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Discussion Starter #1
I was wondering if anyone here had thoughts on replacing the Dunlop OEM tires with a solid All Season 18" Radial. Living in Maryland, snow normally isn't a huge issue, but it is something to deal with, and the OEM Dunlops are pitiful in the snow (and are pitiful tires, but that is another thread....)

I'd prefer not to downsize the wheels for winter.. would rather just have one set of good tires on the car and not have to worry about getting tires and wheels switched out every winter, but also tires that would allow me to feel comfortable driving on them in the snow.

Doing some research at Tire Rack, it looks like the following tires are good options in the correct size/speed rating.

Continental ExtremeContact DWS
Goodyear Eagle Sport All Season
Michelin Pilot Sport AS/3
General G-Max AS-03
Pirelli P Zero Nero All Season

Does anyone have any experience with these tires on their Mazdas (or other cars?) If so, would you recommend them?

Thanks!
 

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I can sing the praises of the ExtremeContact DWS tires I was running on my 2005 Focus. For rain and summer, I don't think you're going to find a much more responsive tire unless you switch to performance summer tires. I'm comparing my experience to the Bridgestone Potenza RE050A Pole Position tires that I used on the same car for high performance track driving. I haven't track tested the DWS tires though as our local race track closed a month after I played with the Bridgestone's.

I can't speak to winter performance. I generally keep 2 sets of tires. I'm of the mind that even the best all season tires are crap compared to even a cheap set of winters. I had mine on separate rims so I can swap from winters to all-season/summers in about 10 minutes. I'm just using the Ecopia tires that came OEM on my Mazda 3. Those are complete garbage in the winter compared to the Dunlop Graspic DS3 tires I had on my Focus.

My plan in the next year or so is to run Bridgestone Blizzak WS80 on the OEM rims in 205/60R16. I want to look at performance summer or the Continental's on 18" rims in 215/45R18.

Summary, I highly recommend the Continentals. Not sure about for winter. Invest in separate winters on some cheap rims. All seasons suck all around for winter.
 

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I had the Discount/America's Tire version of the Conti DWS on my first gen 3 and I loved them. They were very similar to the Dunlop SP Sport Signatures I had previously but at a better price/warranty coverage. They gripped and gripped no matter what I threw at them on the on/off ramps and what not.

From what I heard they're a touch quieter than the DWS (less aggressive snow groove...didn't matter here in CA), really liked those tires.

I've had Goodyear Eagle tires before on other cars and I've always been unwhelmed by their treadlife/road noise and handling vs. Dunlops or Contis on the same car.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thank you all for the responses. Some great information for me to ponder! muchly appreciated!
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thank you Noob - that is kind of what I was looking to see.. and I'm sure your CT winters are worse than my DC winters.. I'm sure the tires run similar despite the Subaru AWD.
 

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They're probably like any all-season tire. Some people call them "three season tires" because they do not compare to a true winter tire. A dedicated winter tire has a softer rubber compound to prevent it from freezing. It will not last as long as most all-season tires but the softer rubber will have a better grip on colder surfaces such as snow and ice.

Check out Tire Rack for actual reviews on different size and types of tires. I base myself a lot on that website but end up buying my tires local as shipping to Canada can be expensive wi TR.
 

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Ryche, I've been looking at replacing my stock Dunlops as well and have been doing a lot of research. My main criteria are: all-season rating, low noise, high grip and good durability. I've narrowed my search down to the following in order:
- Pirelli PZero All Season Plus (may be available in stock size Feb. 17)
- Michelin AS/3
- Goodyear Sport All-Season

I got the Conti DWS for my parents' Cruze on 17s. They are good tires but my parents have separate winter tires/wheels for driving in BC. There are more sporty three season tires - I find the ride soft and the sidewalls spongy under hard cornering, although they are quiet, which was a primary concern. If you aren't racing, they are a good tire and are rated best for winter capability among the UHP all season tires.
 

