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A/T tires for ice and snow?


mouks

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May 3, 2019
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I want to change the tyres on my TJ, it's my daily driver and I live in the mountains where there is snow almost half of the year. Now it's on Cooper discoverer AT3, I bought my Jeep 2 months ago, so I had few opportunities to try them on snow but they seem to hold well and are great on the road. I didn't go offroading yet but my half mile driveway looks a bit like a trail ( I destroyed the crankcase on 2 cars last year, hence my TJ purchase) and they are fine even when it's really muddy.

The problem is that they are 225/70 r16 and look way too small with my 2.5" lift. I'm ordering new 16x8 rims and was thinking of buying the same tyres in 265/75 r16, they seem to have good reviews and are only $125 each. But I'm not sure if it's a wise choice vs dedicated snow tyres for the winter. It would be great to have some advice from people living in a snowy place, do you keep the same tyres all year long and which are you running?
 

JEEPCJTJ

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Goodyear Duratrac is what I bought last year, before hearing about them here, and just got lucky. They seem to be the best tires I've ever had, mud, snow, rain or dry.

Many people will tell you to stay away from the 16" wheels. If my Rubicon didn't come from the factory with them I would have stayed with 15" even without their opinions.
 
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JMT

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Being on the snow 6 months out of the year I'd run dedicated snow tires for winter. I don't live in a snowy place right now, but still at 6 months snow 6 months no snow, it seems logical, your tires would last longer and you could get better performance on snow and off with two sets of dedicated tires.
 
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mouks

mouks

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Switzerland
Goodyear Duratrac is what I bought last year, before hearing about them here, and just got lucky. They seem to be the best tires I've ever had, mud, snow, rain or dry.

Many people will tell you to stay away from the 16" wheels. If my Rubicon didn't come from the factory with them I would have stayed with 15" even without their opinions.
Thanks for the feedback, I read good reviews about Duratracs but they aren't available here. Why don't you like 16" wheels? All the 15" wheels I like haven't enough backspacing and in my country it's asking for trouble to have wheels wider than the fenders. I really like these ones and they should be flush with 4.5" of backspacing https://www.methodracewheels.com/collections/street-wheels/products/nv-machined

Being on the snow 6 months out of the year I'd run dedicated snow tires for winter. I don't live in a snowy place right now, but still at 6 months snow 6 months no snow, it seems logical, your tires would last longer and you could get better performance on snow and off with two sets of dedicated tires.
Yes but as I'm only doing 15-20k miles per year, with 2 sets the rubber will fade before they'll be worn out. In the past I've changed tyres more often because they were too old than because there wasn't any tread left. Another disadvantage is that we never know when to swap tyres, a few years ago I had an accident because of some unexpected snow at the end of the summer. So even if I go with two sets I'd still want all-seasons tyres for the summer
 
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Chris

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Having driven quite extensively in the snow and ice (including lots of mountain passes with snowy roads), I can say first hand that the Goodyear Duratrac is an exceptionally good A/T tire for the ice and snow. I was absolutely shocked at how good they performed in the ice and snow. Sure, they're not going to outperform a dedicated snow tire, but man am I impressed!
 
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JEEPCJTJ

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Thanks for the feedback, I read good reviews about Duratracs but they aren't available here. Why don't you like 16" wheels? All the 15" wheels I like haven't enough backspacing and in my country it's asking for trouble to have wheels wider than the fenders. I really like these ones and they should be flush with 4.5" of backspacing https://www.methodracewheels.com/collections/street-wheels/products/nv-machined
Sorry, I didn't realize you were in Switzerland and that Duratracs aren't available there. They are what I've had pretty good luck with but I really haven't had anything else to compare them to.

As for the 16" wheels, I don't really mind having them. When I bought my TJ it had the original 16" spare and four 17" wheels that I didn't really like. Luckily, I found 4 more of the originals so that's what I bought. If I hadn't found them I would have went with 15" wheels with similar overall diameter tires because more rubber sidewall is better than more metal (at least that's what I think). I've also heard several people say that there are less tire choices available for the 16" wheels.
 
