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Old 12-08-2009, 05:26 AM   #1
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Summer tires in Winter - a Public Service Announcement

Many---maybe most---of you may not have even opened this thread, knowing full well what itís about. This is submitted for those who had no clue.

Found out the hard way how poorly summer performance tires react to the cold a couple nights ago. Was leaving the house to go retrieve some take-out (Italian) for dinner. It was cold (mid 30s, I suppose) but no precip at the moment. As I backed out of the garage and up the driveway, we started getting some misty rain, which picked up as I drove the 3-4 miles to the restaurant. (I initially considered switching cars---I donít too often drive the Box in the rain. But, since I was already rolling, I was lazy, didnít feel like switching and blew off the idea.) Most of the way there, I was leaving a busy intersection and, being at the head of the pack, I decided to put a little space between me and the cars behind me. Going up this moderately steep hill, I punched it a bit. Millisecs later, I was sideways, and ended up doing a complete 360, colliding with the curbing on the passenger side. In the process, I managed to take out someoneís mailbox, which exacted its revenge by exploding my sideview mirror and then banging mercilessly onto the top of the rear quarter panel of my blameless car. Also managed to tear a fatal gash in a relatively new (~8K miles) right rear tire. She needs work, for sure, but it could have been worse: I stayed on my side of the road, no other vehicles were involved and there were no boys in blue to witness the excitement. But as hard as I work maintaining the finish on this car, hours and hours of back-breaking detailing, it was a painful lesson.

Some of you guys had warned me about this before. RandallNeighbor and bmussatti come to mind, but I know others have mentioned it. (When I asked, in one thread a bit over a year ago, whether driving summer tires in the winter was hard on the tires, bmussatti replied ďit is mainly detrimental to your sheet metal! ") Summer tires just ainít too grippy in the cold, and get downright slippery in the wet and cold. I grew up driving a RWD back in the Ď70s (1964 Buick Skylark), but for the past two decades itís been mostly FWD vehicles with all season tires, a relatively safe arrangement even in inclement weather. Got the Box about 3 years ago and, as indicated, donít really drive her much in the cold and, until the other day, virtually never in the wet and cold. Iíve got Goodyear F1 Eagle Asymmetrics on the car, pretty nice tires that were rated great for use in the rain. On those fairly rare occasions Iíve driven in the rain, that has proven true. Unfortunately, as I quickly learned---the hard way---that characteristic is true when itís warm rain.


Last edited by Frodo; 12-08-2009 at 05:31 AM.
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Old 12-08-2009, 06:11 AM   #2
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Sorry to hear that you "bent" your baby, but Iím sure she is fixable. This is why I put mine into hibernation when the air temps drop below 45FÖÖÖÖÖ
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Old 12-08-2009, 06:41 AM   #3
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My sister in law just wrecked her chrysler crossfire yesterday because she all of a sudden lost grip and slid around (it was very cold yesterday). She has summer tires on her car that are about the same as the boxster. Road was slightly damp. I have also noticed that the tires on the porsche get a little skiddish when it gets colder.

Sorry to hear about your accident.
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Old 12-08-2009, 07:52 AM   #4
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Agreed that when the temperatures dip, summer tires can lose grip before you know what happened. I has the world's slowest spin on an icy Dallas highway three years ago. Going no more than 15mph in a straight line when the back end came around, and around, and around. Luckily in my case it was purely drama and no damage, but the lesson is the same. Be careful out there.
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Old 12-08-2009, 08:12 AM   #5
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That sucks! Sorry.

I too went sideways yesterday, accelerating out of second gear. I hate this weather! Keep us posted on how the repairs go.
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Old 12-08-2009, 09:15 AM   #6
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Glad to hear your alright.

I've posted multiple times about how horrible of a tire my HRTZ IIIs are in cold and rainy weather. I don't even answer my phone when it's raining and I drive the car,I have little trust in performance tires in cold and wet weather.

I lost my 99' just switching freeways, not speeding or doing anything stupid,it was just the 1st rain of the year and cold. The car had P Zero Rossos.
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Old 12-08-2009, 09:23 AM   #7
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Sorry to hear about your boxster! As we north of the border mostly know, when the outside temperature dips below 7C or approx. 45F, all-season and summer tires lose a lot of their grip...that's why Quebec (our neighbouring province) made winter tires mandatory by law! The road may LOOK fine, but it is starting to freeze, just like your tires! Good luck with the repairs.
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Old 12-08-2009, 11:45 AM   #8
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What is a good all season tire for the Boxster any suggestions? Just bought a 2001 S and it has all season's on the front but I believe summer tires on the back. Thanks in advance.
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Old 12-08-2009, 11:47 AM   #9
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I'm sorry to hear about that man, but be glad that you are not hurt. I actually had been running summer tires on my 01 Boxster all year long for 7 yrs up here in the Northeast, and never had any issues, but I was very careful to not push it when the weather was cold until the tires warmed up. Just last week, however, I decided to mount snow tires to my car because I recently started driving the car to work (before it was just a weekend car). I normally run 18 inch wheels, but had my old 17s around, so I bought these Hankook IceBear snow tires from Discount Tire for only $548 for the set of 4 tires, and had them mounted on my 17s: http://www.discounttiredirect.com/direct/searchTireMatchingPairs.do?mps=-50&yr=2001&ar=40&rd=17&vid=011386&sw=true&cs=255

The first day I put the snow tires on, my wife asks me to go out and pick up dinner, and so happens, it started to snow hardÖ so I took my car out for a test drive in the snow, and the tires were GREAT! On the snowy roads, I could accelerate briskly at 3/4 throttle in 1st gear (I only tested that with no other cars around me btw) without the rear tires letting go at all. I know it's too late to tell you this now, but for those looking for an economical snow tire combo, (although these winter tires are not Porsche approved), they are really pretty good.

