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lou's garage

I read “Should I get smaller rims for winter tires?” and wonder if you would recommend 16” rims for snow tires on my 17”-wheeled 2012 Mazda 6? – Nancy

There are two popular ways to adorn winter tires to your car. The first is to just buy 17-inch winter tires and alternate between sets, mounting and balancing each season.

The second option, which is what I usually recommend, is to purchase a wheel-and-tire package in either the 16- or 17-inch variety.

Your stock tire size is P215/55R17, and the common downsized tire is P215/60R16. In your case, I would also suggest going with the smaller wheel size as there is a larger variety of products and costs are generally cheaper. I have also found that the taller 16-inch tire will perform slightly better in deep snow.

When you purchase the package, you will also need to think about Tire Pressure Monitor Sensors (TPMS). While not mandated in Canada, I do recommend installing a set of sensors in your winter wheels. I personally do not like any warning lights illuminated on my dash and find the convenience of having the tire pressure available to me at any time worth the added expense.

I recently got a 2015 Jetta 2.0, and unfortunately, I didn’t realize that it has no air conditioning. I want to know if it’s possible to add it to the car now. – Tim

Interestingly enough, I also bought a Volkswagen Golf from an auction a few years ago, and a week after taking possession of it, one of my staff members pointed out that it didn’t have AC. In a panic, I searched through the original listing and was extremely relieved when I saw it listed as having AC. Fortunately, I was able to return it and extricate myself from a costly, embarrassing situation.

In the past, AC was commonly installed at the dealer level, and complete kits were available for purchase. I checked with my local dealer, and unfortunately, they do no list a complete kit for your vehicle.

As such, every piece has to be purchased separately, which would certainly be an exercise in futility.

There are aftermarket universal kits available. However, they’re mostly used in the custom and hot rod markets, and not really sophisticated enough for use in a contemporary car like yours.

In my opinion, if you do not have to ability to rescind the purchase, then you must decide whether you can live without AC. Sell the car, take your losses and move on if you cannot.

Lou Trottier is owner-operator of All About Imports in Mississauga. Have a question about maintenance and repair? E-mail, placing “Lou’s Garage” in the subject line.

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