Winter Tyres or Snow Chains

Discussion in 'Wheels, Tyres, Brakes & Suspension' started by mbenz76, Sep 3, 2010.

  1. mbenz76

    mbenz76 MB Enthusiast

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    So, last winter I struggled in the snow but got everywhere I needed to (I live at the top of a medium grade hill).

    I had a FWD car at the time with 225 tyres on the drive wheels.

    This year I have the E350, with 265/35/18 tyres on the drive wheels.

    So, I have decided that before any snow hits and tyres or chains are hard to come by I will try and get the necessary.

    I considered auto socks but they don't do them in the size I need. So I looked at chains (not ideal as only the hill is a problem for me).

    Found these (Thule K-Summit XL - Thule - Thule RV Accessories - Tire Chains) which look pretty good and easy to get on and off as needed so I can put them on at the road-side if needed. They are about £300 a pair.

    So after rambling, my question is, would getting a good set of winter tyres be as good as these or not? And does anyone have a better recommendation?

    If I get tyres I will have them taken off and swapped in spring for the normal ones again.
     
  2. moonloops

    moonloops MB Enthusiast

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    Winter tyres will do the job.

    I managed last years bad winter on summer tyres but not many hills were I am :D
     
  3. OP
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    mbenz76

    mbenz76 MB Enthusiast

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    I noticed the chains I am looking at are different models for different wheel bolt sizes.

    Does anyone know what size the bolts on my W212 E350 with 18" wheels will be or how I can find out without taking the wheel bolt off?
     
  4. Sp!ke

    Sp!ke Administrator

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    Winter tyres are amazing. You might want to check in your handbook though and see if you can get some cheaper narrower wheels for your car. The cost delta for the smaller tyres will likely cover most of the cost of a set of the cheaper winter wheels, leaving your nice 18's for when the salts gone.

    If the conditions require more grip than winter tyres provide then you'd best leave the car at home.
     
  5. OP
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    mbenz76

    mbenz76 MB Enthusiast

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    If the truth be told I am a little vain and want to keep the AMG wheels as they look spot on :)
     
  6. Sp!ke

    Sp!ke Administrator

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    I understand where your coming from but youd be much better off saving your nice AMG's and letting the winter salt and grime do their worst to something a little smaller and narrower.

    The grip will be better on narrower tyres in the snow and the tyre cost will be less and once the season changes you can change back to summer tyres by yourself in 30 minutes.
     
  7. Apial

    Apial Active Member

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    Well if you put chains on them they will not look spot on for long. Get some winter tyres and you will not regret it. Chains are a real pain in every meaning. They are difficult to put on in dry weather let alone in a freezing blizzard. In the UK there is usually patchy snow when we get any, and you can't keep the chains on on the snow free bits of road. Only use them when all else has failed.

    Oh and a snapped chain makes a pretty good flail yo batter your alloys and bodywork.
     
  8. nickcc101

    nickcc101 Active Member

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    Many years ago when living in the North East , when snow seemed to be there for months at a time, we used to use Snow tyres (avons) fitted with studs, these were fitted when the snow arrived and removed when it had almost cleared. Never experienced any problems with getting stuck only the noise when the roads had been gritted.
     
  9. 312 Sprinter

    312 Sprinter Active Member

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    Winter tyres; I switch the car onto a set of Vredestein Snow Trac 2 in November and remove them early March normally. I carry chains but haven't yet needed to use them. The narrower the winter tyre, the better it'll work in the snow. I'd get a second set of rims. Don't get studded tyres, they're illegal in most of Europe now and extremely noisy.

    Vredestein are one of the few manufactures who make wintewr tyres with a decent speed rating.
     
  10. grober

    grober MB Master

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    Winter tyres every time. Chains should really only be used on snow surfaces. Far to often in the UK with "patchy" salt/gritting treatment road surfaces can vary from dry tarmac to hard packed snow to slush in a matter of 100 metres and running on chains for any distance may cause damage to wheels tyres and chains. If you want a "temporary fix" for isolated conditions this might be easier. Michelin's Easigrip " snow socks" YouTube - Chaine Neige composite Michelin Easygrip : montage et utilisation
     
  11. OP
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    mbenz76

    mbenz76 MB Enthusiast

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    The "chains" I posted the link to do not actually touch the wheel so would not damage the alloy. This is the main reason I like them. I agree about normal chains and would never use them.

    These also go on in seconds without getting yourself wet or having to crawl around on the floor. They have a good video showing fitting and I have read a lot of reviews saying it really is that easy.

    I live within a short distance of the city centre and work in the city centre so most roads are fine. I only need "help" getting up (and maybe down) the hill to my home - this is the only place I hit a any problems last winter.

    With that in mind I can't help but think winter tyres (the more expensive option) would be no better than summer tyres most of the time. Get to the hill and realise I can't get up and I could fit the chains so I wouldn't need them on (or want them on) all the time.

