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2014 Forester CVT
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21 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My Forester came with P225/60 R17 on alu rims.
I am looking for winter tires and found the following matching sizes:

1. P205/65 R17
2. P215/65 R17
3. P215/70 R16

No 1 is the closest to OEM.
Also, I would like to get R17 so everything is the same size and I can use both sets of tires on both sets of rims (one never knows).

But 205 seems a bit narrow... or is it OK?

THX
 

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2018 XT Touring CVT
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1,294 Posts
205 is great, you cannot get too skinny for winter.
I would go to a 16", 205 or skinnier, on steel rims, if you do not have the XT.
You do not need to match your summer size or diameter.
 

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2015 Highlander AWD XLE 6AT
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The 205/65R17 appears to be hard to find here in the U.S. For example, neither Tire Rack nor Discount Tire recognizes that size. Accordingly, after-sales service and/or replacement might be a challenge.

It would be worth checking such a tire's load spec, and if your OEM 17" rims are an approved width for a 205 tire.

HTH,
Jim / crewzer
 

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2018 XT Touring CVT
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It is best to have your winter tires mounted on their own rims. Steel rims are best for winter. You do not need to match your summer tire size.
 

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2016 Outback and WRX CVT
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Wide tires have a tendancy to "float" on wet, snowy or muddy surfaces.
Listed sectional width may not match the actual path carved through the snow. The footprint of different tires can differ significantly based simply on brand/model.

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 exact words were: "...unless your last name is Andretti, Rahal, or Schumacher....").

The ability to resist hydroplaning as well as move through snow and slush is also be influenced greatly by tread design.

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Steel rims are best for winter.
:icon_question: Why?

Corrosion concerns are not invalid, but it is almost strictly cosmetic. Furthermore, better finished wheels will likely resist corrosion just as well as better finished steel wheels - which in-turn are not immune to corrosion. Reputable sources have even cited that it's more the galvanic reaction between clamped-on steel wheel weights and alloy wheels that typically cause focal corrosion issues: this can be avoided with modern adhesive-backed weights.

Certainly, it's much easier to pound-out a dented steel rim than have to contend with a bent or, worse yet, cracked alloy rim - but we're not talking about a low-profile setup, here. There's more than sufficient rim protection given simply the amount of meat that's going to exist between the tire and the wheel in these fitments. And even with lower-profile passenger applications, insuring that there is enough rim protection (i.e. not "stretching" a fitment) paired with proper inflation (which itself should be routinely monitored, given its quite noticeable effects on tire performance as well as secondary safety considerations - i.e. having to stop on the side of the road - under wintry conditions), tales of road-damage are rare, even in vocal enthusiast communities. LegacyGT.com, for example, typically sees members with 225/45 and 225/40 aspect ratio fitments, commonly with 17 or even 18-inch alloys 7 to even 8 inches in width, and many - myself included - live in rather potholed, frost-heaved, and rutted areas.

Alloys are definitely more expensive - but one doesn't necessarily have to step up to expensive forged alloys to guaranty strength. There are many members of the community above who have used very affordable alloys from brands such as ASA, Sport Edition and Sport Tuning, and have never encountered damage. Typically, these tires are not ultralights, and thus you will not see significant gains in handling based on reductions in unsprung mass - but every bit helps. :icon_wink:

Certainly, off-road drivers would merit further considerations.

...you cannot get too skinny for winter.
^ I think that needs to be placed in the proper framework.

"Too skinny" does have its limits - remember that while we are talking about winter tires, we are still talking about tires that are being driven in the real world: it may not always be buried under 16 inches of fresh powder that's sitting on top of hardpack - clear and dry roadways are a consideration that's very real in most cities, and for most drivers, the winter set must also bridge into the warmer transitional seasons (how many enthusiasts in this community - or any other - do you know of that runs or have run three sets of tires: one for the warmer months, one for the transitional seasons, and another for the deep winter months? :wink:). Not all conditions can be met with the ice-racing/rally ideal of specified thin, spiked tire.

And this ties well into crewzer's very wise real-world advice above - there may be some savings to be had in the wallet in choosing an "odd" fitment to begin with, but this could pose significant complications down the road.

Similarly,

It is best to have your winter tires mounted on their own rims.
^ This is a very good idea.

Dismounting/remounting 3-seasons and winter sets over and over again can incur significant expense over the life of the tires. Such procedures also incur risks of damage to not only the tire/wheel combo, but now also the TPMS modules. Again, a short-term saving here will need to be balanced with one's overall risk assessment for the long run.
 

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2018 XT Touring CVT
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Steel is best for winter because:
1. Only the very expensive alloy wheels are stronger than steel.
2. The type of corrosion on steel, rust, is easier to prevent and fix so you do not have bead seal problems.
 

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2016 Outback and WRX CVT
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While #1 is true in the absolute sense, in the real world, how many enthusiasts' winter alloys have taken damage due to everyday driving? Let's go to LegacyGT.com's community,for example - most member there run 215/50 or 225/45 or 225/40 ratios, either in 17 or 18-inch fitments, at widths varying between 7 to 8 inches. From Alaska to Maine, how many have reported/complained of undue damage? How many of these members spent over $175 per wheel? I've been a member of that community as well as NASIOC since 2005 (same screen name) and have participated heavily in winter tire discussions in those communities - and I can tell you from experience that there's (A) not many and (B), not many. :) The same story exists in our local Subaru community, and while NE-Ohio doesn't see frost-heave action, our network of winter potholes certainly rivals that of the best (er, worst?) - again, such damage is virtually unheard of, even with lower-profile combinations offering considerably less rim protection.

It's the same as the suggestion that we can't go narrow enough for winter use - great as an absolute/abstract, but in the real world there are limitations and exceptions.

As for #2, the points - both pro and con - are explored in my reply above. But you're definitely right in that it's much easier (and cheaper) to DIY fixes for a steel rim than an alloy! :)
 
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