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Which tire is better for grip in 40-50 farenheit degree weather

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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I'm curious about the optimal outside temperature to increase grip with winter tires, assuming the roads are dry; for reference I have Michelin Alpin PA4 in OEM QV sizes.

Multiple choice, but please specify a temperature/range with your answer.

A: The warmer the better
B: The colder the better
C: There actually is an optimal temperature/range somewhere in the middle
D: I can't expect grip in the cold even if it's dry
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Had a close call last year on Dennytown road for those who know Putnam Valley.

2 factors about that day, 1: it was warm, about 50F; 2: I was going over a hill that also has a curve in it. I was in D and must have been about 3/4 throttle. I don't think I was fully straight at the crest which was my fault, but I'm wondering if the warm (warm for winter) weather exacerbated things.
 

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Had a close call last year on Dennytown road for those who know Putnam Valley.

2 factors about that day, 1: it was warm, about 50F; 2: I was going over a hill that also has a curve in it. I was in D and must have been about 3/4 throttle. I don't think I was fully straight at the crest which was my fault, but I'm wondering if the warm (warm for winter) weather exacerbated things.
Don’t know the area but sounds like a scary experience. My most confident miles on my QV are actually on these same Alpins, and they seem to grip the same in all temps.

The Alpins will lose grip but are controllable when they do. I’ve put at least a thousand miles on them in race mode and the biggest issue I have with them is a bit of mushiness in steering response at the center.

My recommendation would be to find an abandoned/remote parking lot and learn the limits of the tires and car - I did this and it made a big difference in helping me understand the limits.

In race mode, 1st gear:

1. Drive in a circle (about a 1/8 - 1/4 turn away from full lock) at low speed (<30 MPH). Gradually modulate the throttle so you slightly lose and regain traction - this will give you a good feel for where the limit is
2. Same as #1, but floor it momentarily while circling - the car will spin out. This is a terrifying but useful exercise to understand what total traction loss feels like in a safe area
3. Same as #1, but keep accelerating gradually so the car begins to drift; attempt to keep it in a drifting state as you circle, then apply additional throttle and steer out of the circle into a straight line skid until the tires grab hold and propel you forward. This will most closely resemble the limits you might hit when encountering unexpected loss of traction on the road. You should be able to regain traction when this occurs with careful steering and throttle modulation (abrupt movements are your enemy)

In D mode, 1st gear:

4. Same as #1, but full throttle the entire way around the circle - the car should remain completely in your control as ESC intervenes to modulate the power of the vehicle.

This gave me tremendous respect for the power of the car and the capabilities of the tires - this is not a toy and I still plan to take it to a professional driving school in the spring or summer to get better at understanding its limits.

You may also want to double check that the tread wear on the tires is within its useful life.

Be careful and stay safe.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Don’t know the area but sounds like a scary experience. My most confident miles on my QV are actually on these same Alpins, and they seem to grip the same in all temps.

The Alpins will lose grip but are controllable when they do. I’ve put at least a thousand miles on them in race mode and the biggest issue I have with them is a bit of mushiness in steering response at the center.

My recommendation would be to find an abandoned/remote parking lot and learn the limits of the tires and car - I did this and it made a big difference in helping me understand the limits.

In race mode, 1st gear:

1. Drive in a circle (about a 1/8 - 1/4 turn away from full lock) at low speed (<30 MPH). Gradually modulate the throttle so you slightly lose and regain traction - this will give you a good feel for where the limit is
2. Same as #1, but floor it momentarily while circling - the car will spin out. This is a terrifying but useful exercise to understand what total traction loss feels like in a safe area
3. Same as #1, but keep accelerating gradually so the car begins to drift; attempt to keep it in a drifting state as you circle, then apply additional throttle and steer out of the circle into a straight line skid until the tires grab hold and propel you forward. This will most closely resemble the limits you might hit when encountering unexpected loss of traction on the road. You should be able to regain traction when this occurs with careful steering and throttle modulation (abrupt movements are your enemy)

In D mode, 1st gear:

4. Same as #1, but full throttle the entire way around the circle - the car should remain completely in your control as ESC intervenes to modulate the power of the vehicle.

