Custom wheels look cool, with their dazzling rims and over-sized tires. They usually are not suited for winter driving, though. During the cold months of the year, stay safe by replacing your car's tricked-out wheels with smaller winter tires.
Not Just Snow Tires
Many drivers in cold climates that see little precipitation forgo winter tires, which are often thought to be specifically for driving in snow and ice. Quoting Joerg Burfien, an Edmunds.com article says drivers should switch to winter tires once temperatures drop below 45 degrees Fahrenheit.
At 45 degrees, summer and all-season tires stiffen up, and their rubber becomes brittle. Winter tires, however are made from different compounds that remain elastic in colder temperatures. Even if there is no snow or ice on the ground, winter tires will be more flexible in the cold and conform to the road's surface better than warm-weather wheels.
Smaller Tires Provide Traction
While everyone should have winter tires, drivers who are often on snowy or icy roads, especially, should look for the smallest snow tires that fit on their car. Smaller snow tires provide better traction in slippery conditions than larger customer wheels for two reasons.
First, smaller tires are typically narrower than larger tires. This makes it easier for them to cut through slush.
Second, smaller tires also have shorter diameters than larger ones, which reduces their contact patches. Contact patches are where the tire touches the road. It may seem counterintuitive, but smaller contact patches improve traction in slippery conditions. The weight of your car will bear down more on each contact patch, because they are smaller. This additional force will help the tires press down, into the snow and maintain contact with the road.
Every tire is identified by a series of letters and numbers, such as "P215/65R15," that indicate its type and size. Reading this string is like deciphering a code:
When comparing tires' sizes, you will want to look at the first number, which will give you their sidewalls' widths, and the last number, which will provide the tires' diameters.
Tire Sizes for Your Car
Only certain sizes of tires will fit on any given car. Your owner's manual will specify which tire sizes can be put on your car. If you don't have the manual, check with your mechanic to see what your options are. For winter tires, you will want to choose the smallest size listed for your automobile.
Often, the smallest size listed is the same size as your original tires. Therefore, if you've had large, aftermarket wheels put on your car, you can probably put winter tires on your car's original rims. (Rims are the metal cylinders that tires affix to, and different rims are needed for different tire sizes.) Simply ask your garage to put winter tires on the original rims and swap your new wheels with the big ones that are on your car.
Oversized custom wheels are fun, but they are not made for winter driving. They will become rigid at cold temperatures, and they will slip in snow and ice. Stay safe this winter by replacing them with snow tires that are narrow and have a short diameter. All you may need to do is have winter car tires put on your original rims.Share
5 February 2015
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