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Winter Tires Are Still Worth It

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Winter Tires Are Still Worth ItTravis Okulski


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I can't stand winter. I don't like being cold, shoveling snow is the worst, and I inevitably fall while walking the dog at least once. The best winters are the ones where it doesn't snow, and I tend to attribute that to some random purchase I'd made.

A few years ago, I got a hand-me-down snowblower when my parents moved. It barely snowed that year, so it was the best snowblower ever. This year, Michelin sent over a set of Pilot Alpin PA4s to try on my Civic Type R. No snow accumulated until the last day of February. Judging by that alone, these tires were wildly effective.

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The Alpin PA4 is Michelin's winter tire for higher performance cars. It comes in larger sizes and has factory fitments for cars like the Chevy Corvette Stingray as well as AMG and M products. It's not the most aggressive winter tire out there, so it's not what you want if you live in Buffalo or one of those California ski towns that gets feet of snow at a time. It's meant to have good on-road manners while compensating for sub-ideal conditions.

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Travis Okulski

Michelin does not have a stock fitment for the new Type R, so the tires mounted on my car were slightly taller, a 265/35-19 versus the 265/30-19 Michelin Pilot Sport 4S that comes with the Type R. Normally I downsize winter tires and go with a different wheel, leaving the OE wheels and tires for the summer. I didn't this time, mainly because I'm thinking of a new set of 18 inch wheels like Rays TE37s or ZE40s or Advan GT Beyonds to get some more sidewall, and I didn't want to waste the stock wheels.

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A little more sidewall never hurt anyone.Travis Okulski

The Alpin has a softer compound with more sipes and channels than the PS4S, meant to direct rain and snow and keep the car planted. That also means a compromise in dry or warm weather performance compared to a sportier tire . It also means more road noise, though the taller profile should help ride quality.

For much of this winter, it was nearly 50 degrees and dry where I live. My perfect winter, but now the car was on the wrong tires. The stock Pilot Sport 4S could've handled that just fine, so I kind of felt like I had wasted time getting tires I didn't really need mounted and wasn't getting the most out of my new car in its first 1500 miles. I usually keep my winter tires on until April, but I started thinking about taking them off in mid-February.