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Ok I promised myself I would do this a long time ago but never got around to it. I finally opened word tonight and got started thinking I would continue to write this over a few days but I couldn't stop and finally came up with something worthy of posting. I hope this helps someone out there who is looking to drive this car in the winter.

For the winter you are going to want a dedicated set of snow tires. The reason for this is a summer compound will harden up like a rock in the cold. For the most part you can still drive in the cold on a summer tire so long as you take it slow and don’t do anything crazy. But then take into account summer tires are also meant for mostly dry grip. The tread pattern will at most be designed to take away water during a summer shower. However anything that isn’t a liquid will just fill up the tread and leave you with slicks. You also cannot run just two winter tires like people so often do. Especially with a summer tire up front the back end will have plenty of grip buy the front will not want to turn or stick to the road. Even in the dry the car will be all over the place even in a straight line. The same goes for the all-season front/ winter tire rear combo. It is dangerous to yourself and others on the road.

Now that you know WHY you need a winter tire let’s talk about what you are going to mount them on. This will save you money in the long run because you will get on average at least 2 seasons out of your winter tires. If you didn’t get a second set of wheels you would be mounting and remounting tires each spring and fall. A set of 15” steel wheels will run you about $120 on tirerack.com. However, to get steel wheels for an “MR2” off of tire rack you have to trick the system a little. When selecting a tire/wheel package you are going to have to enter 2005 Scion XB instead of 200x Toyota MR2. If you don’t they don’t offer steel wheels for the MR2. The scion has the same bolt pattern and has an offset that will fit the MR2 just fine and many (including myself) have used them. Also for anyone interested the actual size of the 2005 scion XB steel wheels are 15x6 with a bolt pattern of 4x100 and a +40 offset.

Before you select which tire you have yet another thing to consider. What size are you going to buy? Now most of us know that in the summer at least a wider tire is going to provide more traction and make you less likely to slide. At the same time, for better or worse a lot of people believe that having a smaller tire up front then in the back will make the car less prone to oversteer. Without thinking too much about it, it would appear the same logic would apply to a tire in the snow. Greater contact patch means more room for the tire to grip right? Well, not quite. You see when you are driving along in a car on the snow the tires are trying desperately to sink into the snow to get grip. They need pressure pushing them down into the snow before they can get any significant traction. If you were to run a really wide tire in the snow you would just float on top of the snow and slide all over. If you get a narrow tire it will dig in and you will be able to get the grip needed to stay on the road. Now about that stagger, applying that principle to your traditional stagger of having a smaller tire in the front would actually be, in a sense, a REVERSE stagger. Thus, instead of helping to control the oversteer it would promote it! In theory you could run a larger tire in front and smaller in the rear but that wouldn’t be practical for those days when there wasn’t any snow on the road and you were traveling at higher speeds. To compromise it would be best to just run the same size all around. It still leaves the issue of what size you are going to choose. For that you have to analyze what conditions you feel you will facing the most. If it is mostly or completely snow a 185/55/15 will do just fine. It will dig in and give you plenty of grip when the white stuff starts flying. If you are worried about seeing ice a 195/50/15 might be a better choice. The theory behind this being ice is more like normal pavement in that a larger contact patch is better since you are not sinking into the ice itself. This theory was developed by myself and another member (WIWhite87) a while back and is just something we came up with in our heads. There is no real scientific backing behind it. However it was mentioned by Tem that in Finland they run as narrow of a tire as possible (Something like a 155mm width) and have no issues on Ice. This could mean that a narrower tire actually is beneficial on the ice as well. The idea that backs this theory is it’s not so much the ice that is slick it’s the very thin layer of water that forms between your tire and ice that make things slick. This is why a siped tire does so well on the ice. It wicks away the water so the tire is able to come in full contact with the ice instead of riding on that very thin layer of water. It is hard to tell which theory is correct but in the end if you are only choosing between a tire that is 185mm wide and 195mm wide you are probably not going to see any major differences. The tire itself will make more of a difference in the end.

Note: A 185/60/15 or a 195/55/15 can be substituted in as well if the other two are not readily available. They will however make your speedometer read a little slow. The 185/60/15 will read 2.9% slow while the 195/55/15 will read 1.6% slow.

