For several years now I've threatened to buy snow tires
and quit using all season tires for winter driving.
This is the year so need some advice.
I live in northern Missouri so we can definitely get
ice, snow, etc.
I own a 2000 Mazda Protege ES car and the speed rating
is a "V" cause this is the sport version of this car.
I looked at buying a snow tire wheel "combo" from
TireRack but they want to sell me some fancy, nice
looking wheels when all I want is some plain old steel
rims! They also wanted me to "downsize" on the snow
tire rims to 14" from 15"!
Where can I get plain, steel rims for my snow tires?
And why the recommendations to use 14" rims?
Or should I just get some tires to fit my present rims
and swap tires every season?
Depends on the car and the summer tires.
The only reasonably priced summer tires available for my 944 (Yoko AVS)
are NOT all-season. They suh-huh-huck on snow. Of course it is an
evenly balanced RWD car which doesn't help matters any. I (heart) my
dedicated snow tires.
replace "roosters" with "cox" to reply.
Might as well go with the 14" rims assuming they will clear your brakes
because snow tires work best when they are tall and skinny. You don't
need low profile sidewalls in snow, you're not going to be developing
any significant G-forces. A 60 series 14" tire will be less expensive
than a 50 series 15" tire.
an example, my Porsche 944 if you read the owner's manual, they
recommend 215/60VR15 tires for summer and 195/65R15 for winter. (of
course, TR's database did not list the 195/65 recommendation, so I had
to agree to some waiver or other before they'd send me the tires...)
call 'em up and see what they say, maybe you're just not finding the
steel wheel option on their web site? Or call a junkyard, maybe they
have some 14" steelies from a base model Protege that they'll sell you
for cheap. Might want to wave a spray can at used rims before putting
them on, and have the tire shop spin 'em up and check for runout before
you have the tires mounted.
If your car uses lug bolts instead of lug studs, make sure you don't
need different bolts when switching from alloy to steel wheels or vice
versa (VW does this. I can tell you from experience that the alloy
wheel lug bolts do not work on the rear drums. Got stuck one night with
a flat and my spare was a steel wheel... oops.)
replace "roosters" with "cox" to reply.
Nate probably has more current information, but we used to use an easily
installed device called a Knipetak. It looked something like a large
four pronged claw and installed easily on the tires. It was good ONLY
for slow speeds, heavy snow, as around a ski resort. I dont know if it
is still available. You would definitely not use this all season.
There are some "chains" that are really made of multi strand cable, and
some of those are easy to put on.
But, IMHO, all these are a PITA compared to having good snow tires.
I really don't. Where I live now we maybe get one good snowstorm a
year, but I found that it's easier just to have snow tires on three
months out of the year and then *know* that I can get around in all
weather. (especially so since my company vehicle for the last few
years has not had good snow tires on it - I hated the Goodyear
Integrities that they came with from the factory, so if it was really
bad out I'd drive my own vehicle rather than risk an unintended wheel/
curb interface.) Back when I lived in areas that got Real Snow (tm) I
was driving beater FWD VWs which didn't seem to much care what tires
you put on them - I remember being caught in a freak early snowstorm
with Yokohama A509s (one step below the A008s) on my Wabbit GTI and
they worked unbelievably well. I was astounded, honestly.
The cheapest Cooper 'performance' tire I could buy for an old Celica I
paid $250 for. I believe it was the Cooper Cobra GT. $65 each.
I drove the car one day that they weren't predicting sonw, and, sure
enough, it snowed. It snowed HARD! Knowing certain models of Toyotas were
horrible in snow (1980 Corolla SR-5, '85 Corolla GT-S and of course, my
'85 Celica GT-S) I feared the worst for the ride home. NO PROBLEM!!! I
drove the car again the next time it snowed, and the grip was incredible!
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