Help me buy snow tires and wheels?

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?
Advice?
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On Tue, 27 Oct 2009 18:27:55 -0500, snipped-for-privacy@privacy.net wrote:

Stay with all seasons and be careful when driving in the snow.
--Vic
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snipped-for-privacy@privacy.net wrote:

Snow tires are good on unplowed snow. If they don't plow the roads where you live and loose snow stays for days at a time, then go with snow tires. Otherwise don't bother.
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Paul wrote:

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.
nate
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The difference is like night and day.

Why? Are you actually driving in such a way that you need super sticky tires for dry pavement?

Go to a junkyard. Get some used rims.

I don't know. Possibly it's because the number of V-rated snow tires is limited and that was all they could get for you.

That's fine too, but it'll cost you a bit more in the long run. My dad did it for years. --scott
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"C'est un Nagra. C'est suisse, et tres, tres precis."

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snipped-for-privacy@privacy.net wrote:

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.)
Good luck
nate
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Ahhhh...so THAT is the reason!
Thanks
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does there exist any fast an EASY on/off tire chains or treads one could use instead of snow tires?
or improvise something such as dog collars thru wheels and around all season tire and cinched TIGHT?
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wrote:

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.
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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.
nate
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On Thu, 29 Oct 2009 05:55:12 -0700, N8N wrote:

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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On Tue, 27 Oct 2009 18:27:55 -0500, me wrote:

Pretty decent prices here.
http://www.capitalwheels.com/
Protege steel wheel $50. This is a pretty good price these days.
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