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Discussion Starter #1
Hello all,

I've used wheel-size.com to find out the various wheel sizes that fit a touareg:
https://www.wheel-size.com/size/volkswagen/touareg/2012/

Here they recommend using either th 17" or 18" wheel size as the tires will be skinnier and taller which is better for plowing through snow. I live in Toronto, and am currently debating if I really need this benefit. It does snow a bit (3-4 snow storms in a winter season), but I'm really interested in slapping on 20" wheels with winter tires.

My question to you all, are there people who have put on 20" winter tires (or bigger!) and what is your experience? Have you had 18" wheels with winter tires before, and what difference, if any have you experienced.

Some background as well, I also looked at the wheel sizes for cayennes on wheel-size.com, and the website has several recommendations for winter tires up to 21". What's the difference between the touareg and cayenne that a touareg should have 18" winter wheels.
 

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I have 2 sets of 20s, one with summer tires and one with winter tires. Both are stock size. The width is not ideal, nor is the low profile for snow driving. Traction is good, but the ride is harsh. They don't carve through the snow like a narrow tire would. My recommendation is to stick with 18's for winter tires. Go as narrow as possible. Swap them out as soon as it warms up. 20's look better, but ultimately it comes down to safety, comfort and performance.
 

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I used 18" winter tires, I can plow out my own lane in 10 inch deep snow. they are great. I never used 20" snow tires on Touareg so I can't compare. But I do know the best thing about 18" compared to 20" is they are cheap. For regions that see snow and salt, winter tires and wheels experience the most extreme conditions, physically and chemically. If you are not trying to match your existing wheels, go for 18", I would just buy the cheapest things from mass market brands, ex. Sports Edition wheels and narrow&tall Bridgestones Blizzaks. They won't offer you the best high speed performance but you also won't feel bad if they are damaged.

what year and model do you have? 17" might be cheaper but might not fit all, for one, Hybrids use 360mm front rotors with 6-piston calipers, minimum they can fit is 18". There are also some variations in T1 and T2.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I have 2 sets of 20s, one with summer tires and one with winter tires. Both are stock size. The width is not ideal, nor is the low profile for snow driving. Traction is good, but the ride is harsh. They don't carve through the snow like a narrow tire would. My recommendation is to stick with 18's for winter tires. Go as narrow as possible. Swap them out as soon as it warms up. 20's look better, but ultimately it comes down to safety, comfort and performance.
Have you driven with 18" winter tires on your car before trying the 20" winters? If so, did you feel a difference?

When you mention that the ride is harsh, is that in winter city conditions? I have a 2012 touareg, but mostly will be driving the city (close to a lake, so not too much snowfall). My biggest concern is road ice, and I've rationalized that thicker tires would escape better from a icy road condition. However, thinner tires are better for driving through 10" of snow, which I know I'll never really drive my touareg through that.

I'm using pmctire.com to buy my wheels and tires, and the price difference between 18" and 20" is not that crazy (~$200-300 difference per set)
 

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I have only had the 20s on my Touareg, but I've always gone an inch or 2 smaller in rim size on other vehicles. The main issue for me is the harsh ride over icy, rutted roads like we get here in Winnipeg. Even the 275mm wide tires will get me through most of the snow I need to, but the 40 series profile (on my T2) is just not enough rubber. For both my T2 and T3, the snow tires came with the car in the stock 20" size.

We also get massive potholes in the spring. The extra rubber may mean preventing a cracked rim or a broken suspension component.
 

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I run 275/40-19 Conti DWS, and 265/65-17s Toyo Open Country A/T IIs. And, I’ve used both for a full winter season + in the northeastern states. Both were very impressive in the colder months. The Conti wasn’t all that great before the roads were plowed. But, they did the trick, and never left me hangin’.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk Pro
 

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We have 255-55-19 Hakka R2 SUV winter tires and 265-65-17 Cooper Discover AT3 for the rest of the year.

No deep snow or wet traction issues at all with the larger winter tire.
 

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For another data point I ran the following:

T2:
winter - 275/40R20 Michelin Alpin Latitude (came used with the car)
summer - 275/40R20 Pirelli Scorpion (came used with the car)
summer - 275/40R20 Hankook Ventus ST RH06 (bought new)

T3:
winter - 275/45R20 Michelin Alpin Latitude (came brand new with the car but have yet to try)
summer - 275/45R20 Yokohama Parada (came used with the car)

I am not impressed with the Michelin winter tires, but they came used with my T2 and brand new with my T3. And they are better than "all-season". But once they get down about half way, they lose about 75% of their traction.

