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Wheels and Tires: Winter Combination

These were purchased from Wholesale Tire Direct.
The tires are Michelin Artic Alpin in size 205 60 R60.
The wheels are steel with Mercedes-Benz take off hubcaps.


I have not been very impressed with the Artic Alpin's for my conditions. They provide great traction in snow and slush conditions, but they are very loud and do not grip very well on dry and especially wet pavement. What can you expect from a winter tire though? Let me know if you have them and what you think of them. I drive mostly on dry pavement or wet pavement after the salt has melted the snow. There are probably 15-25 days a season where I drive through standing snow, but they are worth their weight in gold on these days.

For about 1,000 miles I drove with just the rears before the fronts arrived. I do not recommend this because it made the car very unpredictable, so much so that I was afraid to drive with two hands on the wheel (I normally am comfortable with just a single hand controlling the car). On the highway the car required a lot of steering corrections.

Here are some pictures.

Update [10.09.02]: I think that several of the issues I was having with the unpredictable highway driving was from a skew alignment. When the car was in at the body shop (Sabetti's) they should have done a proper alignment on the car, but eyeballed it instead. After a proper alignment with the summer tires back on, the car became much more predictable and comfortable to drive. I will report back when I put the snow tires back on for the winter this year as to whether or not they handle well.

Update [09.21.03]: Well, it's not winter now but I just wanted to say that last winter I was very impressed with these tires. They handled alright on dry pavement, but are quite impressive in the snow. Enough so to post one of the better times of the day at a snow autocross. If you want more information, results, or just want to check that out see the Columbus, IN Autox in the Snow link from the Recent Projects and Info page. If I were to purchase another set of snow tires (which I have to do next year, yeah 4 winters is great!) I think I'd go for a set of Nokians. I'm not sure which model, but I've only heard good things about them. I'd look for something with a little better dry handling.

Update [10.15.06]: After some luck, I managed to get a set of free 17" wheels with an old set of snow tires. See the other wheels section for details. They served their purpose and spent the summer on the car.

This weekend I picked up another set of proper snow tires at Tire Rack. I was very happy with the previous tires, and had they been made still I would have purchased them again. I went with 205 60 R15 Michelin Pilot Alpin PA2. I considered the Michelin X-Ice, but they have a lower speed rating of Q I believe. In hopes of getting a sportier tire, I chose the Pilot with its H speed rating. Tire Rack's description describes improved wet handling with good snow/ice performance. I'd be thrilled if they're as good as the old Artic Alpin's in the snow with better wet performance. They weren't so good once the snow melted. I chose to mount them on the 15" alloy wheels the vehicle came with. They are pictured in the Summer tire section at the top.

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