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Rims for Winter tyres

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Looking to get a set of new alloy wheels for a subaru outback for winter tyres. The "official" subaru ones seem massively more expensive than other brands. Any advice on which brands and which websites would be good to look at. I'm looking for quality/safety/durability rather than boy racer looks. Thanks
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
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If you are not bothered about looks, why not go for steel rims instead? Even with winter tyres there may be a time when you need to fit chains, and the look of pain on your face as you strap steel chains across the face of the alloys and tension them up is worth capturing and dragging out next time you are tempted to buy something.

This also addresses the problem of getting perfect traction in 6 inches of snow which allows you to drive into the kerb at 20mph...
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AFAIK/IIRC advice for winter tyres was always steelies over alloys.
the cost of have a 2nd set of steels rims evens out with changing the tyres each season
the other advice for steelies was that chances of dinking an unseen stone in slush was higher, but a hammer and file could smooth it out
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Maybe think about getting the steel rims in a narrower width than your alloys, check in the handbook which sizes are approved.

I have 225 summer and 205 winter tyres.
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Does your car have tyre pressure sensors? That has always put me off getting additional rims for use with winter tyres.
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@rob@rar, there are two types - optical sensor on the chassis which measures the rotation speed of the wheel (and reports OK or under pressure), so is unaffected if you change the wheel as long as you reset the sensor system afterwards, and specific pressure sensors on the valve (reporting individual PSI values per wheel) which have to be programmed for the car each time you change the wheels over. I have the second type, and it costs about £30 to have the wheels changed and the TPS system reprogrammed. I paid about £20 per wheel to buy the sensors at the same time as the tyres and rims.
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@ousekjarr, I have the wireless sensors on the valve. The extra cost for rims plus new sensors (for my Kia it was much more than £20 per wheel when I checked a few years back) and hassle of re-programming meant I decided to simply swap tyres on my current rims. Will have to check again the price to see if the valve sensors are cheaper than when I enquired about this, perhaps five years ago.
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Still £20 extra if you buy them with the rims and tyres - e.g. https://www.mytyres.co.uk/cgi-bin/skw.pl?product=4f4dbfb71238f29b9580714998a12f84

Don't make the mistake of buying them from a main dealer - they will probably supply the same part from the same manufacturer but in a badged box with the car company logo on it, and then will charge you extra for fitting them. There are really only 3-4 manufacturers, and each car company uses a single type.
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@ousekjarr, thanks, much obliged.
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Also you can apparently now clone the sensors, so that the winter set has exactly the same IDs as the summer set, so no programming needed after a swap. But that's a chargeable extra for someone. They'll get your money somehow...
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Thanks for your replies.
@rob@rar, a great point that I hadn't thought about. I had a spare set of wheels on my previous car - but that was a 2001 Toyota MPV so tyre pressure gauge was not an issue. This one does have one and has individual pressure readings for each wheel. Will look into exactly how this works.
@ousekjarr, @SBP, Good point, maybe steel is better.
@rjs, Can you explain why you would have narrower winter tyres - is this for performance or price?
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rob@rar wrote:
@ousekjarr, I decided to simply swap tyres on my current rims.


This is what I did originally when I first got spare winter tyres, but the guy who changed them over for me each season said it would cause damage/additional wear and would be better to get spare rims as well (he had no vested interest as he didn't supply rims).
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DCG wrote:

why you would have narrower winter tyres - is this for performance or price?

Performance.

Narrower is better.
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You know it makes sense.
Your owners manual will tell you which wheels and tyre combinations can be used - generally winter tyres are narrower than summers - I run 225 on 18" rims in the summer, but drop down to 205 on 16" for the winters, I believe the deeper sidewall gives some extra flexibility and helps prevent snow build up in the treads. The size of your brake discs will also be a factor, but again your owners manual will be the best reference. IMO steel rims are the way to go, or specific winterised alloys which have an extra coat of lacquer to protect against the corrosive salt from the roads - steel rims with wheel trims would be the best option if you will need to fit chains.
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cheapest option find out the size of your current rims (will be stamped on the rim probably on the inside) then go to a scrapyard and get the same !
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
As mentioned by @grollox the Owners manual will be a very good starting-point for what's actually certified by your manufacturer for your specific model and year. Usually, it will recommend smaller diameter and narrower rims: e.g. my standard factory summers are 8Jx18 carrying 245 tyres, but the recommended winters are 7.5Jx17 carrying 225 tyres. One upside of going narrower will be greater resistance to aquaplaning, which is pretty useful in a UK winter anyway, even if you never see any snow.

