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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My 2013 Forester has the standard 215 65 R 16 tires on the rims.

A dealer I called told me he has a set of four used 225 60 R 16 winter tires (I didn't get the brand) that would fit. They have 7/32" to 8/32" of an inch remaining on them, which means they should have plenty of time left on them. He'll sell the set for $160 (I haven't seen them yet). That's a lot cheaper than a set of four new ones.

I live in Southern Vermont, and our winters have been warmer lately. We get some heavy snowstorms of 6" to 12", but the biggest problem with winter driving here is not plowing through deep snow, which is something I have to do only a few times a year. The worst problem is greasy snow that's right at the freezing point, or hitting ice patches on winding roads.

My question is whether shifting to those slightly wider and shorter snow tires will make it more hazardous, or if the difference will be insignificant than buying new 215 65 R 16 tires.

The tire calculator says that it will change my speedometer reading by 1.4%, or showing 65 MPH when I'm actually going 64 MPH.
 

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2016 Outback and WRX CVT
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This is actually a really complicated question! :wink:

In deep pile, provided that there's actually traction to be had once you "cut through" to the underlying surface, the skinnier the tire is, the better. Slush-planing and hydroplaning resistance typically also favors the skinnier tire.

However, that said, a 225 versus a 215 width difference is something that you're not likely to be able to feel - per the specialists at Tire Rack, a simple one-step change in with (i.e. 205 to 215, or vice-versa) will be unlikely to be noticed by the vast majority of drivers (the words on the Forum at NASIOC were to the effect of: "...unless your last name is Andretti, Rahal, or Schumacher...." :lol:).

If there were a two-size difference - going from 225 to 205 - then yes, that's something that many drivers are likely to actually be able to feel, from behind the wheel, under even average conditions. However, even then, you're going to be playing off the strengths and weaknesses of the differently sized tires in the wintry stuff versus in the clear...and it's worth remembering that there's going to be some time, even in the dead of winter, where you will see clear roads, not to even mention the transition months.

OK, with that out of the way. :biggrin:

I've often cited this in the past:

error on LegacyGT.com said:
Here is another article in Russian: Те�т шипы и липучки на льду: Казу� граду�а - Шины и ди�ки, Компоненты, Шины, За рулем, За рулем 2009/1 - Сайт За рулем www.zr.ru

The graphs are quite self-explanatory.

In short:

-19C and colder: studless tires are better on ice, because the ice surface may be too hard for studs to bite effectively.

-13C: studded and studless tires are more or less similar.

-5C: studded average braking distance (from 50km/h down to 5 km/h) 29 m, studless ~55 m.

0C: studded 33 m, studless ~82 m.
Convert those temperatures to our more familiar Fahrenheit scale, and you get:

  • approx. -2 deg. F.
  • approx. 9 deg. F.
  • approx. 16 deg. F.
  • zero deg. F.

Now, you mention above that it's right at around the freezing point that worries you most.

If that's the case, then it's undeniable that studded tires would give you the best traction under those circumstances. However, you'll need to see about both your area's laws on studded tire usage, as well as will definitely have to live with the increase in NVH that they bring to your daily commute and travels.

But that may not matter at all, as you're looking at a set of used tires which may not be able to be studded.

There's nothing wrong with that - particularly as it makes such a HUGE financial difference.

However, there's a few things to consider.

First, it's simple common sense that the more tread depth you have - on snow - the better. With less tread-depth, you'll have decreased snow and slush-moving capabilities as compared to the same tire with more tread depth. Typically, "Winter Wear Bars" are molded about half-way down the depth of the tread, at approx. 6/32". For those who really mind wintry traction, at that depth, many will stop using those tires for winter travels and either sell them at steeply reduced cost, or, alternatively, "run them out" through the coming warmer seasons.

Tread depth, though, is often even more important.

Are the tires you are looking at a Bridgestone "Blizzak" tire that begins with the "WS" prefix? If so, you'll want to remember that the WS-designated "Studless Ice & Snow" winter tires utilize a proprietary two-tier construction throughout their tread depth, with a near-magical top layer that greatly enhances traction on ice. This top layer, however, will wear away at around the half-way point in terms of tread-depth: and at that time, you're left with the double whammy - you'll say goodbye to that magical layer as well as be left with decreased tread-depth. If you don't drive much, what little might be left on the set you purchase may well last you one or even two winters, but that layer will wear very fast during the warmer days of the season.

Even more important than snow and slush-moving capabilities, though, is the performance of half-worn/half-depth winter tires through standing water. While wintry-precipitation performance is measurably decreased, it came as a shock to many of us winter tire enthusiasts and hobbyists that the ability of the tire to resist hydroplaning is even more greatly diminished. Already a known weak-point of winter tires in-general and the "Studless Ice & Snow" sub-genre even more so, we were all shocked when we reviewed the raw data a couple of years ago and saw just how badly the half-worn tires fared in this sector. We all imagined that there'd be considerable differences in terms of fresh powder moving capabilities, but we were stunned to see that such a difference wasn't as much as we felt, subjectively, from behind the wheel, while at the same time the difference in hydroplane resistance greatly exceeded anything we'd come to expect.

Now, to wrap this back into your question about the width of the tire....

Testing on ice is so tricky that as this old Car & Driver article mentioned, in many cases, it's not even done: http://www.caranddriver.com/comparisons/2009-winter-tire-test-comparison-tests . As I've cited above, temperature plays a huge role, and what that translates to is actually that slick micro-film of water on the surface of the ice. For the same reason that ice-skates work, it's also why it's so tricky for winter tires to manage this surface.

