I've finally picked up some rims (18x7.5, offset of 48). Now I need tires. This has been a little bit more difficult to get a handle on. First off, every place carries different brands, mostly mutually exclusive. Second, every place also has their own policies, perks, and disadvantages. Third, reviews for most tires are extremely diverse - which I suspect stems from different driving conditions. Forth, there is pricing. I found that tires are unique from most other products in that pricy tires does not necessarily mean good - and likewise, cheap does not mean bad.
As I do with most purchases, I do a crazy amount of reading, but with tires...especially tires (wheels were easy - looks, weight, strength - done), the more I read, the more muddled my search becomes.
I am from the North East. We get a fair bit of snow, so my decision process has come to: set of summer tires + winter tires, or a set of really nice all season, or all season + winter.
All season plus winter makes the most sense to me as the weather here can be quite sporadic. If snow comes out of nowhere, and I don't have Winter tires on yet, I would not want to be in Summer tires. Like-wise, I get the impression that all seasons are not sufficient for snow/ice, so Winter is preferred.
Our stock VT tires actually worked out pretty well in the snow. Going back and forth between the dealership when I made my purchase, it was snowing pretty bad. The stock tires felt fine going 50-55 ish on the highway - but then again, I'm a fairly defensive driver (I slowly feel that is going away though...curse of the VT).
Tire research process...
At first, I wanted Bridgestones - mainly the RE970AS. Tire Rack rated them fairly well, and they are also on sale at Costco. Costco so far has been my ideal place for tires. It is my understanding that they are certified, and if something goes wrong, there is the financial backing of Costco themselves. They also provide various free tire maintenance services with tire purchase - at least till your membership runs out. I thought I was all good to go...till I discovered the complaints about traction in the snow.
Doing my research - the DWS looks like a great option, if not the best option - except there is no local option. I have to order it, and take it to a place to mount. I would lose the perks of a locally purchased tire.
Now I am looking at Goodyear Eagle F1 Asymmetric All-Season. They look pretty good, but are more pricy than the RE970AS and DWS by a fairly large margin. I also don't know if I trust Goodyear techs (haven't done research on them really). The downside is that there aren't many reviews out for it - especially related to snow. That is a fairly large unknown.
A buddy of mine recommended the Toyo Proxi 4 Plus all-seasons.
Costco only cares like three brands apparently, with Michelin being one of them and a good choice from my understanding. I'm kind of a sale whore though, so knowing that there is going to be a coupon in like one and a half months is putting me back. Costco also have fairly poor prices compared to competitors, so without the coupon, its a terrible bargain.
This is getting a bit overwhelming to me. Anyone with some directional advice? Perhaps the RE970AS isn't as bad as people make it seem (optimistic thinking)?