Snows - Is it ok not to do the minus-one thing? - Focus Fanatics
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Old 11-05-2012, 07:39 AM   #1
JonathanGennick
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Snows - Is it ok not to do the minus-one thing?

I'm looking at winter tires for my 2013 Focus SE. There's plenty of advice from different sources to size down. For example: Tire Rack recommends 195/65-15, whereas my stock size is 215/55-16. Question: Is it a big fail if I stay with the 215 size? I don't really want to buy a second set of rims and pressure-sensors this year. I am somewhat curious as to how the wider snow tires will perform, as I did in fact run 195s on my prior Focus. Thus, I'm tempted to take a shot at the 215s.

Is sizing down a big, huge deal, or is it just one of those nice-to-do things that really won't matter a whole lot in the big picture?


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Old 11-05-2012, 08:26 AM   #2
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You will be fine staying at the same size. Typically, skinnier width is preferred for winter, will cut through the snow better vs floating on top with wide wheels. People will down size to increase sidewall height, give you more padding to deal with poor road conditions, nice to do.

Do take into consideration if you go with just swapping tires that unmounting your tires will probably be $10 or so a corner and then you have to do that again in the spring and you do risk your bead getting messed up, chance of ruining a tire...so it may be cheaper in the long run but could end up just being wasted money in the long haul
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Old 11-05-2012, 08:43 AM   #3
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If you want to save on wheels and sensors, get a set of used wheels off a Taurus prior to the 2006 body style change. Get the TPMS off ebay. I scored a set on ebay for $80 shipped and found a set of wheels off a 2003 Taurus for next to nothing.
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Old 11-05-2012, 09:05 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rambleon84 View Post
Do take into consideration if you go with just swapping tires that unmounting your tires will probably be $10 or so a corner and then you have to do that again in the spring and you do risk your bead getting messed up, chance of ruining a tire...so it may be cheaper in the long run but could end up just being wasted money in the long haul
In the long run, I'm realizing it will be less expensive to have two sets of rims. On my current two cars, I've been paying to have the wheels swapped twice per year. Hadn't realized steel rims could be had for such a reasonable price. That was a revelation to me when I looked at the Tire Rack site on the weekend.

I only just bought the vehicle though, so am kind of wanting to hold the line on more expense, at least for this year, but snow tires where I live are as close to a necessity as one can get. They make a night-and-day difference. I won't not buy a set. I just wish I didn't need to outlay so much immediately after buying the vehicle.

I checked pricing again this morning. Blizzaks in the stock size are $40 per tire more than in the minus-one size. So that is something for me to think about. And the minus-one size is merely the size that goes on the Focus S model, so it is, in fact, one of the supported stock sizes.

Edit: If it were a bicycle, I'd buy both sizes and swap them back and forth. I like to experiment like that, but can't really afford it when it comes to cars.

Last edited by JonathanGennick; 11-05-2012 at 09:08 AM. Reason: Additional text
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Old 11-05-2012, 09:32 AM   #5
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I have 215/50/17s for winter on my Subi which is quite a drop from the stock 18"s but 215 really isn't that wide and you shouldn't have any issues with that size.
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Old 11-05-2012, 03:06 PM   #6
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I run 215 winter tires and I haven't had any problems getting through the snow at all. I prefer something a tad wider because I'm on the freeway quite a bit and I don't like how unstable skinny tires feel.
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Old 11-06-2012, 01:36 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joey D View Post
I run 215 winter tires and I haven't had any problems getting through the snow at all. I prefer something a tad wider because I'm on the freeway quite a bit and I don't like how unstable skinny tires feel.

The instability you're feeling probably has more to do with the softer tread compounds and tire siping than tread width. Taller sidewalls (especially one ply ones) will often add to the feeling. It's the price you pay for optimum snow and ice grip.
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Old 11-06-2012, 01:57 PM   #8
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I have personally always run 215s in winter, on both of my cars, and never had any concerns with that size.
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Old 11-06-2012, 02:18 PM   #9
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The way I usually explain it to customers calling in asking about down sizing is going down in wheel size does a few things.

1) The wheel/tire combo usually is just a little more expensive then the stock winter sizes would be, especially when you talk about having someone unmounting tires from your stock wheels twice a year.

2) A smaller wheel means more rubber between the road and the wheel (overall diameter stays about the same). This is great to soak up all those pot holes in the winter and not damage you stock wheels.

3) Narrow tires will be better for cutting through deep snow and get you a better footprint on the road instead of floating on top of the snow.
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Old 11-06-2012, 02:56 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JonathanGennick View Post
I checked pricing again this morning. Blizzaks in the stock size are $40 per tire more than in the minus-one size. So that is something for me to think about. And the minus-one size is merely the size that goes on the Focus S model, so it is, in fact, one of the supported stock sizes.
this is the truth. there is a big price drop from 16 -> 15" tires. u can afford the extra wheels (especially if you shop the for sale forums or your local Craiglist/classified)

15" tire + wheels = cost of 16" tires
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