Is it a good idea to buy separate rims for my winter snow tires?

Is it a good idea to buy separate rims for my winter snow tires?

Zach McclughenDec 1, '19

Is it a good idea to buy separate rims for my winter snow tires?

December 1, 2019 | First Class Wheels

Now that winter is just around the corner, and already at the foot of doorsteps for many, purchasing winter snow tires may or may not be at the top of your to do list this winter season. Whether it is or isn't, it's important to keep in mind that there are many advantages for getting a set of winter snow tires. We also recommend putting your winter snow tires on a separate set of steel rims.

While your all-season tires are great for gripping the road in the warmer seasons, these tires will not offer you the same traction once the weather turns cold, providing little to no cold-weather traction, especially in freezing temperatures.

Your first question may be, Why should I even consider buying winter snow tires? Short answer, Safety. Winter tires are designed and proven to shorten your stopping distance on roads with slippery road conditions such as roads covered with snow and ice. While your all-season tires are great for gripping the road in the warmer months, winter snow tires will not offer you the same traction once the weather turns cold, providing little to no cold-weather traction, especially in freezing temperatures. A good set of winter snow tires will deliver improvements in safety and control in snow, rain, ice, slush, and other freezing cold weather conditions.


Photo by Fernanda Publio from Burst

The reason they can offer better control in these types of conditions is because the rubber designed for winter snow tires will remain flexible even as temperatures drop to below freezing temperatures. Increased flexibility in these cold temperatures allows the material to conform to the road for improved handling. The tread patterns on winter snow tires have wider grooves that will enhance traction on snow and help cut through water and slush, improving grip and providing greater control on the road, helping you navigate treacherous road conditions and handle any unexpected stops.

Now that I have winter snow tires, should I install them on a separate set of rims?


Photo by Cameron Shull from Burst

Short answer, Yes. There are a number of advantages for winter tires having their own set of rims:

1. The rims (steel or alloy) for your all-season tires get to spend the cold, winter season inside. For many of us, the rims that we own for our all-season tires are typically the nicest set of rims that we own. Exposing these nicer set of rims to the winter road conditions risks rust and corrosion caused by snow and road salt.

2. Changing tires on the same set of rims risks extra wear and tear to your rims and tires. Having your all-season tires mounted and dismounted multiple times per year puts additional strain on the tires, risking damage to the rubber which can lead to leaks. Also, additional expenses can be incurred by changing tires on the same set of rims, further risking degradation to your current all-season tires. Doing so may force you to purchase new all-season tires sooner than expected. Purchasing a new set of rims for your winter snow tires may save you money because it is significantly less work, and therefore less expensive for your mechanic to install your winter snow tires.

3. Storage. Keeping intact your all-season tire rim package is more efficient than storing your rims and tires separately.

4. Down-sizing. Another way a separate set of rims can save you money is by down-sizing to a smaller rim. Most steel rims that come compatible with your vehicle will be smaller in diameter than your current alloy rims. Smaller steel rims could mean smaller, and a potentially cheaper set of winter snow tires. Small tires also means increased thickness of the tire itself which can allow for deeper threads and tread pattens as discussed above, which will provide greater control and stability in snowy conditions.

Photo by Ilana Beer from Burst

The only possible disadvantage to getting a separate set of rims is the initial up front cost. Initially, it will be more expensive purchasing four new tires and four new rims as opposed to just purchasing four new tires for the same set of rims. However, the risk of incurring the additional costs discussed above should be weighed-in before making your decision.

At a minimum, for your safety, we recommend purchasing a new set of winter snow tires for the winter season. However, we also recommend pairing you new set of winter snow tires with a new set of steel rims because of the advantages discussed above.

With over 500+ steel wheel SKUs and thousands of compatible year/make/model fitments, FCW can help you find and pair a set of steel rims for your winter snow tires. If we don’t have it, we’ll be able to find it and get what you need. To get your winter season started off right, use code SNOW2019 at our website checkout to get 10% off a new set of steel rims. Valid thru Jan. 8, 2019.

Call us at 217-530-4314 or email our sales or support staff if you need help finding a particular set of rims or if you have any questions.

Established in 2018, First Class Wheels strives to provide its customers with the highest quality steel and aluminum rims, and auto parts in the marketplace. Visit our website, or head over to our eBay and Amazon stores to see our full selection.

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