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      09-19-2012, 01:30 PM   #1
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Winter tires on 18's vs. 19's

I've got an '11 E90 M3 and want to get winter tires & dedicated wheels for this upcoming winter. I'm currently running the 19's that were the optional upgrade when I bought the car (not the wheels that come w/ZCP).

Ideally, I would get new 19's or maybe 20's for the summer tires, and use my existing rims for the winter tires. However, a number of threads I've read suggest traction in the winter will be better w/18's.

Is there that big of a different between winter tires on 18's vs. 19's? I prefer getting new rims for the summer, but not if I'm going to make a big sacrifice on traction in the winter. Thanks in advance for the help!
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      09-19-2012, 01:47 PM   #2
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I live just north of you and have 19" dedicated winter tires for the cold months.

Never had any problems with traction in the snow on 19's -- they work great
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      09-19-2012, 03:37 PM   #3
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Only real differences are tire cost, tire availability, and comfort.
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      09-19-2012, 03:39 PM   #4
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are they staggered? you sould be running same widths all around, think thats more important than 18s vs 19s. that part is really about the contact with the ground. you want them to be a little more narrow. the less the better.
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      09-19-2012, 05:47 PM   #5
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I also live close by, up the I5. I've been running 19" Dunlop Wintersport 3Ds for 2 seasons (235/255 stagger), and will be switching to 19" Blizzak LM60s this season (with 255/275 stagger) on my OEM 220s. Just ordered them today from Tire Rack, $1272 + shipping.

I'm not in the mountains all the time, so I'm not concerned about staying on the skinny side for snow traction. If I was, I'd stick with a 235/255 stagger.
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      09-19-2012, 06:48 PM   #6
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I prefer 18 winters, since the roads around here in the winter can get pretty rugged. The 18s soak up the bumps a bit better and lessen the possibility of damage to the rims.
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      09-19-2012, 08:17 PM   #7
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go narrow and 18's
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      09-19-2012, 09:10 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Foodle View Post
I prefer 18 winters, since the roads around here in the winter can get pretty rugged. The 18s soak up the bumps a bit better and lessen the possibility of damage to the rims.
^^This.

The real benefit of 18's are that you have more rubber to absorb potholes. It really depends on how well your local roads are maintained. Winter brings snow, rain and slush and lots of potholes that majority of the times are hidden to the naked eye until you actually hit one.

So many times I'm driving down the road and I see a conspicuous puddle of water that's actually a deep pothole but because of the water gathered in it you simply can't tell. 18" rims give you a little more cushion to absorb them. When you hit a nasty pothole - and it's happened to all of us - something has to give, it's either tire, rim or worst your suspension.

So consider the road conditions in your area as the deciding factor. But if looks are more important to you then go with 19s.
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      09-19-2012, 09:27 PM   #9
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I am going with narrow 18's for ride quality and to protect the suspension.

Incidentally, if anybody has a set of 18" winter wheels please let me know via PM. Preferably OEM style 270 18x8 but open to others.
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      09-19-2012, 10:08 PM   #10
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I also have 18s with winter performance tires, works like a charm in Chicago for snow and potholes......including springtime.
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      09-19-2012, 11:35 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Transfer View Post
Only real differences are tire cost, tire availability, and comfort.
This is correct, no real difference in terms of traction between 18 and 19. There tend to be more tire options in 18s (especially aggressive ice/snow tires). Improvement in ride quality for 18s is also negligible (even on the bad roads around here.) Coming from a guy going into my 9th winter in an M3 on 18s...
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      09-20-2012, 11:43 AM   #12
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I think 18's are best for all of the reasons posted above but you can certainly get it done with 19's. I would have opted for the 18" OEM wheels and upgraded to an aftermarket 19" wheel for the summer personnally. But since you already have the 19's, you can use them for the winter if you desire. Another option would be to sell (or trade) the 19's you have and get some 18's. If I were to get snows today, I would either buy OEM 18's or 18 x 9.5 apex wheels. In both scenarios I would run 245/40 or 255/40 on all four wheels. When I used to live in MN I ran the OEM 18's with 245/40 & 265/40 snows. They worked well but I would lose traction in the rear if the snow was greater than 6". I don't know if a narrower tire would have helped me or not. I was pushing a ton of snow which leads me to believe that I would have been screwed no matter what. The other thing to remember with narrower tires is you often have less rim protection - tire could be stretched more or lower side-wall height. I would not be interested in running 235/40's on my car for that reason. That is not a very tall side-wall. I hope this helps!
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      09-24-2012, 04:02 PM   #13
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18" wheels tend to be preferred for winter use due to the cheaper cost of tires and usually lighter weight for the same width, and it also provides a nicer ride and more comfort in both snow and dry conditions with the taller sidewall.
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      11-21-2012, 08:44 AM   #14
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OP - curious with what you went with. I'm in the same situation - debating between getting 18" rims and new tires, or just using my 19s and throwing on some Blizzak LM60s for trips up to Mammoth.
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