Who runs "Actual" Winter Tires, ideally in a 34" to 35" size?

This also came up in my search for sawdust tires... Blast from the past:

 
…and the sawdust tires cost $10 per tire, not 20 - my error. But they were pretty cool, dropping a bit of sawdust out the holes when stopped and starting up again. Centrifugal force kept the dust inside the core at speed. Used them one winter and “traded” them in as a core deposit another pair the next winter. But people were more patient then and valued their lives more, so slowing down on icy and snow packed roads wasn’t an ego issue then. Guess I’m dating myself but we didn’t need salt to protect us from ourselves and others in winter.
 
Went on a little over 200 mile trip in the UP today for my first run with the Firestone Winterforce tires, aired at mid 40s PSI. 170 miles of state hwy, snow covered on they way out in the morning and in 4wd most of the way cruise set at 70 and ROCK STEADY. The roads are generally straight around here so you can see for days. Got to the dirt USFS roads and aired down to 30 PSI for about 30 - 35 miles and got after it, slidin' around. Touching upper 60s on the straight, high visibility sections, a couple times I was pushing more than I should have, but never felt like I was in trouble. THere is so much drag with the 4.30 geared rearend and the biggish tires, it scrubs off at least a few mph in these conditions just letting off the gas. You'd really have to overcook it to end up in the trees. Aired back to 40 PSI for the ride home, roads were 100% wet the whole way, did it in 2wd, ended up settin' the cruise at 60 (Forscan adjusted for size) and found a good Spittin' Chiclets episode. Heated seats and wheel on, it was a good day in the UP in my truck with the dog......

Location: Mouth of the Two Hearted River area. North Country Trail.
 

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Went on a little over 200 mile trip in the UP today for my first run with the Firestone Winterforce tires, aired at mid 40s PSI. 170 miles of state hwy, snow covered on they way out in the morning and in 4wd most of the way cruise set at 70 and ROCK STEADY. The roads are generally straight around here so you can see for days. Got to the dirt USFS roads and aired down to 30 PSI for about 30 - 35 miles and got after it, slidin' around. Touching upper 60s on the straight, high visibility sections, a couple times I was pushing more than I should have, but never felt like I was in trouble. THere is so much drag with the 4.30 geared rearend and the biggish tires, it scrubs off at least a few mph in these conditions just letting off the gas. You'd really have to overcook it to end up in the trees. Aired back to 40 PSI for the ride home, roads were 100% wet the whole way, did it in 2wd, ended up settin' the cruise at 60 (Forscan adjusted for size) and found a good Spittin' Chiclets episode. Heated seats and wheel on, it was a good day in the UP in my truck with the dog......

Location: Mouth of the Two Hearted River area. North Country Trail.
Yikes! That is quite the driving trip.

When I used to drive those roads conditions were a bit worse, and speed limits were a lot lower.

My college stomping grounds were over by Houghton, MI and I recently spent a couple weeks over there.

A buddy went to school in Sault Ste. Marie but that was a long drive across the U.P. for a college kid. My Sault Ste. Marie memories are mostly a sleepless and inebriated blur (>40 years ago) or stopping for gas before crossing the Big Mack. BTW, you may not care, but it was a good weekend for some of us Michiganders. GoBlue. LOL.
 
I’m pretty sure I would’ve flunked out of college at Michigan Tech because I never would have been in class. Too much fun stuff to do in the Keweenaw.
 
I’m pretty sure I would’ve flunked out of college at Michigan Tech because I never would have been in class. Too much fun stuff to do in the Keweenaw.
LOL. It could be done. I would have been more likely to drop out due to boredom if I had gone to my hometown University for undergrad (Michigan). Tech was the time of my life. But it takes a particular warped type of person...LOL. Exploring, Beaver trapping - for furs - really; bird hunting, Nordic Ski Team, skipping all the boring classes, worked on research projects including one summer on Isle Royale..owned a Jeep CJ5. Life was glorious except for the one obvious glaring omission addressed w/ a GF at CMU.....and I still graduated early with honors, somehow...my Professors must have been trying to get rid of me.

Where the heck is Doo Dah?
 
