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Thread: Winter Tires - My Experience

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Thanked 15 Times in 14 Posts

    Winter Tires - My Experience

    Well - I just installed winter tires on my 2009 GC SE. I wanted to share how I went about acquiring new winter tires and rims and what I experienced. Please note that I live minutes away from the US border.

    Tires: 4 Firestone Winterforce UV Tires (215 70 R 16) from Tire Rack
    Price: $268.00USD/$67.00USD each plus $41.00USD for shipping (shipped to US address) Total was $309.00USD

    Rims: 4 OEM rims from an auto wrecker in Michigan
    Price: 140.00USD/$35.00USD each

    TOTAL COST: $449.00USD, plus mounting and balancing, which was $45.00CAD. In the end, I have under $600.00CAD invested for this tire and rim setup after currency conversion, tax at the border, toll, etc.

    So, here is the deal. I was looking for a set of winter tires that would perform well and cost as little as possible. I wanted my winter tires to be mounted on their own rims because I didn't want to pay twice a year to have the tires unmounted and re-mounted.

    I also didn't want to have the TPMS light on all the time and chiming that there was a TPMS problem because after market rims don't have sensors. OEM sensors are approximately $80.00 each, and I decided it was too costly to invest in 4 just to turn a dash light off!

    I went on and noticed they only offered one winter tire (Blizaak) in the OEM size (225 65 R16). Cost was $99.00USD each - not a bad price, but not cheap either. Aftermarket rims were $57.00USD each without TPMS sensors.

    So, I looked in my owners manual to find the alternate tire size. Well, there wasn't one listed. So, I began to research. Tire Rack stated an 'alternate' tire to be 215 70 R16. I knew the tire would fit on the vehicle no problem, but my concern was the speedometer being inaccurate. I was also concerned because the tire size was not listed in the owner's manual. So, I compared the OEM tire with the 'alternate' tire in EVERY specification using two different online tire size calculators.

    The results showed that the 'alternate' tire was a little taller (5.9" vs. 5.8"), a little narrower (8.86" vs. 8.46") and the circumference was a little greater (87.5" vs. 86.4"). Which translated into my speedometer being off by 1.17km, if I was driving 100km/hr. That essentially meant the alternate tire would make my speedometer off by 1.17%. (Speedo will read 100km/hr, when I am actually travelling 101.17km/hr.

    As previously mentioned, I was concerned that the manual did not mention the 'alternate' tire size, however, the 2007 and earlier Caravans, which also used a 225 65 R16 tire (if vehicle was equipped with alloy rims) listed an alternate tire to be 215 70 R16! I'm not sure why this did not carry onto the 5th gen vans. A narrower tire should also prove to be a little better in the snow.

    Now the rims. I did a search at to check prices and inventory for 2009 GC rims. Car-Part then provided results of rims from all Dodge/Chrysler vehicles that would fit. The rims are from a 2008 Dodge Journey. They are 16X6.5 rims and are identical to my steel stock rims (same manufacturer too). The TPMS sensors are also 100% identical. Wheel covers fit on without a problem.

    My only concern now was that the alternate tire size might affect that TPMS. Well, today, I installed the tires and took the van for a test drive. Everything was perfect. No TPMS lights or chimes! The different tire size also made no difference to the 'feel' of the vehicle or how it drives. When I compared the speedometer to the GPS, I couldn't even tell the speedo was off 1.17km! (I was driving 100km/hr and the GPS fluctuated between 100km and 101km.

    There you have it. I installed 4 winter tires with OEM rims with TPMS for less than $600.00CAD. This same setup should have cost well over $1000.00!
    Current: 2012 Mazda 5, 2012 Mazda3 SkyActiv
    Previous: 2011 Grand Caravan, 2009 Grand Caravan SE, 2002 Grand Caravan Sport and several other Chrysler vehicles

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Fort McMurray, Alberta
    Thanked 2 Times in 2 Posts

    Interesting, as I did the same research a few times. I ultimately decided on a set of Geolandars purchased at Kal Tire up here.

    I found that the Tire rack was far too expensive. Shipping is what killed it. Now at the time the dollar was lower so it added to the negative effect, but now the dollar is stronger, so it may ease that issue.

    You are lucky to live close to the border, I live in Northern Alberta, 4 hrs NORTH of Edmonton....yea, its north.

    But in any case, good job on your find.
    '08 Town and Country LTD 4.0L
    Built Sept. 2007, took delivery Dec. 2007
    STATUS: Returned March 1, 2010
    48,500 kms on the odo
    Brilliant Black w/ grey leather and suede inserts
    MyGig, NAV, VES, Trailer tow, Power 3rd Row
    Sunroof and Swivel n' Go

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