Here's a pic I took while driving in the falling snow that day. The road was pretty bad, but the tires held the road great.
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Old 12-08-2009, 04:18 PM   #10
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Sorry to hear about your incident and I'm glad you're ok. You, unfortunately, found out why all the tire makers put out that warning out about not driving summer tires in near freezing weather. They get hard and slippery when the temps drop and, as you unfortunately found out, will break lose pretty quickly. (Go take a look at Tire Rack. IIRC almost all the summer tires have the warning that they're not intended to be driven in freezing or near freezing weather). I had mine on the road the first winter I owned it with summer tires still on it. The weather turned cold and it was just downright scary. I immediately bought a set of used wheels and new winter tires (Dunlop somethings.. I forget which ones at the moment) to avoid having to mount/dismount, balance, etc every spring and fall. The thing goes like a goat now! It's great in the snow.


I hope you're able to get everything put back together properly, and soon. Then go out and get some wheels and tires and drive it!!!

Damm I hate winter. 4-6" of that white stuff predicted for tonight. ugh .

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Old 12-08-2009, 05:40 PM   #11
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Even prior to this thread I have considered going to All Seasons for my next set of tires. Yeah, yeah I know I lose all type of fun in the dry summer months... but I live in northern Ohio... summer is two hours long. I love to drive the car, and I hate to spend money on something that has to sit for 4 months out of the year. Maybe not full blown snow tire, but a good set of all seasons.
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Old 12-08-2009, 05:51 PM   #12
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I'm truly sorry to hear of your misfortune Frodo, you're ok so that's what matters. My first ride in a Boxster (my cousins) during the month of January many years back netted a 360 spin without goosing it, luckily we didn't hit anything. I live in SW Ohio and put mine up for 4 months as a result, I also got a 2nd set of wheels / snow tires for my daily driver GTO, they make all the difference. Good luck on the repairs.
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Old 12-08-2009, 06:01 PM   #13
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I've got Falken 912's on my winter wheels, and they work well in the cold, wet, and snow. Not too pricey, either!
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Old 12-08-2009, 06:07 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by katanihouse@shaw.ca
What is a good all season tire for the Boxster any suggestions? Just bought a 2001 S and it has all season's on the front but I believe summer tires on the back. Thanks in advance.
If you're going to use the car during winter months, it's better to mount dedicated snow tires on narrower rims. Personally, I wouldn't be worried about looks or handling performance, just traction. Even all season tires become useless when there's freezing rain(frequent in the Northeast) and the road is iced over, hard packed snow, or sub-zero temps. Blizzaks have surprisingly good traction even on ice and remain soft even down to -50F.
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Old 12-08-2009, 06:07 PM   #15
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Wow. Hope all turns out well. Had the 2nd snow day with my Nokians. Been impressed with them and with the 911. Though I may imagine this, I think I prefer'd the boxster to the 911 in the snow. Boxster seemed more nimble (had blizzaks at the time). Though these winter tires set me back a bit, would never drive without them (this time of year).
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Old 12-08-2009, 06:27 PM   #16
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Glad to hear your OK, and it sounds as if the car can be fixed.

Here's a pic from last spring, I too found that summer tires have their limitations!


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Old 12-08-2009, 08:19 PM   #17
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I've had winter tires put on my car every winter since I bought it and I haven't regretted it once. The day I was to put my tires on the first time we got 3 inches of snow. Let me tell you.. the drive to the dealership on my summer tires was a nervous, slow, awful experience.

I've always seen all-season tires as a "jack of all trades, master of none" sort of thing. The one thing I'm *not* gonna compromise on is my safety, my passenger's safety and the safety of those around me.
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Old 12-08-2009, 09:45 PM   #18
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Ouch! Hope things go alright, at least everything is fixable.

Living in a desert that stays relatively warm even in the summer (55 degrees today was our high, and that's considered as low as it goes for the most part) I have stayed with all season tires that work well in the rain. Today, however, in the morning I was driving in mild rain, but it was about 40 degrees outside. I soon found that anything over 1/3 throttle while turning right or left meant complete loss of rear traction. It's nowhere as bad as what you had to go through, but it's still a lesson well learned.
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Old 12-09-2009, 10:54 AM   #19
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At least it sounds like the car is not too badly damaged. I'm guessing your pride was more damaged as all those cars streamed by.

I know exactly what you mean though. I drove an '89 Firebird Formula 350 year round for about 10 years in Chicago winters. For a few winters, I had Goodyear Eagle GS-Cs which are extreme performance summer tires. Of course, I had no idea that they were summer only tires. Here's what they look like:
Tire Rack link

As you can imagine, high hps and torque with a limited slip rear end, and FR format, coupled with these wide tires with absolutely no sipes, made winter driving a challenge. I got stuck a couple of times, but mostly it was on ice. I did enjoy starting from a stop though. As soon as I eased pressure off the brake, the rear end would start coming out one way or the other. It would stay that way (or sometimes go from side to side) until I picked up some speed. Needless to say, other cars gave me lots of room. Driving up hills in the snow required picking up speed before hand in order to have the momentum to make it. If I had to stop on even the slightest hill (overpasses are a good example), I would generally end up letting the back end come all the way around, then crank the wheel into the spin to move it over into the lane going the other direction, and just go back the way I came. I got very good at planning my route while driving to avoid any hills. It was always a white knuckle ride when there was snow on the ground though. I wouldn't want to do it again.

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