Winter Tire Recos

Hi all, I live in Ontario Canada and looking for winter tire recos. So far from the major retailers, I’m seeing decent prices for Blizzak DMV2 and X-Ice Snow. Does anyone have any recos or insight to what you use and the pros and cons of what you run? I’m looking for mid grade to upper mid grade tires. Any insights would be great.
 

sm1ke

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'18 CX-9 Signature
I live in Manitoba and run Bridgestone Blizzak DM-V2 tires. I would say that they fall right in between "mid-grade" and "upper mid-grade".

I have no experience with them, but I've heard that Nokian Hakkapeliittas are really good.
 
I live in Manitoba and run Bridgestone Blizzak DM-V2 tires. I would say that they fall right in between "mid-grade" and "upper mid-grade".

I have no experience with them, but I've heard that Nokian Hakkapeliittas are really good.
I’ve seen really good reviews on these. The only negative I’ve seen is tire tread wear and potential longevity issues. How long have you had yours for and how is the tread wear compared to how many km’s you put on per winter season?
 
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Mazda CX-9 Grand Touring 2016
The current DM-V2 are giving me much better tread life than the old Blizzaks. Mine are holding up surprisingly well. Often my ski trips involve long fast drives on dry freeway before I get to the snowy mountains. Michelin X-ice might live longer, and are also excellent on ice & snow. Nokian is another a fine choice.

I take it that you're looking at a friction winter tire (studless) rather than a studded tire. I wouldn't use a studable tire without studs...the rubber compounds of the friction tire make all the difference. Also the new generation of all-weather tires, year-round tires with the snowflake-on-mountain symbol, seem to be OK on snow but not as good on ice as a real winter tire.
 
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North of Toronto
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2019 CX-9 Sig
A yr ago, this was the same comparison i wanted to make. But I was told, and the little research I did at the time seemed to confirm, X ice didn't exist in 18 or 19 inch sizes for my Signature.

I'm guessing Michelin filled the gap in the product lineup? Or maybe I should have searched harder a yr ago.

Anyway, the result was i run the DMV2s. I'm happy, but I'm in the GTA so no snow belt conditions. But it does fine in the mostly 10 to 15 cm storms we see here. One of the important things for me with winter rubber is dry pavement handling-after all, we own CX9s not Highlanders. I find with the DMV2s I can notice the diff in the cornering, but it's not significant.

But. I have X-ice tires on my CRV and had them on my Camry, I'd say in those two vehicles, there was less of a compromise in handling going from all seasons to X-ice. Take that with a grain of salt, as that's not to say CX9 sized X-ice would have the same abilities.

I'd be interested to know if the bigger size X-ice can do as good a job at approaching all season tires for handling as the smaller Michelin offerings.
 

sm1ke

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I’ve seen really good reviews on these. The only negative I’ve seen is tire tread wear and potential longevity issues. How long have you had yours for and how is the tread wear compared to how many km’s you put on per winter season?

I have had my DM-V2s since Oct 2018. I've used them for two full winter seasons (swapping them on in Oct and taking them off in April), and they have a total of 14396 km on them. I haven't measured the tread, but they look practically brand new still. They have a 5-year warranty.
 
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So I went to a local tire shop and they’re recommending a brand called Triangle. They have a similar tread pattern to the X-Ice Snows. Does anyone have any knowledge or experience with this brand?
 
I have had my DM-V2s since Oct 2018. I've used them for two full winter seasons (swapping them on in Oct and taking them off in April), and they have a total of 14396 km on them. I haven't measured the tread, but they look practically brand new still. They have a 5-year warranty.
Do you have winters on your stock rims or did you buy separate wheels for the winters?
 
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North of Toronto
:
2019 CX-9 Sig
So I went to a local tire shop and they’re recommending a brand called Triangle. They have a similar tread pattern to the X-Ice Snows. Does anyone have any knowledge or experience with this brand?


I don't know the brand, but remember rubber compound is as important, if not more, than tread. Tread works for snow, but it does less for you on dry/damp cold pavement than the nice soft rubber in a good tire.
 

sm1ke

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So I went to a local tire shop and they’re recommending a brand called Triangle. They have a similar tread pattern to the X-Ice Snows. Does anyone have any knowledge or experience with this brand?

I've never heard of them, but a quick Google search turned up some unfavourable reviews, like a tire blow-out at -30c from a pothole, for example. I've hit plenty of large-ish potholes at temps of -40c to -50c, and the DM-V2s show no signs of damage whatsoever (same goes for the OEM 20" wheels, these suckers are heavy but they sure are durable).

