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Are Larger Wheels and Tires a Waste of Money?

habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
edited April 2014 in Acura
An otherwise very intelligent golfing buddy recently purchased a 2007 Mercedes E350 with the "free" sport package that included larger 18" staggered size wheels and tires. On the 19th hole, we did a little math after I bet him that the difference in tire replacement cost with that "free" sports package would exceed the gas savings he would get from the E350 V6 over the E550 V8. Even I was surprised at the results:

E350 standard tires = 17" V-rated 245/45. Tire Rack replacement price for Pirelli's = $147 each. Including shipping and mounting/balancing, about $750 per set. Expected lifespan of these tires = 30-35k miles with rotation. E350 Sport tires = 18" W-rated 245/40 front; 265/35 rear. Tire rack replacement price for Michelin's $263/310. Including shipping, mounting/balancing, about $1,400 per set. Expected lifespan 12k-15k miles, no rotation possible.

Difference over 6+/- years and 100k miles (buddy drives 16k miles a year): Standard = 2-3 sets at a total cost of $1,500-$2,250. Sport = 6+ sets at total cost of $8,400. Or a whopping $6,150-$6,900 more for the E350 Sport. By comparison, the additonal cost of gas for a E550 V8 @18 mpg instead of the E350 V6 @23 mpg would only be about $4,000 over 100k miles.

In my own garage(s) are a 2004 Acura TL 6-speed (17" 235/45) and 1995 Nissan Maxima SE 5-speed (15" 215/60). The former required new tires at 22,000 miles at a total cost of $800. The latter has gone 155k miles, and just needed it's 3 replacement set, bringing the total cost up to $1,300 for 13 years and roughly 7 times the mileage on the Acura. Yes, the TL handles a little better than the Maxima. But it sure as heck isn't within a country mile of my 911. It's still a FWD sedan for goodness sake.

It seems to me, at a time when a lot of people are concerned about gas prices, the added cost of equiping the family sedan with larger wheels and high performance tires is both financially imprudent and, at least in the case of cars like the E350, an enormous waste of money (it still doesn't handle as well as a non-sport 5-series, IMO).

So I pose the question - how prudent are 17-18-19 inch wheels and low profile, high performance tires on a family sedan?
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Comments

  • boaz47boaz47 Posts: 2,751
    here I might have some agreement with you. But then it is all about the look with these bigger wheels. It is no more or no less prudent than a short skirt on a happily married mother of four. But in some cases it just looks good.

    But I do agree low profile tires don't last very long and do dip into the wallet. With 35 and 40 series tires you can almost feel the paint stripe of a crosswalk.
  • elroy5elroy5 Posts: 3,741
    For some, the extra cost of larger wheels and tires is worth it, for looks, performance, or both. In my case, as long as they are decent looking (no wheel covers please :P ) the size, or bling level, is not important.
  • jipsterjipster Louisville, KentuckyPosts: 5,787
    What was the bet?
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    What was the bet?

    19th hole dinner and drinks. ;)
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    For some, the extra cost of larger wheels and tires is worth it, for looks, performance, or both.

    Perhaps, but I wonder how many others have done the math and realize that, on cars like the E-class, the sport package wheels and tires will actually cost them several thousands more in tire replacement over the life of the car?

    I consider myself pretty financially prudent, and I didn't give it much consideration when I opted for the $200 "HPT" package on my Acura TL 6-speed. I certainly didn't realize at the time that I would need to spend roughly $5,600 in tires for my TL to get the same mileage (155k) I got out of my 1995 Nissan Maxima SE for under $1,500 in tires.
  • tpetpe Posts: 2,342
    I think this would be a more relevant question if you were considering larger, performance tires for a vehicle like a Honda Accord. Even if your buddy got the smaller tires I've got to believe the lifetime ownership costs of the E350 significantly exceeds that of cars offering comparable utility. So basically he's willing to pay more for some intangible value that can't be easily converted to dollars and cents. The same rational can be applied to what options a person chooses.

