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winter tires

Discussion in 'E46 (1999-2006)' started by Touring525i4dawgs, Nov 20, 2018.

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    Touring525i4dawgs '02 525it M sport

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    Glad awe are back online! so I am looking at winter tires and wheels. A few in my local chapter have suggested going with 16" wheels and tires for the winter. My car currently has 17" wheels. Trying to choose between Bridgestone WS 80' and Michelin X- Ice X13. Is going to a 16" something I should consider or is staying with the 17"the way to go? How much of a difference will the 16" be? Not looking for the handling I currently have with my Conti's. Want the best from a winter tire
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    steven s

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    I found the Blizzaks to be absolutely great in snow. Very squirmy on dry. I had to adjust my driving in the winter. Braking distance increased greatly. That said, later went with Vredestein. Not as good in snow, but a better compromise. Snows were to get me home from work, not to work. :)

    I think I had 15" steel wheels on my E36. No advice on wheel size.
    Summer tires I prefer Bridgestone or Michelin.

    When I switched from Conti to Bridgestone on our Mini, Night and Day. :)
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    MGarrison

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    If you're looking for optimizing your chances of not getting stuck in snow, you want narrower width & higher sidewall. I've never opted for blizzaks but most seem to say they're the shiznit for snow and particularly ice traction. Snow tires, the name of the game is longitudinal grip as opposed to lateral grip for summer/dry/maximum cornering grip. A wide fat tire that makes for great handling also has that much snow to push out of the way, so, if you decrease the width, you're changing the shape of your contact patch, biasing it towards squarer, or a longitudinally-oriented rectangle, vs. the max handling laterally-oriented rectangle. To get around in winter with my E30 or E34, I always went with something a bit narrower than the stock width, knowing that I'd be sacrificing some of what I'd have in the dry & would need to adjust my driving accordingly. Using like 165/75 or 80 aspect ratio -14's, the additional sidewall width added some clearance for the lowered E30 (stock size was 195/65-14). Add-in the limited slip and mechanical grip from the snow tire tread compound and maybe I'd be sliding around some but I wouldn't be getting stuck. Here in SW Ohio w/ typically at best maybe a few heavy snow storms in a winter and enough schedule flexibility I could sit out the occasional iciest times, I never felt I really needed the extra grip of the blizzaks along with their trade-off of that excellent compound being gone when 1/2 worn and then being on a conventional snow tire compound.

    Michelin snows have worked well-enough for me, so, no complaints there. I think it could be argued in a straight-line, startup to get traction and get rolling in slippery conditions might be aided by a more flexible sidewall, which was why I liked a slightly taller sidewall, plus a wee tad additional ground clearance, which can be helpful in a car when negotiating heavier amounts of snow. If you don't have a limited slip, you're gonna be spinning a rear wheel in low traction conditions, & lacking that really hampers rwd-only BMW's from not struggling on snowy/slick roads. A few times in years past one of my neighbors with a 'vert BMW on all seasons and no lsd, I've watched him basically crabbing down our street half-sideways counter-steering to keep from coming around and the one rear wheel spinning like mad spitting snow off the back wheel like a snowblower (my street has a fair amount of side slope for rain drainage). Traction control can only do so much, it's certainly a compromise to what a lsd & snow tires can deliver. If the weather conditions you face can be extreme & you need to maximize your ability to keep going, Blizzaks may be your best choice, you just have to be aware once they're 1/2 worn, it's the same as being on 1/2 worn regular snows, and you may get to that point a lot sooner compared to regular snows since the grippy 1st-half of the tread compound is soft, therefore sticky, and also therefore wears faster. If you really need to prioritize winter performance, the wear & increased-replacement-frequency may be acceptable or even necessary trade-offs. The narrower-taller option may mean a wheel/tire combo with overall diameter larger than stock - you don't want to go too overboard in that regard, you have to keep fender-clearance in mind for turning, although I've never found that to be a problem with snows. Other issue is brake clearance - if you have an M-pkg and possible larger brakes, you may want to confirm smaller diameter wheels clear your brake calipers.
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    Touring525i4dawgs '02 525it M sport

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    Thanks for your insight as always. I guess my biggest decision is whether to go with the Blizzaks or the Michelins. I was initially going with Bridgestones after viewing the Tire Rack test. Seems like the 16's might be the way to go. Mine is a stock E 46 325 Ci so no brake issues there. Maybe in the coming year an lsd might be a good upgrade for summer and winter conditions
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    Touring525i4dawgs '02 525it M sport

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    So my mechanic just purchased a 2004 325xi. He has done a lot of work on it. He is looking for $3200.00 for the car. Any thoughts?
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    MGarrison

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    I dunno, are you thinking winter beater? If it has a limited-slip diff, with snow tires, it's winter go-limitation would be clearance, but that would probably be the kind of storm better to not be out in anyway, if possible. Ice storms, doesn't matter what you're in, better to be avoided. But, additional maintenance with front halfshafts, transfer case, etc. As for price, condition/mileage dependent whether it's a deal or not.
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    Touring525i4dawgs '02 525it M sport

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    Thanks for the input. I have not driven it yet. But exterior looks good
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    131958

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    2006 BMW 330i - I purchased a set of BMW Style 157 wheels with Hankook Winter I*Cept tires 225-45-17. The vehicle would climb any hill in Pittsburgh PA w/o the hint of a slip or spin.
    Touring525i4dawgs likes this.

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