Stupid question about new car wheels

Discussion in 'Chit-Chat' started by Charlie Spencer, Mar 9, 2019.

  1. Charlie Spencer

    Charlie Spencer Short tracks and road courses rule.

    Can I assume that the bigger the wheel, the more expensive it will be to replace the tires down the road? Given a choice between a base model with 15" wheels and the next trim package up with 16", is there any advantage to the bigger ones or is it just a styling choice?

    Oh, and same question regarding steel vs. alloy - other than styling, are there reasons to prefer on over the other?

    Last edited: Mar 9, 2019
  2. dpkimmel2001

    dpkimmel2001 Team Owner

    Not sure what kind of vehicle your talking about but based on my experience of purchasing tires for our current fleet of 4 vehicles in our household..... For our cars, those larger rim sizes mean a low profile tire and yes they are more expensive. Then again, you get what you pay for. You can get a cheap tire but therein lies the problem, they're a cheap tire. I usually end up buying good tires that last. I think in the long run, it pays off..... or not. ;)

    I prefer the alloy over the steel mainly because of appearance and also rust. PA's winter road salt is tough on vehicles. Rims rust and they look like crap. I try to get a wheel that looks great with not too much of a tight pattern to their openings. I like something that I can clean quickly when washing. A wheel that doesn't require anything more than a decent wipe of the surface rather having to run my fingers into tight spaces to clean. That takes too much time IMO.

    edit.... re-read title..... cars..... got it. :oops:
    Charlie Spencer likes this.
  3. Johali

    Johali Team Owner Contributor

    When I bought the new Ram truck I got the towing package with an 8 speed automatic transmission, 5.7 liter Hemi, 3.92 rear end, 32 gallon gas tank etc. Instead of 17" It came with 20" Aluminum alloy rims. Ram say's that it adds to the longevity of the tires, bigger payload and more efficient hauling. The bigger the tire the less revolutions it makes on the road and the longer it lasts. Or so they say.
  4. shark77

    shark77 Grab'n them by the *****!

    Not to knock you on the revs per mile on tires, but the difference is going to be less than 2% in diameter. So, say over 50,000 miles, it would mean the larger diameter tire would only have about 900 miles less equivalent wear all things being equal in compound and design of the tire.

    Based off of 265/70/17 and 275/60/20 tires on a RAM 1500.

    With that said, tire prices on those sizes look pretty close... The 17s run about $10/tire cheaper... So, I'd sock it all up to ride preference.
    LouieLouie likes this.
  5. Charlie Spencer

    Charlie Spencer Short tracks and road courses rule.

    Ride preference is comfort, and we're looking at cars that come with 15s and 16s.

    I'm never going to voluntarily live anywhere the highway department has a budget line item for salt. The appearance of the wheels isn't a factor for us as much as their price and function.

  6. Magnethead

    Magnethead Admin & Resident Techie Staff Member

    15 vs 16 there is neglible difference in tire cost. 16vs 20 it starts to get a little more expensive.

    The shorter sidewall does not deflect as much, yielding better handling and peak load capacity.
    Johali likes this.
  7. What kind of vehicle, car, truck, suv?

    15” tires are a dwindling animal, depending on the usage and size.

    As stated above, the taller the sidewall the more compliant ( comfort ) they’ll be, given certain parameters. A 70 series tire will be more comfortable than a 60 series, generally speaking. However, a 70 series H rated tire probably won’t be as compliant as a 60 series that’s S rated.

    The speed rating will have a lot to do with comfort, the higher the rating, the more road feel you’ll feel. I forget the exact codes, but it used to be H 130, V 149, Z over 149. Now there’s W and I think Y, those are backets above 149 mph. Certain speed ratings will only be had in specific sizes, e.g. you won’t get a 235/60/15 tire in a W speed rating. I think....

    Wheels are preference, but alloy is lighter than steel, takes less effort to move, thereby offering slightly better fuel economy all things being equal.

    Keeping any wheel clean can be a PITA. The more ornate, the more annoying they become. Dirty wheels is also a function of the type of brake pad used. I always used factory pads, and they would dust the wheels sitting still. Switched to Hawk ceramic pads and did cartwheels come wash time.

    Both alloy and steel bend, so if you have a habit of hitting curbs or can’t seem to avoid any potholes, you’ll be bending them. The lower the tire profile, the greater the chance of bending them. They can be straightened, but at a cost. If replacing, steel will be cheaper than alloy, or at least should be.

