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Discussion Starter #1
OK I can hear you saying...what, winter tires...it's not even August...But by the time my Q3 arrives here in the PNW it will be close to September and then the time of putting on winter tires will (sadly) be only 2.5 months away. While the thought of having to plunk out another bushel of cash after paying for the Audi isn't appealing, I'm thinking ahead and wondering what to buy? I have the Prestige so will have the larger tires and I see they are All Season. I have been using studless snow tires on my Mini, which of course is FWD and thought I would stick with studless for the Q3. I'm assuming that even with Audi's Quatro system the all season tires would not be sufficient for snowy, icy conditions and driving to the mountains for cross country skiing - right? Anyone familiar with studless on the Q3 and which tires might work best (size, brands)? Thanks!
 

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I hope our northern folks - even a few from Canada - can chime in. Unfortunately I'm in SC and we get almost no snow - but I can say this past Winter we had a couple of days of 3-4 inches and traveling around in that much with the same tire you'll be getting was NO problem at all - I'll also note that since we don't get much snow, our city is NOT typically prepared for it and can barely sand bridges and overpasses and do NO clearing of any roads - we have 2 plows and they stay at the airport :|
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks. The ice is what really worries me more than the snow....we get these times when it snows and people drive over it before they can plow it. Then it melts when the sun comes out and freezes again overnight. This can go on for days and it gets pretty slick. Or, now that we seem to be having warmer winters we can get rain and then it goes below freezing at night. All of this is so much fun if you are going up hill behind a very slow driver or at a stop sign on a hill or, try one of our many roundabouts for a real thrill ride. I don't drive many miles in winter but need to be able to rely on the Q3 as a ski car when needed. We have put studless on my wife's Outback as well. Hate the thought of forking out another $600 or so for these tires...but beats the repair bill from an accident.
 

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cabelguy, you can probably get a number of recommendations, but I suggest you simply pop down to your local Les Schwab store and find out what they recommend and what they're going to have in stock this year, and then make an early order before supplies run out....as they often do when the first icy days hits.

I've had Yokohama Geolander studless tires on my AWD Mazda for six winters (I take them off the car when not needed), and have made a number runs to Hood and Bachelor with no problems whatsoever.

I already have a buyer for the tires and the Mazda....now just waiting for the Q3 to arrive....but I'm going to see what it is like to simply go with the all-season tires and Quattro before deciding on getting new studless tires again.

But unlike you, I only drive on the occasional ice and snow to recreate....you will likely face your test sooner on your side of the Cascades.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks DampDuffer. Yes I too was considering just trying it out with the all season tires to see if I feel that's sufficient...but I'm sure my wife will veto that idea. And imagine how I'd feel if my testing showed that having the studless tires was required...I might learn by running into somebody or something. I've lost traction on the roundabouts even with AWD and studless on no less than a Subaru. Sometimes you have the feel you're on a skating rink. Perhaps it's time to just bite the bullet and spend the dough...I can add that to the paint protection job and other goodies that one can or must spend on with a new car.
 

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I'm wondering about this as well. I bought a winter tire setup for my last car since it came with summer tires. The summers were deadly once the temp dipped below 40F let alone on snow covered roads.

I ran a minus 2" General Altimax Arctics and they were like claws in the snow and ice. The only drawback was they were noisy and made the steering a bit vague.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
My Mini had summer tires on it when I bought it 10 years ago this month. When the first snow hit I had not changed out the tires and I had to drive home from work in it. I made it about a third of the way home, scared to death from sliding around... and had to leave the car in a parking lot and walk the rest of the way. At that point I abandoned the pure summer tires and went with a more all season + studless for winter. I'm used to driving in snow and ice but that was an experience I won't forget. I think I'm resigned to getting studless for the Q3 as the safety factor is important in our climate. When I did some quick reviews on Tire Rack I found that it's going to run me from $800 up for 19" tires (more were over $200 per tire). Just depends how much I want to spend.
 

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Cableguy, you should go with smaller rims such as 18" as they will be less expensive.
I think, but I have no experience, that the Q3 will fit 215/65/17 which is a 17" rim giving you more rubber for a softer ride and will be less expensive. Just have to make sure you get the correct rims. An Audi dealer should be able to help you with that.
Some good brands that I know of are Nokian, Bridgestone Blizzak, Michelin X-ice. There are several others of course.
 

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Michelin will serve you well and it's around $190 a tire so it won't break the bank. Maybe the Xi3? The reviews for those look great.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I had separate rims for my Mini and that was OK because there were fairly small tires. I'm wondering if at age 62+ I really want to lug around tires with rims on them..which would also mean lugging around the OEM tires and rims when they are taken off. So my plan was to get tires with no winter rims. My back says that's a wise plan.
 

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Yeah I know what you mean. I haul my Honda Ridgeline's 17" tires in and out of a crawl space in my basement twice a year. Not fun and don't know how long I can keep that up.
I know that some tire dealers and also car dealerships will store your tires if you buy them from them, and of course get them to put them on for you.
 

