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Dodge Caliber Tire and Wheels

nonnemachernonnemacher Posts: 98
edited March 19 in Dodge
I thought about the expense of 17" tires too, but I bought the car anyway! With my driving, I figure the original tires should last me at least three years. By then, this size should be more common and the price should come down, especially if some of the import tire makers supply them. Worst case scenario, you can get a 15" steel wheel (on the SE) and a decent tire (205/70/15) for under $100 US combined, but it won't handle as well or look as nice. This could be a viable option for those wanting a separate set of winter tires, as winter tires are never cheap since they are somewhat of a specialty.
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Comments

  • canoenutcanoenut Posts: 12
    I know it's early, but I'm planning to purchase 4 winter tires on steel wheels (with wheel covers) for my SXT. I would like to replace the 17" wheels with 15". Would going from the 215/60/17 to the 205/70/15 be OK? I'm looking at the Michelin X-Ice tires. The specialists at Tirerack.com say that it is too early for them to give a definite answer.
  • aaron_taaron_t Posts: 301
    I don't know if the 15" wheels will fit, but suspect the SXT w/o 4-wheel disc has the same brakes as the SE.

    205/75 would be very close to stock size.
    205/70R15 would be about 3% smaller. I'd this size would be better and a little more stable on the highway with the super soft winter compound. Of course, you lose 0.4" (oh, 11mm) of ground clearance.
  • The SE has 205/70/15 tires with steel wheels. I'm sure the SXT and SE wheels are physically interchangeable, as far as brake size is concerned. The speedo and ODO may be set slightly differently on the two models, however.
  • jjurbanjjurban Posts: 3
    Saw a yellow Caliber on the road near Pittsburgh. Very nice! It had a black spoiler.

    Just curious, what exactly does a spoiler do? Is it helpful or merely a decoration?

    Same question with wheels - are 17-inch better than 16-inch? And are 18-inch better than 17-inch?

    John
  • micwebmicweb Posts: 1,617
    Wheel and tire size choices involve various trade-offs. As you have probably noted from MTV etc., "big" - really big - wheels are a fashion statement now.

    But wheels are much heavier than tires, and stress the suspension. Most importantly, it's a lot harder to "spin" heavy wheels than lighter wheels - by way of example, imagine trying to twirl something around your head on the end of a string. An apple on a string is a lot easier to get started moving than an cantaloupe, due to the difference in weight. Ten extra pounds in the cabin of a car has virtually no affect on acceleration. Ten extra pounds on the wheels, especially where the ten extra pounds is further out from the axle, can adversely affect acceleration and fuel economy.

    Ok, that's the downside. What are the advantages of larger wheel size? Basically none, EXCEPT for one thing - reducing the height of the sidewall on your tire. Why does this matter? Because rubber sidewalls are "floppy" and when you turn the car, then to bend over. This causes the tread to lose optimal contact with the road, and delays the effect of your steering input. Thus, trucks with small wheels, large sidewalls, feel sloppy, and BMW's with narrow profile tires (band aids on wheels) handle like go-karts. Of course there are other things going on, like center of gravity (how high the vehicle is) and suspension design.

    The stock tires and wheels on the SE aren't so bad. They already have a relativelly low tire "profile" (height of the side wall) and later you can womewhat improve the handling and steering response (not that stock is bad) by getting tires with stiffer sidewalls (that's an alternate solution to tire flop, besides making the sidewalls shorter). The tire size Dodge chose for the SE is widely available so there are a lot of aftermarket choices to choose from.

    The larger wheels on the SXT have fewer tire options to choose from, and the tire that comes stock isn't considered a top performer (though it is very lightweight, which helps on fuel economy - at least helps to make up for the larger wheel). However it IS a little wider than the stock tire on the SE and the whole set up looks a little better (that fashion thing) even with the stock steel wheels. And Dodge designed the suspension to work with this setup.

    If you are thinking about dressier wheels, the $400 option from Dodge is the most economical. And I have to admit I am nervous about riding on wheels, from many companies, that are now made in China. Few of them are light, and none of them are certified and guaranteed by Chrysler like the stock Dodge alloy wheels.

    If you can't find a Caliber with alloy wheels, order your Caliber! The discounts are the same whether you order or buy off the lot - it's not like there are awesome deals if you buy from stock.

    As to the spoiler, they don't do ANYTHING for handling - this isn't an F1 car running 150 mph that needs downpressure from a spoiler to keep its rear end planted. But, some spoilers look nice on some cars, especially the ones that aren't too big, and some drivers claim that a small spoiler on a square back vehicle (truck, SUV, hatchback) reduces some of the grime that otherwise seems to accumulate on the back window.

