Will Narrower Tires With Taller Sidewalls Return, To Improve Fuel Economy?

hpmctorquehpmctorque Member Posts: 4,600
edited October 2014 in General
Put another way, will the drive to improve fuel economy stop, or even reverse, the trend of the past several years, to larger wheel diameters, coupled with wider, lower aspect tires? I wouldn't be surprised if it did, as wheel and tire shapes and sizes have changed to meet changing needs over the decades.

Do you have any thoughts on this?
«1

Comments

  • 1stpik1stpik Member Posts: 495
    If times are so desperate that GM finally admits it can no longer churn out 15 mpg vehicles and stay solvent, then, yes, everything's on the table.

    And the truth is, cars don't have to get much smaller. Only engines do.

    Family sedans don't need 300 hp to get the kids to school and mom to Wal Mart. The ability to go 0-60 in 5.9 seconds doesn't make rush hour traffic move any faster.

    Families can still enjoy enough interior volume for comfort. They just can't have all that, and high performance, too.
    .
  • lemkolemko Philadelphia, PAMember Posts: 15,306
    ...to cars like my 1988 Buick Park Avenue. Its 3.8 V-6 only churns out 165 hp, but its adequate enough for a decent getaway from the traffic light or cruising on the highway. It also has wider sidewall tires than my 2007 Cadillac DTS w/18" wheels that look like rubber bands in comparison.
  • andre1969andre1969 Member Posts: 24,485
    but a couple years ago, I replaced the 235/75/R15 tires on my '85 Silverado with 255/70/R15's. Slightly larger diameter: 30" versus 28.9", and about 3/4" wider tread. Revs per mile reduced from 719 to 692, so that could make the speedo and odometer read about 3-4% low.

    As for weight, according to some specs I found on www.tirerack.com, it looks like the bigger tire weighs around 37-38 lb, compared to around 30 for the smaller.

    I really didn't see a noticeable difference in fuel economy with this change, but it could just be the type of vehicle. For instance, my truck only has a 3-speed automatic, and is pretty torquey, so it really doesn't have to do a lot of shifting. But on a more modern vehicle with a lot of gears and less torque, putting on bigger, heavier tires that cause more friction and end up making the overall ratio fairly taller just might make the car rely more on the lower gears in some situations, which could use more fuel. But on the flip side, perhaps going to a smaller, lighter tire on that same car would make it rely a bit less on the lower gears, saving a bit of fuel?
  • kernickkernick Member Posts: 4,072
    I believe much of the reason for making tires wider have been to provide better handling and braking, with our cars. The more friction the better for those attributes. So 1 of the questions is are you willing to lower the safety of the vehicle to get better mpg.

    Similarly you could get mpg gains by making lighter vehicles? Would we strip structural strength and airbag systems, to make a lighter vehicle to get better mpg?

    I don't think so as the gain in mpg is minimal compared to the public problem of reducing safety.

    You could also if people wouldn't get sticky soft rubber snowtires, just so they could get better mpg with their All-season tires.
  • andys120andys120 Loudon NHMember Posts: 21,887
    As cars get smaller and perhaps lighter the relative size of their tires will undoubtedly shrink a little. The Tire Rack recommends 185/65/15s for a Prius which is around the same size worn by my first car to wear radials back in '69. It was a TR-4A, weighing about a ton wearing 185/75/15 Dunlops SPs.

    Aside from the gains in mileage and unsprung weight I'm of the firm belief that cars with skinny tires were more fun to drive, at least if they were RWD cuz you didn't need much power to get the back to rotate and oversteer through corners. :shades:

    2001 BMW 330ci/E46, 2008 BMW 335i conv/E93

  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Member Posts: 4,600
    Plus, narrower tires provide better traction in snow.

    Hey, ties and lapels alternate between narrower and wider, so why not tires? Well, okay, ties and lapels are pure style statements, whereas tires are functional. There's an important style element in wheels and tires too, of course, judging by what people pay for upgrades and after market ones.
  • steverstever Guest Posts: 52,457
    I liked my skinny tires I had on my old '82 Tercels. They did good in Anchorage winters, and I could buy a whole new set for like $80. 14" rims iirc.

