Up here in Northern Canada, we get a ton of snow. I never used to get winter tires, but since having a family and being more worried about their safety, I have been using winter tires for the past few years now. Any website you read online will tell you that the worst snow tire is still better than the best all season tire. Not to mention your tires will last twice as long as well if you are switching them every ~6 months so having 2 sets is beneficial in that way.
My issue with tires is that I hate taking my vehicle to a shop. (I like to do everything and anything that I can, myself) If you don’t have a second set of rims then you would have to get your tires mounted at a shop for about $20/tire. (There goes $80 twice a year) Then you also have to try to get a time in a shop for them to do the work. The first snowfall and everybody goes nuts up here.
That is why I have been purchasing full mounted and balanced sets of tires/rims from PMC tire for the past few years. I have not been able to find a cheaper website that offers rims and tires for Canadians. They do not charge for mounting/balancing OR shipping, and they usually come pretty quick (about a week). My latest set for my 2014 Audi A4 is a set of Maxtrek Trek M7 – 225/45/18 tires on 18″ black steel rims. This set shipped to my door was $836.
Now I am a guy that does my research before I buy anything. I know the top ranked winter tires and I know that the Chinese tires are not listed up there. The top ranked winter tires are generally $250-$300/tire. That would have made this same purchase about $1500, almost double the price. Even if these Chinese tires end up wearing out faster I could purchase another set and have them mounted and it would still be under $1500. I would take a brand new set of Chinese tires over a 3-5 year old set of a top brand tire. Maybe if I drove a lot I would change my mind, but I am probably in between the 5000 – 10,000km/year range. If I drive on my winter tires for 6 months each year that would only be about 7500 – 15000km in 3 years. I don’t see a tire failing after less than 15,000kms, even if its Chinese.
Here is my 3 year old and I doing the tire/rim change in the garage. I will provide an update/review once I have driven on these tires for a while.