Tag Archives: Winter wheels

Jaguar XF, a True British Classic

Jaguar XF

 

In recent years Jaguar cars have gone from laughing stock, to stock in trade. Sold worldwide and now with the reliability it so richly deserves.

With multiple performance models and even an all wheel drive version, there isn’t much wrong with this car. As such, it has a variety of wheel and tyre sizes, making the right choice of winter tyre a big task.

Well, the team at Winter Tyre Reviews have been looking at what you can get to keep those powerful rear wheels stuck firmly to the road.

From 17″ to 20″ and most likely bigger to come, there are so many combinations, with large rear tyres and smaller fronts, some models the same all round and everything in between.

So how has your XF performed during the winter months? Some owners have reported that it’s actually fine, whilst others have found it to be somewhat lively at the rear and winter driving near on impossible.

So what can you do and why should you do it?

There are two options open to you, and those are change your summer tyres for winters on the Jaguar wheels or opt for a winter wheels and tyres package.

If you decide to go for just tyres then in the 17″ and 18″ size, there are plenty of options and with fitting, it’s around £800 a set. A great option and you just rotate the tyres.

However, if you are running 19″ and 20″, then things start to become a little more difficult. There are limited supplies of tyres in these sizes and the manufactures now realise that changing wheels and tyres for a smaller size is the best way forward.

The reason for this is that having a narrower tyre in contact with the road makes for more grip, better steering and handling is improved. With the larger summer tyres, particularly those on the rear wheels, they struggle to maintain stability in ice, snow, slush and the wet conditions of winter.

If you can source tyres, then prices start at £1100 for 19″ and £1200 for 20″

Low profile summer tyres are great for dry warm days and they make the car feel as though its on rails, but in the winter, not so good.

The tread patterns on winter tyre are slightly wider making the evacuation of snow and water quick. In seven seconds, a winter tyre will disperse a bucket full which means the chances of aquaplaning a reduced.

The sipes cut into the tread can be up to a thousand or more against an average of 120 on summer tyres, further increasing grip and ensuring that progress is made under acceleration.

So what are the options? Well, if you run 19″ and 20″ then for winter you should ideally drop down to 17″ and 18″ respectively. This will put 235/55R17 and 245/45R18 tyres all round and for 17″ it is around £950 and 18″ £1200 a set.

But you also want a wheel that looks good, after all, you’re not going to put a steel wheel on just for winter, sets come with three options, and we think this one below from Alutec suit the XF perfectly.

Grip Graphite

 

If you would like any further information, then contact the guys at Tyremen on 08456 807808.

Have you already had winter tyres on your XF? Please leave a comment telling us which tyres you’ve used and how they performed or just leave a question.

Thanks for reading

The Winter Tyre Reviews Team

Land Rover Freelander, the best of the small SUV’s?

Freelander2-Snow-FooterWEB

In the last of our Land Rover vehicle posts, with our partner, Tyremen, we’re going to look at the baby of the family, the Freelander.

As with other posts, it’s full of Land Rover heritage, and the 4WD is second to none on a vehicle like this. So why does it need winter tyres?

A 4WD vehicle is great, lots of grip, go anywhere attitude and is perfect to keep your family safe. But, as some of you will already know, put it in a field with lots of mud or on a country winter road, and it will slide around on those summer tyres.

Why? The rubber compound on summer tyres isn’t flexible enough in colder weather, quite to opposite, it turns harder and won’t give as much grip, affects traction and acceleration and can seriously affect handling, more so if you’re towing a large trailer.

Winter tyres are designed with a more flexible rubber compound that moves and grips at 7C and below. Sipes in the tread patterns give great traction on snow, slush and icy roads and water is pushed out with the ability to clear a bucket full of water in a matter of seconds, reducing the risk of aquaplaning.

The Freelander comes in wheel sizes from 16″ to 20″, so there is a lot of winter tyres out there for most wheels. The 16″, 17″ and 18″ are perfect for a straight swap for tyres only and with a set of four starting around £520 it’s not an expensive option.

If you’re running on 19″ and 20″ wheels, this then becomes a little more difficult. Winter tyres are not made in as large quantities and can be difficult to come by, and starting at over £1000 for a set of four in the 20″ size, it starts to become a lot more expensive. Coupled with the £80 per time to have them changed over twice a year, then you’re into serious money.