    Maybe the discussion title would be a bit clearer if it said narrow tires and "taller" sidewalls? Or maybe it's a regional speech thing, like Coke or pop, cart or buggy?
  • explorerx4explorerx4 Central CTMember Posts: 15,681
    91 mustang gt 'vert 225-55-16
    02 explorer 245-70-16
    04 escape 235-70-16
    07 fusion 225-50-17

    the mustang was considered to have larger than average tires when it was new.

    tread design and tire composition also affects mileage.
    2020 Ford Explorer XLT, 2019 Lincoln MKZ Reserve 1
  • andys120andys120 Loudon NHMember Posts: 21,887
    tread design and tire composition also affects mileage

    So do tire pressures. Recommended pressures on hybrids are typically high. Tire makers and car makers may start to build tires designed to run higher pressures to improve mileage. Suspensions would be re tuned for these higher pressure levels.

    2001 BMW 330ci/E46, 2008 BMW 335i conv/E93

  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Member Posts: 4,600
    "Tire makers and car makers may start to build tires designed to run higher pressures to improve mileage. Suspensions would be re tuned for these higher pressure levels."

    It would be interesting to know how much mileage would improve if tires could be inflated to 50 psi, or 60, say.
  • british_roverbritish_rover Member Posts: 8,457
    The OEM tires on my MINI could be inflated to 51 psi but I wouldn't recommend it unless you wanted some teeth removed.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Member Posts: 4,600
    For the past several years tires were reconfigured, to a great extent, to conform with ever increasing horsepower and weight. The power increases yielded faster acceleration and speed, which, in turn, required tires to deliver this higher level of performance to the pavement, plus stopping and turning improvements to match the increased straight line performance. Wheels and tires were increasingly designed for spirited and aggressive driving. They responded to the quest for better and more impressive numbers.

    High gasoline prices are shifting the priorities of many motorists to better fuel economy. It would seem logical, then, that tires for the more economy oriented vehicles, if not most vehicles, will be reconfigured to conform to the desire for higher fuel economy. Since narrower tire widths and taller sidewalls, plus higher tire pressure help fuel economy, that's what you'll begin to see. I think it's a simple matter of shifting priorities.
  • lemkolemko Philadelphia, PAMember Posts: 15,306
    I guess we'll be seeing less of those blingy wheels. They just keep spinnin' and spinnin' and spinnin'!
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Member Posts: 4,600
    "I guess we'll be seeing less of those blingy wheels."

    Yeah, sure, once more people wake up to the negative effect these wheels have on fuel economy, the demand for them will decrease. What's cool today is out of style tomorrow, and blingy wheels are primarily a fashion statement. Now I wouldn't try to predict just when this will happen, or to what extent, because people are fickle, but its probable we'll see changes wheel and tire changes associated with fuel economy becoming a higher priority.

    Think of ties and suit lapels; narrow gives way to wide, then, at some point, narrow, or at least narrower, becomes fashionable again. Now neck ties and lapels are pure fashion statements, whereas wheels and tires have an important functional component, in addition to style and fashion, so these differences have to be factored into the fashion cycle analogies. Also, many men have abandoned suits and ties for a less formal look. By contrast, last time I looked, you can't do without wheels and tires when you drive.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaMember Posts: 12,726
    I went from 225/75 tires to 265/70s on my 4Runner, and my fuel economy dropped by about 15%. You think automakers don't know that? It is a certainty that tires will get narrower in the years to come, in the pursuit of better fuel economy.

    I am not sure what taller sidewalls have to do with it - perhaps they will also need to get taller so that the visual effect of big rims and tires will be maintained? I do know this - it is not likely that automakers will begin to specify 50-60 psi unless tire construction improves a lot, because pressures like that give a very hard ride in most cars, even ones designed for a soft ride.

    What someone said above resonates with me: cars will need to be designed slower to save gas, no-one needs to go 0-60 in 6 seconds in their grocery getter. And WHEN cars are slower, the massive tires they have on them now won't be necessary any more. Which is nice, because low profile and ever larger-diameter tires are so expensive to replace, and needlessly so on the family car.

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • andre1969andre1969 Member Posts: 24,485
    I do know this - it is not likely that automakers will begin to specify 50-60 psi unless tire construction improves a lot, because pressures like that give a very hard ride in most cars, even ones designed for a soft ride.

    Ain't that the truth! I can even tell the difference with my Intrepid when I raise the pressure from around 35 psi to 40! I'm sure 50-60 psi would make for a real bone-shaker.

