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Discussion Starter #1
I just bought a used 2007 RAV4 Sport AWD 4cyl. I'd like to take it to the PNW Cascade mountains this winter. So I'd like to get winter tires and rims for it. This is where I started: Winter / Snow Tires

The all-season tires currently on the vehicle are 235/55R18 100v

But it appears I don't actually need to get 18" rims for the winter set.
Further, is it actually advisable to get smaller 16" tires for winter?
Smaller is cheaper, and I like that!

Looking at Tire Rack's website, they recommend: 215/70R16
Again, is this the best size for me?
Should it matter whether I get cheap steel or fancy something-else? Steel appears heavier. So it would give me worse gas mileage? Would it give potentially better traction? I'm guessing no.

And can I stroll into a cheap tire shop and pick up 4 used steel rims sized 215/70R16 then have the same size tires put on those?
It appears I have TMS too. Is that important? Tire Rack charges over $200 to install the sensors! I feel like that's totally not worth it as I can just keep an eye on the tire pressure.

Thanks!
 

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For my 2013, I found some 18" OEM rims on Craigslist from a 2006 RAV4 Sport, so take a look to see what you might be able to find. I paid $200 for the set. Steel rims are OK - a bit heavier, and if you are changing them out yourself or storing them, that's the biggest downside (for me anyway). Maybe an issue with rusting over time if they use a lot of salt up that way. Here in Michigan salt is a huge factor.

As far as TPMS go, you are going to have a hard time finding anyone to mount the tire on the rims you find without them. I tried a couple of tire shops and they wouldn't touch my rims w/o TPMS transmitters. They said it was against the law for them to mount them. I ended up doing it myself at a friends shop.

You might get away with going to a junkyard and buying 4 TPMS units that appear in good condition (working or not) and that might be your ticket past the tire pressure police. FWIW - I've been driving a fair amount of my life without these nanny-state things and am still OK.
 

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ravtrekker, why not just buy a set of winter tires and have a local shop mount them and the TPMS at the same time on your current rims? I have a set of winter tires for my '12 RAV that I bought from Tirerack and have them mounted and taken off at the turn of the seasons at my local shop. It's costs me $60 every switch. But for me it's easier than mounting them by myself as I've done with other vehicles where I had separate rims for summer and winter. You can also buy TPMS sensors separately for much less than what you quoted; I looked into it once but decided to pass.

MIRAV, not sure where you receive your info but I also live in Michigan and have several friends/family inlay enforcement and I can assure you that there is no way you're going to get a ticket from the "pressure police". No such citation.
 

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If you do get steel rims try to find hub-centric wheels. Some wheels that are lug-centric may require hub rings. Also wheels made from Toyota are usually of higher quality than aftermarket ones. (OEM are usually hub-centric)

As for TPMS you can decide if it is worth to have it or not. The TPMS light will be lit of course if it is not installed. Here in Canada our models don't come with it even.
 

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I think that the base base model came with 16" and that size. Most base models came with the value package and the 17" steel wheels. These were 225/65/17. Thus for a comparable 16" you would run 225/70/16". However there is that old adage that winter tires should be narrower so they "cut" down to pavement through the snow/slush. I don't follow this as modern winter tires use water absorption/dispersion to grip the snow/ice regardless of the amount of pavement contact. I like running the same size (at least relative) as the tires as the stock or summer. Running a slightly narrower tire can wear funny.

Now for buying wheels. My RAV4 came with wheels of the following spec.
-Size 17x7. You can change this to 16x6.5 or 16x7 with no issue
-Bolt pattern. 5x114.3mm (4.5"). 5=# of bolts. 114.3mm is the diameter of the circle that the studs sit on. This is something that is a must. 5x100 is very close and you can not tell the difference by eye, but it will not fit.
-Offset 45. You have some wiggle room here. Most wheels seem to be in the high 30's . This will be ok.
-center bore-60.1mm. This is the hole in the middle of the wheel. Most Japenese cars have wheels that are bore centric. Meaning that the wheel is centered by the bore on the hub. You must get a wheel that has a center hole 60.1 or bigger. 60.1 is a fairly common toyota size. Highlander and camry. If it is much bigger you will need a spacer to take up the space. Though the wheel will fit and everything might be fine there are 2 things that can happen. 1) the wheel is not centered and it will vibrate at highway speeds. 2) The wheel studs do not get loaded evenly, all the load can be loaded on one stud, and it can shear off, and then the next stud gets shock loaded and sheared off till ALL the studs get sheared off and you wheel flies off your truck going down the highway while towing a large trailer. Ok this probably won't happen to your RAV but it did happen to my friend in his Tundra.

