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Fat or skinny tires, whats the skinny?

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by RJC, Oct 7, 2001.

  1. There is a standing arguement between myself and and a friend as to which size tire is most effective for plowing. I thought there would be no better place to get the "skinny" on which works best than right here, from the guys who use them with the most success. So which would you recommend?
  2. GeoffD

    GeoffD PlowSite.com Veteran
    Messages: 2,266

    On most trucks, 16" 235, 75 Load Range E

  3. AtlasFBG2

    AtlasFBG2 Member
    from Ohio
    Messages: 62

    Skinny ties will dig into the snow reaching solid ground.Fat tires will tend to float on top of the snow.So skiny tires would give more traction and more traction would be beter to plow with.
  4. SlimJim Z71

    SlimJim Z71 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,031

    Exactly... skinny tires have the "pizza cutter" effect, so they have more contact with the ground.

    So who won the bet?

  5. I did, I always remembered those U.S. Army Jeeps in WWII treading through the snow with little problems. My friend has the monster type tires on his truck. He gets hung up every year (he can't explain that). But I guess you never know when you need to run over a bunch of cars! Thanks for the input.
  6. nsmilligan

    nsmilligan PlowSite.com Veteran
    Messages: 704

    I run 215-85-16"s in place of my "summer" 235-75-16's, narrower tires DO give better traction in snow.

  7. CT18fireman

    CT18fireman Banned
    Messages: 2,133

    I think a lot of it will have to do with weight also. If you think about it a dually would be similiar to a single large tire. Most run sanders or a lot of weight and this allows the tires to get better traction. I once saw a dually with the inner tires of in the winter because the owner wanted to improve traction.
  8. LawnSmith

    LawnSmith Member
    Messages: 45

    actually the best tire for snow is any tire that has been aired down to about 12-15 psi. of course this isnt possible while plowing because of sidewall strenght being decreased. but, a wider tire w/ air let out will give you better traction than w/ a skinny tire aired down. this gives you more contact patch to work w/. the first thing any 4wheeler does when on the trail is air the tires down to get the best contact patch. this goes for snow, dirt, mud, rock, etc.

    i personally run 285/75/16 Yokohama Geolander MTs. thats equal to about a 33x11.50. although this will be my first year plowing i do have plenty of experience in gaining traction in adverse conditions. the vehicle i run these on is a 93 full size Blazer Sport. it weighs in at about 5400 lbs. last winter we had a decent snow around here and i ran my tires at about 20 lbs for almost a month. the day i ran them back up to regular pressures i could tell a difference in traction reduction.

    basically just saying a skinny tire will do better than a wider tire is a very vague statement. it all depends on the vehicle and weight per square inch.

    some of you load range E guys could get away w/ a little less pressure in the tires this winter. E tires have a much stronger sidewall.
  9. Ohiosnow

    Ohiosnow Senior Member
    from Ohio
    Messages: 415

    Driving or Plowing????

    I've been Plowing for over 27 yrs. & this is always a big question. If your talking about driving in snow skinny is the way to go but if your talking about pushing snow then wide is better. Think of it as when you clear a path your tires are now on clean pavement you will have more tire to the pavement. Now you can go too wide & not get to the job because you slid in to the ditch. Just my 2 cents.
  10. Kent Lawns

    Kent Lawns PlowSite.com Veteran
    Messages: 315

    Just stud your tires and be done with it.
  11. Alan

    Alan PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,393

    Studs? How much pavement do you want to pay for in the spring? Might get away with it in commercial lots but the average residential customer is gonna go ballistic over them little grooves.

    As for airing down,, BS! The enemy of snow traction is flotation. The object of this game is get the tires to bite through any snow you're running on, NOT ride on top of it. Snow is completly different from sand or mud, in both of those situations the increased footprint from lower pressure is a help. I'll stick to my E range tires at full pressure.
  12. 75

    75 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,382

    Depending on where you're located, running studded tires will get you into trouble with "The Law" - for example, here in Ontario.

    As for dropping the psi, I'll keep my tires aired up to the "max" too, especially on the front. Sidewall strength might be greater on an "E" rated tire, but running with the pressure down and the GVW up (plow adds a lot of weight up front, as does a spreader in back if so equipped) isn't going to do much for tire life. With the cost of those things (6 of 'em in my case) I want them to LAST!
  13. CT18fireman

    CT18fireman Banned
    Messages: 2,133

    I actually go up in pressure in the winter. With added weight of a plow and a spreader there is alot of stress on the tires. Also with the cold temps air pressure actually goes down a bit. I run the max on the trucks and have never had a problem with traction.
  14. Ohiosnow

    Ohiosnow Senior Member
    from Ohio
    Messages: 415

    Studded Tires

    NO NO in Ohio, studds will get you in big trouble with the law & ODOT. Brent
  15. thelawnguy

    thelawnguy PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,011

    Snow tires need to be fully inflated. You get the grip on snow from the snow stuck in the tread sticking to the snow on the ground.

    My truck came stock with 245/75-16 tires, once they wore out I went with a taller but narrower 235/85-16, the narrower tires seem to slip less.
  16. Tommy10plows

    Tommy10plows Senior Member
    Messages: 345


    I used a L78 x 15 goodyear mud and snow tire on my pickups, and 8.55 x 15 general snows on the jeep cj's. but I always chained the front axle tires for any storm because some of the residentials I did were for homes carved in the side of first mountain. When things were really bad I chained all four wheels. My earliest jeeps ran 6.95 x 16 generals. And I ran c78 x 15's on my old volvo. Float - no way, these sizes cut in to any snow because of their narrow width. I never used studded tires either. Too much potential for damage to customer drives.

    I considered these tires all season tires because I left them on during hockey season, baseball season and football season. They also worked great during fishing season and hunting season too. They would thump a bit during Christmas season because when they got cold overnight they would get flat spots until they were run for a bit.

    Never under-air your tires when plowing. you have no reserve of you get a small leak and you kill the sidewalls, lose the center bite of the tire, and cause them to heat up and chunk off if you drive at highway speed and don't put the air back in.
  17. LawnSmith

    LawnSmith Member
    Messages: 45

    please, please read the entire post before comenting. i answered most of the questions and negative feedback in the first two sentences.

    i was simply stating an increase in traction in general and NOT while plowing.

    if you think i am full of it just grab a 4 wheel drive mag and read up on trail pressures.
  18. Kent Lawns

    Kent Lawns PlowSite.com Veteran
    Messages: 315

    I think tire requirements are different with trail riding/ dune running than snowplowing.

    STUDS: Our company doesn't use studs, but I know a lot who do.
    The new composites don't mark like the old ones did. As far as the DOT? Please! when is the last time the DOT pulled you over in a snowstorm and checked your tires.

    As technology progresses, I can see it being the wave of the future.
  19. Ohiosnow

    Ohiosnow Senior Member
    from Ohio
    Messages: 415

    Studs -- ODOT

    Last year 2 guys I know got ticketed & fined for studs. One was turned in by State plow driver & the other was by Twp. plow driver. Funny thing was the first guy sold the tires to the second guy after he got busted, week later second guy gets ticketed & he knew the other guy was ticketed for the studded tires. He just couldn't pass on a good price on the tires,after the ticket & fine he could have bought 2 sets of tires. Some guys never learn. Brent
  20. thelawnguy

    thelawnguy PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,011

    Converting letter size to metric?

    Can anyone tell me the metric equivalent to GR78-15? I was given two brand-new Firestone t&c (mold nubs still on the tread) and will use them on the car if they are a close fit size-wise.