T100 get up (in the same conditions) without slipping and spinning. They also won't go where they're pointed, won't stop at the bottom of the drive, won't go around corners without slipping or slewing that my 330xi does easily, etc., etc.
Let me assure you: snow tires are AT LEAST as much better than all-season tires in the snow as high-end summer tires (like Pilot PS2, Goodyear F1 GS-D3) are better on roads than all-seasons. Let me remind you of a couple of well-known saws: 1) the best performance upgrade is driver-training; 2) the 2nd best is better tires.
FloydR
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Floyd- dont get testy, remeber, my main point was that an AWD or 4wd (usually SUV) will outperform a rear wheel drive. None of your vehicles listed are rear wheel drive. That said your assertion of tires is completely true, snow tires on an AWD will out perform "all seasons" on an AWD. This was never an issue. Look at the beginning-- "an 02 525 wagon...".
(Oh, and I think most 4wds allow for the hubs to be locked from inside... ;), but if you have a decent 4wd you will be able to lock your center diff and split power between your front and rear... most toyota transfer cases (Exception made for Cruisers)act similar to AWD and you can end up with one wheel getting all power)
The issue was put forth that a rwd with snow tires would outperform a SUV (presumably with AWD or 4WD) with all seasons. Which is where I had issue. I agree that 90% of what a vehicle does is from the driver, thats not really an upgrade though. No one told Mike to have his wife go take driving lessons. She is making do with what she has at hand. Which is the core of my arguement. Your bimmer isnt a snow machine and your SUV isnt a track racer. Comparing the two is retarded... (no matter what tires you put on it.)
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Actually, most don't. Even many Toyotas don't.

And you are still wrong. "Perform" when related to automobiles doesn't mean just acceleration. Cornering and braking are just as important, and as I have said before - as have others - a snow-tire equipped car will outperform an all-season equipped one in at least those two areas.
Know what the difference that 4wd makes? It just means that you get stuck DEEPER in the woods. But without snow tires, an suv with awd/4wd won't even get to the woods.
FloydR
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you tell 'em Floyd
Most SUV's are also just ill handling, front heavy FWD vehicles until there is wheel slip and then the other wheels try to help regain traction.
I'll take snows any day and continue to laugh at all the SUV's stuck in the ditch as i drive by because they completely loose control when they try to stop.
Last weeks black ice morning i saw 13 on my way to work and alot more tracks heading up the curb and into the ditch.
total agreement as always, Floyd
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On Thu, 1 Dec 2005 21:01:20 -0500, "330xi@canada" top posted:

Nonsense. A few cars-based SUV's are like that, but most SUV's are primarily rear-drive truck-based machines.
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Corey Shuman wrote:

Jumping in here... you continue to flagrantly ignore the original point. That point being that *any* vehicle with dedicated winter tires on it is better than *any* vehicle with all-season (or worse summer) tires on it regardless of drive configuration (FWD, RWD, AWD, 4WD).
The reason that this is true is because when you are driving in the snow, you don't just need to move the vehicle forward, but more importantly need to keep the damn thing on the road (steering) and also not slide into the car in front of you when trying to stop (braking). Getting it to move forward is actually the smallest of these 3 concerns.
So, we get back to the original question... what is better (safer) in the snow? A RWD car with the appropriate winter tires or an AWD/4WD with all-season tires. In (at least) two out of three performance categories (steering and braking) the winter tires make the difference. This is the reason that you see an inordinate number of SUVs in the ditch or against the guard-rail in bad weather. They go like crazy with those all-season tires, they just don't steer or stop quite so well.
And before you start telling me that I don't know what I'm talking about, let me say that I live in New Hampshire, where we get plenty of opportunities to drive in snow. I own a RWD BMW (325i), 2 FWD SAAB 900s (daughters' cars), an Explorer AWD and a Jeep Wrangler 4WD. The BMW and SAABs have real winter tires, the Explorer has all-seasons, and the Jeep has aggressive mud-terrain tires (actually just sold it).
The Jeep and Explorer are the best at getting going when it's slippery out, but hands down any of the cars (with snows) are better at steering and stopping than either the Jeep or Exploder. Actually I own 2 other RWD BMWs (540i and Z3) but I do not fit them with winter tires, so they do not venture out into the sloppy stuff.
--
-Fred W

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OK, no flame war, but read what I said. The man will have no problems in all but extreme conditions with a 5-Series shod with snow tires and equipped with snow tires. For Pete's sake, remember that before the FWD revolution that went through Detroit, virtually all U.S. cars (and many Europeans) were RWD, nose heavy and w/o traction control and people still managed to make it through the winter. Heck, I had a nose-heavy '73 Mercury Capri 2600 that I drove on worn all-seasons through Chicago winters for years with little trouble. This vast superiority of an SUV is utter nonsense that people have proven for decades. Cut the crap, man.
And face it, the snow gets up to bumper level on your SUV, you are not going anywhere 4WD or no 4WD. You plow enough snow in front of you and it WILL stop you. Granted, this will happen with a 5-Series a lot faster than with an SUV.
Finally, most BMW's have near 50/50 weight distribution. It's something BMW designs for. Another reason for the titanium in the new in-line six. Keeps the nose light and the handling exceptional.
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