Ted puts his Saab winter shoes on

One of the regular commenters here, Tedjs, is a prefoessorial-mechanical-type-guy with a Saab 9-3 SportCombi that he likes to show off to students and colleagues alike.

Given that the northern winter is now just starting to bite, Ted’s just changed his SportCombi into it’s winter “attire”.

This will be nothing new to you northerners, but for we southerners that can wear performance tyres all year round, it’s rather curious. The thought of having to buy and keep two sets of wheels and rubber isn’t a particularly attractive one.


Here are the winter tires that Saab sells on its site and at the dealers. At $220.00 for each mounted and balanced, they are a heck of a deal:

The OEM tire is on the right which is a ContiProContact 235/45VR17 and is a steamroller, which is cool for handling. I don’t think it will do well in deeper snow, so the SportCombi is now wearing the GOODYEAR ULTRA GRIP GW3 215/55HR16. With an overall width 20mm less than the all season, it should do much better in deeper snow as more weight of the vehicle will be on a small contact patch on the road.

You can also see the more aggressive tread of the snow tire (or tyre?) that will help it ‘bite’ into the snow and get traction.

Saab tires

OEM on the car:

Saab tires

Snow tire and rim. Not bad looking considering it will see snow and road salt (ugh)!

Snow tires

For a smaller car it has some MONSTER front brakes! 🙂

Saab brakes

I cleaned some rust off the rotors while I was mounting them:

Rust cleaning

I rebalanced them on a Hunter 9700 road force balancer so I could put some stick on weights on it as salt tends to get behind the other weights. It is a pretty sophisticated balancer, and tells you where to stick the weights, and you can hide them behind spokes.

Tire balancer

Tire weights

Off to class now. Enjoy!


Site sponsor, Saab of Hunterdon, have an Ebay store that’s run by their spare parts division.

They’re currently selling a full set of snow tires with rims for US$800, which is even cheaper than the $220 per corner that Ted quote above as being a great deal.

Check ’em out here.

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  1. Funny, I just went through the same process, same Goodyear winter tires and same winter rims. The 17 inch ContiSportContact 2 tires I took off are even better as steamrollers but a complete no go in snow. Now I’ve got to make a dealer visit for some Tech II programming because I get a tire pressure monitor failure message every time I start the car. The owner’s manual clearly states that it shouldn’t do that if all 4 sensors are off, but it wasn’t programmed that way. 🙁

  2. 4 really good winter tyres 215/55R16 + 4 saab alu57 wheels for only $800?????
    I must tell my dealer to make the same deal!!
    ($ 800 = € 560)
    He ‘s probably only willing to sell me 2 wheels without the tyres for that money.

  3. I am rather interested to see how the electronic stability program/traction control performs in combination with the snow tires.

    An interesting side effect of the cooler weather (35 degree Fahrenheit) we are having is a rather noticeable increase in power from the engine. Any engine (control system) loves the cooler dense air, but a turbo loves it even more. More power and snow… Just what I wanted.

    I finally acquired Saab software for our Tech II, so I am having some fun with that. I will have to take some snapshots of the engine data stream to see what the system is up to.

  4. Just a side note on the winter tire/wheel package…

    There is a current rebate from Goodyear on the Ultra-grip tires. Ted is being mailed a Visa card for $40 from Goodyear. The rebate is good until December 1st, 2007 folks. So don’t wait!

  5. I just put the winter shoes on my 2003 9-5 last week. A day after our first snow fall, of course. Only an inch fell so no big deal. With my winter driving experience using winter tires and TCS, without the weight of an SUV, I am only limited by snow depth and ride height. The handling is fantastic and I’ve yet to even come close to thinking about getting stuck somewhere. I actually love heading out on the road before the snow plows get to it for a bit of fun. Safety first of course!

    I enjoy Fall the best due to the cooler weather for peak turbo performance (no need for Sport mode) and still riding on my summer tires for grip.

    I’m looking forward to the forecasted snow this weekend!

  6. Need advice on wheels for 9-3SS V6 XWD, plse. I’ve recently bought one with sports suspension, 18″ wheels and larger brakes. The wheels are basically the same as in Turbo X. The idiots at local Saab dealer (Warsaw, Poland) said any 17″ Saab wheels would be ok as winter wheels. To my (and their) astonishment – standard 17″ wheels were too small for larger front brakes. Does anyone know which 17″ wheels (if any) can be used in this model?

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