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
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
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.
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.
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
Tom Hadlaw ( iroon )
Focus Kombi 1,8 TDCi '03 11,420 KM ( 7137 miles )
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Sunday, November 23, 2003 12:21 AM
Subject: Snow tires and wheels
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.
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.
When you google search for "winter tires" you will find lots of entries, eg
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
Goodyear Ultra Grip 6
Continental W.Cont. TS 790
Dunlop SP W.sport M3
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...
Remove +SIGNS and www. if you expect an answer, sorry for
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.
Motorsforum.com is a website by car enthusiasts for car enthusiasts. It is not affiliated with any of the car or spare part manufacturers or car dealers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.