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Thread: '18 GT - Snow Tires

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    '18 GT - Snow Tires

    Of the many things I really like about this car, there are many that I don't. One of them is winter performance in the near constant wintery mix we have up here.

    I've spent substantial winter time driving in Suburbans, Jetta's, Grand Cherokees, Cherokees, Pilots and they are all much, much better than this car. The ABS is downright terrible - it cuts in way too early and massively extends stopping distances compared to threshold breaking.

    Hell, I'd take the front wheel drive Jetta's over this thing. I just about spun it out on an off ramp last winter, something I have never done in over 20 years and 250,000 miles in the northeast.

    I'm looking into adding snow tires, but I'm not sure if I can just the front two and whether I can expect that to improve snow driving. I'm not concerned about mileage differentials on front/rear tires as this is a lease and going back! I also don't want to invest a grand into a car that I have for two more winters.

    Thanks!

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    Quote Originally Posted by MattGoose View Post
    Of the many things I really like about this car, there are many that I don't. One of them is winter performance in the near constant wintery mix we have up here.

    I've spent substantial winter time driving in Suburbans, Jetta's, Grand Cherokees, Cherokees, Pilots and they are all much, much better than this car. The ABS is downright terrible - it cuts in way too early and massively extends stopping distances compared to threshold breaking.

    Hell, I'd take the front wheel drive Jetta's over this thing. I just about spun it out on an off ramp last winter, something I have never done in over 20 years and 250,000 miles in the northeast.

    I'm looking into adding snow tires, but I'm not sure if I can just the front two and whether I can expect that to improve snow driving. I'm not concerned about mileage differentials on front/rear tires as this is a lease and going back! I also don't want to invest a grand into a car that I have for two more winters.

    Thanks!
    Generally, replacing only the front tires is a bad idea (regardless of whether your car is FWD, RWD, AWD, 4WD). You'll get improved grip up front, but the rear will be limited to whatever the rear tires can handle. This usually leads to oversteer and an increased risk of fishtailing. Replacing only the rear tires leads to understeer, which is safer and easier to control. Thus, if you only want to replace two tires, it should be the rear. However, I don't think this would play nice with the AWD system (though I haven't tried it to be sure).

    All that said, most manufacturers recommend that on an AWD vehicle, tires should be changed as a full set, and should all be the same brand and model, with similar, if not the same, wear levels. I believe this is to ensure that all four tires have the same level of traction. As an example, if you put a brand new pair of Hakkapeliita tires on the rear, but have a half-worn set of Hakkapeliitas on the front, the AWD system may be triggered/engaged more often to compromise for the difference in traction from the rear to the front.

    TL;DR, if you want better traction in the cold, snow/ice tires are the way to go, but they should be installed as a full set. This year, I put a set of Bridgestone Blizzak DM-V2 tires in OEM sizing on the 20s. I have approximately 2500 kms on the set and they seem to be doing just fine (though they haven't really been tested yet as the winter has been pretty mild so far).

    EDIT: Also, I know that you had mentioned the off-ramp traction some time ago, and I believe that I commented on that post as well, so I'm sure you probably already tried this, but just in case.. double check your tire pressures. I had traction issues when I first got my CX-9 and found that each tire was over-inflated. Traction with the OEM Ecopia tires improved greatly after correcting that problem.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sm1ke View Post
    most manufacturers recommend that on an AWD vehicle, tires should be changed as a full set, and should all be the same brand and model, with similar, if not the same, wear levels. I believe this is to ensure that all four tires have the same level of traction. As an example, if you put a brand new pair of Hakkapeliita tires on the rear, but have a half-worn set of Hakkapeliitas on the front, the AWD system may be triggered/engaged more often to compromise for the difference in traction from the rear to the front.
    More importantly, the tires should be the same circumference.
    If the front wheels are smaller or bigger than the rears, or worse, if one front or rear tire is worn and the other is new, resulting in one being bigger around than the other, then the system will definitely not be happy.
    I ran different size tires on my Pathfinder once, and never again.
    The system wanted equal tires all around, and complained quite loudly when I engaged AWD mode with the different size tires on the front compared to the back.
    Lastly, some may argue the point of dedicated winter tires, especially on an AWD vehicle, but they make a world of difference.
    Remember, AWD does nothing for you when trying to stop. It's great for getting going from a dead stop, but little else.
    As for cost of snow tires, I buy slighty used tires on Kijiji, and save myself a ton of cash.

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    My wife's cousin put snows on the front of her FWD Acura. Made a turn, hit an icy patch, and pin wheeled. If the front tires have more traction than the rears there's nothing to keep the rears in the rear.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sm1ke View Post
    Generally, replacing only the front tires is a bad idea (regardless of whether your car is FWD, RWD, AWD, 4WD). You'll get improved grip up front, but the rear will be limited to whatever the rear tires can handle. This usually leads to oversteer and an increased risk of fishtailing. Replacing only the rear tires leads to understeer, which is safer and easier to control. Thus, if you only want to replace two tires, it should be the rear. However, I don't think this would play nice with the AWD system (though I haven't tried it to be sure).