So, as I said above, your skinny tire cuts through some 12 inches of fresh powder. Great. But what happens when there's that layer of ice? Is it better that the tire has less contact area, or is it better that it has more? What happens if the ice is so hard that it has the coefficient of friction of concrete?

Those are questions that are not yet answered.

And at the same time, you've gotta balance that out with your driving needs in the warmer transitional seasons, too.

It's not a simple question, and unfortunately, it doesn't have a very straightforward answer, either. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks - sounds like from reading this and Tire Track that these tires are close to the end of their functional life. If 6/32" is when you should consider getting rid of snow tires, there's no reason to be buying tires at 7/32" or 8/32".
 

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I believe you will feel the difference. Wider will be worse.
You also do not want a wider, or even more contact area for ice, you want more sipes.
 

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You also do not want a wider, or even more contact area for ice, you want more sipes.
This is an unknown, in the quantitative sense.

As I cited above, testing on icy conditions truly is tricky - a change in temperature alone can drastically affect results. Simply look at how temperature changes affect the difference between studded and "Studless Ice & Snow" tires: a mind-blowing cross-genre gap.

Most enthusiasts, when reviewing test data, will first ask at what temperature the ice results were observed, as it really skews things that much.

If you're privy to some quantified data, I'd definitely love to see it :smile: - but in so far as I know, there is strictly only debate on this issue, with logic and reasoning that support both sides of the argument, but with no quantified results that favor either side.

Additionally, in the real world, using winter tires in pursuit of "more safety" in wintry conditions needs to be counterbalanced with what the tires will do when there is no wintry precipitation on the ground.

This is not an absolute, and the shopper needs to realize that it's a compromise (and need to realize the implications of said compromise), no matter which side of the equation they may land on.
 

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My 2013 Forester has the standard 215 65 R 16 tires on the rims.

A dealer I called told me he has a set of four used 225 60 R 16 winter tires (I didn't get the brand) that would fit. They have 7/32" to 8/32" of an inch remaining on them, which means they should have plenty of time left on them. He'll sell the set for $160 (I haven't seen them yet). That's a lot cheaper than a set of four new ones.

I live in Southern Vermont, and our winters have been warmer lately. We get some heavy snowstorms of 6" to 12", but the biggest problem with winter driving here is not plowing through deep snow, which is something I have to do only a few times a year. The worst problem is greasy snow that's right at the freezing point, or hitting ice patches on winding roads.

My question is whether shifting to those slightly wider and shorter snow tires will make it more hazardous, or if the difference will be insignificant than buying new 215 65 R 16 tires.

The tire calculator says that it will change my speedometer reading by 1.4%, or showing 65 MPH when I'm actually going 64 MPH.
$160 for tires that have 7/32 and 8/32, I am not so sure that is a good deal. I just changed my tires at 5/32 (I never go under 4/32). New these tires were probably 10 or 11 /32's. (you need to confirm what new is) So in my book, they are about half worn out. $160 for getting 2/32 wear remaining is too expensive--way overpriced. You can get new ones for that price. Please the fact that they are larger, that is not better for snow, used--who knows how they may have been abused with potholes and curbs--that you may not be able to see, plus is there a consideration if they were previously mounted on left or right side and now you are about to possibly mount them on the wrong size. The price would have to be under $100 for me to consider it a good deal.
 

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He'll sell the set for $160 (I haven't seen them yet). That's a lot cheaper than a set of four new ones.
$160 for tires that have 7/32 and 8/32, I am not so sure that is a good deal. I just changed my tires at 5/32 (I never go under 4/32). New these tires were probably 10 or 11 /32's. (you need to confirm what new is) So in my book, they are about half worn out. $160 for getting 2/32 wear remaining is too expensive--way overpriced. You can get new ones for that price. Please the fact that they are larger, that is not better for snow, used--who knows how they may have been abused with potholes and curbs--that you may not be able to see, plus is there a consideration if they were previously mounted on left or right side and now you are about to possibly mount them on the wrong size. The price would have to be under $100 for me to consider it a good deal.
Highlighted for-emphasis.

I think you just mis-read. :icon_biggrin: The OP stated it's $160 for the set, or $40 per tire.

If you can get tires for less than $40 per tire, then please let me know, so I can shop there, too!!!! :rock::icon_biggrin:
 

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snow tires usually start around 11 or 12/32
so if they are 7-8 they are about 80% through their useful winter life.
add in the fact that mounting used tires is the same as new

and you just paid 250$? for a set of tires to use for one year..

now if it was 160$ including mounting and you cant afford new ones... that might be an ok deal.

if you shop the holiday double or triple rebate sales you should be under 400$(+mounting) for 4 new ones as long as you dont want michelins or nokians.
 

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add in the fact that mounting used tires is the same as new.

and you just paid 250$? for a set of tires to use for one year.

now if it was 160$ including mounting and you cant afford new ones... that might be an ok deal.
I wouldn't go so far as to say that it's only one season's worth of use :icon_razz:, but hat's a very good point about the mounting.

if you shop the holiday double or triple rebate sales you should be under 400$(+mounting) for 4 new ones as long as you dont want the top tier tires.
Fiored. :icon_cool:

But again, Boondocker, you don't need "top tier" tires to make it safely through the winter. Look at the quantified results of the various tests, when they are provided for your reference: there's very little difference that separates the tires.

Get the right sub-genre application for your needs and maintain their pressures based on temperature fluctuations. You'll be good-to-go.
 
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