I have a set of Bridgestone Blizzak LT sitting at Costco and my F250 (non-tremor because I wanted a Supercab) is on a train from KY currently. Truck comes with 20" wheels and I'll remove and sell the stock tires and mount Blizzak LT275/65R20 on those wheels. I have stock 18" tremor wheels for my summer All-terrain tires. We always purchase two sets of wheels for all our vehicles and run summer tires on one set and winter tires on the other set. I can swap from summer to winter wheels/tires in my garage faster than it takes just to drive to and from the local tires place that would remove summer tires and install winter tires onto one set of wheel (and charge to do it twice a year). I don't like the wear and tear of mounting/dismounting tires off and on one set of wheels twice a year. And, I prefer doing the swap myself as I can look over the brakes and everything else while doing the season wheel/tire swap. I also crayon the tire sidewall as I remove the seasonal set so I know last position and can rotate them to new positions when I next install.

It's been 15+ years since I ran all season tires in the winter time on our vehicles. Once we tried dedicated winter tires (non-studded), we never went back to running all seasons in the winter. The difference is great. Those that say their all-terrain or all-season tires have really great traction on winter roads I'm guessing haven't driven their same vehicle with dedicated winter tires because there is such a difference. Physically speaking, there is no way a durable regular tire (no matter how many sipes it has or one adds to it) could perform as well as a soft compound dedicated winter tire. Around town, in particular, dedicated winter tires almost make a person impatient because any vehicles that don't have them are driving so slow in comparison since they are traction limited (for the record, I fully support drivers going appropriate speed for their vehicles capability and tire capability. Don't rush and be on the edge of your vehicles traction and cause an accident). This is simply a real world, observable and repeatable comparison between two different tire capabilities on winter roads.

As for wear, a dedicated winter tire does have soft compound and like others have mentioned, they wear fast if you keep them on when the highs are regularly above 45F or so. The simple answer there? Change to your regular tires. Ha. The fall and spring snow is usually shorter lived and I typically only run my soft compound winter tires from around Dec. 01 - March (each year is different as I swap based on temperatures and precip). We get snow way outside of that date range, but cold, mid-winter snow and roads are different than Sept/Oct and April/May snow and my regular tires are fine for a few random storms when it will be above freezing and melt it a day or two later.

Only other high wear issue some have reported is towing heavy. I have our camper loaded for about 7 months out of the year and stored Nov - March. And the only thing I tow in winter is aluminum enclosed snowmobile trailer so very light weight (3,000lb loaded). So running snow tires Dec - Feb works for me and now worry about high temp roads and extra wear in those cold months.

I guess I'll know how the Blizzak LT wear after this first winter. We normally run Blizzak DM-V2, so this will be my first try of the Blizzak LT. I suspect outside temperature and load weight are the two main factors for those with unacceptably fast wear on dedicated winter tires. My DM-V2 on my Fullsize pickup still have good tread and they are 8 years old (I probably only put about 3k - 4k winter miles a year on them and only have them on when temperature highs are consistently below 40F). Will be fun to see how these last for my used case.
 
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That sums up exactly how I feel and why I run snow tires on every vehicle I've owned since 2008/9 with the exception of last winter in the F350. When no one is in front of me or around, I enjoy being hard on the brakes as much as accelerating hard. There is nothing like a snow tire in terms of overall grip!! I went with the Firestone tires as they had more tread depth than the Generals or Blizzaks and I had never tried Firestone snows before.
 
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That sums up exactly how I feel and why I run snow tires on every vehicle I've owned since 2008/9 with the exception of last winter in the F350. When no one is in front of me or around, I enjoy being hard on the brakes as much as accelerating hard. There is nothing like a snow tire in terms of overall grip!! I went with the Firestone tires as they had more tread depth than the Generals or Blizzaks and I had never tried Firestone snows before.

Will be interested to hear your feedback on the Firestone Winterforce LT. I'd considered them as well, but maybe creature of habit so staying with the Bridgestone Blizzak (even though the Blizzak LT is completely different tire than the Blizzak DM-V2 we use on everything else). That and the fact that the Blizzaks are available at Costco and were on sale and between the two, the price off of MSRP was enough to sway me. Has the availability and pricepoint/discount % been with the Winterforce LT, I would have just as easily swung that way. Anecdotally, it sounds like the Winterforce are a bit firmer compound (slightly less grip but longer wearing that the Blizzak), but no data to back that up; only comparison comments on various tire forums. I wasn't able to find a tire test/comparison between these two dedicated winter LT tires; only the P rated Winterforce and Blizzaks which are completely different model tires.
 