    Just as a reference point on the increasing size of tires, my 2000 Intrepid has 225/60/R16's, while the 2008 Charger has 215/65/R17's as the base tire. Interesting, in this case they actually started trending to a slightly narrower, taller tire.

    As for pricing, the cheapest Intrepid tire on Tirerack.com was $62. For the Charger, it was $73.

    The base Intrepids used to come with something like a 205/70/R15 tire...it was 2000 that they upgraded the base model to the 225/60/R16. I wonder, if I found a set of those 15" wheels and put the narrower tires on, if I'd see a noticeable change in fuel economy? That's about 9% less tread width to cause friction, and the smaller rims would probably shed a few pounds of rolling weight (or whatever the technical term is) from each wheel.

    I am not sure what taller sidewalls have to do with it - perhaps they will also need to get taller so that the visual effect of big rims and tires will be maintained?

    The sidewalls themselves wouldn't have to get taller. However, since the sidewall measurement is always listed as a percentage of the tread width, then as you make the tread narrower, they'll have to make the aspect ratio taller for the tire to have the same diameter. For instance, if you drop down one size, say, from a 225/60 tire, to keep roughly the same diameter you'd have to go to a 215/65.
  • andys120andys120 Loudon NHMember Posts: 21,887
    The sidewalls themselves wouldn't have to get taller. However, since the sidewall measurement is always listed as a percentage of the tread width, then as you make the tread narrower, they'll have to make the aspect ratio taller for the tire to have the same diameter.

    While it's true that the aspect ratio has no bearing on fuel mileage, tire pressures do.
    As previously mentioned higher pressures would mean a punishing ride unless the sidewalls get taller. Again look at the 65 section tires fitted to the current Prius (rec pressures are 40/42 PSI), those are quite tall by modern standards.

    2001 BMW 330ci/E46, 2008 BMW 335i conv/E93

  • andre1969andre1969 Member Posts: 24,485
    While it's true that the aspect ratio has no bearing on fuel mileage, tire pressures do.

    Actually, if you change the aspect ratio, isn't that somewhat like changing the car's axle/differential ratio? For instance, if you fit a really small tire on the car that reduces the circumference by 10%, wouldn't that be the same as fitting a shorter (numerically higher) axle ratio? The smaller tire is going to make it rev faster at any given speed, although the reduced weight of the tire, and less friction if it's also a narrower tire, would offset the fuel loss to a degree.

    On the flip side, if you put an overly large tire on the car, it should be like changing switching it to a taller (numerically shorter) axle ratio. Nowadays though, the stock tires tend to fill out the wheelwells in cars, so I don't know if you have as much wiggle room as back in the day, to go larger.
  • andys120andys120 Loudon NHMember Posts: 21,887
    Andre I used to think that VW fitted tall skinny 15" tires to the Beetle to enhance gas mileage (fewer revs/mi than the 13" most econo cars wore) but the truth is that as light
    (>2000lbs) and gutless (40HP) as they were Beetle mileage was not impressive, my 100HP Triumph got the same 27-28 highway mpg as my Beetle and it didn't have an overdrive gear like the very high 4th in the Bug.

    Those Beetles were reputed to get 30MPG but I consider that mythical since you had to drive with the gas to the floorboard to maintain safe highway speed. To this day I tend to accelerate going up hills just because..I can. ;)

    2001 BMW 330ci/E46, 2008 BMW 335i conv/E93

  • andre1969andre1969 Member Posts: 24,485
    I think the Beetle used 15" tires simply because that's probably what it used back in 1939, when it first came out. They just didn't bother to change them much over the years.

    I wonder too though, if there's something about old Bug's suspension design or brake assemblies that might have required the greater clearance of a larger wheel?

    At first I was thinking maybe it was the swing axles that required more clearance and a bigger wheel, as the '61-63 Tempest also had swing axles....and 15" wheels! But the Corvair also had a swing axle, but probably just rode on 13" wheels standard.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaMember Posts: 12,726
    a Dodge Ram in a parking lot, and it is like the 3rd one I have seen in a couple of weeks with totally bald tires. Nobody who bought those things thought for even one second about how much it would cost to replace 19" or 20" tires, LOL. $300 apiece at least, I bet.

