SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Many tire retailers are familiar with “plus sizing” — increasing a vehicle's tire/wheel rim diameter spec by an inch or more — but Internet retailer Tire Rack Inc. is suggesting car owners consider “minus sizing” when it comes to winter tires.
Tire Rack is promoting the idea of minus sizing in its latest email newsletter and on its website.
“Smaller diameter wheels, narrower tires for winter. That's base model sizing or minus sizing put to good use,” Tire Rack said, suggesting moving to a narrower tire enhances deep snow traction while also being potentially lower cost than a winter package that maintains a vehicle's original size tires and wheels.
South Bend-based Tire Rack also suggests having a dedicated winter tire/wheel package offers consumers the chance to change their tires themselves, saving a trip to the dealer and the cost of having the changeover done there.
However, Tire Rack cautions, owners of cars equipped with tire pressure monitoring systems (TPMS) need to have TPMS sensors installed on the dedicated winter wheels, which would entail costs of upwards of $100 for a set of sensors.
The company said it installs the TPMS monitors free of charge on wheels bought from it.
Once the new tire/wheel package is mounted, Tire Rack said, the car owner will need to reset the TPMS sensors. That procedure should be spelled out in the vehicle owner's manual, and drivers will need to review the proper procedure for allowing their vehicles to “recognize” the new sensors, the company advised.