Smaller wheels a good idea for winter

Do you see any problems, such as speedometer calibration or transaxle damage? Other options to explore?

Q My 2006 Chev Impala SS has an 18-inch aluminium rim package, with Goodyear RS-A tires (P235/50R18).

I also have a set of new Yokohama Avid TRZ P225/60R16s on steel rims that I’d like to use for winter.

I trial-fitted this combination on the Impala and the clearances were fine.

The Yokos are slightly smaller in diameter — about half an inch. I’ve been told this size difference is acceptable.

Do you see any problems, such as speedometer calibration or transaxle damage? Other options to explore?

Nick Rimar, Welland

A Using 16-inch wheels on your Impala for winter is a good idea.

The Yokos are three-fifths of an inch smaller in diameter, which is a bit beyond current acceptable specs.

The wheels have to turn faster to achieve the same vehicle speed, so the transaxle gears are turning faster. But that should not be a big issue.

Depending on where the Chev’s “pickup point” is for the speedometer and odometer, you may get an error factor.

Again, not a big issue. You can calculate the error factor with a stopwatch over a measured distance.

The Yokohama TRZ all-season can be used in winter, but dedicated winter rubber would be much better and safer.

Also, the TRZ is not H rated (able to handle speeds up to 210 km/h) and therefore is not a good tire choice for your big, heavy Impala.

I’d trade in the TRZ for a set of Yokohama AVS winters, available in the same size as your TRZs.

The AVS is H-rated, so you’d get some of your car’s handling back.

However, if you want to avoid diameter problems, consider trading in your tires in for a set of winters in size P235/60R16.

This gives you the same spec diameter as OE (original equipment).

In this size, consider:

  • The Goodyear Ultragrip GW3, H- rated.
  • The Goodyear Ultragrip Ice, Q-rated (can handle speeds up to 160 km/h).
  • The Nokian WR, H-rated.All can handle Welland’s snow and ice.

    Q I may put winter tires on my 2004 Kia Sedona van. I realize the tread is softer and doesn’t last as long.

    If I drove to Florida this winter, would I have to reinstall my all-seasons?

    John Bromell, Barrie

    A You can use your winter tires for the trip. The tread won’t wear significantly.

    But check inflation pressures often.

    High temperatures and underinflated tires are a recipe for blowouts.

    Email tire questions to John Mahler at thetireguy_1

    Please include vehicle’s make, model and year, tire size, brand and your name, address and phone number.

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