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Recommendations for 3-Season Tires?

I sprang for Michelin Ice-X2 16" tires and wheels for my wife’s '07 Subie Outback this winter, and I’m glad I did, considering the run of six snowstorms we got in January.

The OEM 17" Potenzas now in the garage have maybe 3-4/32" of tread left, but I’m thinking of replacing them for spring-summer-fall.

What’re the forum favorites for 3-season tires? She mostly commutes 20-30 miles a day, though a few times a year we might use the OB for an Interstate trip. We’re in eastern Massachusetts, so get a fair amount of rain; wet-weather performance is essential.

I’ll put the Michelin winter tires and wheels back on in late fall, probably around Thanksgiving. That’s when the weather deteriorates around here.

/Mr Lynn

These days I always go to

I plug in the info for the car in question and start reading customer reviews.

I’ve had good luck with Yokohama Avid H4s tires on our Forester.

My favorite of all time is the Michelin Harmony.

They’re not cheap, but the Michelin Pilot Sport A/S Plus have so far been a very good tire. They have very good traction on dry roads, amazingly good traction on wet roads, and they even do fine on snow, should you end up getting a storm before you get the winter wheels back on.

They’re also nice because even their 17" low profile tires have a 40,000 mile warranty - most tires in that category do not.

Thanks for the suggestions.

I’m wondering about ‘summer’ versus ‘all-season’ tires. Here in Framingham (eastern Mass.) it can get below 40? at night in October and April (even May). I have read that the rubber of strictly summer tires is not designed for below-40 temps. But I do have the winter Michelins. I’m beginning to think an all-season might be best for the April-November months, though that might compromise dry- and wet-weather handling some. Opinions?

Probably not a big deal, as my wife just drives to get places, and doesn’t pay any attention to the niceties of driving (unless there is a problem to report).

/Mr Lynn

The difference for a regular driver and especially a Subaru Outback of summers vs all-seasons is not going to be that major in the warmer months.

The good thing is you can get some really good “all-seasons” that have an extreme amount of dry/wet traction but give up on winter traction. I own such a set called Bridgestone Re960’s. They are rated all-seasons but approach summer performance tires. Winter traction of course is dreadful.

I see many posters on this board naively post all-seasons are fine for the winter as a broad generalization. However all-season just means the rubber compound works in the cold not the actual traction in winter conditions. All tires are a compromise and a typical one is better summer traction means less winter. There are a small subset though of all-seasons that excel in the winter vs their peers.

One affordable tire that comes up (generalizing) is Yokohama. They are great all-seasons except for winter traction which is not fun at best.

I’m a big fan of Toyo tires for a car like yours. Not sold through Tire Rack, so you won’t find reviews there. Locally you can get them at Direct Tire or Town Fair, probably at others as well.

On my last two Outbacks, I used BF Goodrich Traction T/A tires for spring, summer, and fall, and was very happy with them. They are quieter than the original crap Potenza RE-92 tires, and also provide better resistance to hydroplaning. Additionally, they gave much longer tread wear than the OEM Potenzas.

I can’t guarantee that Costco still sells this model, but if they do, you will find that it is a very good value. When my current Continental OEM tires are ready for replacement, I just might buy these same BF Goody tires again.

“Summer” tires are often the higher-performance tires, with reduced tread life. I avoid them because of the reduced tread life.

Toyo? I think my '81 Corolla Wagon (first car I bought new) came with Toyos; don’t recall seeing them (or hearing about them) since.

I figure for 3-season tires the primary safety concern should be rain. The new Michelin Primacy MXM4s recommended on a Subaru forum get a rave from Tire Rack testers for wet road performance. But they are pricey: local chain here (Sullivan Tire, generally good prices) wants over $800 for four, including installation, balancing, taxes, etc. (Direct Tire wants almost a grand!).

Customer reviews of the Goodyear Assurance Comfort-tread Touring say they are good in the rain, but they’re almost as expensive. Seems to me it wasn’t long ago I would balk at spending more than $100 for a tire. . .

Decisions, decisons. . .

/Mr Lynn

There are simply too many make, model, brands of tires in the marketplace to make an intelligent recommendation…A single tire maker may make dozens of private brands that are all more or less identical…I mean, how many different tread patterns do we need?? Once installed, tires are soon forgotten, they all do the job they were designed to do…

I’d suggest looking at the Tirerack website for consumer reviews 9as already suggested) and at the site. Both have good consumre review sections.

Ther are countless tires and variations, and what works on a my car for an all season tire might not work on a Subie. I take aa whole different size and have a whole different drivetrain.

The only tire I’d recommend avoiding based on my own bad experience is Continental. I bought a set of 4 once and simply could not get them to roll smooth, no matter what I did. I ended up replacing them with BF Goodys.

I tried Continental and have been beyond happy with tire, price and winter performance. I am quite picky. I think it rates well on

I own the Continental ExtremeContact DWS in 215/45/17 size.

UPDATE: I remembered my interest in the Nokian eNTYRE last fall. It’s an M+S all season tire aimed at the American market:

It’s said to be excellent in wet weather. My regular tire shop doesn’t carry them, but my local mechanic does, so I decided to try a set. They’re not cheap (on a par with the Michelins I was considering, when you add up balancing, disposal, etc., etc.), but I’ve only one wife (it’s her car). In November I’ll switch back to the Michelin winter tires/wheels.

/Mr Lynn