The Truth About Cars » winter tires http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Fri, 27 Mar 2015 11:00:40 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0.1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » winter tires http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com Piston Slap: A Primer on Wheel Offset and Backspacing http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/piston-slap-primer-wheel-offset-backspacing/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/piston-slap-primer-wheel-offset-backspacing/#comments Mon, 19 Jan 2015 13:26:07 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=984898   Long-time TTAC Commentator 86er writes: Hi Sajeev, Could Piston Slap furnish me with a be-all/end-all explanation about wheel offsets? The more I try to read up on it on the web, the more confused I get. I’m pretty clear that RWD (at least traditionally) went with the low-offset while the FWD revolution made high […]

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Yum. (photo courtesy: www.crownvic.net)

 

Long-time TTAC Commentator 86er writes:

Hi Sajeev,

Could Piston Slap furnish me with a be-all/end-all explanation about wheel offsets? The more I try to read up on it on the web, the more confused I get. I’m pretty clear that RWD (at least traditionally) went with the low-offset while the FWD revolution made high positive offsets the industry standard, at least in passenger cars.

A few years back, I had purchased a set of winter tires on rims for my trusty ol’ 92 Vic and later after research found out that the rims were medium-offset that went on a 4×4 Ranger of similar years. I’ve heard that putting on a different-offset wheel can hurt steering/suspension parts like ball joints, but I’ve never seen it in black-and-white, so to speak.

Sajeev answers:

Let’s cover the basics of both wheel offset and backspacing: offset is the location of the mounting hub in relation to the center of the wheel’s barrel.  This mounting hub goes to flat surface where car’s suspension holds the wheel (i.e. the hub on the spindle).

http://www.fastcar.co.uk/

Image Courtesy: www.fastcar.co.uk

 

A positive offset pushes the wheel’s hub away from center, closer to the outside of the car. Negative offset is the opposite: sucking the wheel’s hub closer to the inside of the car. Zero offset means it’s smack dab in the center.

I question if the traditional FWD/RWD offset difference still holds water.  While FWD wheels often have a more positive offset than their RWD counterparts, all (most?) modern vehicles have flat faced wheels (for aerodynamics and countless suspension needs?) stemming from a more positive offset wheel. Need proof? Look at your own platform: peep the redesigned front clip and the mandated wheel redesign of the 2003+ Crown Vic.

CrownVicFrontSusp05_06_edited

(photo courtesy: http://www.ridetech.com)

Oh wait, the Crown Vic barely changed at all from 1979 to 2011.  It was such an antiquated pile: must remember to toe the autojourno line, never speak of Panther Love! But I digress…

In theory you should keep a close-to-factory offset to optimize steering geometry and wheel bearing health.  In practice, it might not matter: especially for a set of winter tires. You probably can’t drive aggressive/fast enough to care.  Probably…

There’s also the matter of torque steer on FWD machines, mostly for those with unequal length half-shafts. But most modern vehicles use equal length shafts?  (Have at that, B&B!)

You also need to consider backspacing. This ensures the width and offset of wheel you chose will clear your body or suspension, especially on cars with strut suspensions.  Instead of my usual ramble, I think this video really nails it.

Click here to view the embedded video.

Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry…but be realistic, and use your make/model specific forums instead of TTAC for more timely advice.

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Piston Slap: Is The 2WD ‘Burb Ready for The Snow? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/12/piston-slap-is-the-2wd-burb-ready-for-the-snow/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/12/piston-slap-is-the-2wd-burb-ready-for-the-snow/#comments Mon, 09 Dec 2013 13:00:28 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=675570 Jay writes: Professor Mehta, I have some friends that are moving to Colorado from native South Florida. They’ve never lived in a 4 season climate let alone driven in snow. They own outright a 2007 2WD Suburban (80k miles) L33/LS1 FTW. The other car is an Acura TL he drives for work. Since I’m the […]

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Jay writes:

Professor Mehta,

I have some friends that are moving to Colorado from native South Florida. They’ve never lived in a 4 season climate let alone driven in snow. They own outright a 2007 2WD Suburban (80k miles) L33/LS1 FTW. The other car is an Acura TL he drives for work.

Since I’m the resident car guy, they’ve asked for advice. Should they trade the Suburban and get her a CPO X5 (her dream car)? Or buy an MDX, RX350 AWD?

My thought is they should keep the Suburban, at least for the first winter, and put a really nice set of Blizzaks on it. That way they can learn to drive in snow, and get a feel for what kind of vehicle would thrive in their new town (commute, traffic, snow etc).

