Winter Tire Section Width Experience - 235 vs 255\265 - Club Touareg Forums
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post #1 of 26 Old 02-12-2019 Thread Starter
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Winter Tire Section Width Experience - 235 vs 255\265

Looking to hear what you peeps have experienced......
I currently run Winters in a 255 section width, which seems wide for me, but I got the package used so I didn't bother changing the tires. I'm finding that I float quite a bit, and that the Touareg understeers way too easy.
As I will probably be replacing these tires after this initial winter, I'm leaning towards going down to a 235 section width in order to improve things.

Are the majority of you peeps that run winters on the wider or narrower end of the spectrum, and how are you finding the handling?
My performance is also degraded by the fact that these tires are used, so they've already gone through a few seasons......
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post #2 of 26 Old 02-12-2019
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For my setup I'm running 255 width on 18" wheels. Nokian Nordman 7SUV's. No problems in the snow. No floating or understeer that I've noticed. Then again my tires were new when put on this past November.

Some people say go with the most narrow width section you can which is the 235.

IMO the difference is only ~.8" in width. Less than 1/2" on each side of the wheel. I would think the tread depth left on the tire would have a bigger impact on how either of the sizes act in the snow rather than the ~.8" width difference.


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post #3 of 26 Old 02-12-2019
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I have a new set of 19" Pirelli Winters that are 255 and have no problem in/on the snow.
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post #4 of 26 Old 02-12-2019
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235/65R17 is one of VW's published sizes for Touareg winter tyres - I use that size with no issues but virtually no snow in UK by comparison.

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post #5 of 26 Old 02-12-2019
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We have 255-55-19 nokian hakka's on 19x9 terra wheels.
100% happy with the traction and handling they offer in the snow, ice and cold temps.
I am not looking for sporty performance with winter or summer tires on the Touareg.

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post #6 of 26 Old 02-12-2019
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I run a 255/55R18 winter tire. I started with Nokian Hakkapeliitta 8's, replacing them with Hakkapeliitta 9's last week; the 8's and 9's were both studded. There is very little difference in the handling characteristics of the two tires.


This is my experience on snow and ice covered roads: The car understeers a bit in turns at city traffic speeds unless I am aggressive with the throttle, in which case I can dial in a bit of oversteer. At highway exit/entrance ramp speeds, it is about as neutral as they come. The bulk of my driving is on two lane highway. On gentle sweepers in the 65 - 75 mph range, the back end gets loose first every time. On dry roads, I can feel more tread squirm with the winter tires than my 265/50R19 summer tires, but that tends to go away as the tires wear in. Once they wear in, there is no noticeable difference in handling versus summer tires, at least at speeds that might resemble something legal on a public highway.


It would help if you defined the float and understeer that you describe. Is this on dry pavement, packed snow, powder, or slush? On dry roads, I suspect the 235mm wide tires will definitely increase "float" and understeer. On the other hand, if you experience a lot of deep slush or heavy but tamped down snow, the 235s would be a great way to go.
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post #7 of 26 Old 02-12-2019 Thread Starter
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Studded in any size will be offer massive traction in comparison.
We are discussing winter tires, so no dry conditions..... we are talking typical snow and slush covered roads, in urban areas. (1-2" max)

Definition of my float = the vehicle floats on the snow\slush and has reduced grip, due to both the wide footprint of the 255 section width and the worn out tread depth (based on some of the other responses, I suspect the worn out thread is the main contributor) I have only eyeballed these winters before I decided that they will be OK for this winter...... I'm starting to think that I should've actually taken a depth measurement since they might be lower than the typical, usable 6/32s, or may be very close to that......

Definition of my understeer = My steering wheel command says negotiate this turn at low speeds (10-15mph), but the Touareg plows on a "straighter" trajectory.

Regardless, my comprehension of physics tells me that I will have much better results with new, 235s "pizza cutters" VS these worn out 255s..... even though it seems most of you are running 255s that do perform well when they have sufficient tread depth. Obviously if you're running studded tires, then you don't know how real the struggle is
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post #8 of 26 Old 02-12-2019
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I'm running 255s. No trouble with brand new Conti winter contacts this year. The Goodyear Icegrips I had previous were under steering a good amount by the end if last season, but they were 5/32 at that point. Weight of the vehicle causes some of this, heavy engine up front on these.

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post #9 of 26 Old 02-12-2019
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I'm using Continental TerrainContact AT tires in 255/55/19 and have found no reason to go narrower. Drove through deep slush today and it was like it wasn't there. Tread depth and ability to pump water is important, so if you're breaking traction too easy, replace your tires. I've found 255 is a good compromise, but I won't argue someone felling more confident with 235.

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post #10 of 26 Old 02-12-2019
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I recently bought a set of 18 inch wheels that came with practically new 235-60/18 Michelin snow tires. My initial reaction was they looked a little narrow on my T2 but after driving in slush, ice and 2 feet of fresh snow, I am very impressed with the winter performance. Maybe it’s the fact that the narrower tires make better contact with the asphalt instead of riding up higher on the snow? I might stay with the 235 width tires when it is time for replacement. I have 20” mountain wheels with A/S tires for my non winter setup.

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