GM Volt Forum banner

1 - 20 of 25 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
28 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hi all,
I know it's early but since I got the hail damage ($3000) fixed at my local autobody and repair shop, I decided to get a quote for snow tires. The shop is almost walkable from my home and they offered to store a set of tires for each season if we go forward. I told the manager that this forum suggests steel wheels for snow tires (if you can afford them) and I also brought up the issue of the tire pressure readings. I sent him an email requesting the quote and he came back with the quote (almost $2,000) along with very detailed answers to my two questions: 1) why steel tires and 2) I needed assurance that my tire pressure readings would be accurate. Here is his comprehensive reply, and I thought I would post it in its entirety for those that may have similar questions.

I would also appreciate hearing your thoughts on the quote cost and choice of tires. I like to shop locally and won't be ordering them via an online discount store and then carrying them in for installation. This guy is great -- did a great job on two autobody jobs and loves our Volt almost as much as we do. He teaches a DVM driving training class at the local high school and the school bought a Volt for that course. So we have the only 2 Volts ever seen around here!

Thanks in advance for your thoughts. Below is the text of the email.
Karen

Karen & Pat,

Good morning, and thank you for the compliments. We work hard to achieve
that level of satisfaction every day, with all of our customers. In an
effort to continue that appreciation, I've put together an entire quote for
a complete winter traction package. But first, I feel it would be best to
answer your questions, and it will explain the items on the quote as well.

Making the decision to purchase a separate set of wheels that are dedicated
for winter use is a great idea in many ways. The most obvious reasons are
ease of installation and to maintain the condition of the original equipment
aluminum wheels. Having winter tires mounted on their own wheels makes
preparing your car for winter that much easier. If you have swapped from
tire-to-tire on the same wheel in years past, you understand the waiting
that takes place at the shop. This also invites the opportunity for damage
to the wheel as it is handled several times. Steel wheels are also more
resistant to the heavy corrosion that occurs during winter driving. The most
difficult area to clean is the tight area between the tire and the wheel,
where the seal is made. In areas of heavy salt use, the salt decays the
clear coat on the wheel, and later the wheel itself, making a good tire seal
difficult when you switch back to summer tires. This is typically remedied
by scuffing the wheel to reveal a clean edge for adequate tire sealing.
After just a few seasons, this begins to wear away at the wheel, often times
requiring replacement. Swapping from tire-to-tire also warrants the need to
balance the tire/wheel assembly. Conventional hammer-on weights are designed
to dig into the rim of the wheel to remain attached. This easily gouges the
paint on the wheel, inducing salt corrosion. Stick on weights apply to the
inside of the wheel for better balancing and also provide a cleaner look.
Leaving your original wheels for non-winter use will allow you to keep your
Volt looking great during the warm seasons.

The second question you had was regarding the tire pressure monitors. The
Chevy Volt uses a system that includes a pressure sensor at each wheel. As
we have experienced often times in the past, these sensors are not re-usable
when attempting to swap them from wheel-to-wheel. My recommendation is to
use a new, separate set of sensors for the winter wheels. While this may
increase the initial price of a winter tire package, but remember this is a
one-time cost. These sensors are affixed to the wheel via the valve stem,
and stay with the wheel. If you should choose not purchase a set of sensors
upon the decision of separate winter wheels, a warning indicator will be
illuminated on your dash. While this poses no real threat to the car, this
simply means you will have to manually check the tire's pressure. New
sensors also require recalibration which we can take care of at no extra
cost, and takes just a couple minutes to verify.

The tire vendor we deal with that sells Nokian brand tires recommends the
model "WRG3", which is engineered for Hybrid cars as it offers low rolling
resistance to ensure expected fuel mileage. The same tire retailer also
offers 17" steel wheels for the Chevy Volt, and are as easily available. The
tire pressure sensors would be direct from General Motors, as some
aftermarket sensors have communication issues with the on-board computers,
and the outcome is similar to that of no sensors in place, giving you
warnings on your dash, and is money wasted. Below is a list of the items,
their costs, and necessary procedures and costs, with all taxes included.

4 Nokian WRG3 Tires-----$203.99 ea.
4 17"x7" Steel Wheels----$148.75 ea.
4 GM TPMS Sensors------$69.94 ea.
4 Tire Mount & Balance--$10.00 ea.
4 NYS Tire Disposal Fee---$2.50 ea.
-------------------------------------------
Sub Total $1740.72
Tax $139.25
Total $1879.97
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,446 Posts
Seems like fair pricing to me. I'm not sure what the disposal fee is for?