Nokian makes the best winter tires hands down. If you can get them, they are worth every penny!

Obviously the extra 5% sidewall profile on the T3 tires will make for a less harsh ride.
 

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I ran 2 sets of 17's on my T2 summer and winter - 255/60/17 - summers were Nokian WRG2 SUV and Winters were a set of Blizzaks. 17's were way squishy for summer - too much sidewall.

On my T3, I run 20's in the summer (275/45/20 Conti Extreme Contact DWS) and 18's in the Winter (255/55/18 Nokian Hakka R2 SUV).
20's are just too wide for deeper snow and slush - they want to ride up over the top instead of cutting down in and gripping the road. You can feel the difference.
The 18's definitely ride a little better over rougher roads / ice. More sidewall and softer rubber of the Hakka helps a lot.

My advice - I wouldn't run 20's in the winter. On top of what is listed above, 20's just cost more too. So less performance for more money. No thanks.

For my winter set up, I grabbed a set of 18" Tacora's from a guy here on CT (bobby) and had them powder coated black. It's a nice break from the 20" silver Pikes Peak rims for summer.

Good luck!
 

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Hello all,

I've used wheel-size.com to find out the various wheel sizes that fit a touareg:
https://www.wheel-size.com/size/volkswagen/touareg/2012/

Here they recommend using either th 17" or 18" wheel size as the tires will be skinnier and taller which is better for plowing through snow. I live in Toronto, and am currently debating if I really need this benefit. It does snow a bit (3-4 snow storms in a winter season), but I'm really interested in slapping on 20" wheels with winter tires.

My question to you all, are there people who have put on 20" winter tires (or bigger!) and what is your experience? Have you had 18" wheels with winter tires before, and what difference, if any have you experienced.

Some background as well, I also looked at the wheel sizes for cayennes on wheel-size.com, and the website has several recommendations for winter tires up to 21". What's the difference between the touareg and cayenne that a touareg should have 18" winter wheels.
I agree, use 17 or 18. On 17" I use 245/70/17, I live in Flagstaff, one of the coldest spots in the US and surprisingly a good amount of snow. 200++ a year. You want skinner and you want some sidewall. You also want to be able to lower the PSI in heavy snow for more traction. A higher sidewall also gives you more traction than low sidewall larger tire with wide patch. Again not good for snow or anything else. Not even really good for performance on dry tarmac!

20"+ is not a great size for snow. It's wide and has no sidewall. So basically it makes your Touareg into a nazi sled. 20"+ is just bling, no more. Not really that functional.

on 18" stick to around same specs as the 17" above.

I have very good performance with the 17" tires above.
 

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I disagree. A 20", low profile, decent winter tire will perform extremely well on ice, hard packed snow, and snow up to a few inches on a Touareg, easily. The OP specifically mentioned there was not much snow to deal with.

I was skeptical when I first bought my T2, and it came with 275/40r20 snow tires. I was going to sell them but was pleasantly surprised. Over 10" was not great though. But nobody could keep up with me. Until the crappy Michelin's wore down part way.

Bling? Yes. But the roads are dry more often than not so the low profile tire has good handling characteristics. For my needs they work. And I already had the wheels - tires were free.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Great responses everyone. I've done some more research into this and found a nice youtube video outlining some key points:

Summary:
Narrow winter Tires are better than Wide tires because of better snow grip, and less chance of aqua planing.
Wide winter tires are better then narrow tires because of worst traction performance in wet conditions and less effective braking.

Aside from anecdotal evidence, any actual testing or studies done to directly compare narrower vs wide winter tires can not be found online.

Living in Toronto while travelling up north and to Quebec really makes me critique the recommended winter tire size.

As 18" would have dimension of 255/55R18 and the 20" that I would like are 275/45R20, would the extra 20 mm in tire width really affect the driving capability of the touareg. No studies directly compared this, and now I'm trying to rationalize this. Price is not a concern and I just to make a rational decision on looks and functionality.

If anyone has found any studies (doesn't have to be with a touareg) about the tire width for winter tires, please let me know.

