"All Season" Tires

Roger M. Woodbury rmwoodbury at downeast.net
Fri Oct 26 12:39:33 EDT 2001

Well, yes and no.

When I owned an insurance business here, I travelled around 45,000 miles a
year in the car, and, naturally, a lot of that was in severe winter
conditions.  I had a variety of cars during that time, but found the best
vehicles for my specific purpose were Mercedes diesels.

My first MBZ was a 190D 2.2 diesel, which was put into service during the
time of the 55 mph national speed limit...the good ole "double nickel".  I
ran that car in all weather on its factory spec all season tires, and found
the combination of low power and relatively narrow wheels and tires to be
exceptionally good for a rear wheel drive, front engine car.

I had an Audi two wheel drive coupe one winter (1982), which was absolutely
wonderful on standard tires, regardless of the weather.....except the
combination of relatively short wheel travel, wide, 60 series tires and hard
seats made it an impossible car to use day in day out on uneven rural roads.

After the 2.2 Mercedes diesel got around 85,000 miles on it, along came a
better idea from Mercedes, and that was the 190D 2.5Turbo diesel.  All the
good things that the earlier car had been, plus some real power and over the
road performance.  The "double nickel" had disappeared, and the smaller
diesel had been really challenged to churn out miles above about sixty miles
per hour.

The 2.5 diesel came with "V" rated tires, and with the power that the turbo
could deliver, I NEVER considered running the standard tires year round, and
had steel wheels and studded, winter tires for all four wheels.  As I
recall, the tires used were Continental radial snow tires that were double
row studded.  Aside from being relatively loud, the traction overall for my
purposes, was excellent, although I never forgot that I was driving a rear
wheel drive car.

One fall we had an early winter storm that started out in Massachusetts as
rain.  I was at a National Guard Drill in Worcester,a nd got back to
Portland, Maine, around ten in the evening.  The Massachusetts rain had
turned into freezing rain, and the roads were periodically covered with
black ice.  The appointment to change the tires and wheels on the Mercedes
was the next week, but when I turned off the Maine Turnpike onto secondary
roads, I came over a rise at about 35 miles per hour, and totally lost
control on the black ice.  The car did two three sixties, and ended up
facing the way I had come, after striking some object frozen into the ground
with the right rear tire.  I limped the two miles home, having broken at
least two of the rear suspension links.  The change in tires that took place
the next week, involved replacing one wheel and some suspension
pieces....about $2200, plus the wheel and tire, as I recall.  The next year,
the tires were changed at the beginning of  October and not the end.

After retiring, and moving way "downeast", down the end of a series of dirt
roads in serious rural country, one day I borrowed a 120,000 mile Audi
5000CS Wagon.  I just wanted to try it overnight, and my friend the dealer
had just traded the vehicle.  It was in pretty good shape, despite the
miles.  That night we had about four inches of snow.  I went out and drove
out through the snow like it wasn't there, and I bought that car that
afternoon.  My first Quattro.

It had Michelin "all season" tires on it, and when I replaced them, it was
with my first set of Firestone Touring LH tires that I mentioned, and I used
them on that wagon, and the one that replaced it.  VERY satisfied.

I have never used the Graspics or Blizzark tires, although Iknow that many
people love them.  From my experience, it is hard to imagine an Audi Quattro
needing more than a set of all season radials with a decent amount of life
left in them.  It seems to me that if more than that is needed, then studded
radial snow tires on all four wheels are what should be used....or maybe
even chains.


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