So what are the options for the larger sizes? Most will opt for a wheel and tyre package and drop down an inch or two. We are firm believers in 19″ dropping to 17″ and 20″ to 18″ wheels for the simple reason that the less tread you put on the road, the better the qualities of the tyre.

Grip Graphite

Big, wide summer tyres struggle in the winter, they can’t cope with the cold. So unless you have big mud tyres fitted, then you should seriously look at winter tyres.

The packages come fitted with either the Vredestein Wintrac 4 Xtreme or the Quatrac 3 SUV tyres which are very popular in Europe and great tyres!

Have you fitted winter tyres to your Freelander? What are your thoughts on winter tyres for 4X4 and SUV’s? Let us know below.

Want more help or advice? Call the friendly team at Tyremen on 08456 807808

Do you have a comment or review? Let us know below!

Thanks

The Winter Tyre Reviews Team

 

 

Range Rover, Big, 4WD, Luxury, Winter Tyres?

Range Rover Snow

 

The Range Rover, the vehicle that started the luxury 4WD market. With our partner, Tyremen, we discuss just why it needs winter tyres.

New to the market in 1970, it was the first luxury off-roader and has led the way ever since, the car all the others want to be like.

Comes with the superb Land Rover 4X4 system, so why are we even talking about winter tyres? Surely, it can go anywhere, anytime and just laughs at other 4X4’s?

Well, in the old days, yes, it came with big chunky off road tyres, perfect for that shooting trip, or taking a couple of hay bales into fields. But now, well, it’s more refined, more day to day usable, more, dare we say, Chelsea tractor? But we love it, it’s what a luxury 4X4 should be!

So this is why we are talking about winter tyres, low profile summer tyres just don’t do a Range Rover any justice in winter conditions.

With original wheels sizes between 19″ and 22″ these huge tyres are great in the warmer months, but, they struggle to be flexible and give enough grip when it gets cold. So what are the options?

You can change the existing summer tyres for winters, have them fitted to the very nice Range Rover wheels and store the summer tyres. There are a couple if issues with this, as the wheels come in several sizes, there are tyres for the smaller wheels, but when you hit the 20″ and upwards, they become very difficult to get hold of, and in some cases, non-existent. If you have 22″ wheels, then you may as well forget tyres in that size, few available and prices start around £400 each.

The reason for this is that the tyre companies have realised that narrower tyres makes for a better winter performance, so they look to winter packages and drop down to 19″ wheels and tyres.

So what real difference will winter tyres make, we don’t exactly get covered in snow for weeks at a time?

Winter tyres are not just for snow, they perform so much better in colder weather, under 7C, because the rubber compound is flexible in the cold, the tread patterns, like the Vredestein below, and the sipes within the tread grip the road and improve steering, handling and shorten stopping distances compared to summer tyres.

After all, at two and a half tonnes, it takes some grip to keep it going where you point it.

Vredestein Wintrac Xtreme S

Winter tyres are designed to remove water, slush and snow from the tread quickly, and the Vredestein Wintrac Xtreme  S do just that, and when fitted to the classic looking Zito Blazer 5 spoke wheel, sets the Range Rover off perfectly.

19" Blazer

So, for safety, when you have that most precious of cargo’s on board, your family, it seems to be the only way forward.

If you want more information, talk to the guys at Tyremen on 08456 807808 and see what they can do for you.

Packages start at a shade over £1100 and other wheels can be sourced, it certainly makes it worth while thinking about for winter driving safety.

Have you fitted winter tyres to your Range Rover before? Leave a comment for others and give us your thoughts, did they work? Was it worth it?

Thanks

The Winter Tyre Reviews Team

The Evoque from Range Rover, Winter Driving, Winter Tyres

Range Rover Evoque

Another of our vehicle specific posts, this time, with our partner Tyremen, the Range Rover Evoque and a look at winter tyre packages.

launched in September 2011, this car has proved to be a massive hit and rivals the BMW X5 and the Audi Q5, and frankly, could well be the best of the three given it’s Land Rover heritage.

With a wide range of wheel sizes from 17″ to 20″ so we’ll start with 17″ and 18″.

Coming on standard summer tyres, with a reasonable profile,  they perform great in warm, dry sunny days (when we get them). Normally, we would always recommend dropping down an inch or two, but with these, they are already a good size just to fit winter tyres straight to your current wheels.

The 225/65R17 Wintrac 4 Xtreme winter tyre by Vredestein starts at a reasonable £140 per corner delivered. The 235/60R18 a shade over £120 per corner delivered.