    I saw an orange Caliber on the road today, and that color looks better to my eye than the infurno red. The car looks better in my rear view mirrow (front is neat) than from the rear (looks boxy). But it's too early to form a lasting opinion. I'm glad they are popular, and after I run up 20,000 miles on my Cobalt, I might try a Caliber next (we ended up replacing the totalled Caravan with an Impala, not a Caliber).
  • neely2005neely2005 Posts: 70
    A couple of things, what you said about the Profile (Sidewall Height) of a tire is true but the Higher the Profile the smoother the ride as the tires flex and absorb a lot of the bumps which saves wear & tear on the suspension. I have winter tires which have a normal (high) profile and summer tires which have a much lower profile and when I have the winter tires on I get a much smoother ride, but when I have the summer tires on I get much better handling.

    As to the spoiler they are actually effective (depending on the spoiler of course) once you hit 100 Km/h (I think that's about 60 MPH) and will create downforce which will increase traction to the rear wheels.
  • micwebmicweb Posts: 1,617
    On the smoothness of the ride, I agree, smaller wheels with bigger tires ride smoother than the larger wheels with lower profile tires.
  • mbrymbry Posts: 9
    Got the rims & tires today. Photos are kinda crappy due to the weather--rainy & dark. http://www.carspace.com/mbry">link title
  • I was going from Bowling Green, Ohio to Indianapolis today... I decided that I would take US 6 to US 24 towards Fort Wayne and then take I 469/69 South to Indy, since I 75 South and I 70 West have a lot of construction in Ohio. Plus, this route is about 25 miles shorter, which makes it about equal in time... unless you get a flat tire......
    About 20 miles south of Ft Wayne on I-69 I was basically pushed into the center median by a trucker from Ontario - I have no idea why. Going through the berm at a good clip with the ABS working kicked up all sorts of road debris and I got a small bolt of some sort in the rear driver side tire which caused it to go flat pretty quick. I got the rim off without breaking the seal at the bead though, because I stopped right away.

    Overall, the tire was easy to change and the spare is a good size, but it isn't balanced very well. Maybe that's by design so you don't go too fast with it on there.
    It was getting late, but I figured that if I got to the north part of Indy by 8 PM, I could find a large chain tire store that could plug the tire.

    I did find a Pep Boys and they had me wait for about 40 minutes before they even looked at my tire and said "we can't guarantee the patch/plug will hold in that location, so we are not going to fix it..." Why couldn't they have told me this when they first looked at the tire??? They then said they could sell me a new tire, but they couldn't do that because I did not want a new tire for one that has only 3k on it and THEY DIDN'T EVEN HAVE THE RIGHT SIZE TIRE!!! Can you tell I think they wasted my time?

    I am staying in downtown Indy and there is a real old-fashioned looking tire shop about 4 blocks from the hotel... I'm sure they can fix it tomorrow AM... they even sell retreads for trucks... these guys can probably fix anything - almost. I really don't want to drive 210 miles home with the spare, but I will if necessary.

    Pretty much every car I've owned has had plugs in the tires and I've never had one leak yet. I think my record is five plugs on one car at one time... that was one they were building my subdivision... lots of nails.

    On the upside, driving slower seems to be giving great gas mileage, with the AC on. I'll probably fill up tomorrow before heading home, and I'll post the exact MPG then.
  • nortsr1nortsr1 Posts: 1,060
    Don't forget to keep us posted as to the outcome.
  • I've got an SXT on order with the 17" alloy wheels and am searching for a set of winter wheels. Given the cost of 17" winter tires and wheels I am wondering if anybody knows what the impact of going to 16" (or maybe even 15") for winter wheels would be. Are there any ramifications?

    Also, does anybody know the exact specs for the wheels? Is 5 X 114.3 correct for the bolt pattern? When I've been asking at the tire stores all I get is a blank stare as the car is so new. In fact, my sales guy gave me the same blank stare when I asked him.

    Time since order was placed T-8 weeks and counting. :D
  • You can go to 215/65/16 with very little change in speedo and odo - its less than 1% different than 215/60/17. The 215/65/16 is a Caravan tire size and is very common. All Caliber 17" wheels are 17x6.5 with the 5 on 114.3 bolt pattern (5 on 4.5"). The offset is a typical DCX FWD offset at +42mm. The lugs are common DCX ones as well - 19mm or 3/4 inch with the dual flange to hold on the factory wheelcovers or a single flange for the alloys.