Will be interested to hear your feedback on the Firestone Winterforce LT. I'd considered them as well, but maybe creature of habit so staying with the Bridgestone Blizzak (even though the Blizzak LT is completely different tire than the Blizzak DM-V2 we use on everything else). That and the fact that the Blizzaks are available at Costco and were on sale and between the two, the price off of MSRP was enough to sway me. Has the availability and pricepoint/discount % been with the Winterforce LT, I would have just as easily swung that way. Anecdotally, it sounds like the Winterforce are a bit firmer compound (slightly less grip but longer wearing that the Blizzak), but no data to back that up; only comparison comments on various tire forums. I wasn't able to find a tire test/comparison between these two dedicated winter LT tires; only the P rated Winterforce and Blizzaks which are completely different model tires.
Winterforces are directional and Blizzak LTs are not if I remember correctly. I would want to do a regular rotation and not just front/rear to maximize life. I haven't purchased a set yet (although they're not for my Tremor) but this was one factor to push me towards the LTs.
 
Winterforces are directional and Blizzak LTs are not if I remember correctly. I would want to do a regular rotation and not just front/rear to maximize life. I haven't purchased a set yet (although they're not for my Tremor) but this was one factor to push me towards the LTs.

Correct that the Winterforce LT are directional. Tread pattern is visibly directional and the tire description states "directional tread pattern" and images of the tire show the rotion direction.

I don't see anything in the Blizzak LT description that say they are directional, plus I don't see that stated on the sidewall in pictures that I've enlarged. Tire blocks suggest they are not directional. This surprises me since all model Blizzak tires I've run to date (mostly Blizzak DM-V2) are directional. Interestingly, with the simple "front to back; same side" tire rotations, they wore very evenly. That being said, my annual use was less than 4,000 miles so they were were rotated each season on what would be considered a frequent rotation basis of 3,000 - 4,000 miles compared to those that put on more winter miles than me and don't actively rotate during the winter driving season.
 
What size is everyone running? My stock Duratracs were 285/75R18 but apparently true winters aren’t available in that size.
 
Yes, CCW - my main concern is with maintained roads (for the SD Tremor) and safety which = stopping and sliding on corners. Your sentiment matches mine. Also, I subscribe to the WSDOT I-90 reports and it is shocking how often the freeway is closed due to accidents...(all year) but especially when weather kicks in. I'm talking multiple lanes or closed freeway several times per week between North Bend and Ellensburg...

I appreciate everyone's point of view and experience or I wouldn't post here. Thank you for responding, RS90. I get what you are saying and those points are not lost on me. Maybe a heavy truck with regular tires does better on icy maintained roads than a lighter vehicle does? I will definitely add at least 500 lbs of sand to the back of the truck right away.

The Key here is you are going over the wrong pass, 12 is the only way to travel in the winter.

I made a dozen trips in my truck last winter between the snowboarding and Leavenworth trips with no issues. I put the Open Range A/Ts on my truck Monday, no extra slip or sliding with the freezing fog this morning.
 
The Key here is you are going over the wrong pass, 12 is the only way to travel in the winter.

I made a dozen trips in my truck last winter between the snowboarding and Leavenworth trips with no issues. I put the Open Range A/Ts on my truck Monday, no extra slip or sliding with the freezing fog this morning.
Thanks for the feedback! Glad to hear those A/Ts are working well - that is a good data point. I'm jealous, I miss snowboarding...too many injuries, including ruptured achilles snowboarding at Sun Peaks 15+ years ago.

You are absolutely correct - it could be advantageous to live somewhere that did not position me smack dab off of I-90 near Issaquah making Snoqualmie Pass the best winter route over the Cascades. But after 30 years in my house & a remodel in process, I don't plan on moving my primary residence too soon. And if I did move, I don't think the Cascades would get in the way at all. 😂 Your zip code maps to the Centralia area so you might be spared the mayhem of the Seattle metro area and I-90 😂 Man, its gotten nutty over the past 15 years...
 
