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Highlander Hybrid Tire/Wheel Questions

qqqqqqqq Member Posts: 7
Does anyone have a good recommendation for Snow/Winter tires that they have run on their HH?

I live in Calgary and need a tire more suitable to Icy and Snow conditions.


  • kullenbergkullenberg Member Posts: 283
    Read the article in Canadian Driver (on line magazine). They recomend Nokians
  • cdptrapcdptrap Member Posts: 485
    Like Kullenberg says, we are going with Nokian. We are down in US, northern California. Friends in Redding and Mt. Shasta city use Nokian for winter driving in snowy conditions. They like them a lot so I guess we will soon find out for ourselves.

    Nokian is hard to find in the US and I cannot find the exact size for the HH: 225/65-17. They do have 235/65-17 that supposedly will fit the HH. A tight fit for the rear wheel well but should do OK.

    Please let us know what you decide to buy.
  • kullenbergkullenberg Member Posts: 283
    "I cannot find the exact size for the HH: 225/65-17. They do have 235/65-17 that supposedly will fit the HH. A tight fit for the rear wheel well but should do OK."

    I mounted this size in the Nokian WR (winter rated all season), and they are fine. I have the nav system so had to do a recalibration per the manual.
  • cdptrapcdptrap Member Posts: 485

    Thanks for confirming it!!!

    How does the WR work in snow and ice? Do you feel confident with it in such conditions?

  • kullenbergkullenberg Member Posts: 283
    "How does the WR work in snow and ice? Do you feel confident with it in such conditions?"

    Don't know, first hand , yet. Canadian Driver rates them very well, in this regard. Of course, dedicated snow tires would be better, but by all reports, these do very well. I have 10k miles on them so far,and no apparant wear. I'm in the mtns of w. NC, so we get a fair amount of snow. This winter will tell the tale. :confuse:
  • qqqqqqqq Member Posts: 7
    Thanks Kullenberg I'll be interested to here how they work. Interesting that a tire designed by a European Tire Manufacturer for European Winters is so highly rated. I've personally never used a Nokian before.

    I am unsure about a bigger tire as last winter the rear wheel wells were getting packed with snow in several snow storms here. I am worried about that causing problems, however, availability of 225 65 R17 tires seems to be low. :(
  • kullenbergkullenberg Member Posts: 283
    The Nokian is only .2" greater in diameter, and .39" (10mm) greater width. The comparison can be looked at:
    This a useful tire size comparison calculator.
    As to a European tire mfg making winter tires,; many serious winter tires are sourced from Europe. Nokians are from Finland, and the Finns certainly know about winter.
  • cdptrapcdptrap Member Posts: 485
    We have been running on 235/65-17 GY Fortera SilenetArmor since last Fall. The change in size is negligible. After a winter of driving through mud and snow, it seems to be fine. We did pay attention to clearance under the rear coil spring and the turn angle in the front wheel wells. While the rear remains tight, the front has plenty of room.

    We are narrowing it all down to Hakka SUV and WR SUV, now we just need to decide on wheels, something simple and strong.
  • 8241582415 Member Posts: 38
    We had a set of Dunlop SJ6 on last winter in Northern Ontario and they worked great on both ice and snow. Tracked the roads like a hound. :)
  • cdptrapcdptrap Member Posts: 485
    Just a quick reminder to all of us Californian drivers.

    Regardless of what our car manufacturers say, regardless of what magical snow tires (even studded tires) we all have on our HH, by CA laws, all cars entering chain-control areas MUST carry chains in the trunk ready for use. No chains, no passage.

    CA DOT GOV site specically points out that there are chain devices for tight clearance vehicles (like the HH).

    Now back to regularly scheduled Snow Tires programming........ :shades:
  • terry92270terry92270 Member Posts: 1,247

    And, they sometimes don't even bother to check, but they will ask, or the signs will state you must carry them.....

    Should you get stuck, or become involved in an accident, they will check. And I doubt if anyone not from California can imagine the fine. $1000+ :surprise:
  • stevedebistevedebi Member Posts: 4,098
    "CA DOT GOV site specically points out that there are chain devices for tight clearance vehicles (like the HH). "

    Also known as cables. Does the owner's manual give instruction on snow cables (type S, probably), and how to install them?
  • terry92270terry92270 Member Posts: 1,247
    I am fairly certain the package the cables come in will do that....
  • discussion1discussion1 Member Posts: 103
    I have not seen any instruction in our HH manual about chains. Do be careful that the rear tires *cannot* use normal chains or cables that cover the whole tire. There is very little clearance under the coil spring. Most chains or cables will strike that rear spring. The front wheel well has enough room for normal full-coverage chains.