    Any common 15" tire size would be at least 3% different, so that's not a good option.

    But, good luck finding low-priced 16" wheels. Last time I talked to Tirerack, they said that they're not even going to be selling steel wheels this winter because the metal market has gone up so much that steel wheels are no longer a money-maker for them.

    I bought an extra set of 17" steel wheels, tires and covers off eBay from a shop that put 20s on a Caliber. It was a good price for virtually new wheels and tires, but shipping was high.
  • With the change to a smaller wheel rim which tread has to go farther to cover the same distance comes a false reading on your odometer. It will not recalibrate by itself to reflect the reflect the extra distance the wheels must turn. You would be reaching the end of your mileage based warenty sooner. Along with an speedometer which will not be accurate, perhaps you should recalibrate your purchase to reflect your priorities.
  • Thanks for the answers nonnemacher and greyseabring. Sounds like 16" is they way to go if I want to "downsize" for winter. You're absolutley right on the cost of steel wheels. I got a quote on a set of $90 CDN each and the same shop quoted me just over $100 for a basic alloy wheel that didn't look too bad. Finding reasonably priced tires will also be a challenge no doubt, but I see Cost-co up here is going to be running a specail on Michelin's soon, so maybe some nice new X-ice.
  • I'm not 100% sure about this but a co-worker of mine said that if you buy your winter tires from Costco (in Canada) they will put them on your regular rims and then switch your summer tires back to your regular rims - For FREE, EVERY YEAR as long as you have a valid Costco membership.

    This savings on Tire Balancing may be worth it and would probably allow you to buy the same size winter tires as the tires that come with the car.
  • As I've said before I am looking a winter wheels and tires for my Caliber.

    Does anybody know if dodge is selling the TPMS Sensors through parts yet? Also, when I switch the tires over does the car need to be taken to service so the computer can be set to recognize the new wheels or is that an automatic thing? I am so dumb about this stuff. :confuse:

    Thanks Moparfancanada for triggering me on something I had not thought of! Man, whoever thought living in the north would cause this many problems when it comes to buying winter tires!
  • Hi Commpro,

    I have been searching for winter tires as well. I will "downsizing" as well for my Caliber to 215/65R16.

    Did you get an answer about the TPMS? I was wonering the same thing.

    What was the best place for rims and tires that you found?
    Thanks!
  • commprocommpro Posts: 13
    The TPMS Sensors are available at parts for about $65 CDN. According to Chysler the system is self learning and the sensors will "train" themselves when the car roles down the road.

    The sensors cannot go on steel wheels which means alloy is a must. My experience finding alloy at a good price for winter wheels and a shop that knows how to deal with installing the TPMS sensors was not great. In the end I settle for a second set of Caliber rims and had my dealer do the install. It probably cost me about $300-400 :( more but it was way easier.
  • Here's one for the books. If anyone has any more information to add to this, I would be happy to hear it. Here goes:

    Tuesday morning - Got in my Caliber R/T AWD with the TPMS system. The warning indicator goes off and the Low Tire flashing in the command centre shows that my front passenger tire is low. I get out of the car, and it appears fine. I get out my faithful tire pressure gauge and all is fine. HUM! It wont go off. Drive to the dealer and he says " must be a bad sensor" Dealer changes the sensor, 35 minutes later I drive off, and all is fine.

    Thursday morning - Get in my car and the audible warning comes on, and the command centre indicates 2, yes 2!, tires are low pressure. Both passenger side wheels. Get out of the car, all appears fine, pressure is fine. HUM! Continue onto work and call the dealership - "Bring it in" he says. Go to my car, start the ignition - WHOA! Now I got 3 tires indicating low pressure. The original 2 passenger and now the front driver side.

    So I call the 1-800 Chrysler Canada number, and talk to a really nice lady. I explain to the last detail whats happening. "Gee" she says, nothing on her computer to indicate that any other Caliber owner has ever had this problem. So I tell her to open up a new file, because it aint no bad sensor anymore. There has got to be something wrong with the electronics of the TPMS. Have a nice day she says, then off to the dealer I go.

    I hand over the keys and get a ride to work in one of them nice Caravans. Only thing missing was the 2.3 kids and some soccer balls. But I have all the faith in the world with DaimlerChryslerCanada to get to the bottom of this.

    Got a call later in the afternoon. Every mechanic in the shop is stumped. They are on the phone with the "head" technician down in Windsor. I dont know whether to feel good about this or worry like hell that I have an electronical nightmare on my hands. When one electronic system goes, all the others are bound to follow. There are more computer systems on a car today then the appollo mission that landed on the moon.

