How Do You Pick A Wheel Size When You Are Buying A New Car?

How To Pick Wheel Size When You Are Buying A New Car

How Do You Pick A Wheel Size When You Are Buying A New Car?

When buying a new car, you don’t have to stick with the factory-mounted wheels, but it’s extremely important that the wheels you choose are compatible with the vehicle. If they aren’t, it could cause damage to the car’s suspension, the tires or the wheels themselves, which is unsafe. If your vehicle’s wheels and tires are mismatched with the vehicle, it could cause the odometer or speedometer to read inaccurately, which may result in you speeding, unknowingly.

Fortunately, vehicle manufacturers provide a range of wheel sizes for each of their models, so there is room to make adjustments. Sticking to manufacturer-produced wheels is a safe choice, because they are designed with the same bolt pattern. This ensures a proper fit. With multiple sizes available with every vehicle model, drivers can find a wheel that provides an optimal mix of performance, comfort, fuel efficiency and aesthetics.

How does wheel size affect performance and handling?

When a vehicle’s wheel size changes, its performance and handling tends to change as well. That’s because a larger wheel usually means a lower tire sidewall height. As a tire’s sidewall height decreases, its performance characteristics also change.

In general, as tire sidewall height decreases, the vehicle’s performance and handling both improve. Larger wheels equal better handling and performance. This enhanced performance is most noticeable when making sharp movements, so they are preferred for street or racing settings. A large wheel also brakes better, as the tire will have a larger contact patch to work with.

How does wheel size affect fuel mileage?

That extra performance comes with an added fuel cost because larger wheels are heavy, and heavy means more rolling friction. In short, it takes more energy to move heavier wheels, and that energy is spent in the form of fuel. Larger, heavier wheels reduce a vehicle’s fuel efficiency. It costs more to operate a vehicle with heavier wheels, and larger wheels cost more. For many drivers, it comes down to a cost versus performance decision.

How does wheel size affect comfort?

Wheel size also affects how the vehicle feels when it’s in motion, though the tire’s characteristics will also have a major impact on feel, so consider both. Smaller wheels tend to provide a smoother, more comfortable ride. This is especially true in off-road or rough road conditions, as a smaller wheel produces less vibration and noise.

Are there are any other reasons why a driver would pick a larger wheel?

Many drivers prefer larger wheels, even if they don’t plan on taking their car to the track. That’s because a large wheel can give a car a sporty look, which many people prefer from a design standpoint. Aesthetics count for these drivers.

How can you tell if a tire will fit a particular wheel?

If you have a wheel size picked out, it’s time to fit it with a proper tire. A tire replacement service will have experts on hand to help match tires to wheels, but if you’re browsing, then pay attention to the tire’s sidewall. Every tire is marked with letters and numbers that reveal important information about the tire, including its size.

With most tires, you will see a series of letters and numbers. If the tire is designed for use in the U.S., you will see a P, LT, T or ST first. The letters refer to the vehicle that the tire is designed to fit, such as:

  • P means passenger vehicle.
  • LT means light truck.
  • ST means special trailers.
  • T means temporary spare.

When shopping for a tire, most drivers are looking for a tire with a P or LT designation.

The next three numbers refer to the tire’s width, in millimeters. The wider the tire, the more it contacts the road. This means better grip, handling and performance.

Following this number is a slash, and then another two-digit number on the other side. This is the tire’s aspect ratio and refers to the relationship between the tire’s width and its sidewall height. For example, if the number is 40, then the tire’s sidewall height is 40 percent of its width. A smaller sidewall height means better performance, but reduced comfort.

Next to the aspect ratio is a single letter, which refers to the tire’s construction. The majority of modern tires are made with radial construction, so you’ll likely see an R here.

The next number is an important one because it refers to the wheel diameter that the tire is designed to fit. This will be a two-digit number that is measured in inches. For instance, if you see an 18, that means the tire is designed to fit a wheel 18 inches in diameter.

Who can help drivers pick the right wheel for their car?