Just so you are aware, I do not have a separate set of tires for the winter months. This past winter we had quite a bit of snow and I did drive my Volt during a snow storm and the Volt handled it very well. Actually better than I had hoped.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
202 Posts
Wow, with just the email, I want to buy a set of winter tires!!! I work in the custormer service field and this guy sounds legit and very knowledgeable and he sounds liek he does care about the people he services. Price wise I have not bought any snow tires in years, use to have some on my truck when driving up to the snow, so I can't answer that part. Other than that I would buy tires from this guy any day of the year!!!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
28 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
David,
Agreed on possibly not needing snow tires. However, ice might be the only reason around here to get them as between 4 - 7 pm black ice is rampant. The way I look at it -- it's like having 2 pairs of shoes and you alternate. They both last longer this way :).
Thanks for your help.
Karen
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,257 Posts
Correct explanation.

Few notes:
- if you have heavy snow in winter and plan to swap the tires in autumn/spring cycle I would suggest Hakkapeliitta R2 instead. WRG3 is "all-year" tire with less traction in winter. Basically swapping WRG3 each autumn might work best for occasional snow/ice conditions. Best bang for the buck from Nokia would be Hakkapeliitta 7/8 but it comes with stubs and may not be legal in some places. (WRG3 would not be legal in Finland as Winter tire)
- 2000$ sounds reasonable. Remember that you can use the steel rims for 20+ years easily. If your next car comes with same bolt split and size, just swap to that.
- I would recommend a set of 16" rims with higher profile tire. Better to drive in winter, lower noise, cheaper. Drawback is higher speed meter difference from actual speed.
- Remember to swap the winter tires after 3-5 year, even if you do not drive much with them. Easiest way to use them to end is to drive one summer after their end of life time and then replace them.

BTW: Stubs vs non-stubs is a question of noise vs safety. Last winter I was not able to stop my volt to an intersection with my blizzak non-stub tires and would have avoided the situation with stub-tires easily. Luckily no other cars were there while I crossed the road and I did not need to test other safety systems of Volt. If you want max safety and stubs ar legally allowed, I would recommend those. (And yes, I drive with non-stubs due to noise reduction :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,446 Posts
David,
Agreed on possibly not needing snow tires. However, ice might be the only reason around here to get them as between 4 - 7 pm black ice is rampant. The way I look at it -- it's like having 2 pairs of shoes and you alternate. They both last longer this way :).
Thanks for your help.
Karen
Understood, and I'm not trying to tell you that you shouldn't get them. Who knows...maybe I might decide to get a set before next winter. ;)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
20 Posts
Having a dedicated set of snow tires/rims also buys you the ability to throw a spare tire in the back for longer trips.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,257 Posts
Looked at google maps. Hudson NY is at same latitude as spain and lower pars of Finland are at same latitude as Anchorage. Stub tires and even HakkaR2 might be an overkill. :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,410 Posts
Before you go that route check with www.tirerack.com for mounted snow tires with a TPMS installed...my wife had a set of studded snow tires, not Nokian, but worked well for the five winters she used them, made up fo her 2008 Honda Civic Hybrid that was much cheaper than that...And the wheels she chose looked similar to the original alloys that came with the car...:)
 

·
Moderator
Joined
·
8,680 Posts
That seems reasonable.

I actually went to tirerack and took their recommended package a year and change ago - about $1200 with shipping then, and then another $110 for a tool to program the tire sensors every time I switch. Tirerack's recommendation included 16" painted alloy wheels. The comments about the benefits of steel wheels are correct, but in this case, I felt that the $85 alloy wheels could be replaced it corrosion became an issue (which is less likely since they are painted,) and in the mean time, the lower weight is a benefit.

The Volt can (barely) take most 16" wheels (Mine have about an eighth inch of clearance on the calipers, and it lets them put deeper sidewalls on - my tires are Michelin Xi2 Ice in 215/60R16, vs the OEM 215/55R17s - within one or two revolutions per mile, so no adjustments needed.
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
20,024 Posts
Steel? I don't think anyone here recommends them. I only know of one or two that put steel rims on. Everyone else went aluminum alloy, including me (from tirerack.com). They were delivered mounted, balanced, with TPMS. Ready to go and for a lot less than $1800 you are being quoted.

Snow tires on alloy wheels will cut about 5 miles off your battery range. Steel rims may cut even more due to weight and don't look as nice. And after a few years they can be a rusty mess.

My winter wheels:

DSC06791.jpg
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
19 Posts
I also went with tirerack. they sent the tires mounted balanced, and with TPMS directly to my shop of choice. Their package handled the Pittsburgh winter very well. I have heard that it only makes a difference if you have it on the front tires, but I went with 4 anyways.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
278 Posts
As per previous post , Nokian Happapellitta R (now R2) are low rolling resistance type.
I went with steel from Costco.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,044 Posts
That quote is high by $500.00 based on what I paid for mine.

