Winter Wheel and Tire Packages

So you're thinking about a wheel and tire package for next winter, and you're looking for ideas. Starting early is one good idea. The worst time to buy winter wheel and tire packages is August-October, when the prices will be highest. Couple that with the expectation of continued tire price increases, and it's best to start thinking about these things, well, now. Here are some possibilities:

Heavy Winter Conditions:

Live up north? Heading out to the ski areas or the backcountry this winter? You'll need some serious no-nonsense grip.

The Skier

The Tire Rack, Inc.

Wheels: 16” Steel
Tires: Nokian Hakkapeliitta R
Never question whether you'll make it to the mountain on that snow day. Laugh at steep grades that have the tourists sliding hither and yon. Get first tracks before they've made it into the parking lot.

The Stormchaser

The Tire Rack, Inc.

Wheels: 16” Steel
Tires: Nokian Hakkapeliitta 7 Studded
For the very best in bad-weather confidence. Studded Hakka 7's on steel rims cut through snow and ice like a chainsaw. Gets you out into the backcountry in a blizzard without a hitch.

The Snowboarder

The Tire Rack, Inc

Wheels: OZ Alleggerita HLT Alloy
Tires: Continental ExtremeWinterContact
If you're more into “the look” but still want good snow grip, you can put some more money into wheels and a bit less into tires. The OZ Alleggerita comes in several colors, but I think the electric blue really pops up against most car colors. The Continental tires give good grip at an excellent price.

The Daily Driver:

Some packages designed to get you to work or around the city whether the plows have been out or not.

All Business

The Tire Rack, Inc.

Wheels: 16” Steel
Tires: Continental ExtremeWinterContact
For when you just need to get from place to place without spinning out or getting stuck. This is a simple, inexpensive and no-nonsense winter setup. Wheel covers are also an option to spruce up the look.


The Tire Rack, Inc

Wheels: 16” ASA AR1 Alloy
Tires: Michelin X-Ice Xi3
A much more stylish look, the machined lip sets off the deep black center of these ASA wheels. I always love this look at night, as the black center tends to disappear, leaving a luminous silver hoop that seems to hover in space.

The Sportster:

Run a muscle car or other high-performance car in the winter? Here are some wheels and tires for you.

Downshift Option

The Tire Rack, Inc

Wheels: Enkei WDM 17” Alloy
Tires: Continental ExtremeWinterContact
A less expensive option that still looks hot. Enkei makes some excellent wheels that are very tough for confident winter driving at decent prices.

Upshift Option

The Tire Rack, Inc

Wheels: BBS RG-F 17” Alloy
Tires: Michelin Pilot Alpin PA4
BBS makes some excellent wheels, but they do tend towards the expensive. For high performance cars, the Pilot Alpin PA4 is the logical choice.

Light Winters

If you live in an area where it gets cold but doesn't snow much, these are some good winter options that don't put you on too much snow tire for your needs.

Mostly Rain

The Tire Rack, Inc

Wheels: ASA GT-5 16” Alloy
Tires: Dunlop Graspic DS3
For milder winters, the Dunlop Graspics are exceptional high-performance cold-weather tires, but don't expect them to stand up to heavy snow.


The Tire Rack, Inc

Wheels: Kazera KZP 17” Alloy
Tires: Michelin Primacy MXV4 All Season
The Michelin Primacy, while not a snow tire, will perform better in marginal conditions like slush than the Graspic DS3. Kazeras are light and pretty tough, thus good for mild winter driving.


The Tire Rack, Inc

Wheels: Motegi Racing MR121 16” Alloy
Tires: Nokian WRG2 All-Weather
Motegi is a bit heavier alloy for somewhat better bite in the snow. Nokian's WRG2, or the upcoming WR D3, are the best choices for highly changeable winter conditions.


There you have it; some thoughts on what to do for packages next winter. Now go out and enjoy the summer driving season, but don't forget, because tire prices could go up on you before you know it!