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Summer tires a snow no-no

The latest generation of high-end all-seasons can give you ultimate summer grip very close to a summer tire, so that is the way to go.

Q: I have an Audi A3 with Pirelli P6s but don’t like them as they are noisy now that the tread is getting low. I think I need an all-season tire as I drive south in the winter and don’t want snow tires. Or should I go with a summer tire and just drive carefully in winter?

A: Summer tires in winter are a no-no, especially when driving through snowy mountain passes on the way south.

The latest generation of high-end all-seasons can give you ultimate summer grip very close to a summer tire, so that is the way to go.

In all-season tires, consider the Goodyear Eagle F1 A/S, the Nokian WR, the Goodyear TripleTred and the Yokohama AVID H4S. The Goodyear F1 is a real sports tire, quite stiff and very responsive. Good in winter, too.

The Nokian WR is an all-season but is severe snow rated, so is a winter tire that can be left on the car year-round. The Yoko is also a sporty tire, but not as much as the Goodyear. It can manage in the winter. The Goodyear TripleTred is a super all-round tire. It is the little brother to the F1 A/S, and has the same performance characteristics just dialled back a notch or two.

All of these tires come close to summer tires but give you more grip in fall and spring and especially winter.

Q: Last fall you replied to a reader’s concern about the tires on a 2003 Mercedes E320. You should have advised the reader that P225/55R15 is the wrong size for this vehicle (I would love to see that 15-inch wheel). The original equipment tire O.E. size is P225/55R16 on 8X16 alloys. Aren’t there any laws? Doesn’t the department of transportation have anything in the books against such “undersized” tires?

A: Thanks for catching that typo. If it was a 15-inch wheel there are no laws in Ontario that I am aware of related to undersizing tires on a car. To pass a safety certification the tires must have sufficient tread depth. There is nothing in the law that requires the person doing the check to see that they are the proper size or load rating for the car, or even that all the tires are from the same manufacturer or have the same tread pattern.

Email tire questions to John Mahler at thetireguy_1@hotmail.com. Please include vehicle’s make, model and year, tire brand and size, as well as your name, address and phone number. Volume of mail prevents us from answering all queries or providing personal replies.

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