The tyre has great properities, a directional tread pattern which is ideal for clearing snow, slush, and more importantly, water for when that thaw comes.

The design specific sipes in the tread, grip the road with the assuredness of a summer tyre giving a positive feel for steering and handling, essential in winter conditions, even on icy roads.

The rubber compound is a lot more flexible in colder weather, further increasing the grip on a heavy car.

vredestein-wintrac-4-xtreme

 

Now we’ll take a look at the options for 19″ and 20″ wheels.

There are two options in this size, you can buy winter tyres to fit to your current wheels, as with the 17″ and 18″ or you can drop down to an 18″ winter wheels and tyres package.

Winter tyres in the 19″ size are readily available during the winter months, and prices start at £140 per tyre delivered. It has the same superb properties as above and will make your winter driving a lot safer.

The biggest issue now falls to the 20″ wheel size. Winter tyres are not available in great numbers. Everyone, including the tyre manufactures, seem to have realised that dropping down sizes is the best way forward.

Why is that the case? Well, the basic rule for winter is, put the least amount of tread on the road as possible.  This enables the car to maintain grip by cutting through winter conditions, rather like we used to see Morris Minors do many years ago.

So what’s the recommendations?

If your Evoque has 17″ or 18″ wheels, opt for tyres only, it will probably cost you around £50 to £60 twice a year to have them swapped over, but worth it to keep your family safe and know that you won’t get stuck!

In the 19″ and 20″ size, drop down to an 18″ package. These start around the £1000 area and are complete with the Alutec Grip or Poison wheels and Vredestein tyres.

The wheel is TUV approved, meaning that the insurance companies don’t have an issue, and a five year paint guarantee and suit the car. It also has the benefit that if you are unlucky enough to clip a kerb, then you haven’t damaged a £500 Evoque wheel!

In all sizes, winter tyres will make the Evoque perform so much better and when coupled with Land Rover’s superb 4X4 system, you’d never know the difference!

Thanks for reading, if you have a view point or have winter tyres on your Evoque, leave a review below, we’ll answer any questions and comments.

The Winter Tyre Reviews Team

 

The Range Rover Sport, Just Not In Winter, Or Is It?

Range Rover Sport

In this post Winter Tyre Reviews are going to look at the superb Range Rover Sport and with our Partner, Tyremen, look at what’s great for winter driving.

So what do we know, well, as with any Land Rover, the off road capabilities are second to none, when fitted with the right tyres. These days, they come fitted with low profile road tyres, which doesn’t make the Sport the best in snow, slush or icy conditions.

As standard the Sport comes with either 275/40R20 or 285/35R22 wheels and tyres, great for holding the road in warmer conditions, but for winter, those wide tyres struggle to hold the road.

So what is the way forward? Well, as any tyre expert will tell you, dropping down a size or two and fitting winter tyres will vastly enhance the performance of the Sport.

The rubber compound of summer tyres becomes harder and less flexible at temperatures below 7C and makes the car lose grip and handling, after all, it is a heavy car.

So what is the benefit of fitting winter tyres?

Firstly, moving from a 275 or 285 tyre profile to a 255 enables less tyre tread on the road, like that on the Vredestein Wintrac 4 Xtreme which makes it easy to cut through the winter weather.

The design of the tread pattern makes the evacuation of snow, slush and water very quick keeping contact with the road and reducing the risk of aquaplaning.

A small rim size, such as the 19″ Blazer below, enables a taller tyre height giving a softer ride and the room for a flexible tread to maintain grip and handling. With the taller tyre, the smaller rim does not look out of place.

19" Blazer

But what if you would rather just get winter tyres rather than a package? Well, good news and bad news.

If you have the 20″ wheels then tyres are available, just not in great quantities. Prices start at around £200 per tyre and manufactures are limited.

Now the bad news, if you have 22″ wheels, then the chances of getting tyres is pretty much non-existent. If you can get some, a budget tyre starts at around £220, but as budget suggests, not great for winter.

The premium brands, such as Pirelli, start at £330 and you can pay anything up to £450 per tyre.

So what about the 19″ wheel and tyre package? If budget tyres are coming in at £880 a set, then surely its double? No, a package from Tyremen is around £1150. Why? As its a smaller wheel and tyre, therefore produced in greater numbers, costs are kept down.