    My car is now resting comfortably overnight at the dealer as the have yet to find the problem.

    Looks like I'm walking to work tomorrow. I need a drink.

    Anyone else have a similar TPMS story?

    NOTE: This week, the morning temperatures have been just above freezing. But my car is in the garage, so go figure.
    I dont know.

    Damn that NITRO is hot!
  • I had problems with it going off as well. It started off with just one tire and then to three tires at one point. It varied from day to day. This all started when the temps. started to go down. The cold air causes the tire pressure to condense. In the morning they would go off and when I would get into the car in the afternoon everything would be fine.
    After a week of the annoying :mad: problem I finally put more air in my tires and I am running all tires at 34 psi. No more alerts for low tire pressure. :D

    Hopefully this helps.

    Next time ask for the NITRO as a courtesy vehicle. :shades:
  • Thanks gigantle for the post. You should work at a Chrysler service department because you are dead bang on the cause.

    Got my car back today, and low and behold, cold weather will condense the pressure in the tire. The TPMS system has a 2% tolerance. At 34psi or, 240kps here in Canada, a 2% tolerance aint much. When the temperature nears freezing, it will reduce the pressure more than 2%, thus causing the warnings.

    Since I am switching to steel winter rims, because they use salt on the roads here like it a cure for winter!, I need to remove my chromed rims. The dealer said not to bother spending the $$ with sensors for the winter rims, because at a 2% tolerance, the cold weather will always result in a warning on cold tires. SO!

    I've saved about $400 in sensors on my winter rims, BUT!, I will always have the small warning indicator on the dash. There is absolutely no way of turning off the in car computer sensor system. Live and learn eh?

    At least I know that my Caliber is not sick! Maybe I should move to California?
  • I feel your pain. It's -28C hear today (about -18.5 for my friends in the US) and all four of my TPMS sensors are flashing. The other day I did a longer trip and after about 30K or so the alarm on the dash turned off (pressure reading on the EVIC were still flashing), so at least you can kind of get rid of the warning.

    The tolerances for the TPMS are way too sensitive for my taste and I find I am ignoring it more than paying attention to it as a result.

    If I would have known that before the purchase I might not have gotten the option but otherwise I am loving this car>
  • Ouch! -28. That is something I get to look forward to..not :( I put winter tires with steel rims on this past weekend. The alarm chimes 4 times at start up and then continues to flash for 15 minutes or so....i will time it one day. I have learned to ignore it as well.

    I know how to avoid hearing the alarm chimes. Just install a car starter like I did. That way you are never in the car to hear it go off. ;)

    I agree with you that it is way to sensitive,,,good for the summer.....bites for the winter.

    Just a minor thing to deal with for this awesome car. :shades:
    I love this car more and more each day. If you are like me I did not read to far into the manual...a guy thing. Just the other when I picked up the babysitter she sat in the front and I noticed that seat belt sign came on in the center console. I found out later that the front passenger seat has a sensor in it to recognize a light/smaller person may be sitting the front seat. What this does is it turns off the passenger side air bag....thinking maybe a small child may be in the front seat. Very cool option :shades: My wife told me all about it when I got home...she read actually read her manual....she has a Caliber as well :blush: Yes, we have a his and hers Calibers. She refers to mine as the mid life crisis orange coloured one. ....oh well still love it

    PS. 16C tomorrow for us...could be -28C the next day....the joys of living in Canada
  • -28 again today gigantle! My wife insisted on taking the Caliber because of the heated seats now I'm stuck in the Grand Caravan that takes an hour to heat up :(

    Question on your remote starter. Did you go for aftermarket or OEM? I've been thinking about getting one put in but I always hate to mess with something when it is a new model.
  • I have to agree heated seats rock. I bought my wife one of those portable vibrating heating seats...they can plug into the cigarette lighter or the oulet...about $50 from costco. No excuses for her now ;)

    Yes...aftermarket...I called my sales rep and asked him who installs them for the dealership and he gave me the guys info and I went direct thru him. The dealership wanted just over $700 after installed. By going direct it cost me $350 installed....still expensive but worth it. The only thing about it right now is because I have the security system, if I use the remote without unlocking the car first the horn will beep once. It is not that big of deal. The guy was going to check to see if they have come out with updated software that will override the horn going off. I will call him this evening to see what he found out.