Tire replacement experts, whether in-shop or mobile, are experts on wheels as well because you can’t have one without the other. If there are any doubts about a wheel’s fit with a particular vehicle or tire, bring an expert in. Your vehicle’s performance, handling and feel depend on it.

Performance Tires vs Touring Tires

What Is The Difference Between High-Performance Tires And Touring Tires?

At highway speeds, they may look the same, but there are many types of tires, each designed for particular vehicles and road conditions. Touring and high-performance tires are among them, and they are the most common tires on the road. Chances are, the next time you get your tires replaced, you’ll be choosing between several touring and high-performance options.

What’s the difference between the two?

Touring Tires

Touring tires are popular for most vehicles and in most parts of the country. They provide a smooth, pleasant ride that minimizes noise, while also offering
good traction in both wet and dry road conditions. There are several varieties of touring tires, including grand touring tires, all-season tires, passenger tires and summer tires.

Grand touring tires come with higher speed ratings and better handling capabilities. All-season tires don’t have the performance that grand touring tires do, but they do offer comfort and year-round reliable traction.

Passenger tires are made for passenger vehicles, so their design emphasizes safety, comfort and reliability. In effect, this means a quieter tire that performs well in most conditions and features an extended tread life. Summer tires are designed a bit differently than other touring tires. While they are optimized for wet and dry traction, they operate best in warm weather. In ideal conditions, summer tires provide enhanced grip and handling, along with better hydroplaning resistance.

Performance  Tires

High-performance tires – The “performance” in high-performance tires refers to more responsive handling at higher speeds, which means they provide a sportier feel than touring tires. There are many kinds of high-performance tires, including all-season, summer, ultra-high performance, max performance and extreme performance.

High-performance all-season tires are something of a bridge between touring and high-performance tires, providing a good mix of handling, comfort and wet traction.

High-performance summer tires, like their touring counterparts, are optimized for warm summer driving. When the weather’s right, high-performance summer tires provide strong handling, good wet and dry traction and acceptable tread wear rates.

Ultra-high-performance tires are low-profile tires that bring excellent steering capabilities, so they are ideal for extreme speeds and maneuvers. Ultra-high-performance tires are also enhanced with siping or other methods to improve the tire’s wet grip. Max performance tires are not intended for daily driving but do offer some of the best handling at high speeds, as well as good resistance against hydroplaning. Max performance tires also offer a somewhat better ride than extreme performance tires.

Extreme performance tires are the closest thing to track tires that are available for street
vehicles, which means they are tuned for dry grip performance and straight ahead speed. They are usually only found in competition settings, and are not recommended for daily, general use.

 Which Vehicles Are A Good Fit For Touring Tires?

Touring tires are the standard choice for general-purpose passenger vehicles, like family cars, sedans, minivans, and vehicles used for commuting. Touring tires are comfortable, quiet and bring extended tread life, which makes them a strong choice for drivers that want to get from
point A to point B safely.

Touring tires are also the most fuel efficient available, so they appeal to economy-minded people. What touring tires give up is responsiveness during high speed braking or cornering, but drivers typically don’t use the family sedan or minivan for high speed maneuvers.

Which Vehicles Are A Good Fit For High-Performance Tires?

High-performance tires are made for high-performance vehicles such as sports cars and coupes, racing vehicles and exotic cars. These are the kinds of vehicles you may keep in the garage for special occasions. Higher performance tires don’t provide the same tread life that a touring tire does, so these aren’t made for your everyday ride.

High-performance tires appeal to drivers who don’t mind feeling the road a bit more – in fact, some drivers may prefer this over the quieter ride a touring tire offers. As high-performance tires are designed for better handling and grip, they are a popular choice among experienced drivers who are comfortable with a little more speed.

Are There Other Types Of Tires Available?

In addition to touring and high-performance tires, there are tires designed for rough terrain and off-road conditions, winter conditions, and competition or track settings. There are also tires made for larger vehicles, including trucks, SUVs and trailers.

With so many tires to choose from and several performance characteristics to keep in mind, finding the perfect fit for your vehicle and driving style can be tough. However, an experienced tire shop can help sort through your options and pinpoint the best mix of performance and value.