For us, it’s no contest, a winter package, protect your 20″ or 22″ OE wheels and a little scrape on the winters won’t be the end of the world.

Want more info? Call Tyremen on 08456 807808

Already have a set? Leave a review below or let us know what you have done for winter and we’ll share with all our readers.

Thanks

Jason

The Winter Tyre Reviews Team

The BMW 2 Series, Coupe, Convertible and Active Tourer

BMW 2 Series

UPDATED JULY 2015

Since the post was written, the availability of wheels and tyres has come into the tyre world. Not a lot of difference between the the 1 and the 2 Series.

There is an OE (original equipment) BMW wheel in 16″ or for those who just must have something a bit bigger, the X10 from Uniwheel. A great looking, sporty wheel that’s easy to keep clean during wet winter months.

Coming with a recommendation of Continental or Hankook winter tyres, this will keep your 2 Series firmly on the road for winter, whatever the weather.

The BMW 2 Series, new for 2014 and comes in Coupe, Convertible and Touring versions.

So this is a new model for 2014 from BMW, but is it? Well, yes and no. It’s based on the 1 series and as BMW have been doing so lately, they have moved some of their models under a specific model number, hence this little beauty.

As it’s so new, this will be its first winter, so what about winter tyres? Well, that’s where the good news starts, as it’s based on the 1 series there are lots of options out there.

Usually based on the tyre size 205/55R16, this fits in perfectly with the 1 series winter tyre options. So your new BMW can perform safely this winter without the worry.

Our partner, Tyremen, haven’t got the details up on their website yet, it’s that new, but can advise you on the best packages for your car.

If you have a comment, leave it on the blog below and we’ll come back to you or alternatively, speak to the friendly team at Tyremen on 08456 807808

Thanks

The Winter Tyre Review Team

Audi A4 Winter Tyres, Are They A Great Investment?

Audi A4 Snow

Here at Winter Tyre Reviews, we asked the question, are winter tyres worth buying for the Audi A4? Simple answer, yes, yes, yes! But why do we think so? Well, we’re going to look at the options with our partner Tyremen.

The Audi A4 has been a fantastic car for over 20 years, starting life as the Audi 80 to its present models. All versions of this car, whether its cabriolet, saloon or estate version, the avant look great, drive with assuredness and have fantastic build quality.

But when the temperature drops then owners are increasingly looking for a winter wheel and tyre solution in order to keep their A4 moving safely. Luckily with an Audi, making such an investment will really pay off as an A4 fitted with winter tyres will be an incredibly safe vehicle come the cold weather. Unlike its German counterparts such as BMW & Mercedes the Audi is either front or all-wheel drive, so while your neighbours rear wheels are spinning away on his 3 series you will be confidently pulling away from the drive whatever the weather. Maybe you can be neighbourly and smugly offer him a ride to work?

Front wheel drive vehicles work really well in the winter when fitted with a cold weather tyre, and if you’re lucky enough to have an A4 Quattro system then when combined with winter tyres then you will literally be able to get anywhere even when there is thick snow on the ground. One of our team has an A4 and fitted it with Vredestein Wintrac tyres, and whilst his wife’s Mercedes stayed in the garage, the A4 performed as though it was summer.

So what’s the difference between summer and winter tyres? The difference is the make up of the rubber compounds, Summer tyres are flexible and have lots of grip in the warmer weather, however, when the temperature  drops below 7 degrees, they become harder and don’t grip the road as well, the handling becomes less responsive and stopping distances increase!

Winter tyres are designed to flex in colder conditions and as such, give increased grip, traction, handling and give much shorter braking distances over summer tyres.

So if you’re considering a winter driving solution for your A4 then what should you go for?

There are two options open to you, you can get a set of winter tyres and have them rotated twice a year with your summer tyres.  With the 16″ standard wheel, for a set of mid-range tyres prices are around £350 and for the 17″ £530. You then have to factor in the cost of around £120 per year to have them swapped.

The second option is a set of wheels to fit your winter tyres onto has a few benefits. First is price again, even though you have the additional cost of the wheels initially you have dramatically reduced fitting costs. Your Audi winter wheels should come with the tyres fitted (they certainly are when we supply them) therefore they will just need bolting onto the vehicle. This can be done yourself, at any garage at a minimal cost, or as part of the package price when bought though our partner Tyremen. The wheels don’t have to be that expensive either, a cheap set of steel winter wheels starts at around £230, so the alternate £120 a year tyre swapping cost makes the wheel option look like pretty good value for money.