Keep in mind that the reviews I saw were pretty dated, some from 09. I would hope that they are better now, but I don't think I'd roll the dice without knowing more about them.


Do you have winters on your stock rims or did you buy separate wheels for the winters?

Winters on OEM 20s. After I put the winters on, I sold the OEM tires. For the summer, I have an aftermarket wheel and tire setup.
 
I've never heard of them, but a quick Google search turned up some unfavourable reviews, like a tire blow-out at -30c from a pothole, for example. I've hit plenty of large-ish potholes at temps of -40c to -50c, and the DM-V2s show no signs of damage whatsoever (same goes for the OEM 20" wheels, these suckers are heavy but they sure are durable).

Keep in mind that the reviews I saw were pretty dated, some from 09. I would hope that they are better now, but I don't think I'd roll the dice without knowing more about them.




Winters on OEM 20s. After I put the winters on, I sold the OEM tires. For the summer, I have an aftermarket wheel and tire setup.
Thanks for the feedback. Given my kids will be in the car, I’m gonna go with the Blizzak’s
 

sm1ke

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Thanks for the feedback. Given my kids will be in the car, I’m gonna go with the Blizzak’s

Yeah, I find them to be a safe choice that doesn't break the bank.

Might be worth considering buying a second set of wheels altogether, one for winter and one for spring/summer/fall. You could do 18" rims/alloys/steel wheels and install 255/60R18 tires on them. Steel wheels are pretty cheap and 18" tires will be cheaper than 20" tires. It's also cheaper/easier to swap one wheel set out for another compared to swapping OEM tires out for winter tires every winter. An extra set of TPMS sensors might offset the savings, but they aren't really necessary anyway, as long as you can ignore the TPMS light lol
 
Yeah, I find them to be a safe choice that doesn't break the bank.

Might be worth considering buying a second set of wheels altogether, one for winter and one for spring/summer/fall. You could do 18" rims/alloys/steel wheels and install 255/60R18 tires on them. Steel wheels are pretty cheap and 18" tires will be cheaper than 20" tires. It's also cheaper/easier to swap one wheel set out for another compared to swapping OEM tires out for winter tires every winter. An extra set of TPMS sensors might offset the savings, but they aren't really necessary anyway, as long as you can ignore the TPMS light lol

You can go as low as 17" rims, in fact that is what mazda dealer recommends to client in my region. I actually decided to maintain the OEM tire size and when with 18" steel wheels with original size 18" tires. This was a bit of a mistake and should have went either with narrower tires or down to 17". The reason being that I wasn't aware the 18" steel rims don't come in 8" width. So now my wOEM size winter tire barely fit on the rim. I am having a hard time balancing the tires and am wondering if that is the reason.

For winter tire you have to consider you region and if you want an ice tire or a snow tire. The X-ice are an ice tire, they perform their best on ice and are ok in snow. The blizzak are more of a snow tire, they perform better in snow and ok in ice. In southern ontario I would go with the x-ice, in northern ontario or the snow belt i would favour the blizzak.

I am in Ottawa and often take the road to ski in snowstorm so I am running Nokian Hakkapeliitta R3 SUV. They are great in snow and were pretty good on ice, but on wet asphalt (heavy rain) they are not the greatest. My previous SUV had Toyo Observe GS-i5. They are a great mid-price tire that would have bought again but found that in the CX-9 sizes the price difference wasn't that big so I went with the "premium tires"
 
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sm1ke

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You can go as low as 17" rims, in fact that is what mazda dealer recommends to client in my region. I actually decided to maintain the OEM tire size and when with 18" steel wheels with original size 18" tires. This was a bit of a mistake and should have went either with narrower tires or down to 17". The reason being that I wasn't aware the 18" steel rims don't come in 8" width. So now my wOEM size winter tire barely fit on the rim. I am having a hard time balancing the tires and am wondering if that is the reason.

For winter tire you have to consider you region and if you want an ice tire or a snow tire. The X-ice are an ice tire, they perform their best on ice and are ok in snow. The blizzak are more of a snow tire, they perform better in snow and ok in ice. In southern ontario I would go with the x-ice, in northern ontario or the snow belt i would favour the blizzak.

