- March 23, 2021
- Reaction score
- City, State
- Eau Claire WI
- Year, Model & Trim Level
- 1998 Explorer XLT4x4 SOHC
A few other considerations. Firstly, invest in snow tires. I have the Blizzaks and they are great. But there are loads of awesome winter tires out there.
Second, you havent specified model/trim level. If higher trim level (sport/premium/XLT) you may have tire pressure sensors. They are mounted inside the tires at the air valve. It is really easy for them to get wrecked when removing/installing tires. Most shops charge to replace if damaged. Even if it is their fault. One reason for a second set of rims.
Third. If you have the larger rims on your all seasons, for winters, you can go with a smaller rim diameter, use a higher aspect tire, same rolling diameter. Smaller rims are cheaper, as are that type of tire, especially if you have the larger performance rims. The latter require a stiffer sidewall tire as aspect ratio is smaller. When you downsize, you can also get a slightly narrower wheel/tire. The smaller contact patch puts more pressure per square inch on the road, increasing traction of the tire. TireRack website can show what you need. I got a set of winter spoked rims and tires for 1600 USD shipped. I will be on my 5th winter, likely the last on those tires. TR will also mount the tires and TPMS sensors and ship assembled. Mine shipped with a spacer that goes inside the axle to match the offsets. Try not to lose these.I also require a second set of bolts for the winter wheels. A bit of a pain, but managable.
As example, my factory 20" rims take a 255/50 R20 tire. I dropped down to an 18" rim for my winters (-2 sizing) and have 245/60R18 winter tires.
I live in Western Canada, we can get down to -40*C or worse in winter, and I drive through the Rockies almost every weekend. They can get a lot of snow. The passes I drive through can be some of the worst driving on the continent. It is mandatory to have winter tires from October 1 to April 30. Having driven through those same passes with all-weather and all - season tires in winter conditions, (short term rental cars) vs my winter tire setup, the difference is night and day. The physics of proper winter tire/wheel setup vs all season is compelling and real. You still need to moderate your driving for the conditions, but the safety factor is more than significant.
Welcome! Impressive - both the conditions you drive through, and the info given! Going to go with my 75/15/235 Goodyear Wrangler radial M+S tires for now as they're relatively new, haven't driven this vehicle in the snow yet! No mountains for me. I like the tall skinny tires for traction, drove a few RWD cars in the snow over the years..