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Ron Hall

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Nov 14, 2018
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I want to change the tyres on my TJ, it's my daily driver and I live in the mountains where there is snow almost half of the year. Now it's on Cooper discoverer AT3, I bought my Jeep 2 months ago, so I had few opportunities to try them on snow but they seem to hold well and are great on the road. I didn't go offroading yet but my half mile driveway looks a bit like a trail ( I destroyed the crankcase on 2 cars last year, hence my TJ purchase) and they are fine even when it's really muddy.

The problem is that they are 225/70 r16 and look way too small with my 2.5" lift. I'm ordering new 16x8 rims and was thinking of buying the same tyres in 265/75 r16, they seem to have good reviews and are only $125 each. But I'm not sure if it's a wise choice vs dedicated snow tyres for the winter. It would be great to have some advice from people living in a snowy place, do you keep the same tyres all year long and which are you running?
I think 245/75r16 would look great with your lift. You are looking at a bunch of power loss with 32s compared to the small tires you are running. I liked the AT3 coopers I had on a 4 runner. None of these tires do great on ice.
 

Goatman

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I got the Cooper AT3's because the tire guy gave me a buy 3 get 1 free deal. His last pair. And in my size. This was on a little Nissan P/U. Was running BG Goodrich A/T's. When my drive gets nasty I get some ice sections on it. Always had to go to 4wd or I would slide sideways off the drive and down a hill till I hit a snow bank. Most people wont even attempt it in the winter. Last winter was the absolute worst. Snow melt flooded my entire drive and re-froze creating a slanty ice skating rink. Had to put studs on the tractor tires just to get it out the garage. Those AT3's never slipped. A bit of spin (perhaps one tire revolution) and then straight up the drive. This in 2wd the whole way! Could not believe it. All winter in 2wd! Snow, slush, ice, no drama at all! Afterward i was givin an issue of Consumer Reports on tires and even they loved them. Top pick. #1 ranking. Since then at least a dozen different vehicles have switched to them. All have nothing but good to say. Nice and quiet and easy to balance too.👍
 

astjp2

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Get a real snow tire with proper siping like a blizzak, they have soft tread and grip on slick surfaces. You live in an area where you can drive all year around on them, or you can run a summer and winter set of tires. I drove a Kia Rio in Alaska, I ran summer an winter tires, studded blizzaks in the winter, good highway tires in the summer, same with the Jeep, and the other jeep, and the truck...Tim
 

pagrey

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I don't know what the rules are where you live but you can sipe almost any tire and it'll work well in the snow. Most places that have heavy snow the tire shops will have a machine that can sipe the tires for not much per tire. If you can't find a place it's not too difficult to get the tool and do it yourself. Even tires with pretty large tread blocks work well when you do it.

Tire companies push snow tires because they want to sell everybody two sets of tires.
 

astjp2

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I don't know what the rules are where you live but you can sipe almost any tire and it'll work well in the snow. Most places that have heavy snow the tire shops will have a machine that can sipe the tires for not much per tire. If you can't find a place it's not too difficult to get the tool and do it yourself. Even tires with pretty large tread blocks work well when you do it.

Tire companies push snow tires because they want to sell everybody two sets of tires.
Not really, if your tires are not of the right compound, they still suck on ice. Get some Real BLIZZAK's for winter
 

pagrey

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Not really, if your tires are not of the right compound, they still suck on ice. Get some Real BLIZZAK's for winter
How long have these new rubber compounds been in use?

Always nice when people say that the way we did things 20 years ago were dangerous, it's amazing anybody survived.
 

astjp2

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How long have these new rubber compounds been in use?

Always nice when people say that the way we did things 20 years ago were dangerous, it's amazing anybody survived.
20 years or so, they use a softer rubber so it will allow the siping to work like it is supposed to. Blizzaks came out in 1988. They were originally without studs, I think that some models are studded now. I just wish I could have afforded them when I lived the first few years in Alaska...
 

pagrey

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20 years or so, they use a softer rubber so it will allow the siping to work like it is supposed to. Blizzaks came out in 1988. They were originally without studs, I think that some models are studded now. I just wish I could have afforded them when I lived the first few years in Alaska...
I understand the point of a softer compound. Blizzak tires have changed over the years, multicell tread compound on the top 55% is the latest marketing pitch right? I agree that dedicated snow tires make sense if you can afford it but siping your regular tires can help with situations like getting caught in a late or early season storm like described here.