    If you plan to install only over the front drive wheels (HH is really FWD), then a normal full-coverage chain will work. If you want to install over all four tires, then you will need to get something special for the rear tires. CA Dept. of Transportation FAQ said something about Spike Spyder and I checked their site. It supposedly covers the outer half to outer two-third of the tires only. May be it will work.

    My gut feel is that a real top-notch set of four snow tires on the HH will cover most Winter conditions leaving the chains only for the worst or the most severe conditions. In such severe conditions, it may be better to stay off the road. So may be a pair of chains over the front tires will satisfy the CA requirement and still get us through most Winter driving.
  • terry92270terry92270 Member Posts: 1,247
    The State of California, just like most States, require chains for the main drive wheels, I was just told by a CHP officer. I have no idea how that plays with the HH, as it isn't a FWD, but AWD...
  • discussion1discussion1 Member Posts: 103
    CA DOT FAQ says that for AWD and 4x4, chains on either axle will do but DOT prefers chains on the rear tires unless the manufacturer recommends front axle. The HH does not have full-time rear axle so it is for all practical purposes a FWD even though CA may consider it an AWD.

    We will get snow treads this year. It just makes driving in the Sierras a lot simpler and a lot sure footed too. Snow treads, chains in front (or rear) and VDIM, we are ready!
  • terry92270terry92270 Member Posts: 1,247
    See you there! :)
  • texmex627texmex627 Member Posts: 3
    Has anyone put 18" wheels on a Highlander Hybrid? Whats has been your experience. Do they improve or inhibit road feel and handling? Note -The Lexus RX has an 18" wheel option.
  • shilohladyshilohlady Member Posts: 24
    Instructions regarding chains are on page 396 of my user manual. Use chains on the front wheels only.
  • cdptrapcdptrap Member Posts: 485
    Thank you thank you thank you! These old eyes could not find it until your post. Now we only need to bring one pair of chains for the front!
    Thanks again and thanks to everyone who clarified this chain usage issue.
  • claudiainakclaudiainak Member Posts: 1
    Its our first year with our highland hybrid, can we use only two snow tires in the back or do i need to buy all four? suggestions are very much appreciated!
  • cdptrapcdptrap Member Posts: 485
    Safest is four snow tires on all four wheels. If it must be two, they should go on the front permanent drive axle of the HH and not in the back. The HH is a FWD.

    If your HH has 4WDi, it will be worthwhile to have Snow treads on all four wheels. This can keep you moving in conditions that stop other less well-equipped cars. This capability is priceless when it is dark, there is a snow storm and you are miles from home. I have had too many of those when we lived in Michigan.

    All safety systems rely on some traction on some of the tires to function. So if there is no traction, there is nothing the on-board safety systems can do. If the HH has traction in the front only, then the rear can still slip and slide in a worst case scenario. Ideally, the Traction Control can handle that if it can find traction in one of the rear tires. But if you hit a patch of ice and the rear tires completely lose traction, the front will try to go where you steer but the rear may wag. So it is safest to have snow treads on all four.
  • terry92270terry92270 Member Posts: 1,247
    Claudia, Cdptrap is exactly right! :)
  • 2006rsx2006rsx Member Posts: 32
    Should work just fine. Maintaining the stock tire outside diameter, with 18" wheels you get shorter sidewalls which flex a lot less. The ride will be firmer, but the handling will tighten up some. They even show 19" and 20" wheels/tires as viable options for a Highlander over on The Tire Rack site.
  • qqqqqqqq Member Posts: 7
    I'm picking up my 235 65 R 17 Nokian Hakka SUV Winter Tires tomorrow. I'll tell everyone about the performance after i try them for a week or so.

    Research says they are some of the best snow tires on the market for a light truck.
  • qqqqqqqq Member Posts: 7
    I've now been driving on these tires in Calgary for the last 6 days. Wintery conditions: Quite Icy and Moderate Snow. So far I am very pleased. They grip very well in all conditions, easily clear themselves of snow/ice and also look good on my HyHy.

    Only downside was cost. Was thinking of Michelin Latitude X-Ice since they were not XL rated and hence were 70 Cdn $ cheaper. Unfortunately not in stock at the time with no ETA as well. So went with the Nokian's. Mounted them on Core Racing Evo-7's which were also on sale.

    Nothing would prevent me from recommending these snow tires to anyone who experiences real winter.

    Safe winter driving to you all. :)
  • cdptrapcdptrap Member Posts: 485
    Thanks qqqq! The info from real-world use really helps.
  • 2006rsx2006rsx Member Posts: 32
    Width and offset info would be most helpful. Or just look inside the back of the wheel and tell me what numbers are cast/stamped into it. Thanks!
  • cdptrapcdptrap Member Posts: 485
    Just a reminder - CA Hwy patrol has reported that most people who have AWD or 4WD SUV do not know the limits of their vehicles when driving in snow and ice. These people are practically always the ones who get into accidents in the Sierras. They think their cars can go faster than is safe even in winter condition on high mountain roads.

