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Snow tires

I have a 2009 Audi Q5 with 20" wheels and summer performance tires. I can’t get around in the snow very well with these tires. I wonder whether I should simply switch to all season tires or get dedicated snow tires. And if I get separate snow tires, should I get 20" snow tires or purchase dedicated rims and snow tires with a smaller wheel size (like 18"). Can somebody help me out here?

Maybe you could say something about where you live and how much snow you actually see. I’m in Virginia. Almost no one runs snow tires b/c the avg snowfall doesn’t warrant it. (Last winter was an exception).

You want a winter designated tire. All season tires are more suited for wet conditions and don’t perform well in the snow.

So what you could do is get a set of used wheels from a local auto recycler that fits the vehicle, and have a set of winter tires mounted to the wheels. Then it’s just a matter of swapping the tire/wheel combination at each season change.


It would depend on how cold it gets where you live. Canada does not allow for all season radials. They do not perform as well as snow tires in very low temps. All season radials will preform very well for most of the US. If you get a different diameter tire it will throw off you speedometer. If you can get snow tires to fit your rims it would be cheaper than buying new rims. That said swapping back to the “summer” tires would be easier and not cost you a dime when the snow left.

Thanks for the feedback. I live in western West Virginia. We had a particularly bad winter this past year, and I was really slipping around. I occasionally drive up to Columbus, Ohio, where they tend to have more snow, as well as some of the skiing areas in the eastern part of the state. If we have even half the snow this coming winter, I’m really going to need different tires. So that’s why I’m wonder whether to switch to all seasons or to get dedicated tires and/or rims. If I go with the latter, I don’t know whether to get 20" tires and switch them out with my summer tires, or to get an entire set of rims and smaller diameter tires with a higher profile.

All season tyres are really three season tyres and winter is not one of them. Get real Winter tyres.

You might want to consider getting a tyre that is a little less wide but the same diameter as the originals all weather tyres. I would recommend steel rims not alloy rims. The steel rims are less expensive and stronger than most if not all consumer grade alloy rims.

I’d go with a separate set of winter tires. On they have 18" tires plus a set of wheels (alloy only, no steel available) for about $1200. They’d let you handle winter with no problems.

I would get snow “winter” tires. Get them on their own rims so you just bolt up the wheels each seasonal change. You need to research what size rims and tires will fit in the wheel wells and not interfer with the brakes. If you can get away from 20" rims it should be less expensive for the rims and winter tires.

Thanks to everyone for the feedback. At this point I’m leaning towards getting dedicated tires and wheels with a smaller diameter and larger profile. I’ll have to check with my dealer and make sure my vehicle can accommodate the change. Thanks again!

Tirerack makes their living making sure what tire/wheel combinations work on which cars. I’ve used them with success.

Buy the smallest rim size winter tires and wheels that fit your vehicle. Go to and it is very cheap to have them mailed to your home or garage mounted/balanced. They simply bolt on. Smallest drops the price drastically on them and winter performance is better.

Snow tires are now called winter tires which excel in both snow, rain, and ice. Snow tires now and historically are loud tires that did well in deep snow but poorly in rain, ice, slush etc. are experts on knowing what fits and the affect on vehicle etc. Audi dealer is a mixed bag.

My wife has had no problem what-so-ever getting around wit All-Season tires on her Accords or now Lexus for the past 30 years…NEVER EVER got stuck…total mileage…well over 600k miles.

You really only NEED snow-tires in mountain regions that gets lots of snow…or places around the great lakes that get 2-3 hundred inches of lake effect snow. Any other place in the Continental US snow tires are NOT needed. They may be nice to have…but NOT NEEDED.

Or in places that get snow, but you wind up with lots of people who visit from other places during the snow season, who have no idea how to properly drive in the snow.

Here in Colorado, during the winter, we get A LOT of people who visit the mountain ski resorts from all sorts of places around the US that don’t get snow, so they are driving rental cars they don’t care about, that don’t even have decent all season tires on them, that then start tearing around town in the snow, like they are still in Los Angeles.

You have to protect yourself from the idiots out there, and good snow tires will give you an added extra amount of protection from the morons out there on occasion.

That extra 5 feet of stopping distance that winter tires can give you from 30 mph might be the difference between not having an accident, or having to call your insurance agent, and telling him you nailed the car in front of you last night.


People will visit Colorado during the winter…We get a lot of drivers from out of state here in NH, but only in the mountains…You don’t come to NH in and visit the Southern or Coast area in the winter.

I concur snow tires are not needed in most places. As they get you moving and that is it.

However Winter tires offer superior stopping and cornering traction on ice, snow, slush and cold pavement vs all-seasons. Majority of all-seasons feel like slicks at best compared to a decent winter tire.

They are not that expensive to buy and your summer wheels do not get worn while being used.

However Winter tires offer superior stopping and cornering traction on ice, snow, slush and cold pavement vs all-seasons. Majority of all-seasons feel like slicks at best compared to a decent winter tire.

Andrew and I have had a few discussions on this…While I agree that Winter tires MAY be better then all-season…I still say they are NOT needed. Never had a problem with all-season tires on a fwd vehicle EVER…And that includes driving all over NE…and upstate NY during the winter.

This video shows the advantages of winter tires over all season tires.


The Audi Q5 with 20" tires is essentially a rebadge of the high performance Porsche Cayenne SUV. It likely is running around with very low profile(40 or 45) ultra wide tires which are abysmal in winter conditions.

It is an unfortunate fact of modern vehicles going to larger, wider, and lower profile tires.

The size is also very limiting in all-season choices and likely winter capability. The only tires I know capable of winter in Ultra High Performance Size are Continental Extreme Contact DWS and Nokian WR G2’s.

The case is very strong to purchase a winter set of wheels/tires here. If Mike has any experience of these ultra high performance tires I would love to hear. I have and have been sorely disappointed.

Winter tires are better in snow, but I myself have done fine for many years with all-season radials. But a lot depends on where you live and how you use the car.

The tires on my wifes Lexus are low-profile tires. The original Bridgestone were fine…but only lasted about 30k miles. The new tires are Cooper CS4. EXCELLENT tire…Excellent performance on dry/wet or snow. The tires on the Accords were Michelin Redial-X. I never said that High-Performance tires were good in snow…I know of MANY high-performance tires that SUCK in snow…But every decent all-season tire we’ve ever owned worked FINE in snow (except in extreme snow).