Smaller Wheels for Winter?

When it comes to winter driving, narrower tires have an easier time plowing through snow. This is one of the reasons we recommend smaller aftermarket wheels for winter on most vehicles when shopping for a Winter / Snow Tire & Wheel Package. Another reason for downsizing is to protect your wheels from road hazards such as potholes and to provide a smoother ride.

When choosing to downsize with your aftermarket wheel purchase, you compensate for that by adjusting the tire size so the overall diameter is close to or equal to the diameter of the Original Equipment. This allows your speedometer and odometer to not be affected. When you have the same diameter tire, but a smaller diameter wheel, this gives the tire's sidewall more height, which helps absorb the impacts from the road and will help lessen the chance of flat tires and bent wheels.

All wheels we list for an application when shopping for a Winter / Snow Tire & Wheel Package are guaranteed to fit, so there's no worry about clearing the brake calipers unless specifically stated otherwise. It is important to always check the "Important Notes" section of a wheel's description to make sure there aren't any issues.

When choosing minus sized options, not only will deep snow traction be enhanced, but the cost of a minus sized Winter / Snow Tire & Wheel Package is usually lower than a package maintaining your vehicle's Original Equipment size. To learn more about choosing a tire and wheel combination different than that of your O.E. size, take a look at "Size Selection of Winter / Snow Tires."


Tuesday, November 29, 2016 by Blair Choate

I have a 2016 Nissan Pathfinder SL with 235/65R18 and want the best (safest) tires for rough Idaho/Montana winter roads... what can I size to? Thanks! Blair
Thursday, December 1, 2016 by Turk Turkleton

Hi Blair,

I recommend the Bridgestone Blizzak DM-V2 for your Pathfinder- those will keep you safe in the worst weather winter can throw at you!
Saturday, December 9, 2017 by Steve

2013 fx4x4 20in
What is the the rim and tire size I can go to
18 in 275 65 18
But is there a 17in ?
Wednesday, December 13, 2017 by Tire Rack Team

Steve: If that is a 2013 F150, in 17-inch you could use a 245/75R17 or a 255/70R17. Click here to see winter options:

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