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I'm now spending more time in minimally plowed snow country, and the very low Insight clearance is getting annoying.

I think, think.. I recall seeing some posts about using larger rims and/or tires which would, perhaps, get me an inch or so higher off the ground.

(I'm currently using the OEM Potenzas).

Any suggestions? How much larger can I go with tire/and or rim?

(yes, I know it'll confuse the speedometer/odomotor/gas mileage readings).

Thanks muchly.
 

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I would not suggest going any wider then 175mm winter tires on the Insight. Narrower tires penetrate the snow better, watch rally cars compete in winter to see they use very narrow winter rally tires.
And winter tires that have a larger diameter without being much wider can you help by 0.5 inches at most.

If ground clearance is an priority for deep snow try 175/65R14 winter tires to get a little extra ground clearance while not being too wide.
In the past I used 175/70R13 Toyo G02+ winter tires and now I'm using 165/65R14 Nokian RSi winter tires. I prefer my new tires because they grip ice much better and penetrate snow better.
Using a larger rim and wider tires to fit a larger tire diameter will reduce snow traction because the Insight will just float on the snow more and spin the tires. Keep in mind the wider the rear tires the more drag they make in snow causing the front tires to work even harder.

Just switching from the "no season" OEM Bridgestone RE92 tires to winter tires of the same size will make a drastic improvement in grip on snow and ice. In fact when snow is soft, winter tires allow the Insight to drive through snow deeper then the ground clearance. Just don't drive in reverse in deep snow because the plastic and metal panels under the engine will get ripped apart (don't ask me how I know...)

When driving on country roads in winter, bring a long tow rope and know how to connect the eye bolt to your front bumper.
 

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Another option would be to put spacers under the spring mounts. A 1/4" spacer would raise the car more than 1/2" and not really affect anything else. It would be a pretty major project, though.

The ones I've seen for the Miata are aluminum rings about 4" in diameter, 3.75" inside diameter, and about 1/4" thick. They allow you to get a stock height suspension when using aftermarket "performance" shocks that have the springs mounts in a position that lowers the car.

Pretty major project, though, and equally hard to reverse out of...

You could also run chains, you know...would not help the ground clearance but maybe they would get you where you want to go?
 

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I just moved from Montreal to an area of Quebec where it is colder and snows a little bit almost every other day. We haven't seen the pavement here in the last 5 of 6 weeks. Until a few days ago, I had 155/80/13 Yokohama Guardex 720 snow tires on the car, mounted on Civic VX rims. They were quite good, but I still didn't have all the grip I wanted, what with the constant packed snow cover, ever present ice and extreme wind conditions.

My solution was to upgrade to studded 155/80/13 Nokian Nordman 2 tires. Now we're talking. Short of 100 section studded Michelin rally tires, this is probably as good as it gets. The studded tires grip so much that I now drive too fast for the conditions everywhere. A bit counter productive, I know, but I am really having a blast with these tires. Ground clearance might be improved a little bit, but not enough to mention. I run less air pressure to help with traction also, so whatever benefit the 155/80/13's have is lost there.

Everyone should understand that in winter, you want the narrowest possible tires. More weight per square inch touching the ground is what you want. I think that Guillermo rightfully pointed this out in the past: look at the rally cars doing the winter rounds of the WRC. They have the narrowest tires they can fit.

The Insight is a much better car in the summer on 155/80/13 tires as well, but that is a subject for another discussion!!
 
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