What are auto makers thinking with all the 17"+ wheels?

JHZR2

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It amazes me. I see newer cars all over the place, and theyre decked out with OE fittment 17 and 18" wheels/tires. I was reading something about the new dodge charger police car. It was to be fitted OE with 18" wheels and tires. Im all for quality tires. In fact, Im all for all season performance (H rated or higher) tires being fitted to all cars... cars with rock bottom cheapo tires scare me a little. But what scares me more is when all these cars end what is likely their lease period, and are returned, and someone buys a used car, and puts cheap tires on it, and then drives them bald, there are bound to be more and more failures. Its not like this hasnt happened a lot in the past. sure it has, even when cars actually came with p155r13 tires that were less than $100 a set. But nowadays, with one of these large tires being well over $100, I cant see how the average joe consumer who overlooks this stuff and wants to minimize their cash outlay will deal with it. Sure they look cool, but do you really want average non-PM driver types skimping out and going with balder, more worn tires than ever before? Do you want your tax dollars going to putting 18" wheels onto police cars? Isnt it generally accepted that little handling improvement is gained after you pass 17" wheels? I dont see that big of rotors being used in the maximas and other 18" wheel vehicles. Sure economies of scale work, but these things are inherntly expensive. I cant see prices ever coming down that much. Long live the 14 15 & 16" wheel! JMH
 

JHZR2

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yeah but how many of the people that buy/lease maximas actually install them? JMH
 
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Ten years ago when I was 16 my first car had some odd size 14" tire that cost $60 a tire.Alot for me at the time since the car was involved in a wreck and it tires every 5,000 miles in the front. Since then I strived to get the most common vehicle I could find including looking at wheel and tire size. Finding parts for an "Oddball" car gets exspensive real fast. Its no accident I own the 3 of the most common cars in America. Which is the Honda accords which I own and so my chevy truck. Tires are exspensive no matter what car you own unless they are 13 thru 15 inch 70/75 series.
 
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I went from a car with 205-70-13 tires to one with 205-55-16. The only difference is that the 16'' have a bigger hole in them and cost twice as much. The outside is the same.
 
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quote:
Originally posted by JHZR2: It amazes me. I see newer cars all over the place, and theyre decked out with OE fittment 17 and 18" wheels/tires.
This is what the market wants, and this is what the market gets. Some people care about looks and/or handling, and so they get it. Instead of having to buy an aftermarket set from TireRack, they can get it from the factory as an optional/sport package/whatever deal. Most of these cars also come in basic versions with 15" or 16" rims.
quote:
I was reading something about the new dodge charger police car. It was to be fitted OE with 18" wheels and tires.
On a police car, that is kind of stupid, I agree, unless there are brake clearance issues. This car is made to be run to the ground, potholes and such. The rims will get destroyed in no time.
quote:
Im all for quality tires. In fact, Im all for all season performance (H rated or higher) tires being fitted to all cars...
Meh, all-seasons aren't particularly good in any season. If you want to get the most performance, dedicated summer and winter tires are the way to go. Now, if someone buys those OE 17" or 18" wheels, they most likely have summer tires on them, so if one lives up north, he'll have to buy another set of winter tires. Many people don't think about that at the time of car purchase.
quote:
But what scares me more is when all these cars end what is likely their lease period, and are returned, and someone buys a used car, and puts cheap tires on it, and then drives them bald, there are bound to be more and more failures.
If someone is a cheapskate, he'll end up buying the cheapest used tires he can find, regardless of size. As far as 'bald' - all bald tires are dangerous, whether they were cheap or expensive to begin with.
quote:
But nowadays, with one of these large tires being well over $100, I cant see how the average joe consumer who overlooks this stuff and wants to minimize their cash outlay will deal with it.
If he wants the car to drive, he'll have to deal with it. Other choice would be to sell the car. The most important is that the tire has sufficient tread depth to provide traction on wet pavement. If the average Joe doesn't realize this - well, let the natural selection process take its place. Let's just hope he doesn't kill anyone else along with himself.
quote:
Isnt it generally accepted that little handling improvement is gained after you pass 17" wheels?
Depends on tire size (overall diameter). For example, going from 225/45/17 to 225/40/18 you won't improve handling much, but going from 225/55/17 to 225/50/18 may be another story.
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I dont see that big of rotors being used in the maximas and other 18" wheel vehicles.
Depends on the car. Some of the more sporty cars have big brakes. For example, nothing smaller than 17" rims will fit on the current Audi S4. And even then, the rim has to have a very particular spoke design to clear the calipers. There's better rim selection in 18" sizes.
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but these things are inherntly expensive. I cant see prices ever coming down that much.
They probably won't. They're expensive not because manufacturing costs more (well, a little), but because the market can bear it. The idea is, if you were able to afford those big fancy wheels to begin with, then you can surely spend some more money on tires once in a while. Surely, there will be some people who don't realize this and will get surpised when it's time to replace their tires. Most of these high perf. tires also wear out faster than the more generic ones.
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Long live the 14 15 & 16" wheel!
Depends on the application and on what one likes. Personally, I prefer crisp handling and something like a 195/70/14 tire will never give me this. You can't even get a decent high perf. tire in this size. 205/55/16 is where you start to get a good tire selection and decent performance. 225/45/17 delivers even better handling, but ride quality takes a dump unless you have relatively smooth roads to drive on. It's all about priorities, me thinks. [Smile]
 
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Originally posted by Quattro Pete: The rims will get destroyed in no time.
Actually, I take that back. I just saw what tire sizes this thing is running - 225/60/18. That's a pretty tall sidewall, so the rim is rather well protected. But that's a huge tire (diameter-wise)! A lot of unsprung weight. What are the hp/torque figures on this Charger?
 

