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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Last August I bought a 2017 Forte5 SX which I love driving every day in the SF south bay area. My family lives up in Reno, NV and I typically drive up there for the Christmas holidays. During the winter season there are snow patrols near Donner Pass and other points where they will not let you proceed without snow chains. The KIA handbook says not to use snow chains under any circumstances on the 18" tires that came as standard equipment on the car. Can I get 16 inch wheels with snow tires to use on winter trips that will not void the KIA warranty if I have to use tire chains? All ideas and possibilities will be appreciated! Oh, I'm new here, so please forgive me, if this has been covered before!
 

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The problem with chains and 18", or actually particularly this vehicle, is the clearance.

Do you have to have the chains ON when entering or only present when approaching?
Would winter tires be enough for them?

Many folks run 16" winters, including me. Would I put chains? I could if I was using 205/55x16 or 195/60x16. The one I have is 205/60x16 and there is a little clearance, especially if you have mud flaps.

I think the problem with 18's is their tire profile. There is not much of a sidewall for the chain to sit properly and you can have them either slip off or get the rim damaged from rubbing chains.

Finally, using chains will not void warranty itself. Any damage resulting from such use could be denied as covered. But then again, warranty stays intact.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
They will not let you proceed without the chains being on.

The all season tires are Nexen 225/40/18 are what's on the car now.
Do I need to replace the front wheels to use the 16" winters? Or can I put snow tires using 205/55/16 on the wheels I currently have? I don't have mud flaps. I would only have to use the chains for about 50 miles, when passing through that section.

Would using snow tires just for the front be alright? (since I'll be driving in winter conditions very infrequently) .

thanks!
 

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Using two tires only is a bad idea.

You cannot install 205/55x16 on 18" rim, so this is out...

Can't you install the chains? I mean, what else may happen? It is a short stretch of the road, get the chains, try to put them on. If they fit - you are OK, if they do not - return them.

If you MUST have chains, getting snow tires will be pointless as they will make you to put the chains anyway.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Yes, I can find chains that will fit. I'm just apprehensive about the damage it may cause because of the very narrow clearance. But, I did see narrow chains that probably won't cause damage (I hope) if used for a short stretch.

Besides, being allowed to proceed, there is the issue of staying on the road. This stretch sometimes is plagued with black ice.
It seems that if I want to stay safe, I should get a set of 4 snow tires for the existing wheels and have a pair of chains that hopefully, I won't be forced to use.
Btw, I appreciate your feedback.
 

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I am not sure what damage can be done.
Any chains can damage wheels... Low clearance happen in tight turns, like more than 180 deg steering wheel turn, so you should be OK.
I would rather get chains if you are dealing with ice. Steel will cut into ice. Rubber will roll... besides you would have to swap the rubbers each time you go there. PITA. Not to mention the cost. It was cheaper to get set of wheels with tires at 205/60x16 than getting rubbers only for 225/40x18.

Just adjust the tire pressure when experiencing huge temperature changes.
 
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