Winter Tires - 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Long-Term Road Test

2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Long-Term Road Test

2014 Chevy Corvette Stingray: Winter Tires

January 9, 2014

2014 Chevy Corvette Stingray

We like road trips. We're drivers. Give us a reason to go somewhere, and we'll find a reason to take a car instead of an airplane.

Today's reason: We want to know how well our 2014 Chevy Corvette Stingray handles the snow and bitter, bitter cold gripping the Midwest.

That's right, the 2014 Detroit Auto Show is just days away, and we called up the guys from ASAP Tire to install a set of Pirelli snow tires for the drive to Detroit and back.

2014 Chevy Corvette Stingray

Our Corvette is wearing big shoes with different sized rims (19s up front, 20s in back) which normally would make tire-selection difficult. This time, however, we had the right tires (more or less) kicking around our shop.

As equipped, our 'Vette has 245/35R19 tires up front and 285/30R20s out back. We just happened to have a couple of sets of Pirelli SottoZero Serie II winter tires (from our 911 and SLS AMG respectively) measuring 235/40R19 and 295/30R20. We don't necessarily like going up by 10mm in the rear for winter driving, but for this road trip they'll work just fine.

The bigger concern was that these tires aren't run-flats while the OEM tires are. This problem was solved with a sealant and inflator kit and the knowledge we've got cell phones and OnStar.

2014 Chevy Corvette Stingray

As for the installation, we chose to once again use ASAP Mobile Tire for the job. They came to us — no need to have a second car to haul wheels and tires to the tire shop — and only charged $140 for just about an hour's work of mounting and balancing the new rubber. When we took the SLS to have the winter tires mounted we were charged $130. $10 seems well worth it for that type of service.

Initial feedback on the snows in SoCal weather: Loud. Surprisingly grippy. Better ride than stock. Speedometer still accurate.

Scott leaves Thursday. I drive it back. Wish us luck.

Mike Magrath, Features Editor @ 7,650 miles


  • grc82_ grc82_ Posts:

    I drive my G8 GT year round up in Canada and it does great in snow and ice (with winter tires). I am really interested to hear how the vette does in the cold, currently considering one as my next vehicle.

  • duck87 duck87 Posts:

    Fortunately it looks like you missed the worst of the weather. We were hit with a ton of snow, and then the polar vortex made it so cold that road salt didn't work. It doesn't help that folks in Michigan are horrible drivers. I've never seen so many broken plastic bits around the left shoulder concrete divider. Or so many cars bass-ackwards in ditches.

  • fordson1 fordson1 Posts:

    Nuh-uh. Wrong car for the trip and I say it about the 'Vette just as I would say it about the Tesla or the Silverado.

  • noburgers noburgers Posts:

    @duck87 is there ANY state not filled with horrible drivers? I didn't look up the rotation calculators but glad your speedo calibrations are good. Hopefully the stabilitrac system doesn't get messed up by the slightly different tire sizes. I wonder how

  • dgcamero dgcamero Posts:

    @noburgers: They're probably the same rolling diameter all the way around, so it shouldn't affect the stabilitrak on the Chevy or it would have affected the German cars' systems as well. @edmunds: Impressive that you guys have recycled them amongst 3 dif

  • Regarding the tire size differences, what is the tire size difference between a brand new tire and a worn out tire? Is that tread difference similar to the difference in the tire sizes in this situation? Not sure how sensitive the system is and if it gets down to that micrometer-type size differences.

  • fordson1 fordson1 Posts:

    "Today's reason: We want to know how well our 2014 Chevy Corvette Stingray handles the snow and bitter, bitter cold gripping the Midwest." Just sounds contrived to me. 98% of all 'Vettes are put away for the winter. Here's an idea - get a set of Pilot Super Sports for the Silverado and get your best staff hotshoe to set the best time he can on Mulholland Drive with it. Good idea? Exactly - no Silverado will ever be called upon to do that, so it's a dumb idea.

  • bassrockerx bassrockerx Posts:

    boreing! answering the questions nobody asked. would have much rathered hear. i would have much rather read about Acuara's SH-AWD terrorizing the snow and boldy going where no reasonably priced crossover has gone before. or read about the being a badass beater mercedes in the winter. Or maybe just taking the silverado to go play in some snow and give the people up north who buy pickups a good third party review or road trips and snow performance.

  • bassrockerx bassrockerx Posts:

    @markinapples the narrower the tires the less the difference of tire height will be if the two tires have the same aspect ratio (second number in the tire size) a 205/40/17 and a 215/40/17 are very very close and in height and will not effect a speedomete

  • kevm14 kevm14 Posts:

    First, I am sure the speed sensor/speedo/odo is picked from the transmission output shaft, the way it's always been. The only thing on the front tires should be the ABS/stabilitrack high resolution wheel speed sensors. I did some math out. Lately I've been trying to use the revs/mile spec of the tire rather than just calculating the static diameter of the tire. Not all tires are the same, and I believe revs/mile take into account actual tread height and a loaded tire. However, I could not find revs/mile for the exact (Porsche-spec) Pirelli's they selected. What I did find was that the taller/wider the tire, the less the difference was between static and dynamic diameter. Therefore, I determined that the front tires have a ~3% shorter dynamic/effective diameter and the rear tires have a ~2% dynamic/effective diameter. The factory Michelins do have a revs/mile spec, which I used natively. Comparing the factory rear tire, to the Pirelli selected, I came up with a very good 1% error. Specifically the new rear tires will cause the speedometer/odo to rear 1% slower since they have a 1% taller dynamic diameter. However the front is actually 2.5% taller than stock. Accounting for 7.5/32" worth of tread wear, you could end up with a ~1.5-2%% shorter tire, meaning the system may be programmed for up to 2% tread depth variation just from wear alone. With a little safety factor, that should be ok. BUT, since you are starting with a bias, and the fronts have gotten taller than the rear's have, with worn rear tires, you could be looking at a 3.5% variation, which could begin to exceed the factory margin of safety. Considering the stabilitrack system will get a lot of use in the snow, I'm not sure excited about this swap (I also don't know what Porsche-spec tires means). Mainly because the system may not perform optimally leading to false conclusions about the car's snow abilities.

  • kevm14 kevm14 Posts:

    So 3.5% is the variation with worn rear Pirelli snows and new front Pirelli snows. Not a likely scenario on this trip. Also, with worn fronts and new rears, the gap comes to within 0.2% of the factory front/rear bias. Kind of interesting. In short, wearing the fronts out faster than the rears will improve the situation. Wearing the rears out faster than the fronts will potentially put the system beyond the safety factor programmed to account for a tread wear deviation. I suppose the practical advice would be to avoid spinning the rears and that's going to be hard to heed...

  • edbradley edbradley Posts:

    Snow tires at LA's ambient temperatures - anytime of the year - bold move.

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