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Winter tyres, premium brands worth it?

Senoj

Zandvoort
Joined
23 Jan 2006
Messages
5,854
So, looking for a set of winters for my golf.

I will happily spend the required dosh on a summer tyre for any car but, considering the dry handling is compromised with a winter tyre anyway and when it does actually snow you wont be driving flat out either does a premium winter tyre make sense to spend the extra on?
 
The difference between premium summer tyres and the cheap ones is a question of the respective manufacturers' different levels of know-how.
Why should it be any different with winter tyres?
 
Michelin Alpin A4 on our Golf, fantastic tyres, good grip in all weathers and now on our third winter yet still 5mm plus on them after 12000 miles. Ecomomy still 52+mpg as its a TDI. Just ordered a set for the 520D too, tried Nokian etc, good grip, poor wear and noisey too. Kuhmo were ditch finders... :eek:
 
Depends on what you want from the Golf, winter sports performance or just winter performance as in braking and grip and of course snow.

I've just done fitted some Falken winters for a 911uk customer on his family Golf GTi wearing 17" hollow Monza's. They looked like they'd do the job and were just over £300 per set.

Equally we run the Conti 830P on our family wagon and have to say they are everything I would want from a winter tyre and came out top in an Evo mag tyre test. A lot of my family run Nokian's (who invented winter tyres).

I can't say for sure how much of a difference there is between the brands. I can say the biggest single factor on winter tyres full stop is the winter compound allowing the tread block to be be more supple combined with the sipes, where summer tyres are just rock hard. This is actually what is doing the biz.

Unscientific opinion.
Nokian I trust and very good value.
Dunlop have always done good winter tyres for a long time.
Michelin dont seem to be on top of winters as they are in summers.
Vredestein mixed feedback, but would err on being good over bad.
Conti tried and tested and can't fault. 3rd winter and actually used all year round so wear has been great.

Anything is better than summer tyres. Bearing in mind they are on 6 months a year it probably justifies spending more than just getting a cheapie set.
 
Whitehorse said:
Michelin Alpin A4 on our Golf, fantastic tyres, good grip in all weathers and now on our third winter yet still 5mm plus on them after 12000 miles. Ecomomy still 52+mpg as its a TDI. Just ordered a set for the 520D too, tried Nokian etc, good grip, poor wear and noisey too. Kuhmo were ditch finders... :eek:

FYI they are only properly effective in snow for the first 50% , i.e. until the 'sipes' have worn and disappeared.
 
Red993C4 said:
The difference between premium summer tyres and the cheap ones is a question of the respective manufacturers' different levels of know-how.
Why should it be any different with winter tyres?

One could argue that winter tyre efficacy has much more to do with physical tread design characteristics and added silica, over say complex construction and manufacturing technology. Snow grip is very different to tarmac grip. Or in other words it would appear to be harder to go badly wrong with winters, IMO.
 
Chris W said:
Red993C4 said:
The difference between premium summer tyres and the cheap ones is a question of the respective manufacturers' different levels of know-how.
Why should it be any different with winter tyres?

One could argue that winter tyre efficacy has much more to do with physical tread design characteristics and added silica, over say complex construction and manufacturing technology. Snow grip is very different to tarmac grip. Or in other words it would appear to be harder to go badly wrong with winters, IMO.

Kinda where i was going with the question. Having looked at prices, for a set of four its only about 100 between a Falken and a Michelin, i like the idea of the PA4 as i need a225/40 18 v
 
One factor then you might consider then is availability mid-season on a budget brand should you damage one beyond repair (easily done in snow when you don't see the pothole/draincover/kerb). Happened to me last year and getting Conti was easy.
 
Chris W said:
Red993C4 said:
The difference between premium summer tyres and the cheap ones is a question of the respective manufacturers' different levels of know-how.
Why should it be any different with winter tyres?

One could argue that winter tyre efficacy has much more to do with physical tread design characteristics and added silica, over say complex construction and manufacturing technology. Snow grip is very different to tarmac grip. Or in other words it would appear to be harder to go badly wrong with winters, IMO.

True up to a point as far as the manufacturing technology is concerned, but the depth of experience and resultant know-how pool and the readiness to invest more in research and development are more likely to be found among the premium brands than the cheaper, generally "younger" brands.
The latter are generally lower-priced not just because they are made in cheap-labour countries, but also because they are still playing catch-up by trying to make copy-cat products. This is borne out by the comparison tests carried out by continental automobile clubs and car or consumer magazines. They sell cheaper because its the only way they'll sell at all into well-informed markets.
 
Chris W, (and anyone else) do you find that the Conti T830P take a while to wear in after fitment? I ask as my 335 loses traction on my new contis on a damp road in a straight line, on a roundabout, on a 90 degree bend... in fact most of the time. :?

It is progressive and is telegraphed through the steering wheel so i know whats going on. oh and the dashboard lights up too :oops:

Can i hope for them to settle down after 50 miles or so?

Had vredesteins on previous cars including a Merc E350 with similar power to the beemer and they were great in all weathers and only really got 'soft' in the handling stakes in summer - yes i ran them all year as they were so good.
 
Jcx said:
Chris W, (and anyone else) do you find that the Conti T830P take a while to wear in after fitment? I ask as my 335 loses traction on my new contis on a damp road in a straight line, on a roundabout, on a 90 degree bend... in fact most of the time. :?

It is progressive and is telegraphed through the steering wheel so i know whats going on. oh and the dashboard lights up too :oops:

Can i hope for them to settle down after 50 miles or so?

The friction of the tread surface of a brand new tyre is compromised due to the so-called mould-release agent it has picked up during the production process. If you have done less than 50 miles on your tyres, then that is likely to be your problem.
"Conventional wisdom" is that you should take it easy for about about 200 km (120 miles) on new tyres, as that's how long it can take to completely wear off this layer.
 
The household hatchback is currently sitting on Goodyear Ultragrips for the third winter in a row. They have dealt admirably with not just snow but also residential roads that have frozen into sheet ice.

I've not driven on budget brand stuff to compare with, but when I did my research a couple of years ago the case for sticking with the premium brands was compelling in everything that I read about them. All of the most credible comparisons were in German though, so much Google translation would be needed to find out if that is still the case...
 

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