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Old 11-09-2007, 10:57 PM   #1
ASpec818
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03 WRX
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Default bigger or smaller rims for snow?

which is better, 18", 17", 16"? and why? or does size not matter, only width?
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Old 11-09-2007, 11:55 PM   #2
Big-E
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There are two dimensions to look at.

One is the diameter of the wheel and the other is the width of the tire.

Let's say you have 17" wheels on the car and can switch to a 16" wheel. This would be good. Why? Because by switching to a smaller diameter wheel, you effectively increase the height of the sidewall of the tire. Remember, you want to maintain the same overall diameter, which is a combination of both the wheel and the tire.

A larger sidewall on the tire means more give or flexibility which means the tire will absorb more energy changes, whether from the road or from the car. This means that the car will handle better in the snow because the tire gives more.

Think of this the other way. When you increase the wheel diameter you effectively decrease the sidewall of the tire to maintain the same overall diameter. A smaller or shorter tire sidewall means more handling ability. But the compromise is that in wet or snowy conditions, the car is more likely to skid or lose traction. It's great for predominantly dry conditions though.

A tire that is less wide means that the contact patch is more condensed and therefore more of the vehicles weight is placed per square inch. This translates into better traction.

A wider tire effectively makes the contact area bigger and thus there is less weight imposed per square inch.

Find yourself some pics of the WRX/STI WRC cars that are running in the snow and you'll see that, although specifically made for these WRC cars, the tires (and wheels) are skinny so that the can get through the snow.

I hope that what I have said makes sense and that if there are any experts out there that sees a need for correction, by all means, point out those areas that need to be clarified and/or corrected.
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Old 11-10-2007, 12:31 AM   #3
ASpec818
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Default

nice response... so esentially 225/40/18 would be a bad idea?
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Old 11-10-2007, 02:37 AM   #4
dbrunner
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If it's for your WRX in your profile, stick with the stock 205/55-16 size tire. Big-E explained it perfectly, +1 for that post There are some 15" wheels out there that fit over WRX brakes too if you want an even better wheel/tire combo for snow and gravel roads.

Stay away from 18's and rubber band tires when in snow
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