Another set of Alloys for Snows?

Am I better off keeping my “normal” run flat tires on the original alloy rims and cough up the extra money for another set of rims for snows? I know it makes the change out easier but I also have to deal with tire pressure monitors. Help me before I get stuck in a snow drift!

Well, there are two ways to go about it:

Buy a set of rims without the TPMS sensors, and either ignore the warning light, or put a piece of black tape over it, for the snow season, and just check your tire pressures like you normally would.

Or, but another set of rims with the TPMS sensors, and have a tire shop program the car to know the sensors when your tires are changed over. This will be a slight bit more money to buy, and also a bit more every time you switch wheel sets, but you won’t see the light.


Thanks. Given that, do I maintain use of run-flats with snows or risk being spare-less?

I believe that means you need to buy five new wheels and five new winter tyres. I would skip the fancy Alloys for winter and use steel rims with some cheap WallyWord wheel covers. The steel wheels will cost less and be stronger than most alloy wheels.

With winter comes potholes and other road problems.

Brakes are such that steels don’t fit, or at least have yet to find steels that do

Sometimes out on car specific forums people find odd combo’s with steelies that work.

For example a few friends have found dirt cheap CRV 17" steel rims fit bolt pattern and clear brakes(large) on 2008+ Subaru STI’s which run 18" alloys normally.

I personally would use one of the stock wheels/tires as my spare. I’m not gonna pay an extra $300-400 for a tire that is in all likelihood never going to be used.

Most people drive on dry roads 96% of the time…Those who live in areas where the roads are snow-packed for half the year don’t drive cars like yours…Cars that come with no spare tire are simply unacceptable…

Cars that come with no spare tire are simply unacceptable…

What makes you say that?
There are quite a few cars on the market that have been sold that don’t have spare tires in them. Typically they are the higher end cars, most likely having staggered wheel and tire sizes from front to rear. How do you know which tire is going to go flat?

The car might be unacceptable to you, but that doesn’t mean that its unacceptable for the people who would actually buy those cars. That’s what roadside assistance is for. Come pick you up, and take you to the nearest tire shop.

People neglect their spare tires so often, that when the time finally does come for the tire to be put into use, they either don’t know how to change the tire, their spare tire is also flat, or the spare tire is badly dry-rotted and is unsafe to use.

How often do cars actually get flats, anyway?
My 4 year old Altima has yet to have a flat.
My 12 year old Boxster’s spare tire hasn’t made a single revolution on the open road.
My gf’s '01 PT Cruiser has yet to drop the spare tire down, and is covered in ancient dried mud.
Her 3 year old Crossfire doesn’t have a spare, and hasn’t needed one yet.

Now with more cars coming with VDC systems, its more and more important that the spare tire is the same size as the tires mounted on the car. This means a full size spare. So much trunk room is lost to a full size spare, that manufacturers are tossing the spare entirely, and just giving the owner a can of fix a flat, and a tire pump. Heck, they should give every car a tire pump, so that when the car finally does need to use that spare tire, the owner can actually inflate it.


Buying rims and getting a set of TPMS sensors can cost about $300 extra as well, just for the 4 of them. Tire rack has them for my Mazda for $328, but prices may vary on different vehicles.

I guess it depends on where you live. My wife picked up a sheet-metal screw 1 week after taking delivery on her brand new Passat. It was a very good thing that we had a spare (and that spare was a full-size spare). I have also had flats on just about every vehicle I have owned, so would never want a vehicle without a spare.

Run flats are problematic in that they are outrageously expensive and there is a limited number of choices for tires. Therefore they are not a good general purpose solution yet.