What Size Winter Tires for Snow?
Many drivers have experienced the benefit of using winter tires in the colder months where pavement temperatures are lower and the threat of snow and ice are always just around the corner. While you may have answered “yes” to the question of “should I get winter tires”, now you are faced with the follow up “what size tires do I need?”
While the wide, lower profile summer and all-season tires used in the warmer months are great at cornering in the dry and warm wet conditions, priorities should be shifted slightly when it comes to selecting tires for the winter months. The wider tires are forced to “plow” through snow and slush with their wider contact patch, where narrower tires have an easier time slicing though the elements with a longer and skinnier contact patch. For this reason, selecting a skinnier winter tire option that fits on the original wheels and vehicle is the preferable option for wintry weather. Better yet, downsizing wheel diameter when purchasing a winter tire and wheel package can amplify this benefit. If this option exists then we’ll show the “minus sized” winter wheel and tire package option when shopping by vehicle. Our experts and engineers have confirmed the wheel and tire fitment so you can be confident in your choice and winter performance.
Often the question is asked if this will affect the speedometer, which the simple answer is “no”. The longer answer involves some math and some basic tire sizing knowledge. The example below demonstrates the wheel to tire ratio change and how the overall diameter, and therefore speedometer, for all intents and purposes stays the same. The example starts with a 225/45R17, and each step (or minus size) down in wheel diameter yields a taller tire sidewall to make up any difference lost in wheel diameter. This also gives the opportunity to further reduce the width of the tire, which helps capture every bit of extra performance afforded by the minus sized package.