We move onto one of the final decisions you will have to make and that is what type of tire you will be buying. First off let me start by saying you should always buy a “studless ice and snow” tire and not a “performance” winter tire. The reason for this is the “performance” winter will sacrifice snow and ice grip for handling and braking. Not something you want to do on a MR2, when you are in the snow in an MR2 you just want to get through it. The reason I don’t bring up studded tires is IMO they are being surpassed by studless tires. A test done by tirerack shows that for the most part studless tires are as good or better then studded tires on ice. This may be hard to believe but for the most part the reason you can’t get grip on ice is because of a thin layer of water that builds up under your tires. What a studless tire does is it takes the 5 or so sipes that are cut into each tread block and take away that thin layer of water. A studded tire relied upon little metal studs that were inserted into little holes and they would grip the ice surface. The problem is they are loud, hinder braking performance, dry traction suffers, they also hinder snow performance, and they harm the road surface. (Note: if you do end up choosing a studded tire for whatever reason you must insert the studs before using the tire. You cannot insert studs into a tire after it has been used.)

Finally we move onto the detail of which tire to buy. There are many choices out there but I will just mention the few are have gotten the best reviews and seem to hold the most promise for our little car. I’ll start off with the Bridgestone blizzak line of tires since that is what I have experience with. At this current point in time there are two blizzaks to chose from, the now older WS-50 and the new as of this year WS-60. I own a set of the WS-50s (195/55/15) and love them. They are great in the snow and ice. I’ve traveled through snow that was at least 6 inches deep on my driveway and have seen others with snow packed in the grill because it was so deep when they went through it with these tires. You can still find them at tirerack and other tire dealers but they are being phased out (which does mean cheaper pricing) for the WS-60. From what I have read so far the WS-60 is everything the WS-50 was but better. No one has run this tire on the MR2 as of yet but from the testing done by tirerack it can be seen it should be a winner. There is one catch to the blizzak line; the siping (the little grooves that allow the tire to grip so well on snow and ice) only goes through about 60% of the tread. After that it is just a normal winter compound. The other tires I will mention have the siping all the way through. But keep in mind you won’t want to run a tire all the way down to the wear bars in the snow or you will more than likely end up in the ditch. As for the competition you have the Michelin X-ice which is a strong competitor. It provides a little better traction in the deep stuff then the blizzaks but isn’t quite as good in the light snow and ice. It is debatable how much of a difference this really is though. There is also the Nokian Hakkapeliitta which is harder to find. Not as many people run this tire but it is still a solid tire especially for the snow. I have heard the X-ice and blizzaks are better in the ice though YMMV. EDIT: Here is a test done by tirerack that includes the X-ice and WS-60 (which IMO are the two best choices once the WS-50 is gone completely). It also has a winterforce studdable snow tire and a dunlop winter tire as well. http://www.tirerack.com/tires/tests/testDisplay.jsp?ttid=94 I would also like to note that the last two years Bridgestone has had a deal where you can get 50 dollars back on their blizzak line of winter tires if you purchase them around mid November if I recall correctly. Of course the WS-50 will most likely not be included in this as it is on closeout status and is not being produced anymore.

In the end it all depends upon your needs but no matter what if you need to drive the MR2 in the winter a set of winter tires is a must. I am not sure if I will be buying another set of winter tires once these are worn out or not. The salt and ever present chance of someone smashing into the MR2 will surely take their toll in the end. Winter tires also have a way of taking the fun out of the car; they have soft sidewalls with very little grip so they allow for 0 twisties what so ever. Even if you did take them out for a spirited ride (which would be suicidal) you would quickly wear out the tires which are made of a very soft compound. In the end however running the car in the winter is an experience everyone should have at least once in their life. It can really teach you a lot about this car that you can use for the summer and can lead to some fun times in the snow.

I just thought I would include a couple of threads down here to give you guys an idea of how good winter tires really are on this car.

This thread has some pictures and movies of owners driving in the snow with the Blizzak WS-50

Here's another thread that's got a few talking about the new Blizzak WS-60

Michelin has just released a new tire called the Xi-2. There is very little information on it right now but I created this thread about it. http://spyderchat.com/forums/index.php?sho...p;#entry4817515

Also the WS-50 is all but dead right now with tirerack being sold out of the top two sizes for a 15 inch wheel on the spyder. I will update this thread more as we come closer to the winter driving season. I will also be buying a set of winter tires this fall so rest assured I will be staying on top of anything new that is out there.
 

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I'll vote for a library thread on this. I would just put it in there right now, but I'll let Don handle that.

Nice thread, if I didn't already have blizzaks on the stock wheels, it would have helped me.
 

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this was very helpful. it sure beats buying a set of stock rims to mount winter tires on.
 

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Winter Tires????.....But, I just took the hard top off....















Oh yea, I'm in Florida suckas!!!
 

