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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Bottom Line Up Front: Suggestions and sizes for winter wheels/tires to winter-swap 245/40R18s.

(First up: I did some searching around the forum, didn't find an exact answer, so figured I'd log in a new one)
Background: I have a new 2019 WRX Premium, 18" wheels with 245/40R18 summer-performance Dunlop tires. Quite sticky and fun around the dry corners. That being said, I live in Maryland, and the granular corn-snow and wet slush will return one day.

I would like to get a set of wheels and tires for winter, and I'm considering both 17" and 18" wheels, and either a very grippy set of all-seasons (ExtremeContact DWS served me well before) or just be done with it and get the Blizzaks.

I'm pretty sure that the 18" tires can be changed for 245/45/17, and I suspect that the increased sidewall gives me a smoother overall ride and better cushion for bumps and such. Would the wheel then, converting from an 18x8 (or 18x8.5, really not sure?) be to 17X7 or 17x7.5? I think a 245 would be *very* wide for a 7.5, so drop down to a 225/50R17?

ASK:
Expert suggestions for winter wheels: alloy or steel? 18" or 17"? Sizing of the 17 wheels"?
Expert suggestions for winter tires: Grippy all-season (Contact DWS or other?) or straight snow tires (Blizzaks or other?)? If 17", what size tires (225/50 or other?)

Thanks!
 

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Your post was initially flagged for moderation, so I cleared that flag. Welcome aboard!

You will be fine to run 245/45/17 on a 17x8 wheel. 17x7.5 is pushing it a bit. For reference, I run a 245/45/17 DWS3Ds on OEM 2005 STI wheels (17x8). For a narrower wheel, go with the narrower tire as you've suggested.

I personally think it's silly to run an all-season tire as a dedicated winter tire. Since you'll be running summers, go with a dedicated winter.

Winter wheels? 2005 STI wheels are BBS, forged, and can be had for pretty cheap. I purchased a set with some damage and a slight wheel bend for $200 and spent another $200 to fix the wheel and powdercoat.

Since you indicated you're from Maryland -- we don't get an awful lot of snow here. I'd suggest you look at Winter Performance Tires (Dunlop WinterSport or similar) as opposed to snow tires. Winter performance tires have mild siping for snow and ice, but prioritize dry traction that gives the driver great feedback and grip in temps below 50deg.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
(I'm a new member, probably flagging to make sure that I'm not a bot, all good!)

This is excellent intel, thank you! I had forgotten completely about winter performance tires, solid idea. We don't get the snow blitz here in Maryland (well, except Garrett County), though I do drive to the Poconos, Green Mountains, those good spots in New England with my snowboard in tow. So having a set of capable rubber will be helpful.

There's been some debate on more narrow tires for snow/slush (cut through them, less surface area to slip) versus more broad tires (more sipes and tread to grip through snow/slush). I think the difference between a 225 and a 245, all 3/4" of an inch, probably won't make a gigantic difference.

Again, thanks for the good info, very much appreciated! I'll report back on what I end up with.
 

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There is logic in the skinnier tires for snow/slush/gravel/loose dirt -- it's the reason Rally cars run skinny tires on gravel and snow stages.

But again, assess your own personal driving habits. A wider tire (not to be taken out of context) will better complement a winter performance tire that sees 90% dry traction. My advice may differ for snow tires that see 50% or more snow/slush use.

Where do you live in MD?

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I live in Western MD and it snows/sleets here unpredictably in the fall/winter months. I'm using these 17x17.5 Enkeis on 235/45R17 General Altimax Arctic. This wheel and tire combo was purchased late fall of 2015. They work fantastic in the snow here and the tread is still excellent as I'm about to switch to my summers. I've taken them through snow quite a bit deeper than my ground clearance and the traction is phenomenal.

Zax is absolutely right about a skinnier tire being much better in snow. My General Gmax AS05's are excellent in snow, but at speed that's when you can really feel the difference between a dedicated winter and an all season. From a start in the snow the winter's are better, but the difference at speed and when braking are what is drastically different.

Welcome to the forum and best of luck! Let me know if you have any questions.


EDIT: Oh, and the Enkeis are beautiful wheels! And the ride on the slightly taller sidewall tires is better, but not drastically.
 

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I bought a set of base 17” wheels from a 2015 WRX and they get out of balance when doing snownuts. No biggie, I park in the garage.

Went with Pirelli Sottozero as they are a winter performance tire. Very happy so far. Good in snow and great in the rain.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
There is logic in the skinnier tires for snow/slush/gravel/loose dirt -- it's the reason Rally cars run skinny tires on gravel and snow stages.

But again, assess your own personal driving habits. A wider tire (not to be taken out of context) will better complement a winter performance tire that sees 90% dry traction. My advice may differ for snow tires that see 50% or more snow/slush use.

Where do you live in MD?

Sent from my SM-G960U using Tapatalk
I live just west of Annapolis in Riva, right along Beards Creek/South River area. So, we do see the packed-wet-slush pretty regularly, and (having grown up in lower New England) I do like driving in snow, seek it out even. But it does mean that, usually, it all gets dried out by day 2, so you may be right about the wider (even if 20 mm) tire being ideal for driving here. Worse case, I just stock a set of snow chains for when I go north of the Wall, so to speak, or out past Cumberland into deep western Maryland.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Very helpful, thanks! I'm going to check out these tires, see what I can find. We take treks out to western Maryland, Garrett County/Deep Creek areas, pretty much yearly.

Amazing how MD has 5 different climate zones. Between the ocean, the bay, the piedmont, and the Blue Ridge, weather forecasters' models have a hard time keeping up.

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