    Why does a pick-up truck need to ride on 20" rims with 275 mm tires?

    Why does the new 4-cylinder Venza (latest Camry wagon) coming this fall need to ride on 20" rims with 245 mm tires? Think how much gas these two could be saving with appropriately-sized tires.

    And among pick-ups, Ram is far from the only offender, it is just the worst.

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • andre1969andre1969 Member Posts: 24,485
    Nobody who bought those things thought for even one second about how much it would cost to replace 19" or 20" tires, LOL. $300 apiece at least, I bet.

    I just looked up replacement tires on Tirerack. The Ram actually comes standard with a 245/70/R17 tire, which I guess isn't too over-the-top these days. Cheapest replacement tire they had was $110 apiece. The 275/60/R20 is optional though...and not as expensive as I thought it would be. Starts at $138 apiece.

    Of course, that's the cheapest of tires. Tirerack's most expensive 275/60/R20 is $234. In the 245/70/R17, they go up to $195, but that's for a deep-groove, off-road type of tire. Their equivalent of the $234 20" tire is "only" $181.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaMember Posts: 12,726
    Right, and that is $234 at TireRack, a discount internet tire distributor. Not what you would get at your local name brand tire store, although a place like CostCo would probably get close.

    You figure, $234 for the tire is about $280 out the door including tax, mounting and balancing, tire stem, and disposal fee. So my $300 estimate wasn't too far off. Thanks for clarifying that they had 20" rims, I couldn't remember if it was 19 or 20. :-)

    The only reason the Ram came with 20" rims was to make the whole thing look as menacing and bad-[non-permissible content removed] as possible. Now Ram owners are paying the price for THAT little folly...

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • british_roverbritish_rover Member Posts: 8,457
    To replace the 20 inch tires that come on the Supercharged Range Rovers costs just under 2,000 dollars after mounting and balancing and that is what the service department charges the sales department.

    Oh and those tires will most likely last less then 25,000 miles.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaMember Posts: 12,726
    Are they run-flats, or what?

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • british_roverbritish_rover Member Posts: 8,457
    Nope Land Rover doesn't do runflats as most of their vehicles come with full size spares or at least the option of a full size spare.

    They are just really big tires and are 4x4 performance all seasons with a low tread wear rating. The OEM tires are 318 bucks from tire rack but that is a lot less then what our parts department charges us.
  • bumpybumpy Member Posts: 4,435
    Actually, if you change the aspect ratio, isn't that somewhat like changing the car's axle/differential ratio?

    Changing the tire diameter is effectively changing the gearing. If you keep everything else the same, changing the aspect ratio will accomplis that. As a very rough rule of thumb for metric sizes, adding 20mm to the tread and subtracting 5 from the aspect ratio will keep the tire diameter the same.
  • bumpybumpy Member Posts: 4,435
    Maybe your parts department should get them from Tire Rack. ;)
  • british_roverbritish_rover Member Posts: 8,457
    hehe oh I think they do sometimes but they will still charge us more.

    The parts department makes most of the money at a dealership. Service is second and then sales always gets the shaft. Most sales departments at mass market dealers don't' even make a profit and some operate at a loss continuously.
  • explorerx4explorerx4 Central CTMember Posts: 15,681
    although my fusion has what i consider to be some fairly wide tires for a vehicle of it's size, 225x50x17, the tread blocks are pretty narrow. the 225x55x16 tire on my mustang puts a lot more rubber to the road.
    2020 Ford Explorer XLT, 2019 Lincoln MKZ Reserve 1
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Member Posts: 4,600
    "...the 225x55x16 tire on my mustang puts a lot more rubber to the road."

    That's counterintuitive. Are you sure about that?
  • andre1969andre1969 Member Posts: 24,485
    Those mammoth, oversized truck tires are one thing that makes me leery of getting a newer truck. I just don't want to incur that expense...although at the rate I drive, the tires will probably dry-rot before they wear out!

    When I got the 255/70/R15's on my Silverado back in early 2006, I think the tires were around $375 delivered, from Tirerack, and the local mechanic charged something like $100-125 to mount & balance them, do the valve stems, etc. It was around $500 total, I remember. I thought it was pretty pricey at the time, and started regretting that I didn't just put the stock 235/75/R15's back on. I think that would've only saved me about $40-50, though. I might just put the stock size tires back on the next time around. The wider tires seem to help a bit with hard cornering...not that I do that on a regular basis in this truck! But they also seem to react a bit more noticeably to imperfections on the highway, such as the ruts left by heavy trucks.

