Tires, ice and quattro (long)

james accordino ssgacc at
Tue Dec 3 14:00:28 EST 2002

Got it here in NE Pa. last night (2 Dec.).  I'm
running Micheln MXV4's right now with high tread
levels.  These tires have been really good in the
limited snow/slush we've had so far.  Last night it
was so cold the small amount of snow was freezing
almost immediately.  Every stop brought the ABS to
full song.  The COMPOUND of the rubber is the key as
you said.  I checked the tires when I got home and
they were like glass.  I ran them this morning is some
slush residue and colder temps. (8* F) but at higher
highway speeds.  I think the high speeds brought the
rubber up to temp., because the tires were much more
pliable this morning.  Btw, last year I ran Artic
Alpins on both the Quat. and the OL's minivan.  Loved
them for exactly the type of conditions you described.
 I shopped them out of season for the mid $70. ea at
one of the online tire distributors.  This year I'm
running new Blizzak MZ-02's.  Mounted but not on the
car yet.  Some smaller online tire dealer had them in
the low 50 range, $52,54? ea. with free shipping.  I
wonder how they'll compare to the Alpins?  Thanks for
the knowledge.

Jim Accordino
--- "Doyt W. Echelberger" <Doyt at>
> Yesterday afternoon northern Ohio was hit by record
> low temperatures and
> snow which continued until this morning. It totalled
> 5 inches and
> temperatures dropped to 7 degrees F in places. That
> is record cold in these
> parts.
> My old 87 5ktq (with 264k miles on it) was running
> on 3 year old Arctic
> Alpins, and the combination of all-wheel drive and
> high tech tread really
> made a difference.  I didn't have to slow down when
> everything else was
> having trouble staying out of the ditches. It was
> amazing. I played with
> the wheel a few times and tried to fish tail, but
> couldn't. The Alpins bit
> in and it came right back into line.  I pumped the
> brakes and the car slid
> but it was slowing down and grabbing like we were on
> gravel rather than
> ice. I had control.
> I was able to run on the highways at any legal speed
> I wanted, and on the
> side streets where it was sheet ice I could turn and
> stop the car well
> enough to feel comfortable being there. I had a
> predictable range of
> control. I have driven the same streets in the
> quattro (pre-Arctic Alpin)
> when turning the wheel changed nothing and braking
> had no effect at all.
> Actually, this time the problem was staying away
> from other cars that were
> sliding around sort of at random.
> I can't imagine spending a winter in Ohio without a
> car like this, equipped
> with ice tires. And the tires are the biggest part
> of the equation. The
> Arctic Alpins are doing the job. I examined the
> tracks they left in the
> frozen slush, and the grooves and patterns of the
> tread had formed the
> slush into hard-packed mirror images made of ice.
> The weight of the car had
> squeezed out the water and made the slush into
> blocks that added up to a
> cogwheel-like surface with considerable cumulative
> grip......enough to
> provide some acceptable trade off
> against the noticeable
> higher noise levels of these 3 year-old Alpins on
> dry roads.
> I've also encountered black ice with these tires,
> where they gave me an
> acceptable level of control.  On black ice the
> micro-siping was able to
> interact with the smooth hard ice sufficiently to
> provide some small amount
> of grip that enabled stopping and turning, if I kept
> the speed low enough.
> I've driven the same car on that kind of ice with
> all-weather tires, and
> there was no grip at all at any speed. For stopping
> and turning, quattro
> didn't matter under those conditions. It did help a
> little at first, in
> getting moving, but moving at all was pretty risky.
> I encountered a patch
> of black ice in the quattro one night about 4 years
> ago, at night, at about
> 50 miles an hour. I was running all-weather tires,
> and I had no control at
> all.  Turning the wheel had no effect. Touching the
> brakes didn't even
> change the sound of the tires on the ice. I had zero
> steering and braking.
> Talk about a panic attack.....this experience
> convinced me of the need for
> dedicated ice tires for this quattro.
> Snow is no problem.   In Ohio, it is ice and slush.
>  And those conditions
> require a special low-temperature tread material and
> several patterns of
> grooving and siping.
> The other part of the problem is that 90% of the
> time I have ice-free hard
> roads. The Alpins have been a good compromise for 3
> years. They may even be
> up to going 4. I think I'll consider the Kumho's
> when I replace them, for
> half the price. But this 'q' is gonna have dedicated
> ice tires.
> Doyt Echelberger
> 87 5ktq  Ohio USA

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