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2 posts

Wannabe Geek

#294020 28-Feb-2022 14:37
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Hi all,




I'm looking for tyre recommendations. Normally I'm confident with selecting new tyres, but this time I need recommendations for winter alpine conditions. I am relocating to Queenstown for the winter season, at least 4-5 months. I need to get new tyres and want some options for tyres that will perform in these conditions and give me confidence whilst driving. To be clear, I'm not after snow tyres. I'm after 'regular' tyres that will provide good performance/safety in alpine conditions. I will be driving around the touristy areas a lot including to the ski field. Yes I will be using chains if required in severe conditions. Any recommendations for specific tyre models would be greatly appreciated!




2008 Subaru Legacy wagon. 215/45/17

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Mad Scientist
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Uber Geek

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  #2876367 28-Feb-2022 15:19
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I drive every other weekend in Queenstown and Wanaka up all 4 ski fields, over crown range in rain sleet snow and frost.

I wear high performance summer tyres in my Subaru.

Not saying its the best setup but that's what I do. The traction control light doesn't come on unless i drive like a maniac. The only time when that is not acceptable is ice.

Involuntary autocorrect in operation on mobile device. Apologies in advance.

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2 posts

Wannabe Geek

  #2876369 28-Feb-2022 15:23
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Thanks for the reply. Yeah I normally use high performance summer tyres, but that's for north island conditions. I have however been up the mountain road to Turoa many times and the tyres were ok.

I just wasn't sure if other tyres would be better for winter alpine conditions

Mad Scientist
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Uber Geek

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  #2876383 28-Feb-2022 16:13
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i've watched all the youtube tests, all season tyres are no better than summer tyres in winter conditions, and are far inferior in summer conditions and in the wet.


the new improved all seasons are called all weather tyres and they are better than the old all seasons but i don't think anybody sells them in NZ.


so for me - anything but ice = subaru + summer tyres


ice (or days old snow => basically hard as ice) = chains or don't drive

Involuntary autocorrect in operation on mobile device. Apologies in advance.

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  #2876385 28-Feb-2022 16:23
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Sound's like you are after good all season tires. Tricky as they don't market them as all season tiers in NZ, but their are a few around.


Generally they have "m+s" on the sidewall. Ideally you would want a tire with the 3 peak mountian snowflake symbol on it (3PMSF), not sure if you will be able to find one in NZ. Historically this mark was reserved for winter tires, that were able to beat a reference winter tire. But as time has passed, the reference tire is now quite old tech, and some automakers are able to beat it with their all season tires.


An example of an All season tire available in NZ for your tire size is this one.

Hyperdrive lists them at $196 each before a 40% discount, and fitting. Note it is a long life tire, which may or may not be desirable for your use case.


I'm Auckland based but a few years back I put a set of all season tires (by chance) on my car. They were a high proformance touring tire by GT radial, and I was really happy with them in warm conditions (never really tested them alpine conditions). Any my current set of tires on my SUV (performance touring) happen to have a m+s rating too.




If you want to do this properly, you could seek out every tire available on hyperdrive, bridgestone, beaureapires etc. and for each one with a lot of siping (small cuts, good in snow & ice), search out the tire and see if it is sold as an all season in other markets.

Left field option would be to pick up a proper set of winter tires. Queens town winter definitely get's cold enough for them, and would be great to have on going up the mountains, and when temperature gets around freezing point.


Hard to get hold of New, but there are heaps of used sets that have come in on used Japanese cars bound for Auckland etc. Often dirt cheap too.

This listing has a set of four "225/45/17s michelins x ice all 7mm", asking just $115 for the entire set. (Works out to be 10mm wider, and 1.6% taller than your current set.




Potentially could source a second set of rims with the same offset & stud pattern (again tend to be pretty cheap), which would give you a dedicated ski season set of wheels and tires, and would give you the option of dropping to 16" rim if you wanted (sounds like dropping rim diameter, and going for more sidewall is a common choice by people who live in areas where winter / summer tires are typically run. need to check it fits over the breaks.)

When buying used tires, check the date stamp before purchase. Tires should be pritty much thrown away after 10 years, so I would be reluctant to buy anything over 3 or so years old.

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  #2876397 28-Feb-2022 16:47
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4WD helps you go but the only thing helping you stop is the small patch of rubber on the contacting the ground.


The rubber compounds used in summer/high performance tyres goes stiff at temps below 7C resulting in reduced traction (both wet and dry) and can cause damage to the tread blocks. The mean temps for QT from May-Sep are at or below that. The best option for the winter months, especially if you're going to encounter snow and ice are proper winter tyres (Bridgestone Blizzak/Michelin X-Ice/etc). But with a whole heap of misinformation and low demand they're all but impossible to find here (even though tyre manufactures test their winter tyres at the SHPG in Wanaka).


Second best option would be a set of decent all season tyres - something like the Hankook H426 or BFGoodrich Advantage Control (both available from Hyper Drive in your size and can be had for about $400-500 for a set of 4 with the discount code + installation). All seasons are a compromise through - not as good as winter tyres in low temps or snow/ice, and performance/efficiency/tread life falls away when temps rise.


There plenty of back to back tests on the differences between winter/all season/summer tyres in various conditions if you're curious.

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