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Discussion Starter #1
I want snow and ice tires for a 451 and just found out that Blizzaks, my favorite, are unavailable. Does anyone have experience with another brand? I read somewhere that someone was unhappy with the Conti's.
 

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Depending on where you live and what type of snow/ice conditions you experience will determine a lot about what kind of winter tires work best for you.

Here where we get only occasional snow and not often glare ice, a traditional winter compound tire like an Altimax Arctic is a great tire. It will last a long, long time if driven on bare pavement, and offers equal or better performance in snow compared to a Blizzak due to the large stiff tread blocks with wide voids. On glare ice, it is no contest - a Blizzak type hydrophillic compound tire will be significantly better.

If you live in Portlant, OR, I'd recommend a tire like the Altimax Arctic. If you live in Portland, Maine where the winters are more severe and you get a lot of ice, the Blizzak would be better.


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Discussion Starter #4
I live in Portland, Oregon at 1000 ft. and get some ice and that is my concern, as well of course rain. For bad snow I'll put on chains. I would love to have Blizzaks but they are not available (new) now and it appears that they are discontinued, probably due to the 451 ending and low demand from existing ones. Maybe new winter tires will magically appear about September.
 

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... personally... if i were you, and didn't really want to think of buying any other snow tire OTHER than Blizzak's (which, living in eastern Pennsylvania.... i don't), I'd even look into maybe buying a pair of cheap wheels to put Blizzak's on. Even if you only do the rears, it'll help with traction (though it can really confuse traction control systems). I actually bought a pair of Blizzak's for my 453 last fall for the rears, and hope to (at some point) get a complete set of wheels and two more Blizzaks to have a full set that i won't have to worry about going to a tire shop to swap on and off all the time.
 

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I'm a couple of hundred miles north of you and we get about the same kind of winter snow. I've had Blizzaks, Yokohama Guardex, Dunlop Graspic, and maybe one or two other studless snow tires. Even when it gets icy here, if the surface gets roughened up at all, I find that the Altimax Arctics work nearly as well on hard frozen ice with any snow on top. It's gotten us to the ski areas with no problems at all.

My experience has been that the studless snow tires don't work as well in deep, wet snow as a traditional compound snow tire. I haven't tried the Michelin X-Ice, but for me the tradeoff in quick wear and mushy handling compared to a bit less traction on ice but equal or better traction in snow, plus the ability to drive on wet or dry pavement with minimal wear, has my whole family riding on the previous gen Altimax Arctics.

Good luck with whichever tire you choose.


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It does not appear the Altimax is available in OE smart sizes. Toyo, Kumho, Continental are available in OE sizes.

I have run Toyos the last 2 winters, they deal with deeper snow better than Blizzaks, they maybe do not have quite the same amount of feedback on slippery roads but seem to be just as capable.

I have run Kumho Izen winter tires in the past, they were epic in deep snow but garbage in icy conditions.
 

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I guess I'm fortunate to not be thinking about driving my Smart in winter conditions. The manufacturers just don't make many tires in sizes near what a Smart car can use.

Looks like the closest size in either the Altimax Arctic or a comparable tire like the Winterforce is a 185/60-15, which won't fit on a standard front rim. There's only a Conti winter tire but whoa, it's going to be close or over $500 installed. Ouch!

It's unfortunate that despite huge advances in tread compounds, the manufacturers have continued to push wider tires instead of using better compounds on a narrower tread to achieve the same levels of grip, but with then less rolling resistance and aerodynamic drag.


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I've been running Vredestein Quatrac 3's since our 450 was new. They're no longer available
but the new version Quatrac 5's are. They have exact 453 OEM sizing and are mud and snow rated
although they are an all-condition tire. The full on snow tire version is the Snowtrac 5...
 

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Nokian makes the hakkapeliita 8 in 165/60/15. i was running 4 of these in my smart and loved them! you can have them studded or not but honestly i would go studded .. they are simply amazing
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
I just bought a set of four steel wheels that were on a 2014 Car2Go for $100. As I said in my original post, I'd buy four Blizzaks in a heartbeat new or used if I could find them in OE sizes. I guess 185's are available for the rear but I'd want to be sure there is clearance for chains, which I know will clear with 175's, but then what do I put on the front? Maybe, since front grip in snow isn't as critical as rear, I could put something like a Conti that comes in the OE size on the front and run 185 Blizzaks on the rear. I'll be spending a fair amount of money, so just trying to find the best option and I have a feeling when winter comes and others find out there are fewer options than before they will be doing the same thing.
 

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When I upgraded to wider wheels and tires three years ago, I kept my stock wheels to run in the winter with Continental ContiWinterContact's (155F/175R). I've been very happy with the Conti's. They give a good ride and traction on dry roads and seemed very capable on icy and snowy roads. My car felt totally stable buzzing along the highway at 55 with an inch or two of snow on the road.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Thank you for your comments on the Conti's. That is probably what I will get but I am going to wait until early fall and see if something else hits the market. Seems that since the Blizak molds already exist if they determine that there is enough demand they just may run them again.
 

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I've also read that Contiwintercontact tires are not great on icy roads... I guess they have good traction in snow, but not ice. I've been looking for tires day and night and can't find ANY that match the OE size other than the Conti's... I guess the conti's will still perform better this winter than all season tires in general so I'll have to buy them. I hope they at least make a difference!
 

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I've also read that Contiwintercontact tires are not great on icy roads... I guess they have good traction in snow, but not ice. I've been looking for tires day and night and can't find ANY that match the OE size other than the Conti's... I guess the conti's will still perform better this winter than all season tires in general so I'll have to buy them. I hope they at least make a difference!
There are matching ones out there. If you were in Canada I'd suggest checking out PMC Tire. We bought some Toyo Winters off them and they've been good. They also have Minerva, Wanli, Kuhmo and Continental winter tires that fit the Smart.
 
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