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Old 08-04-2005, 02:17 PM   #1
Greg B
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Default Are heavier wheels better for winter traction?

In the dry, hot weather, lighter rims are always better. But, I'm just curious if having heavier winter rims would improve traction over lighter rims? I figure the extra weigh might help the tires keep in contact with the road. Much like some people put sandbags in their cars for the winter months.

Reason I ask is that I'm looking to get some winter tires and rims for my 05 STi, and the sets I've seen range from about 18-25lb per rim. The heavier ones are usually cheaper too, so if they actually helped with traction they would be a no-brainer. I would like to do a couple SnowX events if I can find the time this year.
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Old 08-04-2005, 02:37 PM   #2
Bundyboyz
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umm... thinner...

(David Spade from Tommy Boy)

thinner...

I go for a narrow wheel 6.5 wide

honestly on a 3,000 pound car a wheel that's two or three pounds heavier isn't going to help... really wide tires would float...

It all depends on the snow though, 1 inch deep 3 inches deep, or a light coating on the road.
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Old 08-04-2005, 04:35 PM   #3
WWRRXX04
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One reason lighter wheels are good is because they mean less unsprung weight in your suspension. That means less mass gets moved up and down when you hit a bump so it's easier for the suspension to keep the wheel in contact with the road. I can't imagine why snow/cold weather would change that benefit. If you want to make the car heavier, throw a 50lb bag of sand in the back. Cheaper wheels are usually heavier because it's easier to make them strong and heavy. Strong and light is more tricky and expensive to manufacture.

As for snow tires, I keep a set of 205/55-16 Dunlop Wintersport M3s on my stock rims. That way I can just throw them on the car when it looks like snow season is about to start. For snow tires, you want them narrower than normal so that they cut through the snow rather than acting like snowshoes.
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Old 08-04-2005, 04:42 PM   #4
nhluhr
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In the winter, the weight of the wheels definitely does not matter particularly much. You might be able to plot some relationship between unsprung weight and winter traction and/or mass damping of a heavy wheel, etc, but really it's just about getting the tires right more than anything and having a strong, durable wheel that's not prone to getting packed up with snow/ice.
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Old 08-04-2005, 06:23 PM   #5
Uncle Scotty
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nhluhr
In the winter, the weight of the wheels definitely does not matter particularly much. You might be able to plot some relationship between unsprung weight and winter traction and/or mass damping of a heavy wheel, etc, but really it's just about getting the tires right more than anything and having a strong, durable wheel that's not prone to getting packed up with snow/ice.
^^^^^^^^^^^^
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Old 08-05-2005, 08:11 AM   #6
Bundyboyz
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well made points... I'd say this one is wrapped up.
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