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Discussion Starter #1
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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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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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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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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Discussion Starter #7
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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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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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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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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The performance of winters and all seasons falls off the proverbial cliff at 5mm / 5/32ths.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
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.
Yes!!!! This is what I was looking for......
I don't care about how "pizza cutters" look on the Touareg when I'm in winter mode...... Even though I'm rocking 18" alloys in this mode, my Touareg looks "disgusting" compared to the OEM 20" wheels..... the overall side profile proportions are just off.....

That being said, and based on all the responses, I'm convinced that my used tires are indeed worn out too far, and this is why I'm floating and plowing....... I will still replace them with 235s after this season, as it just makes sense, from both a cost and a performance perspective..... and the bottom line is, I don't care if my pizza cutters will look funny to those behind me.....
function > looks
 

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Extra pepperoni on my pizza please! [And I agree - I like narrower winters too!]
 

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....the bottom line is, I don't care if my pizza cutters will look funny to those behind me.....
function > looks
They don’t look that bad....

 

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Really, when it comes down to it, no one in this entire world/the motoring public, gives a damn what anyones wheels and tires look like. NO one.

Run what you want, no matter what they look like. No one gives a shyt.
 

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LOL!
 

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Yes!!!! This is what I was looking for......
I don't care about how "pizza cutters" look on the Touareg when I'm in winter mode...... Even though I'm rocking 18" alloys in this mode, my Touareg looks "disgusting" compared to the OEM 20" wheels..... the overall side profile proportions are just off.....

That being said, and based on all the responses, I'm convinced that my used tires are indeed worn out too far, and this is why I'm floating and plowing....... I will still replace them with 235s after this season, as it just makes sense, from both a cost and a performance perspective..... and the bottom line is, I don't care if my pizza cutters will look funny to those behind me.....
function > looks
I run a series of winter and ice driving events, including a few dealer VIP events. The PO of my treg has brought it to my club's 4 day ice HPDE the Steamboat Center for Ice Driving Sciences track in Steamboat Colorado. It is a full ice road course for winter tire tests, not a lake, just 2 weeks ago was my 28th year. Here's my experience and thoughts on winter tires...

The stock size on the treg will yield the best results in a winter tire. 20mm width is less than tire manufacturer tolerances for a 255<>235 actual measured footprint. The 255/55 18 is a standard SUV tire across several marques. Winter tires tend to 'float' to keep the tread in contact with the snow/ice, so a taller profile will exacerbate that float. A narrower taller profile tire doesn't sound at all good to me. Get a good Blizzack or Hakka winter tire rated for the Treg, and run it in the bone stock 255/55 18 size. They are heavy beasts and running anything narrower or taller, will not yield better performance for 95% of real world winter driving.

In every driver skill-set test I have set up in winter driving exercises, the highest gain in control comes from the winter tire compound and tread. The rest of the variables are more dependent on baseline driver skillsets than any assumed physics. 18in wheel with 255/55 in a good winter tire is more than adequate for the treg. I claim switching from a 255 to a 235 tire can't be a 'gain' isolated for 99% of the drivers on them.

Cheers and my .02 arbitraged through the peso

Scott J
'07 treg v10tdi - Xena
'03 suburban 2500 - Thor
'94 FZJ80 Landcruiser - Sumo
 

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From these replies, it sounds like the wheel diameter that originally came with the vehicle can be changed without systems problems. I have a '17 with 21in wheels with stock tires and wanted to get 18in rims for winter tires. The dealership told me that changing the wheel size would cause me to get warnings and lights on the dash and I shouldn't do it. Seems like the outer diameter of the tire is all that matters. So all of you guys have changed wheel size - no problems with dash lights?
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Really, when it comes down to it, no one in this entire world/the motoring public, gives a damn what anyones wheels and tires look like. NO one.

Run what you want, no matter what they look like. No one gives a shyt.
Pffff..... tell that to all my nutswingers when I park HARD at one of the local coffee shops :wink2:
 

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Discussion Starter #20
From these replies, it sounds like the wheel diameter that originally came with the vehicle can be changed without systems problems. I have a '17 with 21in wheels with stock tires and wanted to get 18in rims for winter tires. The dealership told me that changing the wheel size would cause me to get warnings and lights on the dash and I shouldn't do it. Seems like the outer diameter of the tire is all that matters. So all of you guys have changed wheel size - no problems with dash lights?
There's a proper way to do it, and if you follow that, you'll end up very close to the original overall diameter.
You reduce the wheel diameter but you increase the side profile of the tire to end up with a similar overall diameter.

Here's a quick list of OEM sizes
 

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