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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-12-2010, 06:21 PM Thread Starter
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Winter Rims

Just wanted to pick everyone's brain for some winter tire and wheel combos. I coming into my first winter with my 2006 Mazda 6. I am currently using the factory 17inch rims and wheels. I was looking at going to a winter wheel and tire set and wanted to put on a smaller wheel. I was thinking about picking up a set of 16'x6.5 steelies and putting winter rubber on them. Would anyone have some advice on whether this is a good idea? I wanted to go as small as I could in regards to steel rims. From what I have found 16's appears to be as small as clearance will allow. Would I be able to go lower on wheel size?
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-12-2010, 08:11 PM
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check around. usually you can find aftermarket aluminum 16's for as cheap as a set of 16 inch steelies will cost you. and the lighter aluminum wheels are alot better in the winter for traction. for a tire size, id go with a 205/55/16. keep then skinny cause the wider they are, the more they will ride on top of the snow. when you want them to cut through the snow.


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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-12-2010, 09:31 PM Thread Starter
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thanks man,

i figured I would try to go as small as possible. I was even looking at 15's if possible. The smaller I can go the cheaper the rubber. I was looking on tire rack and they had "studdable" rubber snows. They seemed to be cheaper then the other snows. As long as they were not studded they should still be practical and still provide good grip. Has anyone had any experience with the "studdable" rubber? Here is a link to the tires.

General Altimax Arctic
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-12-2010, 10:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by p_one View Post
I was looking at going to a winter wheel and tire set and wanted to put on a smaller wheel. I was thinking about picking up a set of 16'x6.5 steelies and putting winter rubber on them. Would anyone have some advice on whether this is a good idea?
An excellent idea, and it's exactly what I did the first winter I had my '04. They're still being used now for my 2nd-gen.

Steelies work well, since they aren't very "open" between the hubs and the tires, it helps to keep the snow out and building up on the inside of your rims. Another suggestion is to look online or at the local shops/junkyards for used 16" wheels from a 6. 16" wheels from a Mazda3 and Mazda5 will also work.

As for tire size, OEM size is 205/60-16s, and IMO I'd stick with that size. 205s are indeed narrower, which helps the tires to "cut" through snow to gain traction, but the 60-series is also better, since a taller sidewall allows more tire flex, which aids in traction, but also gives a softer ride and smooths out the rough winter roads.

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Originally Posted by p_one View Post
Has anyone had any experience with the "studdable" rubber?
Studdable is an excellent tire for roads with very deep snow and icy conditions, but IMO they can get VERY loud on highways, and can also get very squirmy when cornering, so much that it may feel that your wheels are loosening off the hubs. They can also wear down very quickly.

IMO, I'd stick with the "studless" type. They offer excellent snow/ice traction, and are also well-mannered on dry days and handle well in corners. You'll also get another "good" season or two more treadwear-wise as well.


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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-13-2010, 07:17 AM
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a 15 inch wheel wont fit on your o6 because of your larger brakes. the 03-05 guys can depending on the wheel. but like i said, the 06+ got slightly larger brakes that will not clear a 15.


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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-13-2010, 04:00 PM Thread Starter
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An excellent idea, and it's exactly what I did the first winter I had my '04. They're still being used now for my 2nd-gen.

Steelies work well, since they aren't very "open" between the hubs and the tires, it helps to keep the snow out and building up on the inside of your rims. Another suggestion is to look online or at the local shops/junkyards for used 16" wheels from a 6. 16" wheels from a Mazda3 and Mazda5 will also work.

As for tire size, OEM size is 205/60-16s, and IMO I'd stick with that size. 205s are indeed narrower, which helps the tires to "cut" through snow to gain traction, but the 60-series is also better, since a taller sidewall allows more tire flex, which aids in traction, but also gives a softer ride and smooths out the rough winter roads.



Studdable is an excellent tire for roads with very deep snow and icy conditions, but IMO they can get VERY loud on highways, and can also get very squirmy when cornering, so much that it may feel that your wheels are loosening off the hubs. They can also wear down very quickly.

IMO, I'd stick with the "studless" type. They offer excellent snow/ice traction, and are also well-mannered on dry days and handle well in corners. You'll also get another "good" season or two more treadwear-wise as well.
On tirerack they are selling "Studdable" tires that do not actually have the studs inserted. They just have the small holes so you have the option of installing them. It looks like they would still work without the studs inserted. The only reason I was looking that route is the $80 per tire price tag. I do way to much highway driving to actually use the studs. Maybe if I decided to go ice racing they may be a good idea.
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-13-2010, 04:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by p_one View Post
On tirerack they are selling "Studdable" tires that do not actually have the studs inserted. They just have the small holes so you have the option of installing them. It looks like they would still work without the studs inserted. The only reason I was looking that route is the $80 per tire price tag. I do way to much highway driving to actually use the studs. Maybe if I decided to go ice racing they may be a good idea.
I totally and completely understand that they are also available without studs.

Having said that, I stand behind my previous post. Even without studs, I've found that those type of winter tires can get VERY loud on highway driving, and can still wear down much faster than the "studless" tires that Tirerack also sells.

IMO I'd spend the extra few $$$ and stick with the "studless" variety. For instance, my Altima has the Dunlop Graspic DS-3s, and it also goes through a LOT of badly-maintained backroads, with plenty of blowing and drifting snow at times if it's not already packed down by other traffic. They've never lost control or ended up stuck. In fact, they offer excellent snow/ice traction, and I'd trust them through any type of weather.

Again, just a suggestion...


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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-13-2010, 05:15 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mz6GreyGhost View Post
I totally and completely understand that they are also available without studs.

Having said that, I stand behind my previous post. Even without studs, I've found that those type of winter tires can get VERY loud on highway driving, and can still wear down much faster than the "studless" tires that Tirerack also sells.

IMO I'd spend the extra few $$$ and stick with the "studless" variety. For instance, my Altima has the Dunlop Graspic DS-3s, and it also goes through a LOT of badly-maintained backroads, with plenty of blowing and drifting snow at times if it's not already packed down by other traffic. They've never lost control or ended up stuck. In fact, they offer excellent snow/ice traction, and I'd trust them through any type of weather.

Again, just a suggestion...
Thanks for the advice, I just wanted to clearify my question. I will probably try to avoid the "studdable" tires. I am going to go with 16x6.5 steelies and some winter rubber for them. When going with 16's is there any combination of rubber that won't fit (rubbing)?
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-13-2010, 06:10 PM
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We just put on the General Tire Altimax Arctic 205x55R17 on the stock 6 rims General Altimax Arctic

The first snows have been over the last week or so and they have done fantastic! stops, accelerates, and handle great. especially for $99/each!
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-13-2010, 11:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by p_one View Post
Thanks for the advice, I just wanted to clearify my question. I will probably try to avoid the "studdable" tires. I am going to go with 16x6.5 steelies and some winter rubber for them. When going with 16's is there any combination of rubber that won't fit (rubbing)?
For sizes that WILL fit, check here. The OEM size would be the first size to aim for. The next two should be optional.

According to Tirerack, there's still plenty of the OEM size models left. I'm sure the local shops still have good stock as well.


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