After all, if it’s horrible, they can always mosey down to the dealer and trade out. It’s also my concern that AWD would be seen as a cure all and/or bring overconfidence on the road. I told them AWD doesn’t do squat with braking. Am I giving proper advice? What do you think?

Don’t let Sanjeev anywhere near this Piston Slap!

Sajeev answers:

When I was a wannabe-car designer in Detroit, a friend (rural Ohio native) explained why he almost never used four-wheel drive in his Blazer.  He liked the control of a RWD power train, eliminating understeer with tail wagging oversteer as needed. Because, as you mentioned, AWD can inspire overconfidence…and understeer into something unforgiving.

That said, Detroit did plow/salt the roads when needed. And when it really, really snowed, you didn’t want to go outside until the plow could keep up. Such is metropolitan city life: there’s a chance your friends don’t need a 4×4/AWD SUV…unless they live on a real steep hill. Or they live in a suburb with less frequent plowing. Or…

Take it from me: your advice only goes so far with others (especially when that advice is horrible – Sanjeev) so if they either want OR need an AWD vehicle, they should test drive the X5 and some others, and let them buy whatever they want.

See if they’ll put Blizzaks (or similar) on the ‘burb, because it’s the smart use of their money.  That might be enough to make them believers.

Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry…but be realistic, and use your make/model specific forums instead of TTAC for more timely advice.

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Piston Slap: An “Occasional Jaunt” on…Winter Tires? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/03/piston-slap-an-occasional-jaunt-onwinter-tires/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/03/piston-slap-an-occasional-jaunt-onwinter-tires/#comments Mon, 19 Mar 2012 11:23:47 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=435419   Anonymous writes: Sajeev, Recently I picked up a set of Bridgestone Blizzak WS60 winter tires for my 2006 Mitsubishi Evolution IX GSR (lightly modded at approximately 350 whp/320 wtq) and unfortunately I was unable to get a “V” speed rating in winter tires as they only came in “H”. http://www.bridgestonetire.com/productdetails/TireSubBrand/Blizzak_LM-60 How dead-set are those […]

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Anonymous writes:

Sajeev,

Recently I picked up a set of Bridgestone Blizzak WS60 winter tires for my 2006 Mitsubishi Evolution IX GSR (lightly modded at approximately 350 whp/320 wtq) and unfortunately I was unable to get a “V” speed rating in winter tires as they only came in “H”.

http://www.bridgestonetire.com/productdetails/TireSubBrand/Blizzak_LM-60

How dead-set are those tire ratings?  I wonder because there was an “incident” involving myself, another Evo and a BMW 135i which included speeds in excess of the 130mph speed rating (surface conditions were dry, closed road, no spectators).  Would an occasional jaunt above the speed rating of the tire cause long-term damage to the tire, or would it take a constant load to delaminate from the rim?

Thank you in advance for your time.

Sajeev answers:

Being an H-town boy who only enjoys visiting cold climates for business or vacation gives me pause on my answer.  And while there’s street racing aplenty over here, we don’t try to find ourselves in jail on the wings of flying winter tires.  So with that in mind…

Your question has too many conditionals and vague language (for good reason, I assume) to give a solid answer.  As such, here’s a crappy answer: a tire’s performance deteriorates over time, as rubber naturally hardens, stress cracks, etc.  A 1-2 year old tire might be fine running up to its speed rating, in theory. Temperature also comes into play: if you live in 100+ degree weather and want to drive triple digits for sustained periods, your tires will go much sooner than someone doing the same at 60 degrees.

Duration is a big concern, as you mentioned.  There’s a good chance you can run Blizzaks at or above their speed rating for less than a minute with no problem. If you ran it for 10 minutes or longer?  That “good chance” turns into a “not bloody likely” in my opinion. This notion is described in far better detail on the eng-tips.com forum.

Perhaps it goes without saying, but this behavior is pretty stupid.  And since many of us are guilty of this automotive sin, we shouldn’t be proud of doing it…even if damn near everyone with a lead foot and a 250+ hp vehicle has tried it at some point in their lives.  I’m not here to judge, just to speak my mind. Best of luck.

Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com . Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry.