    I do agree that most people probably don't realize just how much they will end up spending on these larger wheels.
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    I would agree with your suggestion that most folks willing to pay $50,000+ probably doesn't care as much about paying $8,000 vs. $2,000 for replacement tires over 100k miles. But I've also seen business associates of mine spend hours shopping Mercedes and BMW dealerships for a lease deal that saves them an extra $30-40 per month. Yet, the high performance "sport" tires on a E class or 5 series can equate to an extra $75-$100 per month in replacement costs. And many of those associates couldn't tell the difference - they think "sport" is listening to ESPN on XM satellite radio.
  • gagricegagrice Pahrump, NevadaPosts: 31,450
    My Passat came with the 17 inch wheels and tires. I liked the handling and did not like the ride. I would never buy another vehicle with low profile tires. The ones I see around here on SUVs just look stupid to me. Unless of course you get the ones with spinners, ooooo :shades:

    PS
    looking at an ML320 CDI, I will opt for the fattest tires available for that vehicle. I plan to go off road from time to time.
  • bumpybumpy Posts: 4,435
    I liked the handling and did not like the ride. I would never buy another vehicle with low profile tires.

    What was the aspect ratio? I find that 60-series is a good balance between handling and comfort for a daily driver on unkempt roads.

    As for giant wheels, one thing I'd like to do eventually is put some lightweight 15s and 40-series (maybe 35?) rubber on the S2000. Tricky part is figuring out whether or not a 15-inch wheel can clear the brakes.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    Personally I find any tire above 17" of questionable benefit. Aside from the loss of power and braking (not too noticeable in a higher HP car of course)there is stress on suspension. Some cars, like Porsche, were bedeviled with occasional chassis stress, like creaking, groaning and glass seal leakage due to 18" tires.

    Aesthetically, it's the rare car that looks good with big wheels...certainly the "formal" looking cars like a Benz look very clumsy in those 18" running shoes, IMHO. It's more suited to a Mitsubishi EVO.
  • gagricegagrice Pahrump, NevadaPosts: 31,450
    I think they were 235/45X17. The stock 16" road much better. Did not drive it long enough to tell about the handling.
  • tpetpe Posts: 2,342
    I was looking at the new Miata when it came out. I like leather interiors and the only way to get this is with the top trim level. Unfortunately you are now stuck with 17" wheels, which I think is ridiculous for a car of this size and power.
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    As for giant wheels, one thing I'd like to do eventually is put some lightweight 15s and 40-series (maybe 35?) rubber on the S2000.

    My 2002 Honda S2000 came with 16" wheels, 55/205 and 50/225 series tires front and rear. If you dropped the wheel diameter down to 15" and put even lower profile 40/35 series tires on them, I think you'd have an ugly mess. Both from driving dynamics (suspension) and aesthetics. Not to mention that your speedometer and odometer would be way off.

    I'm not a fan of boy racer modifications in general. But with the S2000 in particular, it's so good out of the box that I think it should be a criminal offense to mess it up.
  • bumpybumpy Posts: 4,435
    My main motivation for the smaller wheels/tires is to get rid of as much unsprung weight and angular momentum as possible. I'm not worried about pretty, and mine has a 4.77 aftermarket gear so I already have the yellow box to correct the speedo (presumably; I've never actually seen the thing).
  • gagricegagrice Pahrump, NevadaPosts: 31,450
    Bigger tire diameter takes you further than your odometer indicates. Also you are going faster than your speedo. I believe that is the way it works. So a guy with monster tires will get more miles before the warranty expires.
  • elroy5elroy5 Posts: 3,741
    You can get smaller diameter wheels, and still have the same tire diameter (higher profile). Therefore not changing the speedometer. However, on an S2000 it would look very strange IMO, and it would probably affect the handling. Isn't that what an S2000 is all about?
  • oldfarmer50oldfarmer50 Posts: 14,442
    I guess there are two types who go for larger wheels and lower profile tires. The first wants appearance over anything. The 22 inch chrome wheels on an Escalade come to mind.