    All that said, most manufacturers recommend that on an AWD vehicle, tires should be changed as a full set, and should all be the same brand and model, with similar, if not the same, wear levels. I believe this is to ensure that all four tires have the same level of traction. As an example, if you put a brand new pair of Hakkapeliita tires on the rear, but have a half-worn set of Hakkapeliitas on the front, the AWD system may be triggered/engaged more often to compromise for the difference in traction from the rear to the front.

    TL;DR, if you want better traction in the cold, snow/ice tires are the way to go, but they should be installed as a full set. This year, I put a set of Bridgestone Blizzak DM-V2 tires in OEM sizing on the 20s. I have approximately 2500 kms on the set and they seem to be doing just fine (though they haven't really been tested yet as the winter has been pretty mild so far).

    EDIT: Also, I know that you had mentioned the off-ramp traction some time ago, and I believe that I commented on that post as well, so I'm sure you probably already tried this, but just in case.. double check your tire pressures. I had traction issues when I first got my CX-9 and found that each tire was over-inflated. Traction with the OEM Ecopia tires improved greatly after correcting that problem.
    Good memory man! I did comment previously on this on a different thread. I'm fairly certain that I had lowered the air pressure prior to spinning out. The dealer delivered the car at nearly 60 PSI.

    I'm down to just about 30 now, a little low, but it's got me the best traction I can get.

    Sounds like I gotta deal with getting 4 tires or not!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Buzzman12 View Post
    More importantly, the tires should be the same circumference.
    If the front wheels are smaller or bigger than the rears, or worse, if one front or rear tire is worn and the other is new, resulting in one being bigger around than the other, then the system will definitely not be happy.
    I ran different size tires on my Pathfinder once, and never again.
    The system wanted equal tires all around, and complained quite loudly when I engaged AWD mode with the different size tires on the front compared to the back.
    Lastly, some may argue the point of dedicated winter tires, especially on an AWD vehicle, but they make a world of difference.
    Remember, AWD does nothing for you when trying to stop. It's great for getting going from a dead stop, but little else.
    As for cost of snow tires, I buy slighty used tires on Kijiji, and save myself a ton of cash.
    I'm all for winter tires. But in 20 years of driving I've never felt that I need them before. Times change!

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    Quote Originally Posted by PTguy View Post
    My wife's cousin put snows on the front of her FWD Acura. Made a turn, hit an icy patch, and pin wheeled. If the front tires have more traction than the rears there's nothing to keep the rears in the rear.
    It's the pinwheel that scares me.

    Time to find something used!

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    I think this is more of the shitty oem tires than the car itself. You can also try a set of good all-season that's also good with snow like the Conti DWS06.
    Otherwise if you get a ton of snow like the past couple years in Mass, winter tires are definitely good investment. I used to run a set of Blizzak on my RWD 340i and I loved snow days.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MattGoose View Post
    I'm all for winter tires. But in 20 years of driving I've never felt that I need them before. Times change!
    Not to sound like I'm coming down on you for your driving or anything, but if you haven't driven in crappy weather with a set of snow tires on your vehicle, then you'll always think you don't really need them.
    You have nothing to compare to.
    I hear this from family and friends all the time, until they try snow tires. Then they come back and say, why didn't I do this earlier.
    I also hear the argument that it costs too much. Well yes, there is the initial outlay, but over the long haul, it not any costlier, especially if you keep the vehicle a long time.
    I typically run the same set of snow tires for at least 5 years, if not longer.
    Remember that your summer tires aren't being used for 4-5 months, so they last almost twice as long, plus those nice alloy rims stay newer looking for a lot longer.
    I guess you can tell I'm a big proponent of snow tires in snow belt country, and I make no apologies for that.
    I love pulling up alongside some dude at a stop light in his Honda Civic, with his all season tires on there. Light turns green, and I'm gone.
    In my rear view mirror I see the Civic spinning his tires like mad, and the front end going side to side trying to get traction. Hilarious.
    Happy motoring everyone.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hollandog View Post
    I think this is more of the shitty oem tires than the car itself. You can also try a set of good all-season that's also good with snow like the Conti DWS06.
    Otherwise if you get a ton of snow like the past couple years in Mass, winter tires are definitely good investment. I used to run a set of Blizzak on my RWD 340i and I loved snow days.
    I completely agree that the OEM tires are awful. The Bridgestone Ecopias are NOT safe for winter driving and I'm surprised I haven't heard more about this issue. I've taken low-speed turns barely above idle and the vehicle somehow loses traction and there have been times where I've been concerned about hitting a curb or running in to a ditch because of this.

    Heck, I was going down the street in my neighborhood with basically a tiny bit of momentum from completing a turn and only engine idle moving the vehicle and despite moving so slowly (maybe 10 MPH? 15 at most) and braking early, I overshot my own damn driveway and had to turn around.

    I also had a very nerve-wracking experience when an SUV in front of me was able to slow down MUCH better than I could for a roundabout. Having several car lengths helped, thankfully. ANY other vehicle I've had in the past would not have needed that much space to be safe though and they would not have had me sweating bullets, wondering if I'd stop before hitting the vehicle in front of me.