Then talk to a reputable local independent specialist and get them to quote you for the size you've chosen. Usually, they'll be a good deal cheaper than a dealer (but sometimes dealers may have a good package on offer, I think just to get people into the showroom. This may include storage). You may find that a st of alloys can be had at a modest premium over steel wheels.

Go to a good forum for your car model to get an idea of what people fit in terms of tyres. Most owner forums will have an exhaustive (and exhausting) set of thread on wheels and tyres in which the best winters are discussed ad nauseam.

Be careful if your car has anything like performance brake mods or an upgraded brake option. On mine, the car has the optional upgraded brakes which are bigger than standard, limiting the range of wheels that will fit.


Last edited by Poster: A snowHead on Tue 10-09-19 22:13; edited 2 times in total
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abc wrote:
DCG wrote:

why you would have narrower winter tyres - is this for performance or price?

Performance.

Narrower is better.


Yep, you'll sometimes find that cars on normal summer tyres with wide low profile tyres have problems in even shallow snow conditions that for example a Citroen 2CV on narrow high profile tyres manages with ease. Laughing
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abc wrote:
DCG wrote:

why you would have narrower winter tyres - is this for performance or price?

Performance.

Narrower is better.


Only in certain conditions, if there is some chance of the tyre displacing the snow/slush, then narrower is better but on deeper snow, I have found that big, wide tyres floated on the surface rather than getting rutted in, this was Ford S-max on all seasons vs Ford transit with winters on 100mm+ of compacted snow, the S-max rode over tbe snow no problem on 225 tyres wheras the transit sank in & struggled on its 185 tyres.
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In recent years, dealers have begun to offer storage of your unused set (if you buy the set from them, obviously). If the premium over 3rd-party alternatives isn't too great, you may feel the convenience is worth it. If you have to store them, then ideally do it indoors, and rotate how you stack them or rotate them if they're sitting on the ground. fortunately, I have the space to mount them on the garage wall (using brackets I got off Amazon, about £20 the set of 4): https://i.imgur.com/i5KsiIe.jpg?1
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Alastair Pink wrote:
abc wrote:
DCG wrote:

why you would have narrower winter tyres - is this for performance or price?

Performance.

Narrower is better.


Yep, you'll sometimes find that cars on normal summer tyres with wide low profile tyres have problems in even shallow snow conditions that for example a Citroen 2CV on narrow high profile tyres manages with ease. Laughing


The 2CVs that I have seen, all seem to use the same tread pattern with lots of sipes(cuts) in th tread pattern, just like a winter tyre, but even on slicks, a 2CV won't get stuck, just pick it up & carry it rolling eyes
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RTFM.com
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I remember a snowy winter and a small rise outside my house when a neighbour with a car with wide low profiles could not get out until he borrowed his daughter's Ford Ka. For reasons I do not really understand a thinner tyre has better grip.
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@DCG, check out the various Subura forums classified sections for a used set of alloys - they crop up pretty often as petrol heads often upgrade the factory wheels. I've bought three sets of used Skoda factory alloys via the Briskoda forum over the years at great prices - dearer than steels admittedly but they hold their value very well and on my current car and my new one that arrives next month it's not possbile to run steel wheels as the discs are too big. Plus steels look $hit.
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Hi just about to sell some steel Subaru wheels if you are interested. They are 16inch and were used on my Legacy. They are 6 and a half inch wide. They have 205/55/16 winter tyres on. These are the winter replacement for the 17 inch alloys which had 215/45/17 summer tyres on.
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countryman wrote:
I remember a snowy winter and a small rise outside my house when a neighbour with a car with wide low profiles could not get out until he borrowed his daughter's Ford Ka. For reasons I do not really understand a thinner tyre has better grip.