This gave me tremendous respect for the power of the car and the capabilities of the tires - this is not a toy and I still plan to take it to a professional driving school in the spring or summer to get better at understanding its limits.

You may also want to double check that the tread wear on the tires is within its useful life.

Be careful and stay safe.
That's really good advice. It's hard to find an empty lot in the NYC area but I know I need to.

Tread is still good on all the tires and they were practically new when I had the incident last year.

I guess the idea is that I know that i don't have as much grip on lower temps on the corsas, so I’m wondering what the rule of thumb is for winter tires
 

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Theoretically the answer is always C as no tire will perform well at 1000 degrees or -200 degrees.
Practically, I still go with C based on my experience with my old Pirelli Sottozero 3. The most grip was between 30 and -10 degrees (fahrenheit). Performance took a big hit past 45 degrees.
Going colder than -10 also offered less grip but much more gradually and at that point Im not sure if it was actually the asphalt getting less grippy.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Theoretically the answer is always C as no tire will perform well at 1000 degrees or -200 degrees.
Practically, I still go with C based on my experience with my old Pirelli Sottozero 3. The most grip was between 30 and -10 degrees (fahrenheit). Performance took a big hit past 45 degrees.
Going colder than -10 also offered less grip but much more gradually and at that point Im not sure if it was actually the asphalt getting less grippy.
So you're saying Winters behave the same but opposite of Summers, Summers get better as it gets hotter until it's too hot, and Winters get better as it gets colder until it gets too cold.

That's what I was expecting the answer to be
 

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Don't forget that there can be a large difference between air temperature and road temperature.
 

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"The most grip was between 30 and -10 degrees (fahrenheit). Performance took a big hit past 45 degrees."
i think that's a pretty fair generalization as tires get more specialized; there is an arc for optimum, with performance falling off at either end. a nordic/arctic winter ice tire isn't likely to handle "warm" spells as well as a general winter tire.
the often criticized All Seasons are likely optimum for typical spring/fall weather, but not being so condition focused have a much wider arc of useful temps.
 

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That's really good advice. It's hard to find an empty lot in the NYC area but I know I need to.

Tread is still good on all the tires and they were practically new when I had the incident last year.

I guess the idea is that I know that i don't have as much grip on lower temps on the corsas, so I’m wondering what the rule of thumb is for winter tires
Actually, the best advice... attend a proper HPDE event. By proper I mean an actual High Performance Drivers EDUCATION event, not just an open track day. Now you know how to drive better than 99.9% of other people on the road.
 
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I've done an hpde and plan to do more but those are all in the summer.

That's why I'm curious about the winter but it seems like, I need to be more careful above 30F, which for NYC might make the all season tires a better option. I may try those out after my alpins are done
 

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I've done an hpde and plan to do more but those are all in the summer.

That's why I'm curious about the winter but it seems like, I need to be more careful above 30F, which for NYC might make the all season tires a better option. I may try those out after my alpins are done
What’s interesting is that I’ve had no grip issues with my Alpins and I’ve driven them between 20 to 75 degrees. To me at least, the grip feels the same across that range. Maybe the difference is subtle enough that I don’t notice it.
 

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Don't forget that there can be a large difference between air temperature and road temperature.
Yep, so typically in the morning the road surface might still be cold compared to air and in the evening the road surface might be warm compared to air.
Also, just barely frozen ice offers a nearly friction free surface. This is complicated by the addition of antifreeze to the road surface, such as brine or salt.

My Nokian R3 tires seem to have good grip on warm dry surfaces, but the car handles "wonky" such that I never want to push it.
My Michelin PS A/S 3+ do well over a wide range of temps, but cannot grip ice/snow anywhere near as well as the Nokians.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Now that spring is upon us, I wanted to resurrect this thread but ask my original question a different way and do so via a poll at the top of thread.

I have the qv oem Pirelli p zero corsa as my summer performance tire and the Michelin alpin pa4 as my winter performance tire.

With the weather now consistently in the 40s and 50s, which tire will give me the best grip in this weather? I feel like 40s are the lower limit for summer and 50s are the upper limit for winter, so I'm not sure when to take my winters off and swap to summer. Thanks
 
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