Narrower winter tires than 205/55/R16 for JSW?

Diesl

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Can one go narrower (=cheaper, +possibly better grip) than 205/55/R16, for example 185/60/R16, for the JSW? (Note the JSW supposedly can't use R15 15" wheels due to the larger front brake calipers.)

Whether there are any tires made in that size is another question, of course.
Tirerack.com shows none.

Tirerack shows a few tires in 195/60/R16, with a Michelin X-ice Xi3 running $119 in that size, and $122 in 205/55/R16.

In the 205/55/R16 size, the General Altimax Arctic is a lot cheaper at $85 per tire.
Is the Arctic an ok winter tire for the occasional Chicago area flat land snow & ice storm?
There is also a Dunlop Wintermaxx for $94, and a Continental ExtremeWinterContact for $97.

General Altimax Arctic:


Dunlop Wintermaxx:


Continental ExtremeWinterContact:


Michelin X-ice Xi3:


Which one would people here recommend for the JSW?
 

meerschm

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make sure the load rating is 91 or over.

I plan to get a set of the Xi3 in the oem size for this winter.

I do not really follow the logic of changing geometry from that designed with the car. I know folks do it, but I expect a variety of conditions while the tires are on the car, and figure the designed size is the best choice.
 

Cogen Man

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As to your question of narrower. Yes. A narrower tire will cut through the snow better. Also agree on the 91 load rating. As to speed rating an H is recommended but I've known some to go with a V in a narrower winter tire. I don't normally give tire recommendation but all 4 of your pics are okay with a leaning towards the Michelin or Continental
 

dmarsingill

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Just make sure your tire is not too narrow for the wheel. It will spread the sidewall causing the center of the contact patch to be concave,

Donald
 

geoman

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spend a little more & get the nokian hakkapelitta r2's or save a bit & buy gislaved clones better known as the arctic altimax but the generals will likely be 89t rated as there aren't too many 91h rated snows out there. i'm shelling it out for the hakka r2's this winter. my prev gen hakka r's were amazing re: traction in all winter conditions, fuel economy, & longevity.
 

meerschm

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so going with a narrower tire increases the pressure per square inch of tire contact with the road/ice/snow and decreases the amount of loose snow that has to be pushed out of the way. Also may reduce rolling friction and increase mpg.

but less contact area with the road also will reduce ability to brake, accelerate, and turn in most conditions other than loose or lightly packed snow. (I suspect with ice or well-packed snow on the road, it depends a lot on temperature whether narrower is better)
 

Cogen Man

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so going with a narrower tire increases the pressure per square inch of tire contact with the road/ice/snow and decreases the amount of loose snow that has to be pushed out of the way. Also may reduce rolling friction and increase mpg.

but less contact area with the road also will reduce ability to brake, accelerate, and turn in most conditions other than loose or lightly packed snow. (I suspect with ice or well-packed snow on the road, it depends a lot on temperature whether narrower is better)
Your theory is correct as far as braking, accelerating and turning. But it also depends a lot on speed. If narrower winter tires are installed you can still easily over drive the tires so to speak. In winter with bad roads you still have to slow down. A lot of people just don't do that.
 

autoxerwgn

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I have used the Conti Extreme Contacts before on my MK5 and they seemed to work fairly well for me. I currently have the General Altimax Arctics on my MK6 and they went through last winter pretty well. I can't complain about their performance, especially considering their price. FYI, in case you didn't already know, those Altimax Arctics are actually rebranded Gislaved Nordfrost 3's. All of the sets I have ever installed say "Made in Germany" on them. Personally, I wouldn't go with the Dunlops. I haven't tried the newest one yet, but with the previous Graspic DS3's, they were very soft and slimy in the dry even for a snow tire. Although that may translate to better grip in actual winter conditions, I wouldn't want to put up with the trade off in the dry. Again, I am sure they improved it for the newest tire, but I don't like being the test subject here. The Michelin's seem to preform decent as well, but you will also pay for it as with most Michelin's.

For me, I am happy with my Generals and will just use the $40 per tire I saved over the Michelin and spend it on something else for my car.
 

Dirtracr95

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I had a set of generals that i used on my e30 and ef civic and they were awesome. They had no problem going through any level of snow.
 

Diesl

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Thanks for all the info. Next question: steel wheels (cheaper, but might rust) or cheap alloys? The cheapest alloy wheels I saw online were $89 compared to $60 for steel wheels. What I save on the Altimax Arctic compared to the Michelins would pay for the difference.
 