It is because a thinner tyre has less surface area in contact with the road & hence higher pressure per square cm that pushes the snow/slush aside to make contact with the road. Chances are that the Ka had tyres with better tread pattern.
The S-max was useless in any snow with standard summer tyres, Conti sport cont I think they were, once we fitted Goodyear Vector all seasons, it went through everything, leaving Discoverys on su.mer tyres behind.
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countryman wrote:
I remember a snowy winter and a small rise outside my house when a neighbour with a car with wide low profiles could not get out until he borrowed his daughter's Ford Ka. For reasons I do not really understand a thinner tyre has better grip.


Was it a BMW or rear wheel drive?
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For my last two cars I’ve just gone onto ebay and bought a second hand set of wheels and (winter) tyres. Usually plenty available.
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Finding the correct rims is not easy. You have to get right the diameter, the width, the offset, the number of bolt holes, the pitch circle diameter and the centre bore. The sizes for some vehicles are so unusual that alloys are the only option but with common sizes steelies are often cheaper.

You can check which rims are compatible here:
https://www.wheel-size.com/
(EUDM means European domestic market)

BUT this assumes you have a standard vehicle with no options that might change the space available.

My usual go to doesn’t seem to have steel rims for the Outback:
https://cars.tyreleader.co.uk/tyre-pack/

But you may have better luck here:
https://www.oponeo.co.uk/steel-wheels
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@altis, thanks for those links. Got a new car arriving tomorrow, so will have to think about winter tyre solutions for the upcoming season.
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@foxtrotzulu, +1. I've done this for my last three sets. Last set even had winter tyres with around 7mm on them. From memory I paid about £250 for four wheels and tyres
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 Poster: A snowHead
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tangowaggon wrote:
countryman wrote:
I remember a snowy winter and a small rise outside my house when a neighbour with a car with wide low profiles could not get out until he borrowed his daughter's Ford Ka. For reasons I do not really understand a thinner tyre has better grip.

It is because a thinner tyre has less surface area in contact with the road & hence higher pressure per square cm that pushes the snow/slush aside to make contact with the road.




Any excuse for a rally pic (although these are probably studded)
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@rob@rar, exciting - what are you getting?
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Alastair wrote:
@rob@rar, exciting - what are you getting?
Much the same as I have now, so not terribly exciting. Kia Sportage replacing a Hyundai Tucson. But the new one is going to be red, so maybe a little bit exciting.
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@rob@rar, new cars are always exciting - hope it's a success for you.
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new cars yes, new soap boxes - not so much Very Happy
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Wow. Lots of great advice here. Thanks everyone.
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You probably already know this but just in case …..

As with winter tyres, steels rims need to be rated to suit the vehicle - it's not just a case of finding some steel wheels that match the bolt pattern on your hubs. Just because the rims came from another Suby outback doesn't mean they will be suitable for yours, esp if yours is a diesel and they come off a lighter petrol model. You can't just put on the thinnest tyre you want either. e.g. I wanted thinner tyres on my last car but because it was a larger diesel engine (heavy) for that model of car, the approved winter and summer tyres (declared in the vechicle registration documents here in Austria) were the same width. It is usual for the winter tyre width to be 1 maybe 2 sizes thinner, e.g. 205 summer vs 195 winter.
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So didn't really make it very clear what I thought the best sequence is for you: which is 1. Look in your manual, just to see what the manufacturer recommends (and as importantly, doesn't) 2. Go to your dealer and get them to quote against your specific VIN and an inspection (in case a previous owner has modified the brakes, or your car is some sort of limited edition or special upgrade etc.) 3. take the dealer's specification and go to a reputable independent to compare. As I said, odds are that the dealer's solution will be more expensive, but this isn't always the case.

A set of winter wheels and tyres is a big carrot for any after-sales service department, who often have a separate sales target. They should be fairly keen to help you with [2] above and you may find that they're prepared to shift on price or suddenly find there's a 'winter discount' etc. Obviously, you don't have to take up what they offer.

I've put winter tyres + steel wheels on our other car - which already had steel wheels ex-factory, but I'm not a fan of steel wheels to replace alloys on a performance model, for a variety of reasons.
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LaForet wrote:

I've put winter tyres + steel wheels on our other car - which already had steel wheels ex-factory, but I'm not a fan of steel wheels to replace alloys on a performance model, for a variety of reasons.


Not an issue on my performance-orientated Citroen Berlingo! Toofy Grin
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Overthinking on so many levels. Open drivers doors, find available tire sizes for your car, get those together with rims, steel or alloy.
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