I am in Ottawa and often take the road to ski in snowstorm so I am running Nokian Hakkapeliitta R3 SUV. They are great in snow and were pretty good on ice, but on wet asphalt (heavy rain) they are not the greatest. My previous SUV had Toyo Observe GS-i5. They are a great mid-price tire that would have bought again but found that in the CX-9 sizes the price difference wasn't that big so I went with the "premium tires"

I had no idea about the difference between Blizzaks and X-Ices. I used to have X-Ice tires on a previous car and just thought I'd try something different on this car.

Is there a way to tell if a tire is best suited for ice vs snow (aside from user reviews)? Is there a specific tread/sipe design, or does it come down to the rubber compound used?
 
I had no idea about the difference between Blizzaks and X-Ices. I used to have X-Ice tires on a previous car and just thought I'd try something different on this car.

Is there a way to tell if a tire is best suited for ice vs snow (aside from user reviews)? Is there a specific tread/sipe design, or does it come down to the rubber compound used?


Rubber compound is very important, but assuming similar rubber compound, there is a tread//snipe design that is more efficient for ice or for snow.

The general goal with ice is to maximise the contact surface while also removing as much water as possible from the surface of the ice (between the rubber and the ice.) For ice threads would maximise rubber contact (smaller gap between blocks) and have a lot of very thin sipes accross the surface to try and evacuate as much of that thin film of water as possible.

With snow, the goal is more to dig and grip into the snow as well as evacuate the snow to clear packed snow from the thread for the next tire rotation. So snow tire would generally have bigger blocks spaced further appart. similar to mud or sand tires.

It is hard to see when looking only at one tire, but if you look at a blizzak side by side with an x-ice, the difference are immediately visible. The X-ice has tighter grouped blocks and lot of tiny sipes, great for ice and dry pavement but it means that it has more of a tendency to float on soft snow than the blizzak.

Compound plays a big difference, so I wouldn't rely solely on the thread to decide if a tire is good on ice or not, but you can get a good hint when comparing tires. Talking about compounds, some brands put hard bits in their compound to grab the ice. Blizzak i believe (don't quote me on this) have little micro bubbles in theirs to help leave room to evacuate that thin layer of water on the ice. The old blizzard only had their special compound for a certain portion of the thread. As they wore down, they would reach a point where they lost of portion of their on ice effectiveness and became like cheaper winter tire. I don't know if that is still the case, but it wasn't a secret and I think they were mentioning on the website.
 
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Mazda CX-9 Grand Touring 2016
I did a search on tirerack.com. For our 20" they show only Blizzak and Yokohama. For 18" they show Blizzak, Yokohama, Continental, Vrederstein, Pirelli. (Vrederstein started as Dutch and is currently owned by Apollo Tyres of India.)
 

sm1ke

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Rubber compound is very important, but assuming similar rubber compound, there is a tread//snipe design that is more efficient for ice or for snow.

The general goal with ice is to maximise the contact surface while also removing as much water as possible from the surface of the ice (between the rubber and the ice.) For ice threads would maximise rubber contact (smaller gap between blocks) and have a lot of very thin sipes accross the surface to try and evacuate as much of that thin film of water as possible.

With snow, the goal is more to dig and grip into the snow as well as evacuate the snow to clear packed snow from the thread for the next tire rotation. So snow tire would generally have bigger blocks spaced further appart. similar to mud or sand tires.

It is hard to see when looking only at one tire, but if you look at a blizzak side by side with an x-ice, the difference are immediately visible. The X-ice has tighter grouped blocks and lot of tiny sipes, great for ice and dry pavement but it means that it has more of a tendency to float on soft snow than the blizzak.

Compound plays a big difference, so I wouldn't rely solely on the thread to decide if a tire is good on ice or not, but you can get a good hint when comparing tires. Talking about compounds, some brands put hard bits in their compound to grab the ice. Blizzak i believe (don't quote me on this) have little micro bubbles in theirs to help leave room to evacuate that thin layer of water on the ice. The old blizzard only had their special compound for a certain portion of the thread. As they wore down, they would reach a point where they lost of portion of their on ice effectiveness and became like cheaper winter tire. I don't know if that is still the case, but it wasn't a secret and I think they were mentioning on the website.

Appreciate the clarification, that makes a lot of sense. Thanks!
 

sm1ke

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Just a quick comparison of visual wear. 1,500 kms vs 14,400 kms. Using the stepped lines on the tread blocks as a reference point, it seems I should expect to get another 30-40k out of this set.

1,500 km:
DM-V2_1500kms.jpg


14,400 km:
DM-V2_14400km.jpg
 
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