The steel wheels are too expensive - the alloy's are about $100/each. The tires are also expensive

Tirerack's "recommended" setup is $1200 including shipping. I got mine at my local tire shop, where I've been doing business for 20+ years and trust implicitly, for $1200. I got 16" Blizzaks on alloy wheels with TMPSs. Cost me in range, so if you can get the Hakkapeliitta R2 for about the same price, your range hit won't be as much as mine. I'd even pay an extra $50/tire for them, but not much more.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,165 Posts
Looked at google maps. Hudson NY is at same latitude as spain and lower pars of Finland are at same latitude as Anchorage. Stub tires and even HakkaR2 might be an overkill. :)
EU benefits from the Gulf stream current. Cannot use latitude as a meaningful guide to temps or weather.

Hudson NY can get plenty of snow and ICE, only the mountains of Spain would come even close.
The real advantage of studs is they do work on ICE, good snow tires can help but not even close to studs.
But the noise is a real annoyance.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
285 Posts
I have snow tires and just use the stock wheel and sensor. Costco charges $50 for a changeout each season, which includes rotate and balance.

Nokian Hakkapeliitta 7 or R for sure, they are available with or without studs. I also like the Michelin X-ice and Bridgestone Blizzak.

Right now you can get a set of Michelin X-Ice for about $500. It's LRR and actually has a treadlife warranty!

Much cheaper, and honestly, almost as good as the Nokian.

Nate
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
28 Posts
Discussion Starter #18 (Edited)
(Correction after writing below post -- I spoke too fast. The Nokian WRG2 is the stellar review -- the tires I was quoted are Nokian WRG3 and this review by the same guy is not good -- especially on ice/snow -- so definitely back to the driving board or I'll try and get the WRG2's. Here is the review on the WRG3's:

http://tires.about.com/od/Tire_Reviews/fr/Review-Nokian-Wrg3-Asymmetric.htm)


Hi all,

Wow! Lots of different perspectives on snow tires in early June! Thank you all so much for your thoughtful replies.

Here is a review I easily found by searching on the brand my shop recommended:

http://tires.about.com/od/Tire_Reviews/fr/Nokian-Wr-G2-All-Season-Tires.htm

I'm guessing he chose this for me because we talked about the black ice problem. My previous car (2006 Prius) had on Goodyear Integrity snow tires and I was unable to turn into my street - I had to go right past it and turn around in a parking lot a mile down the road. The next day the front page of the paper had an article about the number of accidents during that period -- lots. So I'm reacting to the fact that the dedicated snow tires were great in the snow but not so good on that ice.

I will look at some alternatives and discuss alloy vs steel etc. I realize I may be paying top dollar for whatever I choose but I know I'll get great service and he'll stand behind whatever I get. A lot of independent stores have gone out of business near me -- I got all my flooring and window treatments at a nearby place that had been there 25 years (they were fantastic and so great to work with) and one day they were closed permanently. I got in touch with a couple of the people who worked there and it wasn't even the big Lowe's down the street that beat them on price, just a steady fall off in business -- even Lowe's couldn't keep their independent installers busy.

Lots to think about and thanks all for your helpful information.

Best,
Karen
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,567 Posts
I install and recommend snow tires for many people. The quote you received is not bad but higher than I would have looked at. You can definitely get things a little less expensive from TireRack, but that also means you are on your own or pay someone to install them on the car. For some people it's worthwhile to use a local shop for all of this as you get to return to the local shop with any questions or problems. $2000 seems high at first, and that sounds pricey for steel wheels, but it's not highway robbery either.

Personally I would choose a 17" wheel/tire combo so I could use one of the snow tires in an emergency/blowout/spare situation, or keep your OE wheels, put your snow tires on them and get some 'nice' wheels for the summer. Or like somebody above mentioned, just have them change the tires each season. Your OE wheels probably aren't going to last forever anyway.

Also steel wheels are heavier than the OE wheels - part of the fuel savings/economy is keeping the rolling mass as low as possible. I look for lightweight wheels for the Volt (even though they are not quite as 'tough' as steelies).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,044 Posts
They're not your daddy's snow tires anymore. They're "winter tires" with extra siping to help handle ice. No tires, studded tires included, make you have the same traction on glare ice as you would have on dry pavement.

How many of these ice incidents do you have in an average winter or even a harsh winter. We have winter here, and my biggest concern is one of these incidents occurring prior to or after I swap in or out the winter tires. They won't help sitting in your garage.
 
1 - 20 of 25 Posts
Top