    We watched our friend drove/slid his 4WD SUV off a road in the Sierra exactly for this reason. He has never driven a real 4x4 and had no experience with limitation of 4WD. At the time, he had no true snow (only M/S junk) tires and refused chains. He has since taken a course out in Hollister Hills and became a relatively safe driver.

    Please slow down in our HH, have fun on the slope, get great MPG and get home safely in one piece this winter!
  • mroczkamroczka Member Posts: 11
    Can anyone tell me their experience with the standard goodyear tires that comes on the HH Limited. I live in an area where they really do a good job of snowplowing and since I(I.m retired, I'm wondering should I stay with these tires, or go for snow tires, My HH has 4WDi. There talking about a good snow storm coming (predicting 6" to 12" ) Can anyone give me their experience? Thanks
  • cdptrapcdptrap Member Posts: 485
    Assuming your stock tire is the Goodyear Integrity, the following are some info:

    1. The following link takes you to Goodyear's "rating" page so you can see how the tire comapres against others. - - enger

    2. Note the Integrity is a Minivan tire, *not* a SUV tire. I personally find it a soft, squishy cheap tire that hampers the handling characteristics of the HH but that is just my personal beef with this tire, you need not agree.

    3. The Integrity on our HH never last till Winter of 2006. We lost one to sidewall puncture in the Fall of 05 and replaced all four tires with another tire with thicker sidewall. The Integrity has a one-ply sidewall, really really lousy for a 2-ton SUV.

    We used Goodyear Regatta 2 tires on our minivan. This is the tire just above the Integrity on the Goodyear Tire Rating page. You will notice Goodyear ranks Regatta 2 *BETTER* than Integrity.

    We took our Sienna minivan (with Regatta 2 tires) to the Sierra on ski trips countless times. The tires did well on plowed road and did fine at low speed in fresh snow to about 2 inches thick and in packed snow of about 2 inches thick. It went through thick (6 inch plus) slush in Yosemite Valley OK as well. We only put on chains when chain control is imposed and we never had trouble with these tires in the mountains in winter. We make about 4 to 6 trips into the Sierras every Winter so we have some experience with Winter driving conditions.

    I am NOT recommending the Regatta 2 because it is a van tire. If you decide to change tires, please consider SUV tires. If you get snow tires, it will be even safer in winter condition.

    We are ordering the Hakka 2 snow tires for our 4WDi HH for added Winter driving safety.
  • cdptrapcdptrap Member Posts: 485
    We know the HH has no tire monitoring devices. We wish/hope that the VSC or VDIM system will detect difference in tire rotation speed and turn on the system-fault lamps if a tire has significantly low pressure than the others. Boy, were we completely WRONG.

    After a long freeway drive, we had one tire at 32.5 while the rest were at 38.5 and nothing on-board alerted us to this problem. Can't blame the car, it does not have any sensor in the wheels.

    Looks like time to shop for and install our own tire monitors. Has anyone done this and if you did, can you please share your experience?
  • nomorebenznomorebenz Member Posts: 109
    Significant is more around 25% underinflation. My last SUV's traction control (Mercedes) didn't complain until the tire got to around 14-16lbs.

    From the research I've done on tpm's, the main thing is to make sure the tires are still balanced after installation. The type that screw on the stem can leak on you, so make sure you install them properly.
  • 2006rsx2006rsx Member Posts: 32
    Just buy a gage for $15 and spend 5 minutes a week checking them. Much more reliable and A LOT cheaper!
  • cdptrapcdptrap Member Posts: 485
    We do check every week but that does not help when there is a failure in between and that's what happened this time.

    TPMS is a good investment. Even the cheapy standard version in our Sienna has helped us several times by providing early warning of tire problems. The last time the warning lamp came ON, my whole family was traveling and we were able to pull off the freeway and reached a gas station in time before both left-side tires went completely flat. We had hit something on the freeway that slashed the sidewall of both tires. The Sienna was so quiet, and the suspension system so cushy, we had heard nothing and felt nothing. If not for the warning lamp, we might have kept driving farther and at higher speed than we should under those conditions.