    The second is interested in performance upgrade. I have always wondered just how much better your handling gets as you go to a lower profile tire. Lets say I start out with a car that has 225R50 tires on 17" wheels and go to 235R45 tires on 18" wheels. Would I notice the difference? Assume that the tire brand and type were constant.

    2019 Kia Soul+, 2015 Mustang GT, 2004 Chevy Van, 2000 Chrysler Sebring convertible

  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    Lets say I start out with a car that has 225R50 tires on 17" wheels and go to 235R45 tires on 18" wheels. Would I notice the difference?

    Excellent question. I suspect the answer is "not much" - and that's the point of my starting this forum.

    When I test drove at least 6-7 Boxster S's before buying a 911S in September 2005, about half came with the standard 18" wheel and 45 series tires and half came with the 19" 35 series upgrade (they were also wider tires in the 19"). I honestly had a very difficult time telling the difference in my test drives. Maybe on a track, but not on public streets. Alternatively, for those Boxster S's (and 911's) that came with the PASM option (Porsche Active Suspension Management), the difference was profound. Push the "sport" button, electronically stiffen the adjustable suspension, and what was already minimal body roll completely vanished and you were glued to the road (and felt every bump in the process). That was the case whether you had the 18" or 19" wheels, although at that point, the 19" felt a little "firmer".

    In the case of my Acura TL 6-speed, I can immediately feel the difference between its stiffer suspension and faster stopping Brembo brakes, compared to the automatic transmssion model. But among 6-speeds, I could not tell the difference in handling between one's equiped with the optional "High Performance" tires and the standard ones. That's not to say there isn't a difference, but relatively speaking, a high performance tire is not going to turn a FWD 60/40 weight balanced Acura TL into a 335i with respect to handling. Suspension set up, weight balance and all those engineering refinements that make a Porsche a Porsche or a BMW a BMW are far, far more important to handling than slapping high performance tires on Honda, Infiniti, Acura or Mercedes, IMO.
  • boaz47boaz47 Posts: 2,751
    You would notice the difference but it is much more noticeable if you go from a 16 inch set to a 18 inch set. In my experience the low profile tires will grip better because they don't tend to have much side wall flex. At least they feel more secure if you are using them on a car rather than a truck. But they give a harsher ride as well. They will wear faster but that might be because they tend to be made of a softer compound to provide more grip.
  • 1racefan1racefan Posts: 932
    I think it depends on the vehicle.

    A lot of sports cars have stiffer suspensions to begin with (rougher ride), so going to a smaller sidewall wouldn't make a difference in overall ride quality. The smaller sidewall may help in cornering situations, but I would guess you wouldn't be able to detect a huge difference when hitting bumps during straight line driving.

    My friends went from 16" to 17" (and smaller side wall) wheels on a Chevy HHR. On this vehicle, you can feel the bumps more during straight line driving with the 17" wheels, and smaller side walls.
  • oldfarmer50oldfarmer50 Posts: 14,442
    I always wondered about that.

    You see car reviews from time to time that lament "if only this car had sticker tire it would handle better." Perhaps they aren't talking about larger tires or lower profile tires but rather ones with a "sticky" compound in the rubber.

    2019 Kia Soul+, 2015 Mustang GT, 2004 Chevy Van, 2000 Chrysler Sebring convertible

  • robertsmxrobertsmx Posts: 5,525
    If it is about grip, stickier tires help. Stickiness is a function of the compound the tire is made of. Rim size, on the other hand, can dictate tire profile. If a car is offered with base 16" rims and 17" is offered as an upgrade, latter will result in a lower profile (in an effort to keep the diameter of the tire same). This helps in improving cornering abilities (less sidewall flex).
  • oldfarmer50oldfarmer50 Posts: 14,442
    So, the ideal combo would be a low profile tire with a stickier rubber rather than larger wheels?

