I always use winter tires; however, I have been getting conflicting advice from my dealer (Audi) and Michelin. Michelin says to run the winter tires at the pressure shown in the car manual for the equivalent-size summer tire. My Audi dealer sets the pressure about 4 psi lower than the recommended summer tire pressure. Whose expert advice should I follow? – Greg in Kingston, Ont.
The dealer is wrong. Follow the numbers suggested by the manufacturer.
The engineers who developed the vehicle know best what tire pressure to use. Michelin and other companies develop tires to substitute for factory-installed rubber and whether they are summer, all-season, winter or whatever, they should be inflated to the pressure recommended by the vehicle manufacturer.
Winter steel wheels
Do you have any updated information of the availability of winter steel wheels in the marketplace for 20-inch tires for a Toyota Venza V-6 AWD, equipped with P245/50R20 OEM tires (Michelin Latitude HP Touring)? I learned a great deal from your earlier article, but I am still undecided on the steel wheels from Toyota with P265/65R17 tires versus winter tires from Blizzak or Goodyear in size P245/50R20 on the OEM alloy wheels. My preference is to use the steel wheels and not corrode the alloys while driving here in Nova Scotia.
I purchased the 2010 Toyota Venza V-6 AWD in November, 2010, and drove the alloys and OEM 20-inch tires last winter. Answers from Toyota dealers on the winter tire options were either incomplete or non-committal as they seemed afraid to deviate from the OEM setup. It’s ironic that the Venza, a product made exclusively for the North American market, does not come with true winter driving options. I have been driving Toyota since 1992, but this “big tire” issue does not sit well with me. – Gary in Wolfville, N.S.
It is ironic indeed that the largest manufacturer in the world has created so much discussion/confusion over the winter tire issue. I get more queries about this tire/wheel issue than those regarding all other manufacturers combined.
The good news is that the Venza is a capable and popular vehicle. The bad news – as you point out – is that the V-6 AWD model comes with 20-inch alloy wheels. The FWD 4-cylinder is shod with 19-inch wheels but they too are alloy. Most Canadians interested in safety switch to winter tires and, as you point out, prefer to mount them on plain steel wheels to avoid damaging the expensive alloys.
To the best of my knowledge, there is no ready supply of inexpensive 19- or 20-inch steel wheels for the Venza. However, there are a number of 17- and 18-inch steel wheels available.
While the front brake rotors of the Venza are slightly larger than those on its platform mates Camry, Avalon, Solara, etc., 17- to 19-inch wheels for those models will fit the Venza. Of course, they should be checked for clearance before mounting the tires.
As for tires, there are a variety of sizes depending on wheel size. Generally speaking, the more narrow (smaller first number) the better they will be in winter as the thinner tire will cut through deep snow more easily.
The AWD Venza comes fitted with 245/50 X 20 tires and the FWD version 245/55 X 19. The other sized that are of the all important similar diameter to the factory tires are: 245/60 X 18, 235/65 X 18 and 245/65 X 17.