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Okay I'm so confused I want to put snows on my 21 Ultimate. but I don't want to pay for 18" snows and rims what is the best size for going down to a 16. wheel-size.com lists that they recommend 205 60R16 on 6.5 width with a 52mm offset. What does everyone actually get and what works the best no rubs and good wear...

Thanks,
Patrick
 

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Okay I'm so confused I want to put snows on my 21 Ultimate. but I don't want to pay for 18" snows and rims what is the best size for going down to a 16. wheel-size.com lists that they recommend 205 60R16 on 6.5 width with a 52mm offset. What does everyone actually get and what works the best no rubs and good wear...

Thanks,
Patrick
I went with steel rims, 16 x 6.5, 5x114.3 +45 offset with Hakkapeliitta R3s which are the best winter tires out there as far as longevity and grip goes without going for studded. They are pricey, but should last longer than only slightly cheaper Blizzaks or X-Ice tires. I have had both and they wear quite quickly, whereas the R2s (and now R3) lasted longer with better grip.
 

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I just bought new winter tires and steel rims last week. My mechanic said that 215/60 R16 was the proper size for my Kona for winter tires, bought new steel wheels to save a bit of money, cost with tax for set of 4 was less than $1K CDN. Our Kona is not my daily driver and likely won't see a lot of snow or ice as that's what our Jeep is for, so wanted good tires but didn't want to spend a ton.

Tire Wheel Car Vehicle Automotive tire
 

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I have lived in Minnesota, upstate NY, and New England all my adult life, both rural and urban. I have not used snow tires since the early 80s. I get that some people may live on steep roads, have steep driveways, or drive Corvettes where they may be needed. However, if you think about it, how often do you really need that difference on a front-drive car with anti-lock brakes and traction control? Most roads get cleared relatively quickly or you can avoid bad situations or make up for less than optimal tires in slippery conditions by slowing down or being more skillful. I actually take it as a challenge. If you put on snows for 3-4 months, you will be driving 90-99% of the time with tires that don't feel or handle as well (perhaps making them less safe) and certainly don't look as good, let alone the trouble and expense of using snows. Try going a winter without snows, you will be surprised!
 

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I have lived in Minnesota, upstate NY, and New England all my adult life, both rural and urban. I have not used snow tires since the early 80s. I get that some people may live on steep roads, have steep driveways, or drive Corvettes where they may be needed. However, if you think about it, how often do you really need that difference on a front-drive car with anti-lock brakes and traction control? Most roads get cleared relatively quickly or you can avoid bad situations or make up for less than optimal tires in slippery conditions by slowing down or being more skillful. I actually take it as a challenge. If you put on snows for 3-4 months, you will be driving 90-99% of the time with tires that don't feel or handle as well (perhaps making them less safe) and certainly don't look as good, let alone the trouble and expense of using snows. Try going a winter without snows, you will be surprised!
It is not about snow as much as it is about temperature. Regular tire rubber hardens significantly in freezing temperatures and get brittle in extreme cold, making stopping distances MUCH longer (over 2x as long). Winter tires have a different rubber compound that stays pliable in the cold. Here in Canada, many provinces now make winter tires mandatory and for good reason.

If you live in a climate where you get winter, dropping 25k on a new vehicle and then cheaping out and not spending the extra $800 to protect your investment, safety, and other drivers on the road is pretty foolish in my opinion. You pay more to insure a vehicle without winter tires on, and your premiums will certainly go up if you rear end someone or end up in the ditch due to loss of traction.

Can you get through a winter without winter tires? Yes. Is it safe or recommended? No.
 

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It is not about snow as much as it is about temperature. Regular tire rubber hardens significantly in freezing temperatures and get brittle in extreme cold, making stopping distances MUCH longer (over 2x as long). Winter tires have a different rubber compound that stays pliable in the cold. Here in Canada, many provinces now make winter tires mandatory and for good reason.

If you live in a climate where you get winter, dropping 25k on a new vehicle and then cheaping out and not spending the extra $800 to protect your investment, safety, and other drivers on the road is pretty foolish in my opinion. You pay more to insure a vehicle without winter tires on, and your premiums will certainly go up if you rear end someone or end up in the ditch due to loss of traction.

Can you get through a winter without winter tires? Yes. Is it safe or recommended? No.
If winter tires are required by law (currently Quebec and British Columbia), I can't argue with that. Ideally, one should have the perfect tires for each season and/or use and your point is well taken about the cost of extra safety. One cold even argue that the extra cost is not that much since the one can only use one set of tires at a time and each set will therefore have longer life.

My point is that, for at least myself and probably a lot more people who put on winter tires, there is a relatively small proportion of the miles driven where they will be of much or any help. So what are those conditions?

The first relates to traction for accelerating or braking. If one has to drive on snow packed roads frequently (perhaps in Canada) then sure, snow tires are clearly quite superior and necessary. However, dangerous conditions can be easily avoided by most people most of the time by working from home on a snow day, leaving work early, or just waiting until the roads are cleared or treated before doing errands. (I understand that many will fear that one situation where they need to get their child to a doctor in a snow storm. With that logic, get a Hummer just in case.) As I mentioned previously, FWD, traction control, ABS is now available on most cars now.