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Discussion Starter #8
<div class='quotetop'>QUOTE (charlatan brown @ Nov 5 2007, 10:24 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}></div>
Awesome, thank you. I wish all threads were more like this one.[/b]
I wish I knew this much about everything else on this site...


<div class='quotetop'>QUOTE (eds123 @ Nov 5 2007, 10:54 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}></div>
Winter Tires????.....But, I just took the hard top off....















Oh yea, I'm in Florida suckas!!![/b]
You poor thing. Sometime you will have to come further north and experience snow, it really is something I look forward to every year.

Oh I also added a link to a test done to tirerack. It helps to show the difference between a studded tire and the newest generations of studdable winter tires. It includes the x-ice and WS-60 which at least in my opinion are the two best options out there. Of course the WS-50 falls somewhere in between there but I would imagine it will be gone for good by the end of the winter. All of the hype around the new WS-60 does have me interested in getting a set for next year after my current WS-50s wear out. Before I was planning on storing the MR2 after this set was worn out or maybe even selling them and storing it this winter but now I'm wondering...
 

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Hey my first post!


Anyway, I will be using my MR2 for an everyday driver this winter and decided to go with the Dunlop Graspic DS-1 205/55/15 for the back and DS-2 195/55/15 for the front (mainly because these were the closest sizes that I could find on ebay for cheap). I went with this because they were higher rated than the Blizzaks and got better reviews. When I received them in the mail, I could see why. The siping goes all the way through the tread blocks (which are deep and chunky) with a sawtooth pattern on the edges of almost everything and even has spiral grooves on the side to pull itself into the snow. If you push against a tread block you can feel the siping grip into your finger with even a slight pressure. However it doesn't look like they will last for more than two seasons. Anyway, just thought I would give these awesome tires a mention here. I'll soon see how good they really are
! Come on snow!

And thanks for the tip about the steel wheels!
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I'm glad you are happy with your purchase.


The graspic DS-1 is the outdated dunlop winter tire. I've read some reviews on the DS-2 (newer version) and they mostly said it was an economical tire with pretty good ice traction but dry was quite poor and overall I have been underwhelmed by what dunlop has to offer for tires of any sort.

Please do report back to us with first hand experience with this tire. Knowledge is power.

One last thing. Go slow and have fun!
 

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<div class='quotetop'>QUOTE (darkday @ Nov 28 2007, 06:50 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}></div>
Go slow and have fun![/b]
I follow the speed limit, but who says you have to slow down for turns! You are quite right though, these tires do look suspect to bad dry traction... Hrmmm. Oh well, I'll save the fast stuff for spring. I sure am going to miss my Nokians on those dry road days though.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
<div class='quotetop'>QUOTE (naginalf @ Nov 29 2007, 02:20 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}></div>
<div class='quotetop'>QUOTE (darkday @ Nov 28 2007, 06:50 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Go slow and have fun![/b]
I follow the speed limit, but who says you have to slow down for turns! You are quite right though, these tires do look suspect to bad dry traction... Hrmmm. Oh well, I'll save the fast stuff for spring. I sure am going to miss my Nokians on those dry road days though.

[/b][/quote]

Forget turns on winter tires. It's going to land you in the ditch. They are highly specialized and do a darn good job at what they were designed to and that's get you home in a snow storm. Much the same way your summer tires are highly specialized, they're meant to grip corners as best as possible with no regards to snow and ice.

Oh yeah, try to get the broken in before snow starts falling. The first 300 miles or so are going to be the worst because of a release agent that is left on the tire. After 300 miles they will get much better traction in the dry and in the snow .
 

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Discussion Starter #14
<div class='quotetop'>QUOTE (T-bone @ Nov 29 2007, 08:45 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}></div>
wow DD how did I miss this great post. it almost makes me want to drive my car in the brine.

this is most certainly a post suitable for a library shelf[/b]
Get yourself one of those e-bay disasters (you know the one with pink flames and a BFW™™) and turn it into your winter beater.
 

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Ok, here's my report on the Dunlop graspic DS-1 & 2 tires. They're GREAT! Keep in mind though, that I have never really tried a specialized winter tire on any car. At any rate, I got to drive them on every kind of road condition this weekend (we've had some interesting weather here lately). In the dry, I didn't expect much, but I got better traction than I expected. It's not the traction that's a problem though, it's the sidewall squirm. They make it a bit bouncy from side to side. I found that I could still take corners at speed like I could on the nokian summers, but the tail would break a bit (only a bit though). Wet traction was the same as dry for the most part. On packed snow and ice, I was VERY impressed, the back end only slides when I want her to slide, and I got no slip on icy asphalt (the shiny pavement kind of icy). In deep snow, no problemo! 6/7 inches with quite a few people in the ditch, and I could come to full stop no problem and take off no problem. Drift due to snow tracks was minimal and never did I get sucked into a snow bank. Parked my car in a snow filled slot at the side and got plowed in, took off with minimal effort uphill (tail did slide around though).