    Next time around is probably a long ways off though. In the 2 years and 3 months since I got those tires, that truck hasn't even gone 10,000 miles.
  • bumpybumpy Member Posts: 4,435
    Not all "225"s are created equal. Tread width of a nominal size can vary between manufacturers and even model, and be affected by the width of the rim it's mounted on. The stock 225/50-16 Bridgestone S-02 on the early S2000 is as wide as most 245/50-16s.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaMember Posts: 12,726
    Tire widths have gone up in order to compensate for uncontrolled increases in curb weights, so as to keep handling constant. If these automakers would just take weight loss seriously, tires could get smaller again, a triple benefit to car owners when you consider (1) the decreased cost of replacement, (2) the fuel economy benefits of lighter vehicles, and (3) the fuel economy benefits of smaller tires.

    The sharpest-handling car I ever owned personally wore 195 mm tires. An '02 Celica. That thing cornered on rails. Of course, it helped that it weighed only slightly more than 2400 pounds. The '04 RSX I owned later was less sharp, despite wearing 205s. Of course, it also weighed 300 pounds more. Even tires like the stock 225s on the S2000 are probably overkill, put there to look good (in person and for specs on paper), when 205s or 195s would serve just fine in such a small, light, low car.

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • british_roverbritish_rover Member Posts: 8,457
    Ehh the 225s on the S2000 are probably necessary. The S2000 originally had a snap oversteer problem and I wouldn't want to drive one with even smaller rear tires that would be overwhelmed more easily.
  • bumpybumpy Member Posts: 4,435
    Actually, the cheesy all-season true 225s on mine slide out steadily before the suspension gets wound up tight enough to snap out. Less grip, but also less risk.
  • explorerx4explorerx4 Central CTMember Posts: 15,681
    there is a lot less 'open space' in the mustang tires than the fusion,although they are the same width.
    2020 Ford Explorer XLT, 2019 Lincoln MKZ Reserve 1
  • bvdj84bvdj84 Member Posts: 1,724
    I have been putting a bit more air in my tires, it says a maximum of 40, so I have been putting 35 in. It has made a world of difference, the dealer normally puts 30 in, and that is just too low, it feels spongy. With 35, it feels more grippy, and hugs the road better.

    I think more cars these days have bigger rims, only because they look better. I truck with small rims, doesn't appeal as much as a truck with nice big rims to go along with them. But, replacing them is more expensive, if you get the cheapest model to replace them, then its only sooner you'll have to do it again. I have 08 Pontiac G6 with Hankook optimo tires on them, I have seen this tire with like 42k miles on them, and they seem to wear pretty good. I don't see me having a problem, because I lease, so I will be no where near that mileage, and I don't drive hard. Keeping tires rotated helps out so much. Having slimmer tires could help getting better mileage.
  • raychuang00raychuang00 Member Posts: 541
    There's good reason for this: narrower tires compromise handling and braking, since there is less "tire patch" for contact on the road.

    Better solutions include changing the tire tread design to reduce rolling resistance and eventually doing away with the inflated tire completely (remember Michelin's unusual non-pneumatic tire design from a few years ago?) to drastically reduce the unsprung weight of the tire-wheel combination.
  • andys120andys120 Loudon NHMember Posts: 21,887
    narrower tires compromise handling and braking, since there is less "tire patch" for contact on the road.

    Gee you'd think I was slipping and sliding all over the road with the 165/75-13s on my Fiat Spider. Like most roadsters of the day it's handling was precise and predictable because the cars were light and well-balanced.

    As gas mileage becomes more important cars will be built smaller and lighter, and will provide great handling, braking and safety using narrower, taller tires.

    2001 BMW 330ci/E46, 2008 BMW 335i conv/E93

  • andre1969andre1969 Member Posts: 24,485
    Like most things in the automotive world, it's all about balance. Bigger isn't always better, but neither is smaller. Every car out there has a size that's "just right" for it, and naturally it's going to vary from car to car.

