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Old 01-31-2012, 11:31 AM   #1
SpikedLemon
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Thumbs up Vredestein Quatrac3 - All-Weather Car Tires

Late last year I had said "enough": my OEM tires were unbearable. It's not due to lack of tread depth (perhaps another 10-20k km would be possible) but it's the absolute lack of traction. Note to VW and Hankook: you do yourselves no favors with these tires.

I like traction - even when it costs a slight premium. But I'm a sucker for simplicity. I went to look for a set of "All-Weather" tires.
For those who've never heard of this type of tire (or tyre): it's an all-season tire that has the snowflake-in-a-mountain symbol which qualifies itself as a "winter tire" all-in-one.

Friends and colleagues have use the Nokian WRG and WRG2 tires for years with a lot of favorable commentary: probably the originator of this type of tire. The pricetag, however, put me off: $1000 for a set of tires? Ack!

I went shopping: in Canada we've got three choices for "all-weather" tires.
Hankook, Nokian and Vredestein. Both Nokian (through Kal Tire) and Hankook offer treadwear warranties (which I hear they lose their winter grippiness far before you reach that distance)

I ultimately ended up with Vredestein's Quatrac3.

205/55R16 – H Speed Rating
UTQG: 400
Traction: A
Temperature: A

Life: unknown. The shop I got them from figured I should see 40,000km from them before the winter performance becomes compromised (online reviews state similar)
I’ve got ~5000km on them so far. No significant wear.

Dry Weather
Comfort:
These tires are much louder than the OEM. It makes my VW boom like a Mitsubishi on the inside (perhaps not quite that loud: but it’s certainly significant). It’s really not the most comfortable tire when the roads are dry.
Ride is decent. Feels somewhat sporty.
Traction:
Great. They stick like a good tire should. The shoulders feel solid and provide good feedback through turns.
As a note: I've not driven them above 15C as of yet and don't know how they'll feel when it gets warm out.

Wet Weather (incl. slush)
Comfort:
In the wet: it gets quieter; really nice and quiet. It’s as though these tires were developed for a wet-weather climate. This would fit well for someone from Vancouver, Seattle, Portland or anywhere in the UK.
Traction:
Impressive. They’ve not let me down yet. I can still charge through an intersection faster than anyone else – quick enough to often catch the idiot who’s running the left-turn light as my light turns green.

Snow
Traction:
This one is an interesting mix.
Ice: Poor. I don’t know many tires that are any good on sheer ice.
Hardpack Snow: So long as it’s not polished to an ice-like surface at the stop signs: they perform like mid-grade winter tires should. I can pull away from stops without drama and I can safely stop at a stop sign without fearing that I’ll slide further than I want to.
Loose snow: They’re better than really good all-season tires or similar to low-end/mid-grade dedicated winter tires. The main problem, however, is that the tread can’t evacuate packed snow as well as I think it should. If you spin the tire a little to release the snow: you can get some good grip. This is really the part that I feel it’s not as good as it could have been.
Sticky Snow: you know that snow/salt mix that you encounter at the gas station that sticks to EVERYTHING. I hate this stuff. These tires can’t clear it from the tread and can barely get traction..

Overall:
This is a great crummy-weather tire. Great in the rain, ok-to-good in the winter and great traction in the dry.
Traction-wise: it surpasses the pathetic, generic, all-season
This is an excellent tire for someone who’s willing to compromise only a little. It’s not a top-shelf winter tire but does a good impression of one when the weather does turn ugly.

You could easily live with these in a place that gets snow but know how to clear it from the roads (either salting the crap out of them or plowing).

… but: you’ll want dedicated top-shelf winter tires if you’re living with a lot of snow or studs for ice.
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Old 03-18-2012, 11:47 AM   #2
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Now with some warm weather under the tires: a quick update.

They've softened up. Duh.

It translates to a smoother ride, quieter on dry pavement and a lot more isolation from the road.
But it's lost a lot of the precision it had when it was colder out. These tires no longer feel like sporty rubber but generic Touring all-season tires. There's more body roll and less of a connection with the road.

Wet roads: very nice traction and still very quiet. These tires rock as foul weather tires.

Dry roads: they feel no better/worse than generic all-season tires. They're not sporty rubber for the summer. I suspect that's the tradeoff for the winter grip.

I can't comment how this'll translate into longevity. I'll have to wait for that.

Summary:
- OK winter tires.
- Awesome transitional (rain/sleet/cold) and foul weather (wet) tires
- OK summer tires.
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Old 01-22-2013, 08:58 AM   #3
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Sometimes all it takes it to try out all-season tires again in the winter to realize how good your tires really are.

I drove my wife's car the other day with some packed snow.

I have to reaffirm my support for the Vredestein tires. They work significantly better than her all-season tires.

She'll be getting new tires for next winter.
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Old 05-06-2013, 05:45 PM   #4
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Latest update: I rotated the tires. Over the past couple months: they've gotten louder and louder (since about Feb I started to notice).

Once I got all the tires off: I could easily see why.
Driver's rear: badly feathered. All over the tire which just shakes the car badly.

But curiously the passenger front tire was badly worn in the center. As though it was over-inflated (though I check my tire pressures regularly).

The other two tires have only normal wear.


I've got about 45,000km on them since I put them on and, due to two tires being badly worn, they need to be replaced. The other two "normal" wear tires could easily have made it until the end of the year.

While I stand behind the comments above about traction: the wear is disconcerting.
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