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Confused by advice on Volvo winter tyre sizing

Home Forums Technical Discussions Confused by advice on Volvo winter tyre sizing

This topic contains 1 reply, has 1 voice, and was last updated by Stuart Masson Stuart Masson 3 years, 2 months ago.

  • Author
  • #90520
    Nick Pinder

    Just bought a new XC60 D4 R-design front wheel drive which is on 20″ rims. They look nice and the ride is actually pretty good considering but out of choice I would have probably gone for 18″ wheels.

    My issue is that I have for a number of years fitted winter wheels/tyres when the clocks go back and want to buy a set for my Volvo. My wife drives it mainly with the kids so it is something I have to do as IMHO it does make a massive difference.

    I believe it is fairly standard practice (certainly in Europe) to fit smaller, narrower wheels/tyres for winter as this improves traction in wintery conditions (the ultimate aim in the whole exercise) and is obviously a lot cheaper as the price of 20″ winter tyres and wheels is RIDICULOUS! I have asked Volvo about this, and they said “Volvo would also recommend the same size tyre as is presently fitted due to the rolling circumference as this will affect the vehicles performance and the speedo/odometer requiring software updates.”

    Firstly, if the outer circumference is the same, surely any difference in terms of the speedo/odometer is negligible?

    Secondly, most XC60s are on 18” wheels and I sincerely doubt whether any change is made to the set up (ie suspension, brake balance etc) of the car for 20” wheels which would change the ‘performance’.

    Thirdly, it seems strange to me for Volvo to be ignoring the safety benefits of narrower wheels for winter conditions when they are otherwise pretty obsessed by safety.

    I don’t want to do anything which will cause insurance problems by going outside of manufacturers recommendations but I wonder, for example, whether I would get a different and more pragmatic approach from Volvo in Sweden where providing guidance on winter tyres will be absolutely standard.

    Any help from experts on here would be most appreciated as I would like to be able to go back to Volvo and ask the right questions.

    Also sorry for raising this in summer, but at least any answers will be useful when it snows in September, the Daily Mail tells everyone there is going to be an ice age and everyone starts panic buying winter tyres…

  • #90539
    Stuart Masson
    Stuart Masson

    Hi Nick. If it is the right 18″ wheel and tyre combination (so a higher-profile tyre), it shouldn’t be a problem. I’d check with a different Volvo dealership, and make sure you are talking to the service or parts departments rather than sales – they should be able to pull up the official info from Volvo head office.

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