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Thread: Wide tires in snow??

  1. #1
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    Default Wide tires in snow??

    Hey all,

    I was wondering if anybody has a definite answer as to how poorly wider tires do in deep snow. I just moved from Northeast PA (Scranton area) to Syracuse, NY (freshman at Syracuse University), and from what I hear the snow up here is pretty severe.

    I've been thinking of swapping on some 265/75 BFG AT's (to replace my current 235/85's), but recalled hearing that wider tires "float" on deep snow, while pizza-cutters like my current ones "cut" into the stuff. I know that the difference between 235's and 265's isn't huge, but does anybody with snowbelt experience know if it will make a noticable difference in my winter traction?

    Thanks!

    -Bob

  2. #2
    Registered BoeserBlick's Avatar
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    Narrow tires are better in snow & water. Remember, the rule of thumb...

    More surface area = more area that can hydrofoil.
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    In deep snow, wide is better. Skinny tires will cut into it too much a you will drag your suspension. Wide will keep you high enough to avoid that. However, on ice or slick snow, it'll make you slide more. That's kind of the rule of thumb. I live just south of Albany. We don't get it as bad as Syracuse. My experience is that if you have aggressive tread pattern, it will work better because they will clean out and not turn into sleds. I had 33" BFG MTs on my old F-150, everyone told me how much they would slide, then they all called me to help them get unstuck when their skinny ATs didn't work. Don't forget that a tire with a wide tread pattern puts more contact pressure on each lug vs a narrow pattern that spreads the weight and can offer less traction. Just my thoughts though!
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    i dont care what ppl say anymore,, a bigger tire with good tread will do the best in snow,, maybe in a 2in snow,, small tires would do good,, but in a big snow, big tires are the way to go,, just my .02 though..
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    not exactly in the same league but I switched from 195/65-15 tires to 225/45-17 on my Volkswagen GTI. I was running a dedicated 17" snow tire and never once had an issue while most in the Rochester, NY/Syracuse,NY/NH snows -- people thought I was nuts though with the wide tires.
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  6. #6

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    everyone gets so stuck up on "rules." my theory, if it works for you do it.
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    -=- originally posted by quivvy -=-
    everyone gets so stuck up on "rules." my theory, if it works for you do it.
    That is probably the best advice I've heard. Short of slicks, you could learn how to drive any tire in snow IF you are really attentive to how the vehicle is handling and are careful about it. That is a big IF, but I think it's true for a talented and patient driver.

    The wider vs. narrower argument comes down to contact area for the tire. The wider the tire, the larger the contact area. Now, regardless of your tire size the vehicle puts a certain amount of weight on each tire. With the wider tire and larger contact area, that load is less concentrated. The lower the load concentration, the easier it is to float, hydroplane, etc. Depending on situation and driving habit, you have to decide what you are most comfortable with.

    Basically there are now hard and fast rules when it comes to driving on snow. One recommendation, even if you are allowed to run studded tires and decide to do this, pick up a set of chains. You can pick ones up that are for only 1 or 2 uses in an emergency that are under $50.
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  8. #8

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    IMO you'll do better with the thin tires most of the time (for winter driving). Best car I ever had in snow was a 1980 Accord with skinny tires. Got me 35 miles through the heart of one of the worst blizzards ever in SE Wisconsin (Lake effect storms like you get in Upstate NY). Didn't worry about the car as much as my ability to see where I was going.

    Watch cars go through snow/slush/water where does most of it go? Not out the back but off to the sides. The thicker tire has to move more slush further and faster inorder to clear a way down to the pavement where you get the best traction.

    In icy or snow pack conditions the wide tire should provide better traction. I'm betting you'll see more slush from the salting though. Not sure you'll have room for chains with those tires though.
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    The only tires that I have experience with that worked well in deep snow are Super Swampers.

    The last time that I drove in deep snow, about 3' of fresh powder and growing, I was in my brothers Bronco with an 8" lift and 38" Super Swampers + chains. There were only two trucks on any of the roads, the Snow Plow and my brothers Bronco.
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    Default Confusing the issue

    Everyone keeps talking about width but no one mentioned the tires ability to "clean" itself while "digging" in the snow. Wide or narrow.. If your tread fills up with snow.. your not going anywhere. They make tread for snow, mud, rain and all seasons. If you want to talk physics.. I'm not the guy but I've driven many farm tractors and for mud and soft ground, a wider tire will get you stuck (you just sit on top of the ground spinning) whereas a skinny tire will dig down to solid ground and get you going. Hard ground? I like wide tires. We put wide tires on our wagons to keep them from sinking. I've found that when driving 4x4 trucks around the farm, wider tires didn't do very well when there was some crusting of the snow surface. Narrow tires did better. Fresh wet snow is best for wide tires. Deep or not. JMO

  11. #11
    Forum Leader John Strenk's Avatar
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    I've been plowing snow for some 20 years now and 1 thing I can tell you is all seasons tires don't hack it in deep snow wide or small. I have always used dedicated snow tires in the winter. I bought a set of Bridgestone Winter Dualers for our Safari van last year and that van could almost go anywere my CJ5 can go through the snow.

    I'm planning on getting a new set for the Liberty this winter unless you guys think I can put 15" rims on an '04 liberty.

