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      11-14-2017, 12:47 PM   #1
SYT_Shadow
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Wide winter tires are better than narrow ones?

I ran across this tidbit from Continental where they say it's better to have a wide winter tire than a narrow one

This is contrary to everything I've heard


https://www.continental-tires.com/ca...ogy/wide-tires


Thoughts? Does TireRack have a position on this?



Feels like summer – only colder.

It is a common misbelief that you shouldn’t use wide tires in winter. However, that is outdated. In fact, they offer a variety of benefits:

The wider the tire, the better the performance in all wintry conditions
More sipes that interlock with the ground, even on snow
Shorter braking distance due to larger tread blocks
Consistent and balanced drivability and better steering precision
Sportier driving comfort

In our high-performance-tyre segment, we have excellent solutions for wide tires for high-performance vehicles, medium- and luxury-class cars
and SUVs.


" If you want full performance and a sportier look even in winter, I recommended the wide winter tires from Continental. With them, everything is just like in summer, only a little bit colder when you go out. "

AC Schnitzer

Last edited by SYT_Shadow; 11-14-2017 at 04:20 PM.
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      11-14-2017, 01:36 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SYT_Shadow View Post
I ran across this tidbit from Continental where they say it's better to have a wide winter tire than a narrow one

This is contrary to everything I've heard


https://www.continental-tires.com/ca...ogy/wide-tires


Thoughts? Does TireRack have a position on this?
Me too. And I'm in the industry. A narrower snow/winter tire has less frontal area for a 'wave' of snow to build up against. Same concept as a knife cuts through butter more efficiently than a spoon. Most winter tire and wheel packages preserve load and speed rating capabilities, as well as overall diameter, BUT go down in rim size and down in section width (narrower).

Example: 245/40ZR18 summer front becomes 235/45ZR17 and a 265/40ZR18 becomes 255/45ZR17 for snow/winter use.

The narrower section in the example above changes the shape (orientation) of the contact patch to be more longitudinal (north / south) than lateral (east west) which results in better for and aft traction for braking and accelerating.

Hope this helps.
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Last edited by DrFerry; 11-14-2017 at 02:00 PM.
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      11-14-2017, 02:17 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DrFerry View Post
Me too. And I'm in the industry. A narrower snow/winter tire has less frontal area for a 'wave' of snow to build up against. Same concept as a knife cuts through butter more efficiently than a spoon. Most winter tire and wheel packages preserve load and speed rating capabilities, as well as overall diameter, BUT go down in rim size and down in section width (narrower).

Example: 245/40ZR18 summer front becomes 235/45ZR17 and a 265/40ZR18 becomes 255/45ZR17 for snow/winter use.

The narrower section in the example above changes the shape (orientation) of the contact patch to be more longitudinal (north / south) than lateral (east west) which results in better for and aft traction for braking and accelerating.

Hope this helps.
I agree, which is why I'm asking. It seems very obvious that narrow tires would be better for winter driving

If this is right I'll get rid of my current 19" winter setup on the X5 and move to 20"s year round.
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      11-14-2017, 03:22 PM   #4
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Here's Tirerack's opinion:

https://www.tirerack.com/tires/tiret...jsp?techid=126
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      11-14-2017, 03:26 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oolas3 View Post
It seems like TireRack is on board with what we've all thought all this time... but Continental isn't your mom and pop shop, so if they said this there must be something behind it!
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      11-14-2017, 03:47 PM   #6
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I'm not an engineer or physics major, Continentals message of larger contact patch = more grip seems sound to me. Particularly on cold dry roads, or on ice.

Wider tires might have a harder time clearing water / slush / snow. I'd be interested to see a test where they compared identical brand tires, identical car and conditions, with different tire sizes. I'd bet there is not much in it. Whats most important is tread and compound, followed by driven wheels, LSD etc. Porsches with 295 section rears certainly have no trouble on snow, ground clearance would be an issue well before grip.

If your driving in areas where its really heavily snowed constantly, you would get studded tires anyway.
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      11-14-2017, 04:27 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Montaver View Post
I'm not an engineer or physics major, Continentals message of larger contact patch = more grip seems sound to me. Particularly on cold dry roads, or on ice.

Wider tires might have a harder time clearing water / slush / snow. I'd be interested to see a test where they compared identical brand tires, identical car and conditions, with different tire sizes. I'd bet there is not much in it. Whats most important is tread and compound, followed by driven wheels, LSD etc. Porsches with 295 section rears certainly have no trouble on snow, ground clearance would be an issue well before grip.

If your driving in areas where its really heavily snowed constantly, you would get studded tires anyway.
No challenge when it's dry, but the conditions I'm concerned about in winter are usually slush and snow.
In both of those it seems like a narrow tire would be highly beneficial.
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      11-14-2017, 04:44 PM   #8
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My thoughts are that you can come up with scenarios where one would be superior to the other and vice versa. The convention of narrower tires to lower the amount of snow to push to the side is certainly logical.

However, what about the other two scenarios? (1) Both the narrower and the wider tire can sufficiently can through the snow to contact the ground. (2) Both the narrower and the wider tire cannot move enough snow to contact the ground. In both of these, it would also seem logical to me that the wider tire would be better for traction. The first case, you have a larger contact patch with pavement. In the latter, you have more surface area to grip the snow with.

I have not much of a clue which would be better in an average scenario, but I think I can see the logic for both sides.
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      11-14-2017, 07:59 PM   #9
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Just look at rally car tires for snow and tarmac. That is all you need to know right there.
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      11-16-2017, 02:17 AM   #10
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I've been saying for years that narrow in winter is no better. If you drive in deep snow regularly then maybe, but I think wider stock sizes will likely have benefit over narrower tires the vast majority of winter driving days. Contact patch is still king in my book.
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      11-16-2017, 11:18 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Transfer View Post
I've been saying for years that narrow in winter is no better. If you drive in deep snow regularly then maybe, but I think wider stock sizes will likely have benefit over narrower tires the vast majority of winter driving days. Contact patch is still king in my book.
The point of winter tires is to stay alive and avoid getting stuck. On snow, wider tires are more likely to get you stuck. On dry tarmac, narrow tires might offer less grip - but no one's getting stuck on dry tarmac.
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      11-16-2017, 11:29 AM   #12
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I suspect that the reality is that it doesn't really matter. The snow traction limit with winter tires on these cars is when they run out of ground clearance.

The downside of marginally greater resistance is actual snow could very well be outweighed by having more sipes for ice traction.

The rally car analogy is a limited one. I don't know that any comparison with aggressively treaded/studded tires is relevant. The studs and tread pattern guarantee traction in a way that standard winter tires simply can not.
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      11-16-2017, 11:51 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Not Sure View Post
The point of winter tires is to stay alive and avoid getting stuck. On snow, wider tires are more likely to get you stuck. On dry tarmac, narrow tires might offer less grip - but no one's getting stuck on dry tarmac.
On dry tarmac, my 225/245 Michelin PA4 combo for the E90 M3 works perfectly fine. I am completely uninterested in improving dry grip further during winter.
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      11-16-2017, 02:49 PM   #14
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It's all subjective.

My 255/40/18 Nokians are a lot better than the 235/40/18 Michelin OEM setup.

Thinner will be better in deeper snow, if comparing the same exact tire - in my opinion. However, this article also does mention "in all wintry conditions."
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