I went the cheap route with Sears Winterhandler. I've had them on a couple different cars now RWD/FWD/AWD and haven't had any complaints. They even do well in rallycross events. Never gotten stuck with them on yet either (knocks on wood).
How bad do the roads 'really' get down in Cincy? Most times our roads up here are just wet. The times I am out in truly nasty (lake-effect snowbelt) weather, the Sears tires are great. Ice is ice...so a dedicated ice tire will outperform these by a margin. Your choices are pretty wide depending on your budget, driving habits, etc...
Thanks for the recommendations. I have heard a lot about the Bridgestone Blizzaks. Any thoughts on them? I have a friend that works at a Firestone dealer, and he is looking at getting me the friend deal on a set of four Blizzak LM-22's.
The weather doesn't get bad at all in cincy, we typically get more ice than anything. ....But I have been offered a job that is a two hour commute and will have to make the run four times a week to the south east of cincy and the roads out that way do not get good maintenance. Also, they say, and who believes them anyway, that this is going to be a pretty bad winter. I kind of hope it is anyway.
I would do the steel wheel thing, but plan on getting into some 17"s for road use in the spring, and using the stockers for foul weather.
I would just spend a little time at www.tirerack.com . There are a lot of options depending on how much you want to spend, and how much snow you really get where you live. I would go with Cooper Weathermasters just because they are a decent price and have slightly stiffer tread that will hold up better if you decide to take it to the dirt, which I figure you will...."rallynut"
The name rallynut, is because I am nuts about rally racing. Would love to do it, but my car is way too nice, and practically new. Besides, I don't make enough money to replace it if it brakes.
I have been checking out the tire rack. Can't find any Cooper tires there. Which model of Cooper Weather master would you recommend? My travels will be mainly on a four lane, divided state route that gets little winter maintenance.
If you are running these give me your impression. Rain, snow, water, mud, gravel? What about noise, performance, and ride comfort?
I also bought my 15" steelies from Tirerack like Mike Smith, and having the tires mounted locally so I can get free lifetime rotations and balances. As a matter of fact, I just slapped my 195/65-15 Semperit Sports @ a local "Discount Tire" this past Saturday. Still breaking them in. I'm hoping for ice, so I can test it out. AWD drifting! Here I come!!!
Yea, rallying your car can get expensive. I just do Rally-x and backwoods bashing and I have replaced my front bumper, driver side door and fender, rear bumper, multiple tires, oil pan, and radiator mounts. Sux.
Anyway, I am sorry I made things unclear....check out Tire Rack OR try to find the Cooper Weathermaster XGR. Tire Rack Does not carry them. I had a set of the coopers and really liked them, they did really well in the snow and dirt roads. They are not a full-on snow tire like many of the ones available at Tire Rack, but they also have a longer tread life. Right now, I have some total cheapies on my car. The Roadmaster R/T 650-HP. You can order them for $45 a piece Right Here Vulcan Tires also carries a few other cheapies. The Roadmasters I have also work well on snow and dirt. I personally don't see the need for full on winter tires w/ AWD. If you are a decent driver, good M+S tires work just fine. I live where the snowfall total is usually around 30-40 feet, and I have never needed chains or snow tires with my AWD suby!
Oh yea....any snow tires you get are going to have pretty squishy handling. I bet the price would reflect that, as would road noise. I can't comment on road noise really cause my has always been pretty noisy.
As far as dry road handling goes, I hardly noticed any difference between the stock RE92s and the Cooper XGRs except the ultimate grip is lower on the XGRs. Up to the limit, though, they felt about the same to me. The biggest difference I noticed in the slippery stuff was the ABS was activated a LOT less with the XGRs - a sign of better grip. I tend to drive conservativly (i.e. "like an old lady") in the snow in daily driving, though I like to play around when the roads are empty and I'm alone in the car.