    I remember when most generic family cars back in the day came with a 75-series radial standard. For instance, the 195/75/R15's on my 1980 Malibu, or the 205/75/R15's on my grandmother's '85 LeSabre. My old '69 Dart had bias-ply tires that roughly equated to a 195/75/R14. With cars like this, it seemed like going down to a 70-series, but bumping up one, maybe two tread width sizes was all it really took to improve these cars' handling considerably, with little loss in comfort. But going down to a 65 or 60-series tire would just make it ride rougher without giving you any better handling. As for tread width, go too wide, and those tires will get downright scary in wet weather!
  • explorerx4explorerx4 Central CTMember Posts: 15,681
    which do you think has more tire patch? a 255 winter tire, or a 215 slick tire? :surprise:
    2020 Ford Explorer XLT, 2019 Lincoln MKZ Reserve 1
  • steverstever Guest Posts: 52,457
    Do you want to dig down to the pavement and skid or float on top of the snow and skid? :shades:
  • Karen_SKaren_S Member Posts: 5,092
    A reporter from a large national newspaper is looking to speak to consumers who is delaying purchasing new tires or purchased cheaper tires because of the economy. If you’re interested in speaking to the reporter, please contact Chintan Talati at [email protected] with your daytime contact information no later than June 25, 2008.
  • wwwonewwwone Member Posts: 4
    Hi, I need expert advice please if you can. My car is a 5 speed stick. It seems to be geared a bit low - as I knew before I bought it - and as a result it's in top gear in no time. It could benefit from a 6th gear to drop the RPM and increase the MPG but it doesn't therefore I am trying to lower my final gear ratio via taller tires. I'm thinking I'd like to find a tire that fits my factory rims and fits reasonably well in my wheel wells. The current tires are Kuhmo 722's and they are ready for replacement. The spec on Kuhmos sized tires indicate they turn approximately 915 Revs Per Mile. I believe the factory rims are 14 x 5.5". Taller tires such as 65, 70, 75, 80, etc reduce the Revs Per Mile proportionally. I'd like to determine what is the TALLEST tire I can go with that will fit reasonably well without to much rubbing. I realize it will throw my speedo off but I am willing to accept that (I can use a GPS to determine the appropriate delta). The car has 21k on it and is generally used for light load commuting. The car is a 2009 Chevy Aveo LS 4 door sedan that we bought new really cheaply and things are very tight and we couldn't pass it up. For us it works. In warm weather I get mid to high 30's (34-38). In cold weather I get low to mid 30's (32-36). It has only one driver and I drive it sensibly. Thanks in advance for your advice!
  • steverstever Guest Posts: 52,457
    Try the Tires, tires, tires discussion too.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Member Posts: 4,600
    I wouldn't go up to more than 165s, from the stock 160s, and then only if your current wheels accommodated that. The improvement in MPG and reduction in RPMs would be minimal, but in the direction you want. I'd accept a compromise, rather than a more radical departure from what the engineers who designed your car specified.
  • explorerx4explorerx4 Central CTMember Posts: 15,681
    There are low rolling resistance which may provide the the same or similar benefit as changing to a narrower or taller tire.
    2020 Ford Explorer XLT, 2019 Lincoln MKZ Reserve 1
  • samm43samm43 Member Posts: 195
    I wouldn't be surprised if VW carried over the taller 15" wheels from the days of war and poor roads. The bigger wheels did not get stuck as easily and they ride better.

    I do not like the direction the market has taken us with lower and lower profiles on taller wheels. So often we buy cars from manufacturers that insult our intelligence on a regular basis. They see a young man wearing his baseball cap sideways or backwards that has blinged out his Civic with tall wheels and lowered suspension, and the next thing you know they assume that's what the whole nation wants. The same could be said for the number of transmission gears race that is taking place lately. There is no need for 7 and 8 speeds and in many applications, even 6.

    As for the big wheels, hopefully it will be sooner than later that that fad wears off. The advantages of lower fuel consumption, more acceleration, longer tire life, less cost, easier balancing and better ride are all right there for waiting. Are you listening, Manufacturers?

    Sam
  • lemkolemko Philadelphia, PAMember Posts: 15,306
    edited March 2011
    W-w-what? You mean this ISN'T this average car buyer?

    image

    I recall seeing an ad for the 1940 Plymouth offering 20" wheels marketed to rural customers to compensate for poor road conditions.
This discussion has been closed.