Also fitting a wheel & tyre package allows you to (generally) fit a smaller wheel and a narrower tyre. This really helps when it comes to winter traction as it’s a case of the narrower the better for winter tyres. Those super large and wide alloys put on by Audi may look great for the summer but act like big snow boards in the snow, whereas a narrow tyre will dig into the snow much more effectively and improve winter traction. Smaller winter tyres are cheaper too so you would probably find that for the price of say 18” winter tyres you could get a set of 16” wheels & tyres. Essentially smaller wheels & tyres are cheaper and more effective, this is certainly the most practical and convenient option for winter.

When reducing wheel size you are trying to re-create what Audi offer on the base model A4’s and quite often this is using a 16” wheel & tyre. There are certain models that such a reduction is not possible though, examples of this would be S4, 2.7 & 3.0 engines and versions with over 170bhp. On these a larger brake is fitted which a 16” wheel would catch on so you would need to go for a 17” package.

Audi OE Wheel

In 16” you have the most options wheel wise, you can go for steel, aftermarket alloys and even ‘take off’ genuine Audi alloys. The genuine Audi A4 winter alloys are perfect for winter; they have just done factory mileage and are a fraction of the price of those from Audi. However there is nothing wrong with any of these options it purely comes down to cosmetics. If your A4 is listed above and will not take a 16” wheel then in 17” you are going to have to look at alloys as steel are not made in anything over 16”.

Which winter tyres to choose?

The answer to this could be a number of blog posts in its own right, however here are a few of my thoughts and opinions:
Budget winter tyres – AVOID, I don’t see the point in them! If you’re trying to make your vehicle safer for the winter then these just don’t cut the mustard.
Mid-range – Uniroyal are totally decent, they come out of the same factory as Continental and perform really well in their own right. Hankook also make a good winter product that will serve you well.
The best winter tyres – there are a few really good tyres on the market but current test winning tyres Continental winter TS850 or TS830P are great products. Our retail company, Tyremen are still really big fans of Vredestein winter tyres, the Snowtrac 3 offers about the best pure snow performance and the Wintrac Xtreme is a great all-round winter tyre that offers incredible longevity.

Any questions? Feel free to leave a comment below and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can or call the friendly team at Tyremen, 08456 807808

Thanks

The Winter Tyre Reviews Team

BMW 1 Series, Do You Need Winter Tyres and Wheels?

BMW 1 Series

The BMW 1 Series. It’s been with us for a few years now, long enough to have a facelift! So with our partner Tyremen, let’s look at the winter wheel and tyre options for the baby of the BMW range.

So we will start with the older models and work our way up to the 2012 onwards facelift models.

We love the 1 series but we also understand how they can be a challenge to manoeuvre during the winter months! They are so problematic because for one, they are rear wheel drive, but also they are just so light. If you have owned one these during the last couple of winters and have not invested in some winter tyres then you really should. They make an unusable car 100% better and safer.

But which winter tyres should you fit to your 1 series?

We would personally suggest a 16″ wheel and tyre package. Tyremen offer steel wheels or a nice little alloy wheel that is fitted with a 205/55R16 winter tyre, prices start from a little over £700 a set. If you feel that steel wheels is the way to go, then sets start at £518 for a post 2012 model and £585 for earlier cars. Alloy wheels and steel wheels are both stock and ready to go for winter 2014/15.

Many 1 series owners opt for non-runflat tyre as many of the latest 1-Series no longer have these fitted as standard. A lot of 1 Series do not come with a spare wheel as standard so BMW provide a puncture repair kit which will get you home if your tyre becomes punctured. If your car is on run-flats then we can provide such a kit – Continental comfort kit.

If you want to go for winter runflat tyres then we can offer these and our partner Tyremen will stock Bridgestone, Continental, Hankook, Vredestein & Yokohama for the 2014/15 season.

Tyremen also offer alloy wheels in 17″ which can be customised with a number of tyre options, the full range of Continental, Vredestein & Yokohama and are available for 2014/15 in the runflat option.

Any of the winter wheel & tyre packages offer great convenience as there are no tyres to swap around each season and if you are keeping the vehicle for a few years then it will prove to be a cost effective way of setting up your car for winter driving.

If you are looking to just change the tyres then Tyremen have various offerings depending on your budget.