    Cheers!
  • dodgeman6dodgeman6 Posts: 42
    Heads up people!! I LOVE my car, but good god, all my tires are cupping in and it appeared that I needed a full tire alignment. I was going to get hit for $80 at the dealership today, but once they did some more checking on the car, it appears that nothing needs to be aligned?????
    What does that mean, I said? The shop is confused, and is calling Dodge tomorrow, and if no issues, they are calling the Firestone company to get me a new set of tires. IF the tire company does not replace the tires, or take responsibility, and Dodge......."dodges the issues" at hand now, then I WILL BE SUEING DODGE FOR A NEW CAR!!!!!!!!!!!!
    I was going to be charged $80 for an alignment today since the 7000 warranty on the alignment agreement ran out. I have !6,000 on my car now. I treat it like a baby. It has never been on gravel roads, and I don't tear it up.
    So BEWARE, PEOPLE. My DODGE CALIBER SWD R/T is beginning to smell much like a lemon. Even the dealership underwriter told me that he too, would go after Dodge for a car replacement if the shop is already proving that everything is lined up and nothing else to cause this all four tire cupping. I don't want to have to replace tires every 11 months. I haven't even owned it a full year yet.
    Andy ideas as to what would cause this? Is it the tires, do you think??? I need all your forum input to guide me since I am going to be up against DODGE and FIRESTONE in the next two days............Thanks for your replies if you have any.
    :sick:
  • caliberchiccaliberchic Posts: 402
    I hope you get some insight, I don't know much about tires but if it's all four and their doesn't appear to be any issues with alignment wouldn't it almost have to be a problem with the tires themselves?

    I would also recommend getting a second opinion on the alignment just in case.
  • dodgeman6dodgeman6 Posts: 42
    Tell that to the tire company as we did. We called several of the certified tire companies for this tire warranty and they all said that it is the alignment that is causing the 4 tires to cup inwards. Then the dealership that sold us the car says they checked out our car to be without any problems in alignment (diagnostic). We are back to waiting now for the dealership to "make amends" on the 4 tire replacement (them finding or supplying tires for our car and replacing them). The service manager himself said that the tires are all chopping and we deserve new tires, but he has to go through the channels to get it in motion today. I tell ya, once we get the new tires, we are asking the dealership to do a another diagnostic to show it is all okay before we drive off the lot. If later on, the tires do it again, we will have documentation that it is the car that is causing the tires to cup again....we shall see.
    This car only has 17,000 miles on it so far too. Nice vehicle otherwise though. Another dealership said to bring the car to them after all is done, and they will re-check all once first dealership tries to fix the problem (alignment vs tire) issue.
  • spike61spike61 Posts: 8
    You are not alone. MY 07 CALIBER R/T AWD HANDELED AND DROVE GREAT WHEN I GOT IT. AFTER SECOND OIL CHANGE I STARTED HEARING HUMMING NOISE FROM MY FRONT TIRES. I called dealer to have them rotated and checked.Tech said excessive wear checked alignment said alignment was way out [all four wheels] with only 6,000 miles. tires were cupped bad.Alignment was done and I did not like the way the car drove,steering wheel was turned to the right and the car does not handle the same. I told dealer I wanted new tires and realignment.Believe it or not DODGE gave me new tires. They checked alignment and said it was within Dodge specs.I still do not like the way the car handles, drifts R&L jumps when it hits a small seam in the road , something is not right Service mngr. told me to wait till next oil change to see if tires wore, instead of checking alignment to make sure everything is ok.Steering wheel is still turned to right that drives me nuts on a car with 6000 mi.or 160.000mi.Says he will not correct steering wheel I am in the process of contacting Dodge. I will let you know how I do. Also make sure they take care of your wheels. Mine were scratched bad on all spokes by tire machine or Tech. laying them face down on ground ,not real happy about that!!
  • dodgeman6dodgeman6 Posts: 42
    Thank GOD for your reply. We just talked to the Serv. manager and he said that WE have to split the cost of the new tires with the dealership since DODGE and firestone both refuse to replace all four cupped tires with 16,000 miles on them right now. We agreed to take on 1/2 cost of
    tires, reluctantly, for now ($285) with dealership not charging us to do another alignment after new tires are put on in a week or so yet. We are pissed that our RIMS are
    gouged from the alignment machine??, and the service manager said that he will take care of it but has to have another worker to okay it..........ya, right. They WILL give us new RIMS, and I am going to show them YOUR email to prove that we are not NUTS.
    You are so appreciated to have answered this post. Thank you so much. We surely would like to keeep in touch, hey.
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