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Now if you are looking for really good tires on a budget, I would highly recommend the Kumho Ecsta PA31. The performance you get for the price is very good. Currently run them on my 02 Sentra SE-R. I wouldn't recommend tire shopping and just narrowing it down to the popular brand names alone, otherwise you'll be paying a premium just for the name on the sidewalls.

Again, they are the Kumho Ecsta PA31. You can check out the reviews and see for yourself. They are substantially cheaper than all the other tires on your list as well.
 

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Just my two cents: I had the DWS on a previous car. I don't mean any disrespect, but I couldn't disagree more in regards to responsiveness. I thought they were utterly terrible and returned them. In snow, they were really good though -- probably the best you're going to get in an all season. Also the ultimate grip was great, but like I said, the turn-in quickness was abysmal. I played around with tire pressure a lot and eventually had them jacked up to 38lbs to try to help things, but that destroyed the tire's other benefits, such as ride comfort and noise. The DWS simply doesn't have a rigid side wall -- it's more comfort oriented. It's a great all season, but it doesn't belong anywhere near the high, or ultra high performance category, IMO.

I'll be getting the Michelin Pilot Sport AS/3 in a few weeks, but in 17 inch. I haven't heard of an all season tire that can beat it in terms of grip, responsiveness, compliance, and road noise. Consumer reports also ranked it #1 in the ultra high performance all season category, if I remember right. I don't think it's super great in snow though, but I have dedicated winter tires now, for that. I remember that they also ranked it as only have mediocre rolling resistance -- so you might notice a decrease in mpgs -- which I think is reasonable considering the performance trade off. I mean, no single tire can do everything awesome -- there are always trade offs.
 

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Natesi, I would take what Consumer Reports say with a grain of salt. In my experience, not all of the top tires are the best. I personally like the General G-Max AS03s, just because I have pushed them to their limits and they stick like glue, even in 3 inchs of standing water.
 

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I agree. Consumer reports is more of a guideline and just something to consider.

As for as03s... I disagree. I had them on a previous car and didn't think they were anything special. Not as bad as the dws though.

I just ordered pilot sport as3s and will let you know what I think when they come in.
 

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Discussion Starter #16 (Edited)

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Discussion Starter #17
Leozno - thanks for the tip on Kuhmo's. I'll check them out. They look decent.
Natesi - True about the Michellins and the lower MPG - I had a set of Primacy's on my previous car, and noticed a 3-4 MPG drop from the Yoko's I'd had on before. (it was a 2002 Hyundai Elantra).
 

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I put Michelin Super Sports on after about 500 miles,I live in So Cal ,big difference still high 30s on open highway,will see what's out there when they ware out.
 

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Let me know what you think of the pilot sports. Later on I might try a set myself.
I got my threads mixed up -- sorry. Meant to update this one, but made a couple updates over here: http://mazda3revolution.com/forums/2014-mazda-3-skyactiv-wheels-tires/54994-aftermarket-wheel-quality-8.html#post1233010

No sense in posting the exact same stuff twice -- I'll just reference the other thread.

In a nutshell, I'm still evaluating the tires [Michelin Pilot Sport A/S3s, 17 inch, 225 width] -- only had them a few weeks.

Tire-oriented-thoughts, not in the other thread: Turn-in good, but I wouldn't say mind blowing -- however this might improve as the tires age. Also 38lbs in the front seems to be the sweet spot for me. Ride compliancy is extremely good (helped significantly by lightweight wheels I think). Cornering limits and ultimate traction meet my expectations so far, and break away seems very gradual -- but I want to play around with the limits some more. I haven't had an opportunity to evaluate hydroplaning resistance nor wet traction limits yet -- it's been eerily warm and dry in Oregon the last few weeks.

Anyhoo, downsides are (1) noise, but that could be partially due to the lightweight wheels transmitting more of the road's surface/vibrations into the cabin, and (2) what seems to be a 2-3 mpg decrease (but too early to tell for sure).
 

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