    I simply don't feel safe driving with my infant son in this vehicle because of this and I'm so disappointed that I have to consider spending ~$1000 just to get a set of tires for this vehicle so I can feel safe enough to just drive the vehicle to/from work and pick up my son from daycare.

    I've driven through several Wisconsin and Minnesota winters and I've never had all season tires perform as poorly as these Bridgestone Ecopias have. It's appalling how bad they are. I emailed Mazda about this to see what they say.
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    Quote Originally Posted by norsairius View Post
    I've driven through several Wisconsin and Minnesota winters and I've never had all season tires perform as poorly as these Bridgestone Ecopias have. It's appalling how bad they are. I emailed Mazda about this to see what they say.
    That's odd. My CX-9 came with the same tires, but the only time I felt they were really bad, it was due to overinflation from the factory. Since correcting that problem, the tires were adequate for the one Calgary winter I had them for. I've never had any issues with stopping or starting, as long as I adjust my driving to fit the weather. I don't even think I've triggered ABS in this car yet. FTR, I'm a big practicioner of threshold braking and accelerating (got used to driving this way with my first car, which didn't have ABS or winter tires).

    Buying used tires is a great way to save cash, provided you measure the tread remaining and identify any plugs or patches, then negotiate to ensure you're paying the right price for the condition.

    When my wife's Civic had all-seasons, there were many occasions at traffic lights where I was able to get up to speed before the car with winter tires next to me could, simply because the other driver had a heavy foot and didn't allow the tires to bite. Winter tires can be a huge benefit, but if you don't know how to accelerate/brake in poor conditions, what's the point?
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    Quote Originally Posted by sm1ke View Post
    That's odd. My CX-9 came with the same tires, but the only time I felt they were really bad, it was due to overinflation from the factory. Since correcting that problem, the tires were adequate for the one Calgary winter I had them for. I've never had any issues with stopping or starting, as long as I adjust my driving to fit the weather. I don't even think I've triggered ABS in this car yet. FTR, I'm a big practicioner of threshold braking and accelerating (got used to driving this way with my first car, which didn't have ABS or winter tires).

    Buying used tires is a great way to save cash, provided you measure the tread remaining and identify any plugs or patches, then negotiate to ensure you're paying the right price for the condition.

    When my wife's Civic had all-seasons, there were many occasions at traffic lights where I was able to get up to speed before the car with winter tires next to me could, simply because the other driver had a heavy foot and didn't allow the tires to bite. Winter tires can be a huge benefit, but if you don't know how to accelerate/brake in poor conditions, what's the point?
    You raise a good point, regarding over inflation. I had the car in for service and itís felt a bit stiffer since then so Iíll have to check that.

    After calming down a bit from the crap that the tires have put me through, I believe itís also possible the progression of snowfall may have started with a thin layer of ice forming first, but I really donít know. If that is the case, then their disappointing performance makes a lot more sense as ice on the road is far more difficult for most tires to handle. For what itís worth, the tires actually did a bit better with more snow on the ground this morning.

    I also agree that threshold braking/accelerating is far more effective than mashing the pedals and letting the computers sort things out. Iíll never claim to be a pro driver or anything, but I do believe myself to be good enough to adjust for winter conditions as needed, as Iíve done so for several years successfully.

    Otherwise, I still think the Ecopias are not a good tire for winter driving. Reviews on Tire Rack generally agree: https://m.tirerack.com/tires/ratings...ireDetail=true
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    Quote Originally Posted by norsairius View Post
    Otherwise, I still think the Ecopias are not a good tire for winter driving. Reviews on Tire Rack generally agree: https://m.tirerack.com/tires/ratings...ireDetail=true
    Yeah, there are definitely better tires out there for the money. Hopefully Mazda comes back with some sort of incentive for you, like a discount on a new set of tires or something. Then you can just sell the used set to someone on Craigslist and put the tires behind you
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    Quote Originally Posted by sm1ke View Post
    Yeah, there are definitely better tires out there for the money. Hopefully Mazda comes back with some sort of incentive for you, like a discount on a new set of tires or something. Then you can just sell the used set to someone on Craigslist and put the tires behind you
    Weíll see! It couldnít hurt to be a more conservative driver, but safer tires would always be nice. That said, my intent with airing my grievances isnít necessarily to get money, though Iíd interpret that as a serious sign of good will if they offered something to that effect. Iíd consider it progress if Mazda committed to putting better tires on the CX-9 from the factory. My preference is of course for Mazda to help me out somehow if they can.
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    My Ecopia's were overinflated as well. I've never experienced a +1/+2 psi on each wheel making such a huuge difference.

    When so - they are bad even on dry surface doing 30-40mph turns or even slowly changing lanes on 60-70mph. The car just feels unstable. I thought I'm not used to such a big car, but when I deflated tires - steering response became normal. When inflated right - they become decent on dry surface. However when it gets wet and cold (mid 40F) conditions - cornering and breaking distance if far from good. I would not trust them in winter especially with a heavy car as CX-9. I decided to keep them for couple summers but adding winter set for winters.

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