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Piston Slap: Extra Rims for a Simplier Life? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/06/piston-slap-extra-rims-for-a-simplier-life/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/06/piston-slap-extra-rims-for-a-simplier-life/#comments Mon, 06 Jun 2011 08:56:28 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=397513 TTAC Commentator talkstoanimals writes: Sajeev, Much to my dismay, in less than a year my job will move from downtown Washington, DC to suburban Maryland. This means I will be forced to drive to work every day rather than being able to rely on the Metro system for the work commute. Currently, my main ride […]

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TTAC Commentator talkstoanimals writes:

Sajeev,

Much to my dismay, in less than a year my job will move from downtown Washington, DC to suburban Maryland. This means I will be forced to drive to work every day rather than being able to rely on the Metro system for the work commute. Currently, my main ride is a 2011 BMW 135i with the M Sport package and some Dinan tweaks. However, since it does occasionally snow and sleet around here, and since I’m unwilling to sell the 135 or swap the summer treads for all season rubber (I regularly flog the car out in the twisties of VA/WV and prefer the feel of summers out there), I’m presented with a twist on the new or used question. Should I:

1. Invest in a set of winter tires, perhaps in a minus 1 size on dedicated wheels? This would require that I rent storage for the wheels/tires not in use or move out of my apartment to someplace with dirty item storage space. I could maybe beg a friend with a garage to loan me a dark corner, but it would make me feel guilty.

2. Buy some sort of cheap – $3500 to $5000ish – but reliable winter car? I wouldn’t mind having a second vehicle for hauling stuff around – maybe a small pickup or a wagon/SUV. Also, since most of my social life still revolves around downtown, I wouldn’t mind having something I could park on the street without a care whether it gets doored, dinged or scraped.

If the answer is two, what car or truck should I look for? The only caveat is that, after the fiasco with my 2010 lemon-lawed Mustang [can’t find the link to the Piston Slap on the issue], I won’t buy a FoMoCo product. (Sorry, Sajeev. But Ford ticked me off so much in negotiations over the Mustang that I refuse to give them my money anymore, even in used car form. I don’t want them making a nickel off of me on parts or anything else.) The ideal would be something small enough for city life, durable, utile and easy to insure.

Sajeev Answers:

I remember your quandary quite well.  Shocking as it may sound, who cares if you love or hate FoMoCo?  Not me! My shameless promotion of Panther Love is shallow, laser targeted in scope.  I never was a big fan of coloring outside the lines, if you know what I mean.

I feel bad that you had to Lemon Law your ride, but at least you learned plenty in the process. With any luck,  we can smooth things over with your current quandary.  I wouldn’t entertain the idea of a “winter beater” because I’d keep winter tires in just about any of my friend’s places. As I note the irony of buying winter stuff for Houston, think about the costs associated with multiple car ownership: insurance, wear/tear items and unexpected major repairs.  Of course, your BMW is probably under warranty, and you can often buy a $5000 sled that needs very little in upkeep. If you keep the miles down.  But that 5 large buys a lot of storage and plenty of social libations in the DC area.

More to the point, how long to you expect to live as you currently live?  From your last two rides and career info given here, you sound like a single guy who’s, um, living life to its fullest.  Which usually doesn’t last forever.  Especially with BMW’s rather awesome cost-value proposition after the warranty runs out.  I’d mark time by getting some winter rubber on spare wheels, and judging by what I see on Tirerack.com, the snow-friendly rubber is quite easy to get.

 

Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com . Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry.

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Ask The Best and Brightest: What’s Your Winter Tire Plan? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/09/ask-the-best-and-brightest-whats-your-winter-tire-plan/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/09/ask-the-best-and-brightest-whats-your-winter-tire-plan/#comments Tue, 28 Sep 2010 14:00:44 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=367042 To every tire —Turn, turn, turn There is a season — Turn, turn, turn And a wheel for every tire In your garage A time for max g — A time for low mu A time for low profile — A time for thick chine A time to enter turns sideways A time to refrain […]

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To every tire —Turn, turn, turn
There is a season — Turn, turn, turn
And a wheel for every tire
In your garage
A time for max g — A time for low mu
A time for low profile — A time for thick chine
A time to enter turns sideways
A time to refrain from entering turns sideways

I’ve had winter tires for at least one car in my mini-fleet for ten years now. I only really “need” them about ten days a year. For at least three months each year, however, they provide security, confidence, and personal travel flexibility that more than justify the expense. A quick check of my fellow Ohioans’ tread patterns shows that I’m in a clear minority, unfortunately. For those of you who aren’t blessed with a San Diego, Phoenix, or Miami ZIP Code… what are ya’ll doing to prepare for winter?

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