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I am looking for advice on winter tires for an M3 I am about to take delivery on. BMW recommends 18-inch tires for the winter. However, I am looking to purchase aftermarket rims and the options are much better with 19-inch. Research indicates that 18-inchers are better for cutting through snow, less damage from potholes. Others have posted that 19-inchers perform fine in the winter. What are you thoughts on this? – Greg

My thoughts are to go with the 18-inchers for several reasons.

First, BMW is globally respected for the dynamic prowess of its vehicles – with the M-series at the head of the class. If BMW engineers say 18-inch winters are the way to go, I would be the last to disagree.

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Secondly, as you have stated and BMW knows, the higher profile and slightly more narrow tread of the 18-inch tire will make it slightly more likely to push through heavy snow than ride atop it without sacrificing much in the way of contact patch.

And lastly, while there may be a wider choice of 19-inch aftermarket wheels, they will be covered in grit and grime most of the time through the winter months.

And don't forget that winter conditions, especially near spring, mean nasty potholes and the increased likelihood of damage to expensive wheels wrapped in low-profile rubber.

Send your auto maintenance and repair questions to globedrive@globeandmail.com

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