    The tirerack has a tool to search tires by size. You can peruse that to see what tires cost in specific sizes and get an idea on what price points are.
    Charlie Spencer likes this.
  8. jws926

    jws926 Nissan Is Love, Nissan Is Life

    I will let you decide, 4 tires for our Nissan Altima, ran just over $500 after all the taxes and fees, and we got Goodyears, I am tire shopping for a two trucks, and for 4 Goodyears in truck size(17inch) is going to run before taxes and fees, if I go with the one set of Goodyears , around $440.

    I am getting on the lower end of tires if you will.
    Charlie Spencer likes this.
  9. Charlie Spencer

    Charlie Spencer Short tracks and road courses rule.

    @Big John Kordic , we're looking primarily at compact hatchbacks, small sedans. or maybe small crossovers. This is going to be a grocery-getter that makes maybe 4 or 5 trips a year within a 200 mile radius, and maybe one over 500. The car it's replacing averages about 9500 miles annually. Except in extreme emergencies, we stick to the speed limit.

    I notice that on most vehicles I've checked on line, the steel are standard on the lowest couple of trim lines, usually 15" or 16". The alloys are standard on the trim lines up from there are are always an inch larger. Most of what comes on those upper trim lines is stuff we don't care enough to pay more for, so we may wind up with the smaller steels by default.

    If it will save everyone the trouble, how clean the wheels stay or how hard they are to clean isn't a concern. If the drive-thru doesn't get them clean, they're on their own. (That applies to the whole car, for that matter.) As to salt and potholes (aren't they two sides of the same coin?), they aren't much of a concern here in South Carolina. We're pretty good about avoiding curbs.
  10. Charlie Spencer

    Charlie Spencer Short tracks and road courses rule.

    You're getting Goodyears and you think you're on the lower end? Come to Wally World with me. :D

    Maybe it's just the way we drive, but I've never had a bad experience buying brands I'd never heard of before I walked into Wal-Mart. I couldn't tell you what's on either vehicle right now, although I do know the fronts on the Ranger aren't the same make or age as the backs. All that money they dump into racing, down the drain...

    Maybe I'm overthinking this and there isn't enough difference to make it worth considering.
  11. Ok, in that case, tires shouldn’t cost you more than $400, delivered.

    At least through tire rack, as they have free shipping.

    I just ran a couple makes and tires can be had for under $100 each. Hankook, Kumho, Sumitomo, Cooper, etc. all “grocery getter” all season jobs.

    They have a feature where you buy them online, then shipped to an approved installer for M&B. You do nothing other than taking car to shop once delivered. The site shows what’s nearby and what they charge so you can choose.
    Charlie Spencer likes this.
  12. sdj

    sdj Just a race fan

    :lol2: :lol2: :lol2: (me either)
  13. Charlie Spencer

    Charlie Spencer Short tracks and road courses rule.

    Also never where the weatherman has working practical experience with 'lake effect snow'.
  14. DanicaFreak

    DanicaFreak Green monster

    its ok....

  15. lisa

    lisa Kurt Busch fan

    I have a flat as we speak. I'll do some calling around and see if I can a decent used one.

    If not, I'll have to get a new one.
  16. Zerkfitting

    Zerkfitting Team Owner

    The standard tires size from the factory have been getting bigger so those tire sizes are becoming more affordable based on volume. Steel wheels are heavy unsprung weight so they affect braking and acceleration. Plus larger wheels are only available in alloys.

    I run winter tires and summer tires so I needed an extra set of wheels. I use the stock rims for my winter tires because I think those will handle the winter chemicals better than an aftermarket wheel. I looked at hundreds of wheels trying to pick one; since I hand wash my car one factor was how easy would it be to clean. I ended up going with a set of Enkie wheels because they were reasonably priced and had a reputation for making strong wheels.
  17. kyle18fan

    kyle18fan Proud member of Rowdy Nation Contributor

    And a harsher ride
  18. Bobw

    Bobw Team Owner

    Hit one of the World Famous Southern New England potholes and more than likely that low profile tire will end up with a broken belt or side wall cords.
    If you're really lucky and trying real hard you might end up with a deformed rim too!

    BTW, low profile tires aren't really necessary to do damage,,,,BTDT
  19. Racer1930

    Racer1930 Team Owner

    For my local car here it Atlanta I just drive a Honda "Fit" I just drive around the potholes. The tires are borderline go-cart sized.

    One thing it has that is cool - 6-speed manual - normally I only need about 3 or 4 :)
  20. Racer1930

    Racer1930 Team Owner

    One thing it has that is cool - 6-speed manual - normally I only need about 3 or 4 :)[/QUOTE]

    Note: what I meant to say was - of course 1st gear is important to get "out of the hole" - but you can slam 2nd gear and then make other decisions :dunce:

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