TPMS-There is nothing wrong with not running this. If you have no type of inspection. I don't think they care in Portland. Legally a car that came with TPMS should have it when getting different wheels. Traditionally you get a new set of sensors each with their unique ID code that the TPMS computer reads. When swapping out winter wheels/tires the tire shop will need to program the computer to read the winter TPMS. Now sensors are or the copy/clone variety. The old TPMS ID is read and programmed into the new. Computer doesn't need top be messed with. Cost are coming down and can be had for about $100 each. Many times you might be able to work out a deal with the tire shop if you buy winter tires there. Friend got a whole set free at a tire pros in salt lake. She and her husband does alot of business with them and was hooked up.

Rims-Steel is ok. But I always prefer alloys. Best is to find some RAV4 rims; same offset and CB. Next would be to find some Camry or Highlander wheels. A few Camry wheels have the 45 offset. Highlander wheels are generally at least 7.5" wide, which is more wheel than you need but will still work.

Good luck, and tell us what you end up with. Sorry for the stream of though post. busy day today.
 

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Today I installed my 16 inch steel winter wheels from my previous 05 RAV4 and they fit my 09 Sport with no problem. The 16 inch wheel height appears to be close to the same as the 18 inch wheels.
 

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I was wondering myself if 16s would fit, I found a set of snow tires and wheels from a Highlander, 225/70-16 which is a close match to the 08 Limited 17s... most likely picking these up since the other sellers I contacted have not answered my emails.
 

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I have a 2012 RAV4 sport V6 (235-55-18) and purchased a set of 215-70-16 Nokian WRG2 tires on dedicated steel rims (hubcentric) for my winter wheels. No problems at all. It's nice not to have to worry about harming my alloy wheels. Also the taller sidewalls absorb bumps and pot holes well.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
All you folks are great! Thanks for the feedback. I especially appreciate MrPulldown for the detailed info.

I can attest that the only tire shop I visited here in Portland did not like the sound of installing rims without TPMS, since that is "safety equipment." Since we only have an emission test here in Portland (no safety inspection) I assume it's just a matter of finding a shop that will install wheels without it. Nanny-state is well said! (mlockhart, this is what tron meant by "pressure police.")

I'm still searching and thinking. I'm sure I'll have decided what to do by the spring. :)

Will report back here what happens.
 

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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
Well, I am very happy to give an update on finding winter tires...the post above turned out to be a great deal, and the wheels DID fit my RAV4. They were taken from a 2001 RAV4. This probably isn't very informative, but here it is:
[Edit: Apparently the photo button doesn't work! I've attached the photo instead.]
(Yokohama Geolander I/T 215/70R16 G072)

Add to this, I picked up a really nice Arcan 2.5 ton floor jack super cheap off CL!

I still have a couple questions though...

After talking with some tire shops, I am assuming that I am on my own changing the tires because the winter ones don't have TPMS and one shop said the fine was $10k if they are caught "disabling safety equipment."

So I'm wondering if I put the winter set on, drive for a few months, then want to put the all-season set on, will TPMS still need to be reprogrammed? The All-season tires are pretty nice 80k milers with lots of tread left and a warranty through Les Schwab. Will they not rotate them or honor the warranty if the TPMS is going off?

Also, my original lug nuts don't fit the wheels that I bought. Mine are not "acorn" style. Does anyone know what size lug nuts I need to get? I found these on Amazon: https://amzn.com/B00H1IBKIK [Acorn Wheel/Lug Nuts (12x1.5) 1.4" Tall, 3/4" Hex]
And it says they fit my RAV4.
 

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IF you have TEchstream, you'll see the ECU has room for 5 tpms sensors. Reprogramming is easy, and should be free. Americas Tires has a machine that they hold next to the valve to pick up the rfid signal, then connects to the obd2 port to program the ecu.

I'm running 16" highlander wheels right now. Selling my stock 17" wheel/tires
 

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So if you get a separate wheel and tire setup for winter with tpms installed inside, when swapping for winter and back(summer wheels/tires) do tire shops just swap the set and do not need to unmount anything to program tpms back and forth?
 

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Once you have TPMS sensors in each set of winter and summer wheels, the only thing that needs to be done is to re-program the sensors at each swap, no un-mounting of tires from wheels needed. America's Tire (aka Discount Tire) will do the swap and programming for free for life of the tires, since I bought both sets there.

I just had some Nokians installed, using my original stock wheels and added some $25 hubcaps on Amazon. Had first snow drive yesterday with them--just incredible fantastic grip! Going from my 17-inch alloy to my 16-inch stocks also gives a slightly smoother ride. 225/65/17 summer alloys vs 215/70/16 on the winters.

https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/Ph0FZwDvburnXUX7IJ1rqyilhNJCs_LNFJlng9UkNvnn39I4zdHhK5oU4gVW1wHIXe47OFSbgjsqWBKyHjI1EgJdN0HPBp0NtlME=w1920-h1080-rw-no
 
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