Thanks in advance
 

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I think it comes down to this: if you want 20" rims/tires for the looks, and you buy good quality winter tires in said size, you will be far and ahead of where you'd be with supposed "all season" tires. The difference between 275/45R20 and 255/55R18 will be negligible in the grand scheme of things. Unless of course you're a professional rally driver unleashed on the streets of Ontario and Quebec. I doubt anyone would really notice much difference in performance.

Forget all the drama in trying to determine the best size of tire, and spend your effort finding the best tire for your needs. That being said, I recommend Nokian Hakkapeliitta winter tires as the best you can buy, price not withstanding. Looking at the recent weather, I would say the proverbial clock is ticking...
 

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BTW: this is what is used on WRC cars racing in winter conditions. Note how narrow they are, like 185-205 narrow. Oh, and spiked!!!!
 

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Alternatively, you could always run these:
 

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Narrower winter tires do better on unplowed roads, especially in road conditions which have "tracks" from other vehicles left behind from previous cars. Wider tires don't fit into the "tracks" so your grip is concentrated on the tire edges where the tires have contact. The wider tires will also wander in and out of those tracks/grooves. I have the Pirelli Winters on both our Touareg which are 255/55-18 and my Cayenne which have the 295/35-21. Both grip the same in rain/packed snow/ice. But when going up the mountains before the plows I am constantly correcting to keep the Cayenne pointed straight while its no problems in the Touareg.
 

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If I had to do 20", skinner the better. Narrow tires are considered to be better in snow because of ground pressure. The small contact patch means ground pressure is high, which means there's a greater chance the tire will break through the snow and end up on the road surface.

The size of the contact patch depends on width, diameter (larger tires can have a larger contact patch) and tire pressure (lower pressure=larger contact patch).

For some applications, large tires are used: vehicles meant to be used on deep snow will have very large (high and wide) tires with ground pressure low enough that the car will 'float' on the snow pack rather than sink into it.

But there are many variables involved including tire pressure, what kind of tires, actual winter tires or all season, etc. Narrow will beat anything else unless your trying to float over tons of snow, say in Antartica or something. ;)

Also smaller diameter wheels just work better in snow. They cut through much easier than a larger diameter and wider tire. Heck they work better on dry. Regardless 20" and the width of the 20" wheel at what 9.0" is pretty wide. You can only go so narrow. Snow tires are great these days so in normal conditions in snow, they will all do their job. I think it comes down to when you really need them, in emergency situations, such as HARD braking to making a swift turn to avoid a Moose! That's when you will see if the 20" will be as capable as a narrow 18 or 17" wheel.

20" works fine. I have used them on a CX-9 AWD we had before this. Worked fine for everyday use, even in deep snow. Helps that the CX-9 and touareg are heavy. That said my touareg with 17" tires, has way more control and can cut through snow to reach the tarmac. In hairy situations it has done better. I have had a Elk run out in front during a heavy snow storm and I had full control. NON-SNOW tires. Cooper AT3's. If I had snow, I can't imagine how well it would have done. That was heavy braking and heavy turning to avoid it. On dry roads, my 17" have more contact patch than a 20". I'd get a second set of wheels and do it right. So think about it.

Project Touareg GTD: Winter Tires for Winter Weather:
https://www.vwvortex.com/features/project-cars/project-touareg-gtd-winter-tires-winter-weather/
 

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As evident by all the options in previous replies there are a lot of good choices.


Our 11 Touareg has the 19" option and after we purchased 5 years ago I came across a set of T2 17" rims that I grabbed for winter tires, put a set of Cooper 235/65/17 snows on them and there has been nothing I have driven through in western NY winters that I felt any concerns driving through.


With the Coopers worn out I am seriously considering the Nokian WR SUV 3 winter tires https://www.nokiantyres.com/winter-tyres/nokian-wr-suv-3/ or the Toyo Celisus SUV winter tires https://www.toyotires.com/tire/pattern/crossover-tires-celsius-cuv in the 235/65/17 size for a hopefully quieter ride and improved handling over the Cooper's which really did well considering the taller sidewall. The Toyo is 108V/XL rated just like the OEM Michelin's.


I have gone through 12"+ of unplowed snow on Interstate in the morning on the way to the ski area and the narrower tire pays off in those conditions !
 
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