I have a MkIV GTI that I am moving over from CA to NH; it currently has the standard 18" aristos on it. I am concerned about the winters here in NH (I have been here for almost two years w/o my car and am familiar with how the winters are here) and how difficult it will be to drive on 18" wheels.
During the winter I will only be driving my car less than 5 miles with No freeway.
My thoughts were:
1. Get all season tires on the Aristos and drive REALLY carefully. (I do need to replace my
current tires anyway)
2. Purchase cheap 17" OEM wheels and put some all seasons on them.
I really do not want to purchase winter tires b/c I only plan on being in NH for one more winter season. I know I could buy 17" winter tires, but them I'd have to swap out my Aristos.
I'm trying to save money here b/c I am a grad student. Any input from the Wheel and Tires Gurus?
Thanks for the recommendation, but my tire size is 225/40/18.
I am fully aware of what your tire size is. It's actually a good thing to run a slightly narrower tire for snow/sand/mud, plus they are cheaper and since you mentioned low fund issue, I recommended them.
No, it does not snow here where I live in Japan, but i'm referring to winter of 2010/2011 and 2011/2012 when I lived in NC and frequently traveled to MD:
And according to the tire rack surveys tab, which is their official testing of the tires, this bf tires are horrible compared to the Conti's I recommended. Click your link, then click the "survey" and see that the bf tires rate very low in the snow, yellow is bad. Now click on my link, do the same and see that those Conti's are among the best.
I have those Contis on my R32 as winter tires in NC (3 years now) and they are impressive for an a/s tire. If I didn't have AWD I think I would much prefer, and recommend real winter tires for the weather you see.
I have always run 18" wheels/tires on my car in the winter since new, Aristos for the first several then to some OZ Chronos with the Contis. I really don't see any disadvantage to the larger wheel size when, as already mentioned, tire width is what will affect snow traction rather than wheel diameter.
Since you plan to only stay there one year, you might just keep your eyes open for a used set of winter tires or a wheel/tire combo in the classifieds. They come up pretty often, and since you're planning early you shouldn't have trouble finding a set before next winter's first snow. Used tires would be far cheaper, and a wheel/tire combo would probably cost about the same as a new set of tires.
how many inches of snow did you used to get in NC? In NH I think we get around 10" each time it snows, at least, and it snows probably four to five times a season.
Couple of times we got 2/3 inches, a few times we had 1/2 foot and up. The tires performed well. I have to disagree with the guy above, you're only living there one year, why waste money on tires you won't use anywhere else at any other time. I still stand by buying an excellent set of all seasons life I recommended and you can drive them all year. The tire size is up to you, 215 or 225 is really a negligible difference when it comes to the handling aspect, stick with the factory size if it gives you a warm and fuzzy
Remember, no tire in the world can handle the snow if you drive like a jackass. Example, I drive my now departed 2000 Jetta with BALD SUMMER tires 120 miles in a blizzard, not once spinning, skidding, or even close to losing control. It's all about how you drive, so decent driving coupled with those Conti's will get you far..
To drive that point home, this its the exact blizzard.. I was able to snap a shot.. 120 miles on bald falken 912 in THAT!!
I'll second the Continentals. (2002 mkIV 17 inch wheels). I loved my Michelin pilots in California but after moving back to Michigan the improvement in snow was night and day with the Conti's. Even with 135k miles of experience in the car and having grown up in MI, it was all I could do to keep the car on the road without decent A/S tires. I know they're more than some but unless (and even if) you're an experienced snow driver, there's a good chance that traction'll save your life, or at least save you from ending up in a ditch some cold dark NH night. Winter tires would be great, but if you're careful and practice a bit the A/S should serve you well enough.
Edit: for anecdotal sake, I also had the Michelin Pilot Sport A/S for a couple years. I feel more secure in snow with the Continentals.
No problem. They're not the only option but I've had good luck with them. Also check the regional classifieds and Craigslist - there's a chance you could find someone selling a set of winters or all-seasons who's moving away / switched cars, etc. Used tires can be risky but if there're in good shape you could save some money.