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Old 10-09-2012, 01:13 PM   #1
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Winter tire question

Hello everyone,

Winter is coming fast and I need new set of tires. I have 17 inch staggered 68 style wheels. I was wondering if I can put on my car non-staggered wheels and if that would improve tire life when rotation becomes an option?

How many miles/years should tire last on this car, assuming I drive +/- 10k miles/year?

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Old 10-09-2012, 01:15 PM   #2
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Yes, non-staggered is perfectly fine.
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Old 10-09-2012, 01:16 PM   #3
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winter tires last very long on snow and not long on dry roads.
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Old 10-09-2012, 02:15 PM   #4
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Typically you'll only want to run snow tires well... when it's snowing. Once the first snow hits I bolt on my snows, they typically last about 3 seasons.

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Old 10-10-2012, 12:53 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by lucas_pln View Post
How many miles/years should tire last on this car, assuming I drive +/- 10k miles/year?
Depends on driving style, road conditions, alignment, suspension condition, inflation, and tires...and how worn you think is ok to drive on.

Gummies might last 20K. I get 3 winters out of snows. Some all-season rubber will probably go 50K, assuming optimal conditions.
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Old 10-10-2012, 07:37 AM   #6
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Like the others have stated, there are a lot of variables but most see about three winters on average. Going to a non staggered setup is quite common and actually works well for winter use.

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Old 10-10-2012, 01:12 PM   #7
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You're in central Ohio, right? I suspect that, after actual miles driven, the biggest concern with longevity of winter tires (all other things being equal) is the temp/speed at which they are driven.

The heavy-duty tires tend to shine when it is cold. Think well below freezing. But as the temps rise above around 40F, that compound works to their disadvantage. By the time the mercury hits 60F, driving at highway speeds (never mind cornering) will make it seem like the tread is evaporating.

Winter tires just aren't that much fun to drive. They are quite expensive on a "per mile driven" basis. That said, the first time you panic stop with 10 feet of the car (or person) in front of you, you'll think you got quite a bargain. Timing becomes important: don't want to put them on too late (or take them off too early) because then you lose the reason you have them. OTOH, get them on too early (or off too late) and you may not get as many seasons out of them.

You will probably want to go with as narrow a tire as you can mount. If you get dedicated winter rubber, then it makes a lot of sense to go with decicated wheels, too. It is more convenient because you can swap them at your conveneince. It is also less expensive in the long run. If you pay $15 to mount/balance each corner, that's $120/yr. A winter-ugly set of 17" OEMs can be had for $200.

Longer, skinnier contact patches are the ticket for winter. Many go with the "-1" option: our cars, for example, have 17" summer wheels, but 16" for winter. Very few 16" wheels will clear the front brakes on the 330, so check carefully if you go that route. If you choose to use 17" wheels, I believe the xi had 205/50-17 rubber which is nearly 1 full inch narrower than, say, 225 rubber. 205s probably fit best on a 7" rim, but can go a wide as 7-1/2". If you prefer new wheels, I am sure Gary would be delighted to help.
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