The second factor may relate to some improvement in cold temps as you mentioned. I have noticed that some brands of all-season tires get flat spots in cold weather after sitting overnight so there is something to that. Tires do warm up and the flat spots go away within about 5-10 miles, though. I am not saying that completely offsets the temp advantage of winter tires. How long do people keep there snow tires on? What percentage of the time during those 3-4 months are you going to be getting a significant advantage on temperature? It's certainly not close to or below freezing for even most of that time for those 3-4 months.

Let's consider safety from the other perspective for those 3-4 months. Most of the time, most people will be driving on dry, wet, or treated (wet, not icy) roads. In those circumstances, winter tires may be less safe since they are softer and don't handle as well, especially if you have put smaller wheels on. One is more likely to be driving faster in dry conditions and therefore loss of handling (from winter tires) is more likely to result in serious damage. I would rather have my all-seasons (or all-weathers) than winter tires (and perhaps smaller/different wheels) that were not optimized by the manufacturer for my vehicle. In those rare snowy conditions when I have to drive with my all-seasons, I am likely to be and can be driving much slower so that the marginally increased risk for driving with all-seasons would be less likely to result in serious damage to myself, others or the car. One could even argue that snow tires might give some people a false sense of security so that they are more likely to be out and about or driving faster in snowy conditions and therefore will get into more trouble.

Again, everyone's circumstances are different.
 

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Okay I'm so confused I want to put snows on my 21 Ultimate. but I don't want to pay for 18" snows and rims what is the best size for going down to a 16. wheel-size.com lists that they recommend 205 60R16 on 6.5 width with a 52mm offset. What does everyone actually get and what works the best no rubs and good wear...

Thanks,
Patrick
We went with 215/55R17 Michelin X-Ice w/steel rims on our '19 Ultimate. That way, ride height and speedo effects are negligent. Yer call tho.
 

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We went with 215/55R17 Michelin X-Ice w/steel rims on our '19 Ultimate. That way, ride height and speedo effects are negligent. Yer call tho.
Ride height and speedo error are not affected by rim size, all that matters is the overall height of the wheel assembly. A 16" wheel can be used, the rubber would just have a higher sidewall to width ratio.
 

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Ride height and speedo error are not affected by rim size, all that matters is the overall height of the wheel assembly. A 16" wheel can be used, the rubber would just have a higher sidewall to width ratio.
Yes, the overall circumference or diameter needs to remain the same. Tirerack provides these numbers for various wheel and tire sizes. However, when you go with a smaller wheel and a higher sidewall, you will affect the handling of the car. A taller sidewall will not be as stable during cornering or sharp turns. Taller sidewalls will provide more cushioning and smoothness for road imperfections. Your car's suspension and structure have been tuned for the original tires and wheel size, so be careful. Ask yourself if it is worth putting on winter tires and/or different wheels that will affect handling for the majority of your winter driving IF there really are rare occasions where you would need snows or could avoid driving.
 

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Yes, the overall circumference or diameter needs to remain the same. Tirerack provides these numbers for various wheel and tire sizes. However, when you go with a smaller wheel and a higher sidewall, you will affect the handling of the car. A taller sidewall will not be as stable during cornering or sharp turns. Taller sidewalls will provide more cushioning and smoothness for road imperfections. Your car's suspension and structure have been tuned for the original tires and wheel size, so be careful. Ask yourself if it is worth putting on winter tires and/or different wheels that will affect handling for the majority of your winter driving IF there really are rare occasions where you would need snows or could avoid driving.
There is no risk considering the car has 16"/17"/18" rims based on trim levels. Also I wouldn't really be concerned about slightly taller sidewalls on a car like the Kona especially in the winter when spirited driving is limited anyways.

Also if people want winter tires, most of them have already determined whether or not they value the added safety over the original upfront cost and the slightly more expensive wheels every few years. I and many others drive a fair bit in harsh winter conditions and would rather get home safe than end up in a ditch or dead because I cheaped out on tires.
 

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There is no risk considering the car has 16"/17"/18" rims based on trim levels. Also I wouldn't really be concerned about slightly taller sidewalls on a car like the Kona especially in the winter when spirited driving is limited anyways.

Also if people want winter tires, most of them have already determined whether or not they value the added safety over the original upfront cost and the slightly more expensive wheels every few years. I and many others drive a fair bit in harsh winter conditions and would rather get home safe than end up in a ditch or dead because I cheaped out on tires.
Well, there is a reason that the higher trim levels have larger wheels with lower profile tires and that would be handling (along with looks, perhaps). (Kona Electrics all have 17" wheels.) If you put a smaller wheel along with a higher profile tire that is also made of softer and more flexible rubber (as snows are), it is not going to handle as well for sure as the originals on the higher trim levels on clear and dry roads. Also, why would one drive in a less spirited manner in the winter if the roads are clear and dry (which they probably are most of the time)? The more deadly accidents that I see and fear are the ones that occur at regular full speeds, not the much slower speed ones during snow storms.