Cogen Man

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Thanks for all the info. Next question: steel wheels (cheaper, but might rust) or cheap alloys? The cheapest alloy wheels I saw online were $89 compared to $60 for steel wheels. What I save on the Altimax Arctic compared to the Michelins would pay for the difference.
Really a matter of preference. I run with steel on my winter tires. yes cheaper than cheap alloys. Three years on the steel and no rust. If they start I'll just give them a shot of a good rust paint or POR-15.

http://www.por15.com/
 
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redpup

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spend a little more & get the nokian hakkapelitta r2's or save a bit & buy gislaved clones better known as the arctic altimax but the generals will likely be 89t rated as there aren't too many 91h rated snows out there. i'm shelling it out for the hakka r2's this winter. my prev gen hakka r's were amazing re: traction in all winter conditions, fuel economy, & longevity.
I second this. The hakka's are by far the best, I'm saving up for a set this winter in 205/60R16. I calculated out the speed difference, and it's about 2mph or so over what your speedo says @ 70mph with the snow on. I'm not going to bother taking my wagen into the dealer and have it re-programmed.
 

autoxerwgn

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Thanks for all the info. Next question: steel wheels (cheaper, but might rust) or cheap alloys? The cheapest alloy wheels I saw online were $89 compared to $60 for steel wheels. What I save on the Altimax Arctic compared to the Michelins would pay for the difference.
My vote is to get a set of OEM wheels that someone else is ditching. I got a set of 18" GTI wheels to use as my summer wheels, and used my factory 16's as winter wheels.

Here is an example for cheap winter wheels if you don't really care that much:
http://chicago.craigslist.org/chc/pts/4624254099.html
 

jet_a

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look up a 205 60 16 , its a more common size than the 205 55 .
No opinion to share about what kind of winter tires to get, but as far as size goes... I just bought a set of 205/60/16 Pirelli p7s. The sidewall width is about the same but since it's taller, the tread is a bit narrower. No problem with fitment, the tire is less than an inch larger in diameter than my original 225/45/17s.
 

Diesl

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My vote is to get a set of OEM wheels that someone else is ditching. I got a set of 18" GTI wheels to use as my summer wheels, and used my factory 16's as winter wheels.
Here is an example for cheap winter wheels if you don't really care that much:
http://chicago.craigslist.org/chc/pts/4624254099.html
Hi Autoxerwgn, thanks for finding those! And thanks to everybody for all the hints and advice. The 205/60s are indeed cheaper, so I'll get those.
 
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Diesl

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So, what do people here think about buying tires at Walmart? Turns out they are the cheapest for both the 205/55/R16 ($336 for four) and 205/60/R16 Altimax Arctic ($306 for four, plus $12/tire install&balance). I could get Discount Tire to price match, but then it would still be $16 bucks more for installation. Both offer lifetime balance and rotation.
 

autoxerwgn

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I don't think it really matters where you buy them, especially since you will be going in there knowing exactly what you want. More important is weather they are going to mount them without damaging your wheels and weather they are going to be able to balance them properly. Those sizes you mention aren't anything difficult to mount, so you shouldn't have any issues there.
 

Diesl

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Exactly, that's my question. What experience do people have with tire mounting and balancing at Walmart? Sorry if that wasn't clear.
 

caper

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if you drive on deep snow then narrower is better but most of the roads are plowed of the snow and you are dealing with ice, slush and/or wet roads at wich point the narrow tire lose to standard tires due to biger side wall hight and smaller contact patch.
I've used pirelli sotozero on my cars for the past four years, very happy with them and the last time I checked they were selling for $119 on tire rack my local delear sells them for $129 canadian.
 

Diesl

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Summary: 195/R16 seems to be an unusual size, with very little availability. 205/60s can be significantly cheaper than 205/55s, depending on where you shop.

I decided to get the standard size 205/55s at Walmart. The taller sidewall 205/60s would be nice for better pothole resistance (and saving eight bucks per tire), but the snow buildup in the wheel well was bad enough already with the standard tire size.


Discount Tire wanted almost 25 bucks more per tire for the 55s compared to the 60s (but they would have price matched, and still honored their lifetime rotation/wheel swapping deal). At Walmart the tires needed to be ordered online.


With tax and everything I should come out just below $400 for the tires and mounting. So that's a total of 600 bucks for winter wheels, winter tires, and an almost brand new set of summer tires. Not bad I think.
 

cvalentine

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If studded tires are illegal in your state, or drive on a lot of dry roads in the winter, get the X-ice Xi3. They BEAT the Nokian hakkapelitta r2 in recent tests by tekniikan maailma, which is a rarity, usually Nokian is 1st place.

http://www.dinside.no/923267/de-beste-vinterdekkene-2013-2014

Edit: The Generals are the best bang for the buck. Studded they're awesome, but even unstudded, they're good tires, I've got a studded pair and love them.
 
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Diesl

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Thanks, C! Lots of people question the need for snow tires at all in Chicago. I'm sure the Arctics will be fine. My mission was to find not only better, but also cheaper tires. The Arctics are cheaper than the OEM Turanzas, and I'm quite confident they'll do better in snow and slush. Test report: http://www.tirerack.com/tires/tests/testDisplay.jsp?ttid=123
The X-ice are quite pricey, and the discount tire manager had never seen a Nokian; I didn't even check the price on those. Tire rack doesn't know them either, at least not in my size. And do you really want to drive a tire whose name translates to 'Hack them all down!'?
 
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