Driving the M3 in Winter on Continental DWS Tires

Flat Continental DW on E46 M3

Back in April of this year I installed new Continental ExtremeContact DW tires installed on my daily driven M3. Unfortunately, just a few weeks ago a nail found its way in to one of the rear tires and destroyed the sidewall before I could make it to the local tire shop.

The shop I was at, Merchant’s Tire & Auto, could not get their hands on another Continental ExtremeContact DW that day but they did have the Continental ExtremeContact DWS in stock. That posed a problem as I did not want mis-matched tires. What was I to do? A million thoughts ran through my mind.

It’s early October in northern VA.
We could see snow as early as November.
I have two dedicated snow tires on the original 18×8’s in my garage.
I need to buy two more dedicated snow tires at some point.
It’s too early to run dedicated snow tires.
Maybe we don’t see any snow fall at all.
We’re going to have a blizzard.
I haven’t done a lick of tire research lately.
These tire shops charge too much.

Snap out of it.

Checked TireRack for comparison tests and consumer reviews and confirmed my thought that the Continental DWS is supposed to be a decent tire. While the DWS may be rated for light snow, keep in mind that is at full tread depth. Winter performance will fall off significantly as the tread depth decreases.

I drive nearly 20k+ miles per year so that means if I install new Conti DWS tires now, they should have plenty of tread depth to get me through this winter season and last at least to the end of fall 2015. At that point I will look in to dedicated snow tires and then continue using the Conti DWS set from April 2016 till they wear out — likely by end of fall 2016. Then I’ll still have the dedicated winter tires to get me through the 2016 winter. I won’t need to purchase new summer tires until April 2017 — at which point there should be some seriously advanced tires to choose from.

Planning. Fuck yeah!

Merchant’s charged me $440 for two 245/40/18’s installed. Now I have a spare Conti DW with 6/32’s of depth remaining and I’ll soon have another two DWs when I replace the fronts with DWS tires. Maybe I can sell those three for a couple hundred bucks and recoup a bit?

Fingers crossed we have a light winter. Check out my BMW M3 and all the modifications at WheelWell.com