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I had separate rims for my Mini and that was OK because there were fairly small tires. I'm wondering if at age 62+ I really want to lug around tires with rims on them..which would also mean lugging around the OEM tires and rims when they are taken off. So my plan was to get tires with no winter rims. My back says that's a wise plan.
So you're thinking of just switching out the tires? Are you in need of new tires? If not, what'll you do with the A/S rubber you're taking off; swap it back on in the spring? I wouldn't be keen to do that twice a year...
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Most people in our neck of the woods simply have the tires swapped out each Nov and April. Granted it's not cheap. A small percent put their winter tires (studded or studless) on a separate set of wheels. In that case you just go to the dealer where you purchased the tires and they will swap out the wheels at no cost. The trade offs are straightforward: Upfront cost of wheels Vs annual cost of tire swap (pays for itself if you keep the car long enough). Lugging around and storing a set of tires on wheels Vs just lugging around the tires off the wheels (WAY easier). Speed of getting in and out of the tire shop - faster with a separate set of wheels. A separate set of wheels means you need to be careful about the tire pressure sensor system as changing wheels can have an impact. Occasionally you can get dings in your wheels if they are being changed out twice a year. That's what I've experienced so far, having done it both ways. Wish I felt comfortable that the all season tires + Quatro was good enough for year around safety.
 

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Hmm, well I do it a bit differently, and I'm a number of years older than anyone on this forum....

I purchased a used 3 ton capacity hydraulic floor jack for US $75 about 25 years ago and simply keep my studless snow/ice tires on their own wheels stored along the wall in the garage, and when the weather forecast calls for sub-freezing temps or snow, I just jack the car up and swap out the tires myself. When the forecast calls for the temps to warm again, I just put the all weather tires back on and store the studless tires.

I started doing this because I had hundreds of people counting on me to be to work on time regardless of the weather, and up until eight years ago I was running on studded tires that I did not want to run on bare pavement....and I continued this practice even with studless tires to keep the softer compound tires from wearing out....

It usually takes me a leisurely half-hour to change all four tires, but it's been done in under 20 minutes....but I will admit, the most difficult part has always been sitting on the floor and lifting the tires into place. On the plus side, the floor has radiant heating. :cool:
 

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All good points cableguy but I'm not sure the cost of entry is always lower for just tires. I just looked on tirerack and found that the lease expensive winter tire for my 19" wheels is $184 (x4 = $736) whereas they have a -3" wheel setup for $160 (x4 = $640) or a -2" for $798.

Granted you would still need to lug around wheels vs just tires but the added sidewall height is something to consider if you have rough roads. In the northeast our roads are in terrible shape. Potholes and frost heaves all over and low profile tires tend to get pinch flats. Taller sidewalls help with that and inexpensive wheel and tires are a lot less painful to replace than a factory wheel.
 

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If it helps....

Fellas - as an owner of a three week old 2016 Q3, I've recently spent a fair amount of time looking into snow tires/wheels for the forthcoming winter.

Here's what I've found, hopefully it's helpful:

-The Q3 can accommodate wheels as small as 17 x 6.5"

-Audi sells a winter wheel/tire pkg for the 2015 Q3 (which should also fit the 2016s) here: http://www.parts.audiusa.com/audiparts/index.cfmjointvehid=18136&allSearch=&maxrows=8&action=accessories&manufacturerid=1013&startrow=1&categoryid=48712&subcat1=62950&subcat2=0&subcat3=0&subcat4=0&subcat5=0&return=ecatalog&catalogid=2379&siteid=16&overlayExtids=&overlayIntids=

-TireRack has various winter wheel/tire pkgs for the Q3 at around ~$1,200

-I couldn't get a clear answer from my local Dealership's Techs, or, Audi support as to whether or not mounting wheels/tires from TireRack (non-Audi certified) would violate my manufacturers warranty. The Techs seemed to think that so long as the "after market" wheels/tires were the same offset as those offered via Audi (link above), it shouldn't be an issue.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I think I've decided to stick with 19" studless snow tires and have them mounted on the OEM wheels on my Q3. Cost is going to be around $1200 for the set and I'll be out $120 or so a year for tire changeovers, but at least I won't be trying to lug around 19" wheels with the stock AS tires, getting them in and out of the car (and my wife's car which also has 19" wheels). I can handle lugging around the tires off the wheels and that will save my back.
 

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You might want to consider the following:
1. Staying with one set of rims will basically cost you about, and this is in Canadian dollars, $70 per switch, that is removal/install and balance in the fall and again in the spring so $140.00 per year.
2. Winter, certainly here in Ottawa is very hard on wheels, so if you really like your rims, exposing them to winter will definitely be harder on the finish.

As for tires you can't go wrong with any 'Ice' type tire from the major manufacturers, i.e. Bridgestone Blizzak or Michelin X-Ice.

We have run these tires on our other cars and they have proven very effective and we get 6 or 7 winters out of them, to get them to last I install the winters late in the fall and early in the spring, in Ottawa we're talking November - March/April.
 

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Also, for winter you might want to consider 17 inch if going with different rims. Typically, yo want narrower and taller tires, fat tires are more likely to float while the narrower tires won't.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
No argument on the cost factors involved or the other factors you noted - I've had winter wheels and tires for my Mini for about 8 years now - even changed them out myself for about 6 of those years...until I started having back issues during the changeover process.

While I like having winter tires on winter wheels, it appears that the weight of the stock 19" wheels and tires will be over 50LBS and lugging them back and forth to the tire shop in the back of the Q3 isn't particularly appealing and puts some risk on my back with the lifting in and out of the car. I have had no issues with transporting the 16" and 17" tires/wheels on my Mini to the dealer, but they are smaller and lighter than the stock combo summer AS tires on the Q3. While I can always get the smaller winter wheels, I will still have to deal with the larger and heavier summer wheels/tires. I will probably discuss this with the local American Tire shop and see what they say.
 
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