Starting with the small sizes, many of the base models use 195/55R16, in this size the Hankook W310 i-cept is looking like a great option. Hankook are a well respected manufacturer that make original equipment tyres for Audi, Ford & Mini. The Vredestein Snowtrac 3 is also a great product and consistently one of our best sellers.

In 16″ you may find that your vehicle is on 205/55R16 runflats, as above some Continental TS850 P winter are available and the Vredestein Wintrac Xtreme’s are a fantastic option and available. However we know of many 1 Series owners that have opted for the Vredestein Snowtrac 3 in a non-runflat and again order the repair kits and they work really well. Vredestein are a great winter tyre manufacturer and the Snowtrac 3 is a multi award winning product.

And finally what if your 1 Series came on 17″ as standard?, if it did it’s also likely that it came with runflats. The best option here if you don’t want to reduce the wheel size is go like for like. Continental make the TS810 S in 205/50R17 and in 225/45R17. You will need to check your tyre size on both the front and rear before purchasing as some use 205/50R17 on both axles while others have the larger size on the rear.

So 2012 has brought about the new 1-series F20, so what implications does this have to our advice above? Well actually very little. The F20 still use 16″ as standard on many of the vehicles with size 205/55R16. We are no longer seeing the 195/55 being used so Tyremen’s winter packages use a 205 in order to emulate the BMW winter packages. A new steel wheel has been produced which is specifically for the new 1 series and although the spec is slightly different there isn’t much in it. The alloys that are recommended for the older vehicles are still fine for the F20.

If you have bought a new vehicle and have a winter package from an older 1-series then it will still be fine to use. Even if your old winters are 195/55R16 I wouldn’t be too concerned about using these on an F20. The 195 tyre is less than 2% smaller than the 205 and well within the vehicles tolerance.

Versions on 17″ still have the 225/45R17 so nothing has changed here. The new sport versions fitted with 18″ use a rather unusual sized tyre on the rear so you should really consider a 17″ package for winter.

BMW 1 Series Wheel

New for the 2014/15 winter season Tyremen are rather excited to be able to offer genuine BMW alloy wheels for their winter wheel & tyre packages. These are perfect for winter, they are what we call ‘take off wheels’. Essentially we deal with a European BMW importer, who regularly upgrade their vehicles onto larger, flasher wheels. This leaves a surplus of smaller wheels which are as new, they have just done factory mileage. The wheels are 16″ and suitable for both old & new 1 series with the exception of 123d & 135i which have larger brakes and require a 17″ wheel. The wheels are genuine BMW, they are not supplied with caps but should take your originals.

These also have the benefit of having great residual value, if you come to move away from BMW then you would have no issues selling these on.

If you have any questions feel free to get in touch, speak to the experts at Tyremen on 08456 807808.

Have you used winter tyres on the 1 series? Leave your experiences below to help others.

Thanks

The Winter Tyre Reviews Team

Winter Options for the BMW 3 Series

BMW 3 Series Snow

Welcome to the Winter Tyre Reviews vehicle specific winter tyre advice, and take a look at what must be the best selling rear wheel drive vehicle in the UK – the 3 Series BMW.

Being rear wheel drive the 3-series can pose a challenge during the winter months, in fact we receive many calls from customers across the UK that can’t even get out of their drive when there is snow on the ground. The good news is that winter tyres will make a massive difference to performance and totally transform these vehicles. Better still is that (most) 3 Series are on pretty standard tyre sizes and winter tyres and wheel set ups are available at sensible prices.

Lets start with the smallest sizes that they can come on: 205/60R16.

If you have this as standard fit then it could be on runflat or standard tyres; standard – our vote would have to be the Vredestein Snowtrac 3. Consistently top placed in European winter tyre tests. Especially when the tests look at traction in snow this tyre generally comes out top. If on runflat then availability can be difficult for these, however Goodyear & Dunlop both produce quality tyres that may be available if you get in early enough. Also the Continental TS830 topped many of the winter tyre tests and is available now at Tyremen.

This tyre size is also what many 3-series owners drop down onto during the winter when 17″ and 18″ are fitted as standard. The reason for this is that the narrowness of a 16″ wheel really helps improve traction during winter, also the tyre costs are much more sensible. Most 3 series can reduce to 16″ wheels, although there are some exceptions:

3 Series coupe 2006 onwards – has to be 17″ upwards

3 Series cabrio 2007 onwards – 17″ and above

Other 3-series (E92/E93) – 16″ are only suitable for 90-140kW versions

3 series wheel

If you want to check any of this data for your model, or are unsure which kW version you have, then you are welcome to try the Tyremen team who will be able to advise accordingly.