    Old fashion gauges are still useful but TPMS can be a real-time life-saver.
  • 2006rsx2006rsx Member Posts: 32
    O.K. I see.
  • billjacksonbilljackson Member Posts: 1
    After doing some research, we are also interested in the Hakka snow tires. I went to the Nokian website, however, and it appears that they don't make a 225/65/R17 - what we have on our 2006 4WD HH. Does anyone have any advice?
  • kullenbergkullenberg Member Posts: 283
    I put Nokian WR's in 235/65/17 on my 06. They work fine and are only less than 1% off. If you have the nav system, it has a recalibrate mode. Great tire in the snow and wet. Here is a link to a tire size calculator:
  • cdptrapcdptrap Member Posts: 485
    We also use 235/65-17, car runs fine. the calibration choice in the set-up menu recalibrates and the NAV works fine.
  • joemizjoemiz Member Posts: 6
    Looking for advice and /or opinions on choice for new tires for 4WD HH.

    60% of miles are Arizona highway - posted speed limit 75 MPH.
    30% city traffic
    10% gravel/sandy roads
    No plans for snow driving, but concerned about water traction (for "rainy" season).

    My choices are:
    Bridgestone Deuler Alenza
    Goodyear Fortera
    Michelin Cross Terrain

  • oliviaeoliviae Member Posts: 1
    I have just put some Blizzack or Blizzak? snow tires on my Toyota HH. In quick back and forth steering, the car doesn't seem to be in sync with the tires and I feel a little wiggling back and forth (not pulling) on a smooth straight path. I have talked with the tire guys and they are getting another make because they say that my snows are sometimes a little squirrely and soft. Does anyone have any experience with this? I live in Colorado and snows are important. Also, will I need studs? Thanks.
  • brioboybrioboy Member Posts: 24
    Hi Oliviae, I am in Whistler with my 06 HH, equipped with Michelin Energy LX4, rated M&S but I am looking for a real snow tire and Michelin Latitude was my first choice but on talking with dealers and checking the net, the best tire is the Nokian tyre. You can google it and find dealers in Colorado and they are probably a whole lot cheaper than Canadian dealers I have talked to so far. If anyone knows of a good deal in the Greater Vancouver area, I would appreciate hearing a recommendation. Forget Bridgestone, I had trouble with those on my Subaru and switched to Michelin.
  • monte8monte8 Member Posts: 75
    The 2008 HH owner's manual does specifically address tire chains and has instructions on installation.
  • monte8monte8 Member Posts: 75
    I just purchased a 2008 HH. It came with 245R55/19 tires. When I checked at, they do not show any snow tires in 19". They recommend 245R65/17 tires and wheels (without asking what size wheels and tires were standard). Of course the wheels are $125 each.

    Does anyone know of a source for inexpensive steel wheels to fit the HH?

    Any thoughts on the 17" replacing the 19". I understand that total width and diameter are the crucial measurements, but is there any problem with brake clearance?
  • brioboybrioboy Member Posts: 24
    The service manager at my Port Moody dealer tells me to forget about winter tires for a year or two as the M&S tires, new, are more than up to the rain and snow conditions on the Sea-to-Sky highway to Whistler. If severe conditions dictate, monte8 may need better advice but I personally would not substitute a 17 inch wheel for a 19 inch wheel.
  • monte8monte8 Member Posts: 75
    Keep in mind that the standard tire/wheel on the 2008 HH is 245/65R17. I think that "standard" is hypothetical because they are only shipping with option packages with the 19" wheels and tires.

    Further checking from other dealers seems to indicate that there are no snow tires from any manufacturer in 19" 55 series.
  • kullenbergkullenberg Member Posts: 283
    From the Tire Rack web site
    "Bridgestone Blizzak DM-Z3 (Light Truck/SUV Studless Ice & Snow) Warranty Rating 3

    * Size: 245/55QR19
    * Blackwall
    * QR Speed Rated

    * Price: $155.00 (each)
    * Estimated Availability:
    In Stock
  • monte8monte8 Member Posts: 75
    Well, that is a change. Last week those did not show up in my search.

    Thank you.
  • kullenbergkullenberg Member Posts: 283
    Nokian makes a WR that is very close:
    The overall diameter is only .6" less. A comparison can be made at:

    The WR is an all season tire with the snowflake, which denotes severe winter duty. I've had a set on my 06 HH for 30k mi and they still have lots of miles left and have performed great in snow. The Nokian site for the WR is:
    BTW; Nokians are made in Finland; they know about winter driving - they are a little hard to find, and they are not cheap.
  • jking3jking3 Member Posts: 8
    You know how they all pitch the fuel savings and whatnot of this vehicle? Nobody tells you that you'll be going through twice as many tires as normal because of the electroc motors. I guess their low-end torque pulls more rubber off the tires? I checked the tires on my Hybrid 2007 model they have a treadwear rating of 440, and yet I'm at 25k miles now and they are down to the wearmarks. Any possible money I would save on fuel goes into replacing tires, and we all know tires are one of the most difficult thing environmentally to get rid of... they sit in piles until they light on fire (by accident, of course) and cause lots of environmental damage.
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