Snow tires and wheels

I'm sorry as I'm sure it's been covered before but I tried a Google search and couldn't find the answer...I have a 2003 ZX5 that I'm looking at snow tires
for. I know the size tire I have now is 195-60-15 but when I go looking for snow tires my options are very limited. I was thinking of dropping to a 14 inch rim but every store I go to wants to sway me away from it. I know you guys have talked about it - when I had my 2000 wagon I never put snow tires on it and prayed all season long. I got lucky but can't take the chance with the new car. Please help...will I have the clearance to put a 14" steel rim on it or should I spring for the 15" alloy rims at $100 ea. ??? Thanks - Linda
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snow
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The 14s are too small, unless you go to 185/70s. That is not recommended although Michel Bernier used them and he says they're fine. But I don't understand what your problem is. There's lots of choice in 195/60-15 winter tires here in Eastern Ontario. Tirerack has plenty as well. Surely you can find some in your area if you look around.
It's a good idea to buy a set of steel rims as well, to save remounting and keep the alloys out of the salt.
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I agree. If I can find 205 55 r16's for for ZTW, 15's should be a cinch to get.
wrote

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I was told the only rims available in 15" were alloys - not steel. I'm in PA. so I thought that was kind of strange. Gonna check the junkyards too - this is beginning to be a pain. Thanks... Linda
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The 185/70/14s on steel Tempo rims work fine on my 2001 Wagon for the second year now. Take into account the reduced handling capabilities of the tires.

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PA.
Guaranteed that dealers have 15 inch steel wheels, as do brand name tire shops. Look at the Ford website, build your own - you'll see them listed.
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wrote

in
After bending my third 15 inch alloy I changed to 14 inch steel wheels. Ford and most of the aftermarket sources I tried did not carry 15 inch four bolt steel wheels.
Bill
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wrote

The low end focus comes with 185-65 14 so they will fit.I have 185-70 14 snows that i have used for two years to replace my 195-60 15 they work just fine
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wrote

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Strangely (you might think) the standard recommended size in Switzeland is 185/65-14. These are about 2% undersized, but it is to provide clearance for snow chains. I need to use chains about once a week here in the winter, and it's not a possibility with the 15s, unless I want shredded wheelwells.
Anyway, I agree that buying a set of steel wheels is the best idea, especially with all the salt used in eastern Ontario.
Stephen
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Hello! I'm from Poland and I'm Driving my Focus on winter tire.The better way is to put an 14" steel becouse car is more close tight(?) to road.Steel is beter than alloy becouse it's weighto more than alloy Regread
Tom Hadlaw ( iroon ) ---------------------- Focus Kombi 1,8 TDCi '03 11,420 KM ( 7137 miles )
----- Original Message -----
Newsgroups: alt.autos.ford.focus Sent: Sunday, November 23, 2003 12:21 AM Subject: Snow tires and wheels

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iroon wrote:

You are right that a 14" wheel with a higher aspect ratio tire is better for winter use than a 15 or 16" wheel with a low aspect ratio tire, but not for any of the reasons you gave.
First, a >tall< skinny tire is better for traction in snow. Also, the higher the body is over the road surface, the better, I've seen too many cars sitting on top of snowdrifts to think otherwise. My '64 MGB comes to mind as a very low car that would have benefitted from a few more inches of ground clearance.
Second, lower unsprung weight is better for handling. The slightly higher weight of the steel wheels makes no difference whatsoever in winter conditions, the weight distribution of the total vehicle is what matters most for winter traction, and that will not be affected significantly by slightly heavier wheels.
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to
I agree on the 14" steel wheels (there is no brake clearance problems on any Focus except the SVT/ST170. However, "closer to the road" is not a good thing in the winter. The more ground clearance the better. In my other car (a very low Mazda MX-5) I run out of ground clearance long before the winter tires lose traction and have ended up beached on some heavy snow.
185/70-14 puts you closest to the original ride height and tire diameter, but 185/65-14 is required if you need to fit chains.
Stephen
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Hi Linda, When you google search for "winter tires" you will find lots of entries, eg this: http://groups.google.se/groups?hl=sv&lr=&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&threadm=alb8eh%24nme%241%40yggdrasil.utfors.se&rnum=1&prev=/groups%3Fhl%3Dsv%26lr%3D%26ie%3DUTF-8%26oe%3DUTF-8%26q%3Dwinter%2Btires%26btnG%3DGoogle-s%25C3%25B6kning%26meta%3Dgroup%253Dalt.autos.ford.focus /per

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There are plenty of good winter tires (195/60-15)
Check this test, it's in German, but I think you should have no Problem finding the best and those tires should be available anywhere:
Michelin Alpin Goodyear Ultra Grip 6 Continental W.Cont. TS 790              Dunlop SP W.sport M3
http://www.adac.de/Tests/Reifentests/Winterreifen/195_60_R_15_T_10_2002/Default.asp?TL=2
Recently got the Continental Winter Contact, they run fine. However we had no snow until now, so I can't really comment.;)
Only downside, they are all just "T", meaning not more then 190 km/h (~118 mph). You have to put a small sticker on the dashboard "Winterreifen 190 km/h" over here...
Good luck
--
Michael Heiming

Remove +SIGNS and www. if you expect an answer, sorry for
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I own a Canadian Spec 2002 ZX5 and it came standard with 205/50/16. I have installed steel 14" rims with a set of Goodyear Ultra Grips P185/70/14. The important figure is the Overall Diameter which is 24" which is the OD for my summer and winters. The narrower the tire the better it is in the snow. They run great and you should not have any problems with clearance. I hope this helps you out. Mike

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