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Old 10-27-2013, 06:24 PM   #1
zheka130
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Changed to winter/all weather tires, car handles like a boat

I've just changed from my Michelin Pilot Super Sport to Kumho Solus KH21 225/47/R17 (all weather tires, which are really winter tires, I had almost identical tires on my Honda, they were fine)

I am driving on the highway and I notice that the car feels like a boat, I've never experienced worse handling than this, even on my Toyota Echo

Is this really due to the tires? Steel rims can not be to blame?

Can the slightly larger profile be the culprit?

Or is this normal for all winter tires? Although I've had winter tires before, and no such thing.
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Old 10-27-2013, 06:27 PM   #2
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Different tire dimensions will dramatically affect the feel of a car. "Low profile" tires will make the car feel one with the road, and fatter tires will make the car seem less dettached to the road, or "like a boat". And not to mention you are going from the best tire on the market, to one with far less quality.
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Old 10-27-2013, 06:43 PM   #3
zheka130
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I understand that, but the effect is dramatic, I can not drive the car like I used to

suppose I get Michelin winter tires, will they perform the same way?
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Old 10-27-2013, 06:49 PM   #4
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Re: Changed to winter/all weather tires, car handles like a boat

^ I have Michelin winter tires and although they are quite different than my pirelli's, they aren't bad or boat-like.. what tires did you change to?
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Old 10-27-2013, 06:52 PM   #5
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I understand that, but the effect is dramatic, I can not drive the car like I used to

suppose I get Michelin winter tires, will they perform the same way?
Nope. You went from tires that were really grippy, have excellent tread patterns, and are made for summer driving.

Your all seasons, or winter as you say, have different tread patterns and different grip ratings. Thus the feel, slightly.

But yes, depth also dramatically effects handling. Believe me, you'll get used to it over time. Then when you switch back, you'll be like "Holy Sh1t"
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Old 10-27-2013, 06:52 PM   #6
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Re: Changed to winter/all weather tires, car handles like a boat

Normal. Depends which tires you get. Some are designed more for good cold dry weather handling like the Dunlop 3d but some will feel like a wet noodle
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Old 10-27-2013, 07:21 PM   #7
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ok thanks guys,
i thought i wasted $600, i guess not entirely

But they are awful, i used to be able to jump from lane to lane, now i have to drive it like an old man
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Old 10-28-2013, 09:45 AM   #8
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Nope. You went from tires that were really grippy, have excellent tread patterns, and are made for summer driving.

Your all seasons, or winter as you say, have different tread patterns and different grip ratings. Thus the feel, slightly.

But yes, depth also dramatically effects handling. Believe me, you'll get used to it over time. Then when you switch back, you'll be like "Holy Sh1t"
Why do you feel this normal difference?

  • Generally speaking, more sidewall = more flex, longer reaction time from wheel turn to tire turn.
  • And all-weather tires tend to have smaller tread blocks which makes for more "squirm" than the big, fat blocks in performance rubber. The tread is also deeper than summer tires = more "squirm". This is magnified between brand new winters and summer tires that have already experienced some wear.
  • Add to that the fact that the rubber is different. Performance tires turn to stone long before 0C, whereas winter rubber is made to stay flexible at much colder temps. But it is soft, and does not offer the same stability
  • In addition, the underlying construction of performance tires is different from winter (or even all season) tires.
Think of how different it is wearing winter boots and beach sandals. They are both "shoes" but they will feel very different while shopping in the mall.
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Old 10-28-2013, 10:26 AM   #9
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Also it should be mentioned that *all* tires drive a little weird during the break in period of a week or so.
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Old 10-28-2013, 11:10 AM   #10
zheka130
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Thanks for the replies,

Now I am thinking of changing back to my summer tires and driving on them until the snow starts to fall, or keeping these ones on and not enjoying my drives anymore
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Old 10-28-2013, 11:35 AM   #11
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All good points. There are many variables that affect a tire's behavior. I have experienced significant handling differences even within the same tire brand, size and type (summer). This was going from Continental ContiSport Contact 2 to the Extreme Contact DW. Steering response dropped quite a bit, although treadwear was improved.
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Old 10-28-2013, 11:57 AM   #12
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Its normal for the car to handle completely different.
My tires squeal much easier, and I can chirp them in 3rd. Can't drive like I used to with the summer wheels & tires.

But, my tramlining symptoms are nearly gone. So I guess that's a plus.
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Old 10-28-2013, 12:01 PM   #13
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Now I am thinking of changing back to my summer tires and driving on them until the snow starts to fall, or keeping these ones on and not enjoying my drives anymore
That's seems pretty much to be the choice you have.

But be aware, summer performance tires become next to useless for anything beyond cruising a subdivision around 40F (~5C). That is, the wonderful grip @ 80F (27C) disappears. Even at the lower speeds, expect braking distances to be longer.

As with most things in life, tire design involves compromises. And choosing which tire to drive means accepting those compromises. At one point, some years ago, when we were putting a lot of miles on one of our cars, it had 3 sets of tires (and went to autox in whatever it was wearing at the time):
  • Summer:
    June - Sept
    Average late freeze is the end of May
  • All-season:
    Oct - Nov; Apr - May
    Can be warm or below freezing; typically only light snow
  • Winter:
    Dec - March
    We get our first "meaningful" snow toward the end of November, and, thanks to lake-effect, the ground is typically covered until Easter
Tire technology has improved and we're putting fewer miles on the cars and use just two sets (summer and winter) for each. We have found that only the winter beater needs the serious, "full-bore" winter rubber and makes do with all-seasons the rest of the year.
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Old 10-28-2013, 08:30 PM   #14
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ok thanks guys,
i thought i wasted $600, i guess not entirely

But they are awful, i used to be able to jump from lane to lane, now i have to drive it like an old man
You bought a set of tires installed, ballanced and tire tax for $600? Nice.
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Old 10-28-2013, 09:28 PM   #15
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You bought a set of tires installed, ballanced and tire tax for $600? Nice.
not exactly, 600 was an approximation, I meant tires only

they were 160 each, (this included installation on the rim)
rims were 80 each
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Old 10-29-2013, 11:31 AM   #16
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Try adding some air. I run my summer 235/45 Michelins at 34 psi. I had the same issue when the 225/45 General artic snows went on. Found that they really needed 38-40 psi and they are much better handling. They handled well enough for me to avoid a pickup truck cap that came straight at my windshield! Dove into the break down lane hugging the guardrail as the cap went by my side window! Damn, these tires are better than I expected!!
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Old 10-29-2013, 11:57 AM   #17
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Blizzaks handle the same, real soft and handling sucks in the corners but are great when the snow starts to fly. I have an SUV now to handle snow driving.
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Old 10-29-2013, 01:22 PM   #18
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^ (what Hummer said). Indeed, general recommendation is to add 3~5 psi for winter tires.

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Old 10-29-2013, 03:39 PM   #19
zheka130
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Thanks Hummer

I will do that!
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Old 10-29-2013, 04:00 PM   #20
sunsetcoast
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Also, pressure falls ~1 psi for each 10F, so what is fine when daytime temps are 50F is going to be down a few psi when those highs are well below freezing. Remember to check pressure often in the winter.
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