    I use to buy in to the skinny tire big lug theory untill I put a set of 33 X 12.5 X 15 Kumos AT's on my Jeep last year. I could stall the engine plowing snow before I would loose the traction with those tires. ANd that's not only plowing, That's getting over piles and thru deep snow to get to the plow sites.

    I think most of it has to do with the siping on the tires. The Winter Duelers have about 5 sipes per lug and the Kuhmos have at least 3. A lot of big lugged tires have 0-1 sipes per lug and they are terrible on ice and slush. As much as I would like to I can't spend all of my time driving to work off the road in the deep snow.

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    Default Re: Confusing the issue

    -=- originally posted by jeeplikens -=-
    Everyone keeps talking about width but no one mentioned the tires ability to "clean" itself while "digging" in the snow. Wide or narrow.. If your tread fills up with snow.. your not going anywhere. They make tread for snow, mud, rain and all seasons. If you want to talk physics.. I'm not the guy but I've driven many farm tractors and for mud and soft ground, a wider tire will get you stuck (you just sit on top of the ground spinning) whereas a skinny tire will dig down to solid ground and get you going. Hard ground? I like wide tires. We put wide tires on our wagons to keep them from sinking. I've found that when driving 4x4 trucks around the farm, wider tires didn't do very well when there was some crusting of the snow surface. Narrow tires did better. Fresh wet snow is best for wide tires. Deep or not. JMO
    Best thing that sticks to snow.....is SNOW.

    Narrow, aggressive patterns are the best.

    Wintermark brand tires are the best I've seen....aside from Nokian.

    but, hey, I'm from buffalo...what do I know about snow?:bangnerd:

  13. #13

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    so now we know that thin tires work for this and this, and wide tires work best for this and this.... so what the hell.... if you get thin youll get screwed half the time, and if you get wide you will be too... i say screw the tires and drive on the rims.
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    -=- originally posted by quivvy -=-
    i say screw the tires and drive on the rims.
    Quivvy, I'm taking your expert advice and buying some 32" chrome spinner light-up rims with built in subwoofers tomorrow! No tires for this bling machine!




    -Bob

  15. #15

    Default Re: Re: Confusing the issue

    -=- originally posted by storydude -=-
    Best thing that sticks to snow.....is SNOW.
    I'm of that mentality too.
    I run Blizzaks on my car (neon), I find that when I pull out of my garage in the morning with clean tires, it's like being on ice and I can't go anywhere. As soon as the snow builds up in the tire, not much stops me.
    For me the skinnier tires work better, I've tried 185's then 195's (both blizzaks) on the third set I went back to 185's. For my car I think it's just a weight issue. The car basically isn't heavy enough to bite in with the 195's and floats too much.

    Having not had my Liberty in the snow yet, I'll have to see how well these Good(fora)year AT's do (235/70r16). I've heard bad things, but don't have the funds to buy anything else. I have a feeling I'll be using the 4WD a lot simply because the tires suck... oh well.
    Has anyone tried Blizzaks (all 4) on a Liberty? How were they in the snow?

  16. #16

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    -=- originally posted by Wellington P Funk -=-
    Quivvy, I'm taking your expert advice and buying some 32" chrome spinner light-up rims with built in subwoofers tomorrow! No tires for this bling machine!
    -Bob
    No tires... you'll do GREAT!!! ... on the train track!

  17. #17
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    Icon91 Tires

    One thing for sure! Wide or Thin.. They'll be better than the stock tires that come on the Liberty. Goodyear Eagle RS-A? WTF. Was this someones sick joke?
    I feel better now..:myhorse:

  18. #18

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    agreed, anything will be better than stock.

    as for blizzaks - i ran 4 on my SVT Focus and that thing was a beast in the snow. the first winter i ran the stock continental summer tires and got stuck and slid everywhere, even with FWD. once i got blizzaks it was unstopable.

    any 4x4 will well in snow, especially with an AT or MT tire. just get tires you can use year round and youll be fine.
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    "Best Tire" depends on where you're driving, how much snow, and what type of snow.

    'Round N.Idaho, the snow doesn't get belly-deep on public roads, 'cause they have to plow it daily. A seriously wide tire will skate the surface and you're spinning or in the ditch. Best for that is a good all-season (or moderate all-terrain) tire in a medium-width. Good for fresh road-snow, and for post-plow snowpack. Ditto for icy roads. Studded tires are fine for ice, and decent for snow pack, but I've never needed them 'cause I've always had 4wd available to balance the load and traction chores.

    For the beginning or end of winter, you can have fun off-road in fresh powder, and some use wide "mud-type" tires with a sort of paddle-like tread ... but you won't have much control, and you find yourself skating about a bit. Lots of fun, but don't plan on getting anywhere.

    For the rest of the winter -- more than two weeks into winter -- up here you'd have to be pretty much nuts to get off the road very far in the snow, 'cause you can ride on total balloons in a 6 ft powder base and quickly end up dragging your skid pans in the snow -- which is the end of traction (and forward motion) and time for the winch ...

    Idaho backroads in winter? Never plowed at all -- so park your rig and unload either your skis or your snowmobile.

    I use the best all-terrain mid-width tires I can afford -- the same ones I use all summer -- and use my head about what snow I drive off into. That combination hasn't got me stuck yet.

  20. #20

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    how about some HEATED tires???

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