Assuming that you want to go down this route then 16″ wheel packages are available in steel or alloy. Steel wheels offer great value for money, whilst the alloys are more aesthetically pleasing. Wheel and tyre sets start at just over £600 and offer OE quality at discount prices.

Moving up to 17″ – generally BMW use 225/45R17 on both axles. On the very odd sports models they have a wider, and a very unusual size fitted to the rear. If this is the case then direct replacement could be tricky, We’d advise getting in touch with a tyre expert in order to check availability. However with regular 225/45’s you have a few options.  Topping most of the tyre tests in recent years was the Continental TS830 P, which is available as a regular winter tyre and winter runflat. When moving away from runflats then there is a host of quality winter tyres available. Our partner site, Tyremen’s most popular winter tyre in this size was the Vredestein Wintrac Xtreme. There is very little review info out there in regard to this tyre but from personal experience they are fantastic. However availability of these in the UK can be really problematic as this tyre is very popular in mainland Europe. At this moment in time stocks are coming into the UK but will be limited. As a more cost effective option the Hankook W300 is well worth a look, it has a modern asymmetric pattern which is not overly aggressive and particularly suited to UK conditions.

This size is also what would be used if your 3-series came on 18″ wheels and you wanted to reduce wheel size for winter. Tyremen offer an Alutec alloy wheel which is great quality and perfect for winter use. Wheels are TUV approved for use on 3-Series and come with a 5 year guarantee on the paint finish.

18″ – Personally if your vehicle come on 18″ wheels then we would seriously consider either a 16″ or 17″ package. Failing that then you would probably need 225/40R18 for the front and 255/35R18 for the rear. In 2010 the Hankook W300 Icebear was very popular as a good quality tyre at sensible money. If these are unavailable then offerings by the premium manufacturers become silly money really and you would probably find smaller wheels and tyres for less money than split sized 18″ winter tyres.

Some new BMW’s do have 19″ wheel options, if you went for this then we’re sure that your 3-series looks lovely, but we wouldn’t expect it to go far in the winter! Tyres in the 19″ sizes are essentially impossible to source so wheels and tyres are going to be needed. However saying that we know the boys & girls at Tyremen love a good challenge so feel free to get in touch and see if they can source anything for you.

So now for the BMW newer 3 series, the F30, from 2012 onwards.

So the new 3 series, does any of the above advice change for these? Well yes and no!

In terms of wheels the spec is very similar, we can offer the same range of wheels that are suitable for the earlier models. The only difference is the tyre sizes used, BMW have opted for a higher profile tyre on the F30. They are now fitted with the following as standard:

205/60R16
225/50R17
225/45R18

Our partner Tyremen has set up new wheel & tyre packages for the F30 that have the correct tyre sizes and offer both standard and run-flat tyres depending on your need.

It appears that in terms of reducing wheel size the 316, 318 & 320 will take a 16″ wheel, whilst 325 versions and above will require a 17″ package. If your new 3 series has 18″ as standard then winter tyres are available in these sizes (even if 255/40 on the rear) and they could be swapped onto your existing wheels. If your vehicle has 19″ on then BMW have opted for a very unusual tyre size on the front and you will struggle to find a suitable winter tyre, you’ll need to look at a smaller package.

If you have a wheel and tyre package from an older model then really you would need the tyres changing before fitting to the new vehicle otherwise the speedo will become inaccurate. Our advice would always be where possible to sell your existing winter package along with any vehicle sale and start again on the new car.

If you need any further info don’t hesitate to ask the team at Tyremen.

Tel: 08456 807808

Have you had winter tyres fitted to your 3 series? let us know how they performed and help other 3 series owners with your advice! Leave a comment on the blog page or ask a question, we’ll get back to you.

Thanks

The Winter Tyre Reviews Team

BMW 5 Series, Winter Tyre Review

BMW 5 Series Snow

We are looking ahead to winter and this vehicle specific blog post takes an in-depth look at winter driving in a BMW 5-series.

As with most BMW’s the rear wheel drive nature of this vehicle makes it a challenge to control during the winter months. However fitting the right winter tyre, or wheel and tyre combination can transform this vehicle which is why our partner, Tyremen, has the 5 series packages as one of their best-selling winter solutions. Click here to see what’s on offer.