Did you ever sipe tires or see them in use in AK, just wondering if you have had a poor experience with them?
 

astjp2

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I understand the point of a softer compound. Blizzak tires have changed over the years, multicell tread compound on the top 55% is the latest marketing pitch right? I agree that dedicated snow tires make sense if you can afford it but siping your regular tires can help with situations like getting caught in a late or early season storm like described here.

Did you ever sipe tires or see them in use in AK, just wondering if you have had a poor experience with them?
No, most people just ran 2 sets of tires with winter tires...that were studded, someone may have used siped tires, I just never saw it. Which changed as Blizzaks became more prevalent, the knockoffs were just not as good.
 
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mouks

mouks

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May 3, 2019
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Switzerland
Thanks all for sharing your experiences, I'm going with the Cooper AT3 4S for now and depending how they perform next fall, I'll decide if I need a set of winter tires. I tried to keep snow tires in the summer on another vehicle but the next winter they had lost almost all their grip, I've been told that's because the compound wasn't meant to be used in warm conditions
 

Halfstock

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Mar 23, 2019
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North Idaho
We purchased these tires in early February for a Jeep TJ Wrangler we had just purchased, and had to drive 200+ miles home in perhaps the worst snowstorm the Inland Northwest had seen in a decade.

There had been a run on tires in the area stores due to the deplorable road conditions for the previous week, and these Michelin Defender LTX M/S were the only tires in an appropriate size for our newly acquired jeep. They definitely would not have been my first choice for this vehicle, nor the arduous drive home ahead of us, but since the only selection available we purchased them.

WOW! What an experience! I have driven in and on snow and ice for over 40 years, nearly all of those miles on dedicated studded snow tires on all our vehicles, all of which have been either 4WD or AWD. These Defender LTX's are HANDS DOWN the very best handling and performing tire I have EVER driven on any vehicle!

To say I was shocked at the winter performance of these tires is a huge understatement. Fresh snow, slush, packed snow or ice, they are simply amazing!

On wet roads, there is zero hydroplaning, the tires are very quiet considering the deep aggressive, modified highway tread design.

On dry roads they handle well, ride smoothly (with air pressure adjusted down to 26 psi for the lightweight little Wrangler TJ), and corner nicely.

Almost as surprising as the winter performance is the performance of these tire off-road. We live in North Idaho, and utilize the vast recreational opportunities offered here, and that includes off-roading for recreation, and for access to hiking, hunting and fishing venues far off the beaten path. With the little TJ Wrangler, these tires have amazed me where we've gone, frequently not realizing we are still in 2wd and not having the 4wd engaged. Yep, they are that good! I've driven most of the so called all-terrain tires at one point or the other on everything from Blazers, Broncos, 4wd pickups, Samurais, Cherokees and Wranglers over the years, and these are easily the equal of any of them, at least in their nearly new condition... time will tell as they wear.

It's been over 20 years since my last set of Michelin tires which I was non-plussed by at the time. However, after experiencing the simply stunning performance of these tires, I will be purchasing Defender LTX's for our Jeep Wrangler JK, the Ram 3500 4x4 and my wife's Jeep Cherokee as each require tire replacement. Too, I doubt I'll ever buy another set of dedicated studded winter tires once those we own are worn out, and will simply run the Defender LTX's year 'round.
 

RaymondT

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The Michelins you described are a chain-store re-badged version of the LTX/LTX2. Great long-wearing tire with good snow performance for an all-season tire. In fact, they perform as well as some of the lesser-rated winter tires as tested by Consumer Reports in the past. I would be tempted to run them if it wasn't for their paper-thin sidewalls which make them unsuitable for anything beyond a smooth gravel road. That's probably what gives them the nice ride on the highway.