This also came up in my search for sawdust tires... Blast from the past:

Wouldn't it be cool if we had a Time Machine that let us bring back a fresh set to compare against today's worst snow tires? LOL.
 
Nokian LT3 un-studded and studded

Any recommendations on "winter tires" in the PNW (I suspect CCW and DDD are a couple of locals that may have some good insights).

I am hearing that the Tremors are being delivered with a non-3PMS Duratrac tire. My new diesel Tremor should be delivered in about 30 days. Traditionally I've always run "real" winter tires on my other vehicles and I am reluctant to run my new SD Tremor in then PNW mountains without condition appropriate tires.

Note: I do plan to throw 500+ lbs of sand bags in the bed for winter.. and I plan to eventually build it out in a way that will add weight to the back.

Stop right here if you wish...but more perspective below.

I see lots of discussion about 3PMS tires, including generally positive comments about the Falken Wildpeak. What I am not seeing is much (any?) comment about actual un-studded "Winter" tires in a size comparable to OEM on a SD Tremor (ideally 34'-35").

There are some great discussions about year-round tires with a 3PMS rating (again, like the Falken Wildpeaks). There are also some great discussions and comments from folks that run studded tires - folks that are typically in places like Alberta, or Montana, or working in the oilfield - places with constant snow, ice or dirt roads. I think those tend to be tires with "year round rubber compound" with studs.

I'd prefer a full-on "Winter" tire, and I would probably prefer un-studded due to the amount wet highway driving where I live.

I'm beginning to think that a large, un-studded "winter" tire is nearly a unicorn.

My use case: I live in the suburban Seattle, WA area and have other vehicles I can drive "in the city". I do not commit anymore. The Tremor is intended to be more of a "fun" / recreation / hunting / camping / vacation vehicle. For those reasons, and because it is a diesel, it shouldn't need to be driven around town much for daily tasks.

While I am looking for a good un-studded winter tire for my SD Tremor, due to the difficulty of finding such a beast, I am beginning to think about going with a studded winter tire and then just reserving the Tremor for situations where those tires might be needed, such as long winter road trips in the PNW or trips to places like Mt. Baker, Mt. Rainier, or over "The Pass" this winter. I suppose the other option is to get a good 3PMS tire known for good performance on wet roads and in rain - like the Falken Wildpeak, but that tire appears to be only marginally different from the stock Duratracs, and frankly I don't know how good or bad the current Duratracs will be.

I think the Falken's might be a decent option for year-round use once the Duratracs wear out. So, I'm a bit reluctant to proactively buy a year-round tire with 3PMS rating as a seasonal replacement for the brand new OEM Duratracs - which maybe are actually identical to the 3PMS Duratracs in construction; but maybe they just came up a few percent shy of other sizes in mandatory performance testing.

Or go with something like the "small" 33.2" Nokian LT3 - see link.

One of the few true winter tires I've found that "might" work would be the Nokian LT3. The LT3 uses a winter rubber compound and is not intended for use in temps above 45 degrees. However, the Nokian plant in Russia is shut down due to the Ukraine war, and as a result they are very short on inventory and have zero un-studded LT3's. They do have a very few studded LT3's but the largest for an 18 inch wheel is a 275/70/18 with a diameter of 33.2 inches. Which is a bit smaller than I'd like - but I might consider going that route partly because I don't see a lot of need for a large diameter tire on this vehicle in the winter in the PNW. But it might look a little silly in the wheel wells...

I could also just put winter tires on my 4Runner but I retired my last set of winter tires for that vehicle, so would need to buy a new set. I'd rather buy a set of winter tires for the Tremor than the 4Runner....

That might be a bit much to "unpack" but I appreciate everyone's input.

Thanks in advance.

Jim
I've been using Predator Mutant Arctic studded, 35/1250R18, for a month. These are real winter tires. And in my research, these are the only ones that come close to the original dimensions of the F250 tremor.

I live in northern Quebec and I drive on icy roads most of the time. I am very satisfied so far.

Marc
 
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