JHZR2

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I think it comes with these in the base form (3.5L v6), with ~250 hp/tq, and also the same with the hemi form, v8, 350/390 hp/tq. JMH
 
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As larger wheels become more common the price will go down. I remember going to a tire store to replace the 225/50-16 Pirelli P7 tire on my mom's '83 Porsche 928S and the guy quoted me a price well over $200. Now you can get better tires in the same size for half that price partly because that size is not considered an exotic size anymore. Same thing with ABS, 4 valves/cyl, S/DOHC, alloy wheels, etc. What seems cutting edge now becomes old hat very quickly.
 
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quote:
Originally posted by CapriRacer: A lot of this is driven by the need for bigger brakes. However, some of this is driven by marketing folks who want a bit of "bling, bling", in their vehicles.
Very true on both counts. The problem I have with large diameter rims/tire combos is their inheritant high unsprung weight. No manufacturer is going to fit lightweight rims (and this is relative) to price their products out of the segment they are going after. Couple the large heavy wheels with a heavy runflat tire and you could have a tire/wheel combo that approaches 75-100 lbs or even higher. Then, there's the rotational inertia that those large diameters/heavy weights bring...
 
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quote:
Originally posted by CapriRacer: A lot of this is driven by the need for bigger brakes. However, some of this is driven by marketing folks who want a bit of "bling, bling", in their vehicles.
NEED for bigger brakes or more bling bling? Only irresponsible idiots drive hard enough on the public highways to over heat their brakes. I seldom see any corner workers on the highways, so don't drive like I am on a race track. In some cases, a reasonable person might have trouble in a loaded truck, but that isn't what this thread is about.
 
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Right on! I don't think the pontiac vibe econo-wagon comes with less than 16" wheels. Wonder if 15s would fit for snow tires. With snows, one wants a tall skinny flexible sidewall and narrower tread width. They should list a set of steel wheels for winter tires in their accessories catalog just to reassure folks that it's possible.
 
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Don't forget that asbestos was removed from brake pads some time back and things haven't been the same since. I get the impression that the brake folks are still recovering from that and using bigger brakes is just one way of making it easier to make it all work.
 
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Silver Spring, MD (USA)
Don't forget that alot of time with the newer cars, you can downsize the wheels. Sell the larger ones on a car forum, use the money for some nice forged lighter, and smaller rims, and reap the benefits of better gearing, better mileage, better braking, better handling, and better acceleration. Unsprung Weight and rotational inertia are killers to car performance in so many ways.
 
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My 2003 Dodge truck has 17in wheels, evidently to clear the massive looking discs front and rear. When I had the tires rotated at Costco I heard one of the techs say to another 'OH MY, look at these', and I asked what was wrong; he said the brakes were huge :^) But finding good 17in load range E tires has been like the search for the Holy Grail, especially snow rated ATs.
 
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Wisconsin
I would like to offer an interesting observation and a funny, (depending on perspective), story: Observation: At the local autocross races I see a number of drivers bring in their cars on large diameter custom rims and swap to smaller rims. Some drivers go with tiny 13 inch rims with hugely wide Hoosiers. In talking with some of the drivers, they see their times improve when using smaller diameter rims with moderate profile tires. My observation sees many 225/50 and 205/50 series tires. Vettes, Mustangs, 350Zs, etc are running larger rubber, but still not many are upsizing from stock diameter rims. The Funny Story: I was at Sears getting a set of 195/60-15 Eagle GT-HRs mounted and another customer sat down. We were talking and he was shocked to find that the replacement cost for tires on his Dodge Ram was over $800. The truck had 20 inch rims that sold him when he was shopping. He was less pleased at the moment. I did not point out that I was shelling out $225, (before a rebate), for the Eagles. To each their own.
 
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Bremerton, WA
quote:
Originally posted by crossbow: Don't forget that alot of time with the newer cars, you can downsize the wheels. Sell the larger ones on a car forum, use the money for some nice forged lighter, and smaller rims, and reap the benefits of better gearing, better mileage, better braking, better handling, and better acceleration. Unsprung Weight and rotational inertia are killers to car performance in so many ways.
You're deluding yourself unless your rims are REALLY piggish. Rule #1 of wheels and tires: aluminum weighs less than rubber, inch for inch. This is why when you go to a 17" wheel, the tire weight drops significantly, even though you could possibly see a wheel weight increase. Larger, forged wheels are ridiculously light (depending on how much you want to pay)- Rays Engineering (VOLK) builds 18x8.5 wheels that weigh 13lbs. That's insanely light (also not cheap). When i went from 205/55/16 to 235/45/17 my tires increased in width by 30mm, decreased in height significantly, and shaved nearly EIGHT POUNDS off their weight. It also helped that my new wheels (17x8) weigh 19lbs, and my old 16x6 crapulences weighed 27lbs. Overall, that's an almost 16lb savings per corner. viva la revolution! The reason a lot of guys are running tiny wheels in autox is that they can run hugely wide tires on a somewhat low profile (way different than stock) that makes their gears shorter (benefit #1) and also allows them to turn them. You often can't fit a 10-12" wide tire on a car and still lock-lock the wheel. [Wink] that'd be benefit #2. anywho.
 
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