I realize that I am not likely to convince very many people to look at the use of winter tires from a different perspective, if it has been a regular routine for many years (if for no other reason than the thought that perhaps one didn't really need to be doing that and/or that it might even have been counter-productive from a safety standpoint). (Not to mention lower mileage.)

I like to play devil's advocate and challenge conventional thinking. My main point is not so much about the extra expense or effort of using snow tires (although there is both). It is about the trade-off in handling and safety (or just plain unnecessariness) for the conditions that most people will be driving in most of time those 3-4 months, which is likely to be roads without snow and ice or below freezing temps. Therefore, determining the risk balance between choices should be the possible risk X the length of exposure to that risk, not just the possible risk of each choice.

For those who are afraid of ending up in a ditch, try learning the limits of your car on snow and ice in a parking lot or quiet back road. Learn how to read the conditions based on changing temperatures, precipitation, road treatments, etc. Or, just stay off the roads until the storm is over or the roads are treated. As I originally mentioned, I started driving in rural upstate NY and Minnesota in the late 70s and early eighties with plenty trips during bad snowy conditions. After my first car (which did have studded snow tires), I gave it up, even for rear and front drive cars without traction control or ABS. Today's cars and all-season tires are so much better. It really doesn't have to be that scary.

Probably my last entry on this!
 

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Well, there is a reason that the higher trim levels have larger wheels with lower profile tires and that would be handling (along with looks, perhaps). (Kona Electrics all have 17" wheels.) If you put a smaller wheel along with a higher profile tire that is also made of softer and more flexible rubber (as snows are), it is not going to handle as well for sure as the originals on the higher trim levels on clear and dry roads. Also, why would one drive in a less spirited manner in the winter if the roads are clear and dry (which they probably are most of the time)? The more deadly accidents that I see and fear are the ones that occur at regular full speeds, not the much slower speed ones during snow storms.

I realize that I am not likely to convince very many people to look at the use of winter tires from a different perspective, if it has been a regular routine for many years (if for no other reason than the thought that perhaps one didn't really need to be doing that). I like to play devil's advocate and challenge conventional thinking. My main point is not so much about the extra expense or effort of using snow tires (although there is both). It is about the trade-off in handling for the conditions that most people will be driving in most of time those 3-4 months, which is likely to be roads without snow and ice or below freezing temps. (Not to mention lower mileage.)

For those who are afraid of ending up in a ditch, try learning the limits of your car on snow and ice in a parking lot or quiet back road. Learn how to read the conditions based on changing temperatures, precipitation, road treatments, etc. Or, just stay off the roads until the storm is over or the roads are treated. As I originally mentioned, I started driving in rural upstate NY and Minnesota in the late 70s and early eighties with plenty trips during bad snowy conditions. After my first car (which did have studded snow tires), I gave it up, even for rear and front drive cars without traction control or ABS. Today's cars and all-season tires are so much better. It really doesn't have to be that scary.

Probably my last entry on this!
Hey I definitely understand now, and I am sure others understand your point as well, but that wasn't until you said "clear and dry roads". Those don't exist in any place I have ever driven during the winter. I agree with you, I wouldn't have winter tires if roads got plowed and we rarely saw freezing temps. Where I am, roads are plowed maybe twice between October and April, and only if they are on transit routes. Highways are cleaned, but the shoulders are often solid ice because the plow can only scrape so hard without destroying the metal blade constantly.

Even if most people may not change their minds on the subject, it is nice to have a different perspective so that people may save some money if they truly think before a big purchase and determine it isn't necessary for the limited usage they will get with aggressive winters.
 

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Hey I definitely understand now, and I am sure others understand your point as well, but that wasn't until you said "clear and dry roads". Those don't exist in any place I have ever driven during the winter. I agree with you, I wouldn't have winter tires if roads got plowed and we rarely saw freezing temps. Where I am, roads are plowed maybe twice between October and April, and only if they are on transit routes. Highways are cleaned, but the shoulders are often solid ice because the plow can only scrape so hard without destroying the metal blade constantly.

Even if most people may not change their minds on the subject, it is nice to have a different perspective so that people may save some money if they truly think before a big purchase and determine it isn't necessary for the limited usage they will get with aggressive winters.
Wow, where are you located? It does sound like snows are a necessity. My experience in MN, NY, and New England has been that it is really just during storms that the roads are bad. After the blizzard in Boston in 77 that shut the city down for a week, they are very aggressive with pretreating the roads and even shutting everything down during snow storms so that plows can keep the roads clear.
 

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Wow, where are you located? It does sound like snows are a necessity. My experience in MN, NY, and New England has been that it is really just during storms that the roads are bad. After the blizzard in Boston in 77 that shut the city down for a week, they are very aggressive with pretreating the roads and even shutting everything down during snow storms so that plows can keep the roads clear.
The plains of Canada where it gets too cold to use salt. I went from driving through a foot of snow with more coming down, to a sanded highway with freezing rain, to being in just regular rain and a few degrees above freezing within a 5 hour drive. The vicinity to the ocean is what makes your weather so much more different. Even in Eastern Canada they use salt because often the weather gets cold but not for so long that the salt is useless.
 
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