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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all, I just picked up my '09 3i Touring on Saturday and I've got some questions about snow tires.

I've only had the car for 4 days and have already experienced how bad the stock Goodyears are in a snow storm! So I've got a few questions about snow tires (as I didn't need them on my precious cars):

1) What's the most popular size for snow tires? I'm assuming 16" is most popular, but then again I'm not sure. I have already decided I want a separate set of rims for my snow tires.

2) Where the heck can I find a set of steelies! I know it's a little late in the winter season to buy snow tires, but I figured someone ought to sell them. I thought for sure that Tirerack would have them, but they're sold out until next September. My local tire shops either can't find rims or are asking way too much for them ($115+ per rim).

3) For those with snow tires on your 3, what kind are they and are you happy with them. I hear Blizzaks are pretty good on any application but I know there's more out there.

4) Regarding steel rims, is it bad to have the hubs exposed to the sand and salt and garbage that goes along with winter driving? Usually they aren't exposed to the elements with the stock rims and I'm afraid that the salt will create problems down the road.

Thanks in advance for any help!
 

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1) I don't know what is most popular but if you should buy 15" wheels/tires as they are less expensive and the narrower tire will give better traction in winter conditions, due to more weight per square inch of contact patch. If you have the 2.0L engine you can use 15" wheels, if you have the 2.3 then you need 16" to fit over the "big" brakes.

2) I found my Mazda dealer had the best price on steel wheels, in the sense there were the same price (CDN $65/wheel) as aftermarket "universal" wheels, fit the car properly, and were in stock, ready for cash and carry. For that matter, the dealer had competitive prices on wheel/tire packages too. Their out the door price on a set of 15" wheels and Firestone WinterForce tires was $2-3 more (or maybe less, I can't remember now) than the local Firestone dealer. I didn't compare prices on 16" packages but I would be surprised if they were not equally as competitive. I'm sure pricing will vary from dealer to dealer, market to market, etc so YMMV. But don't rule out the dealer without checking first.

3) I went with Gislaved NordFrost5s, from my local Continental dealer, on OEM steel wheels from the Mazda dealer. They are excellent and I could not be happier with them.
 

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Called my local Mazda dealer and they wanted a whopping $201 each for 16" steelies. :shock:
Needless to say, I'm still looking.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I stopped by my Mazda dealership today and they told me to go to Tirerack. Looks like I may have to wait til next winter. Thankfully, this winter is almost over...hopefully!
 

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Have you tried Town Fair Tire? Unfortunately, their website is crap, so I couldn't see if they had anything that would fit. But might be a good time of year to get something cheap on closeout, if they've still got winter stock left.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I did try Town Fair Tire, but the guy said he'd call me the next day and get back to me...and I'm still waiting for a phone call. :dunno: Although, he did say that he may have trouble trying to find some steel wheels at this time in the season.
 

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You definately wanna get Snows on that 3 , specially living in NE... The stocks have really cruddy grip, During snow storms I've got 0 Grip on roads, my 2003 Protege has 1000x better grip than my 3 on its stocks. I spun out and curbed my 3 last month on a slushy road :(
 
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