Our recommendations for safe winter driving varies depending on the age of the vehicle. We’ll start with the E60/E61 models (2003-2009).  Base models generally come on tyre size 225/55R16 and by simply changing from summer to winter tyres in this size you will vastly improve the vehicles winter performance. The best 2 winter tyres in this size are either the Vredestein Wintrac Xtreme S or the Continental TS830 P.

Some of the 520 & 525’s may come on 17″ wheels as standard, usually with 225/50R17 tyres. With these vehicles you have a choice of going for winter tyres only, or you could also drop down to 16″ wheels & tyres if you prefer. Generally one of the main advantages of reducing wheel size is that you benefit from a narrower tyre which improves winter performance. Since both 16″ & 17″ wheels would be fitted with a tyre with section width of 225 then there is no real advantage here. 16″ wheels and tyres would be cheaper than 17″ packages so there is a saving to be had of around £270 on a set of equivalent products.

Larger engine versions such as 530 & 535 can be fitted with 17″, 18″ and in some case 19″. If fitted with 17″ then you can’t reduce wheel size any further because of the size of the brakes on these vehicles. Something to note is that BMW may also use the tyre size 245/45R17, this is the same overall size as 225/50R17. If fitting winter tyres to 17″ rims then we’d recommend using the 225 size, even if 245’s are fitted at the moment. The narrowness of the 225 really does help when it comes to driving in harsher conditions, even improves fuel economy!

Vehicles fitted with 18” could have 245/40R18 on both the front and rear, this would give the options of going for just tyres or a 17” package. In 245/40R18 again either the Wintrac Xtreme or the TS830 P would be the ones to go for. Some vehicles have a larger wheel on the rear with 275/35R18’s, if this is the case then the rear is too wide to really be effective. Sourcing a winter tyre in this size would be especially difficult and it would be better to consider a 17” package really. This is also the case with 19” wheels, the rears are far too wide to work in the winter. A 17” would have no problem fitting and would be much more effective. The vehicle would take on a different look, but we’re talking about winter driving so you need to consider practicality.

Just a note about run-flats, Tyremen offer 17” winter runflats which are suitable for 5-series by Dunlop. Many customers that own vehicles fitted with run-flats move away from them for winter which helps to keep the cost down. If you want to do this then consider buying a repair kit in case of a puncture and make sure your road side assistance is up to date.

Moving onto the new 5-series F10/F11 2010 onwards, things are slightly different here. The new models no longer come on 16” as standard, base models are fitted with 17” and rim sizes go all the way up to 20”. The wheel spec is a different too, so unfortunately if you move from an old model to a new one then you may well need a new winter set up, as always our advice would be to try and sell any winter tyres or wheels along with the vehicle sale.

If you vehicle came on 17” wheels then you can opt for just tyres or wheels and tyres, tyre size is slightly bigger now; 225/55R17 which can be run-flat or standard. Or partner keeps Vredestein, Goodyear, Dunlop & Continental in standard winter and Dunlop runflats , all of which are great cold weather tyres. Tyremen also offer a 17” wheel and tyre package for new 5-series which are very popular indeed. Steel wheels are not made for the F10/F11 so you need to look at alloys and Tyremen import the Alutec Design-E which is a perfect fit and takes the original bolts.

This package is suitable for all new 5 series, even if fitted with larger wheels than this as standard, this package is one of Tyremen’s best sellers. The same wheel is also available in 18” so drivers that want the keep the look of the larger wheel can get this from this option. The only issue with the 18” package is that you need a 245/45R18 tyre which is a rather expensive size and does make the package about £250 more than the 17″ option. Also the 17” package will be more effective because of the narrower tyre that is used!

We’ll just finish off by discussing the 5 series GT (Gran Turismo), if you are lucky enough to own one of these vehicles then a specific 18” wheel & tyre package is available. This uses the same 18” wheel used on the regular 5 series but with a different tyre size (245/50R18). Tyremen offer Continental winter for use on these packages which can be purchased in standard or runflat version.

We hope this is of use, if you have any questions don’t hesitate to get in touch with our partner, Tyremen who have many years of winter wheel and tyre experience. Ring 0845 807 808 for more info.

Have you ran a 5 Series on winter tyres? Would you like to leave a comment for other 5 Series owners? Please do so below, your thoughts are just as helpful as ours.

Thanks

The Winter Tyre Reviews Team