Hi there, I have been following this tire thread and have been researching the Dunlop tires you are recommending, posttosh.
I have the 2005 6 sport wagon (manual) (purchased in 2007) and was happy with my standard Michelin Pilots that came with it, went to the Primacy and hated them and went back to the Pilots. I now need new tires and the Dunlops sounds like what I want. However, I have had nothing done to my car, I simply love to drive it and have fun shifting through turns, corners and whatnot. I also drive about 400 highway miles a week. So it's a bit of both.
It is a matter of priorities: every tire is a bunch of compromises, and you need to give up something to get something. For me, the very most important thing
that a tire needs to do is to stop the car when it is called upon to do so; everything else is secondary -- though serendipitously there is a very high correlation between a tire's ability to stop the car and its precision and quickness of steering response.
There is a rough but strong inverse
correlation between a tire's "stickiness" -- braking and cornering ability -- and treadwear. Tire makers know a lot about how to make a tire last forever, and they make tires with 500-600-700 UTQG Treadwear ratings for the deranged people who think that Treadwear is the be-all and end-all. The very high Treadwear rating tires will ride harshly, genrally are fairly noisy, and -- worst of all, to my mind -- don't stop worth a damn. That does not mean that a LOW Treadwear rating is a figure of merit; nobody wants to change tires every six months. But there is a sweet spot in UTQG Treadwear around 300; I have had some excellent tires that had 280 Treadwear ratings.
There is a nearly absolute inverse
relationship between the capability of a non-M&S (deep lug, wide gaps between tread blocks) tire to grip in snow and the tire's ability to stop on wet pavement. Snow traction for a nearly smooth surfaced tire requires chemical modification of the tread compound to counter the natural proclivity of rubber to shed moisture; snow traction, that is, requires that the tire NOT shed water from the tread. But retained water between the tread and the pavement is anathema to good braking response; it is a straight trade-off. That is why we never fit "all-season" tires to our car. All-season tires are almost as useless as other non-winter tires in deep snow, and are generally crappy in melted slush for the same reason they are dangerous on rainy days; the only time they have their day in the sun, as it were, is in a light snow condition, before the snow gets too deep, and before it melts down to slush.
I had contacted a local tire place today who orders through tirerack and they tried to talk me into the BFG Super Sport TAS (I think I have that right.) They feel that they will get longer wear than the Dunlops, but since I'm not that knowledgeable about tires, I figured I'd run it by people here. I don't want to get tires that aren't right for me, especially since I don't race my car or anything, I just love to DRIVE it.
BFG is a Michelin brand, and Michelin uses it in much the same way that Goodyear has used the Kelly Springfield brand over the years. There are cosmetic differences, but mostly BFGs these days are previous generation Michelin designs with lipstick.
I am in the Philly, PA area so I go through all seasons, but I enjoy driving my car and hated the soft and rolling feeling when I briefly had the Primacys on my car.
Do you have any thoughts? Thanks for any advice you have.
If I lived in Philly, I definitely would run real winter tires (probably Hankook Ice Bears, unless I felt rich enough to get Nokians) from Thanksgiving through St. Patrick's Day, and serious non
-"all-season" tires from St. Patrick's Day through Thanksgiving. The Hankook Ventus V12 is a hard tire to bet against, as it is excellent in the dry and wet, and is about as economical a three+ season tire as you will find. I have run the Ventus on our Mazda6 wagon, and they were excellent. The Dunlop SP Sport Maxx TT is simply a slightly better tire -- but not by a huge margin.