I have, for the past 20 years, bought “snow” tires and put them on steel rims. However, I just bought a 2011 V-6 AWD Venza and found out I cannot get rims for the 20-inch tires I have. Toyota told me that there are no steel rims it can get. And the aftermarket area (Canadian Tire, for example) says it usually takes two to three years before aftermarket rims are available. Looks like I will have to go back to the day when I changed my tires twice a year. Not looking forward to having my alloy rims getting ruined in St John’s famous salty roads! – Kenneth, St John’s, Nfld.
This has become a growing problem as manufacturers move to larger wheel sizes for aesthetic reasons.
But there is also a simple solution – especially for those like you who wisely choose to use winter tires and commonly purchase a second set of wheels for them – smaller wheels with taller tires.
This all goes back about 25 years to a concept called “Plus One” and “Plus Two.” Drivers looking for a little personalization would switch “up” one or two wheel sizes from 14-inch to 15- or 16-inch, for example.
The trick is to keep the overall diameter of the wheel/tire combination the same for a number of reasons, including clearance within fenders, speedometer and odometer accuracy and to ensure the suspension worked as designed.
To maintain the same overall diameter with a larger wheel, the height of the tire had to be less. Referred to as the profile or the distance between wheel and tread, this number commonly ranges from 35 to 65 or 70. These lower profiles are accompanied by a wider tread width.
Your Venza and many other current vehicles have 20- to 22-inch wheels because the designers love them.
Because the majority of buyers live in warmer climes where winter tires are not an issue, they have become common. But tire manufacturers – producing much smaller quantities of winter tires for northern climates – can’t afford to produce many of these larger, low-volume sizes. The solution? “Minus One” or “Minus Two” – the opposite of the “Plus” sizing popular years ago.
You buy a set of 18- or 19-inch steel wheels and “matching” winter tires. The 245/50/20 tires on your Venza are 752.85 mm in diameter. This results in 701.7 revolutions per mile. So you want a tire/wheel combination within 1 or 2 per-cent of that.
Toyota has done the work for you. The four-cylinder Venza uses a 245/55/19 tire, which has an overall diameter of 752.09 mm and 702.4 revolutions per mile. Or you can go down a further size to an 18-inch wheel, in which case you would be looking for a 245/60/18, which gives you an overall diameter or 751.07 mm and 703.4 revs per mile. Close enough.
So, look for steel wheels with an 18- or 19-inch diameter. Your Toyota dealer would obviously have the 19-inch since they come on the Venza and 18-inch are available elsewhere. Several tire companies make suitable winter tires.
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