    I looked at the "socks" option, which I would also be happy with but none of the manufacturers of them seem to do them for 265/35/18 tyres. Strangely though they do them for bigger!
     
  12. Sp!ke

    Sp!ke Administrator

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    Winter tyres are not just for snow but for tempertures of 7 deg and under and for wet wintery conditions. Ideal for the UK through winter.

    Forget the chains - seriously. Chains are old tech and a real PITA to put on and off (even these new fancy ones). I'd bet you'd only use them once... and after much cursing and swearing regret not buying winter tyres.

    Winter tyres actually dont cost much at all as you're saving wear on your summer tyres so over the longer term your still only buying the same amount of tyres.
     
  13. Animal Mother

    Animal Mother Active Member

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    Save your money, buy a cheap land rover discovery, for over the winter for £500 sell it when the weather improves. :thumb:

    [​IMG]
     
  14. OP
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    mbenz76

    mbenz76 MB Enthusiast

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    Second hand motor is out of the question - I have nowhere to park one and am too vain to drive it around :)

    On the subject of winter tyres. I am not prepared to buy new rims for them, so can anyone tell me whether winter tyres in 265/35/18 will actually be any use on the snow or whether the size will off-set the advantage?
     
  15. Spinal

    Spinal MB Enthusiast

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    Another vote for winter tyres! Especially if you plan on driving to some European countries, where it would be a legal requirement...

    Winter tyres are for cooler temperatures, not just for snow... Every year, people say "oh, but the UK doesn't get cold enough winters. It does. Every year. Whether it snows or not doesn't matter!"

    It just makes sense... you have a great call, full of horses... the only place it (should) touch the road are the tyres... why skimp on safety?

    M.
     
  16. timskemp

    timskemp MB Enthusiast

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    Winter tyres, and downsize. I found out last year just how much "fun" it can be to be running on nice big 18" wheels and summer tyres in snow, it was all going well until I tried to swerve to avoid someone else's accident...

    Had to be recovered, no damage but was stuck for a couple of hours in heavy snow.

    Do Sport models have bigger brakes or will some 17s fit?
     
  17. raymont

    raymont Active Member

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    Winter tyres!

    I have a second set of wheels with winter tyres fitted. They go on in November and come off in March.

    They are no noisier than summer tyres and are just as comfortable.

    Once the temperature drops below 7C they are better than summer tyres.

    In snow the difference is night and day.

    They are easily available in a range of speed ratings and are made by most manufacturers. I have H rated winter tyres (130mph) but my size is available at V rating (149mph).

    With chains I believe you are limited to 30mph, no use once you're on cleared roads.

    I've heard that 'socks' are shredded pretty quickly when used on cleared roads.

    Your car's handbook will have winter tyre sizes specified. They maybe slightly narrower than summer tyres even on the same rims. E.g. my summer tyres are 275 but the winter tyres are 265.
     
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  18. 312 Sprinter

    312 Sprinter Active Member

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    It'll make a difference, The rubber compound is different from a summer tyre. They're recommended for use below 7 degrees centigrade as others have mentioned, Vredestein do that size in the Wintrac extreme, others no doubt will too.

    The last few years I've run the Vredestein winter tyres; I like them Nokian have a great winter tyre reputation also.
     
  19. raymont

    raymont Active Member

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    Couple of further points.

    You should fit 4 winter tyres not just two on the driven wheels. It's not a great idea to have different levels of grip at the front and the back of the car.

    If you are still considering chains you need to check that with the wheel / tyre combination you have chains are permissible. Sometimes the bigger wheel / tye combinations preclude the use of chains. As before, this info will be in your handbook.

    This site( Mytyres)

    http://ssl.delti.com/cgi-bin/rshop.pl?dsco=110&cart_id=51266947.110.13933&s_p=Tyres

    will give an idea of the tyres available.
     
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2010
  20. Satch

    Satch MB Enthusiast

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    Winter tyres every time. How do you think all the vehicles in Germany, Austria & Switzerland manage to continue relatively normal progress (without chains for the most part) in winter when if is common to have conditions far worse than those that bring the UK to a total halt?

    Some people who do buy chains rapidly discover that fitting a cold metal large scale chinese puzzle onto a wheel contained within a snow and slush packed wheel arch (and you may have little clearance to start with) in bad conditions is not a life enhancing experience.

    In all the years been driving to ski resorts only ever had to use chains once and that was on a road where they were mandatory when it was snow covered. Rest of the time use winter tyres only and the grip they provide is remarkable. Many times got to the "OK I am stuffed now" point but always did the job. Mine are V rated (149mph) and I use them on from November through to April in the UK as well.

    It is a no brainer really. (BTW that is Mrs S. glowing in the drivers seat)

    [​IMG]
     

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