1-10 ratings:
Dry: 6
Wet: 6
Ice & packed snow: 10
deep snow: 10
Braking in snow & ice: 10 (I was seriously impressed with how fast it could stop in the snow)
Take off in snow & ice: 8
Steering in snow &ice: 7 (gotta whip that tail around, it is rear wheal drive after all.)

In short I would highly recommend this tire. Anyone else tried these?
 

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Discussion Starter #16
<div class='quotetop'>QUOTE </div>
In the dry, I didn't expect much, but I got better traction than I expected. It's not the traction that's a problem though, it's the sidewall squirm.[/b]
For sure. When I put mine (winter tires that is) on a week or so ago I took it out for a quick run to make sure everything was in order. Despite going a lot slower then normal into my first curve I couldn't help but think "Ohh yes now I remember what it's like with these on..." Took me a few days to get used to it on the highway again.

I must add on that over the weekend we got heavy sleet and everything was iced up. Most of the roads were mostly cleared but for 5-10 miles they hadn't plowed at all, this meant I was on a giant ice sheet. Boy was I glad bridgestone knew what they were doing when they made the WS-50.

As always good to hear your opinion on a different tire.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
:excl: Tire rack has 50 dollars off of the michelin X-ice, XI-2, the bridgestone WS-50 and the WS-60 along with pretty much all of their winter tires.

This is good through oct. 12 so if you are going to buy winter tires this fall I suggest you do it now!!

http://www.tirerack.com/tires/specialevents/fifty_winter.jsp
 

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Discussion Starter #18
http://www.tirerack.com/tires/tests/TireTe...tirePageLocQty=

Awhile back I also read a review from some dutch website that praised the XI-2 (although they didn't compare to the WS-60)... I'm thinking that michelin might have a winner and if I hadn't just bought a set of WS-60s I would be very likely to choose the XI-2. That's quite a surprise to me I must admit.
 

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<div class='quotetop'>QUOTE (naginalf @ Dec 5 2007, 03:53 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}></div>
Ok, here's my report on the Dunlop graspic DS-1 & 2 tires. They're GREAT! Keep in mind though, that I have never really tried a specialized winter tire on any car. At any rate, I got to drive them on every kind of road condition this weekend (we've had some interesting weather here lately). In the dry, I didn't expect much, but I got better traction than I expected. It's not the traction that's a problem though, it's the sidewall squirm. They make it a bit bouncy from side to side. I found that I could still take corners at speed like I could on the nokian summers, but the tail would break a bit (only a bit though). Wet traction was the same as dry for the most part. On packed snow and ice, I was VERY impressed, the back end only slides when I want her to slide, and I got no slip on icy asphalt (the shiny pavement kind of icy). In deep snow, no problemo! 6/7 inches with quite a few people in the ditch, and I could come to full stop no problem and take off no problem. Drift due to snow tracks was minimal and never did I get sucked into a snow bank. Parked my car in a snow filled slot at the side and got plowed in, took off with minimal effort uphill (tail did slide around though).

1-10 ratings:
Dry: 6
Wet: 6
Ice & packed snow: 10
deep snow: 10
Braking in snow & ice: 10 (I was seriously impressed with how fast it could stop in the snow)
Take off in snow & ice: 8
Steering in snow &ice: 7 (gotta whip that tail around, it is rear wheal drive after all.)

In short I would highly recommend this tire. Anyone else tried these?[/b]
Figured I'd offer some additional insight here. I ran the Dunlop Graspic DS-2s on my 06 Cobalt last year. They worked great, I didn't have any complaints. Ran them in the stock Cobalt size, 195/60R15. They didn't seem to have much worse dry handling characteristics then the stock all-seasons did though they are obviously much worse than the 17s I had on the car. In the snow they stopped well and I never got stuck with them.

This year the same tires will be on the MR2, I just mounted them an hour or so ago. 195/60R15s do appear to fit though they rub if you crank the steering wheel all the way over. I'm used to that already because our Jeep has the same issue when we run the stock wheels. These are the stock Cobalt wheels as well, they appear to be the same offset as the Scion wheels I had picked up for this purpose. I'm looking forward to seeing how it does in the snow.



 
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