    2019 Kia Soul+, 2015 Mustang GT, 2004 Chevy Van, 2000 Chrysler Sebring convertible

  • robertsmxrobertsmx Posts: 5,525
    ...and lighter wheels.

    Although, with wheel size, we must also consider brake rotor diameter.

    For most part, rims are getting larger mostly for cosmetic purpose. People seem to demand it. Ten years ago, Accord sedan did fine with 14" (DX) and 15" (LX/EX/V6). Now, that would be the size one gets with Fit.

    Civic has moved on to 15" for the very basic DX trim, while the more mainstream LX/EX get 16". The Si trim gets 17". And if one chooses to go with HFP package, 18" rims.

    Compare that to the fact that the high performance 2000 Integra Type-R used 15 inch rims.
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    Compare that to the fact that the high performance 2000 Integra Type-R used 15 inch rims

    As did the Ferrari 308, if I'm not mistaken.

    My 1984 Toyota Supra (sport version) came standard with 225/60's on 14" rims. The "L" luxury version had 205/70's on narrower 14" rims. :surprise:
  • robertsmxrobertsmx Posts: 5,525
    When NSX first arrived, it had 15" (front) and 16" (rear) rims. IIRC, when it departed couple of years ago, it was still at 16" (front) and 17" (rear). Now even Civic matches it (and beats it with HFP package).

    Just wait until we see 19" rims in the next Tiburon. (Rumor is, that will be an option on top of 18" standard rims). I might not even consider it for that reason alone.
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    And I was wrong about the Ferrari 308. In 1981, it came standard with 205/70's on 14" wheels!! :surprise: :surprise:

    What a sissy Magnum PI was. Or did he drive a 328?
  • oldfarmer50oldfarmer50 Posts: 14,442
    Here's a thought. Do the larger wheels limit wheel spin on high power FWD cars? I seem to remember a review of the Chrysler Crossfire a few years back which mentioned that the 19" rear wheels were so big that the motor didn't have enough power to spin the wheels. Would larger wheels control wheel spin on these FWD sport coupes like the new Altima?

    2019 Kia Soul+, 2015 Mustang GT, 2004 Chevy Van, 2000 Chrysler Sebring convertible

  • ray80ray80 Posts: 1,655
    I think only if the contact patch was bigger (assuming tires were the same brand/model)
  • bumpybumpy Posts: 4,435
    Do the larger wheels limit wheel spin on high power FWD cars?

    Two ways: the larger wheel is also usually wider, which will dictate a wider tire with a larger contact patch; and the larger wheel and tire can be heavy enough to overpower the engine. Most people consider that a bad thing. :cry:
  • robertsmxrobertsmx Posts: 5,525
    Wheel spin has nothing to do with size of the rim. However, overall diameter (and of course, choice of rubber on it) can affect wheel spin (since it will affect overall gearing). However, this will generally not happen in a car because if a larger wheel is selected, the profile of the tire is smaller so the overall wheel diameter stays about the same.

    I’m assuming that Crossfire with 19” rims actually came with stickier (sportier) rubber than the smaller rim.
  • oldfarmer50oldfarmer50 Posts: 14,442
    "...I'm assuming that the Crossfire with 19" rims actually came with stickier(sportier) rubber than the smaller rim..."

    Actually the 19" rims were standard, but I think you're right about the stickier tires. They were Pilot Sport 2's. It didn't help that the Crossfire only had 215hp. Shame. Nice looking car.

    2019 Kia Soul+, 2015 Mustang GT, 2004 Chevy Van, 2000 Chrysler Sebring convertible

  • oldharryoldharry Posts: 413
    Mr.Shiftright mentioned chassis strain with larger wheels. Local and State police departments found that to be true in Crown Vic squad cars.

    When Ford went from 225/70R15 in '97 to 225/60R16 in '98, upper ball joints that had been lasting for the two to three years the cars were in service began failing within a year. After market companies came out with a larger upper ball joint that worked a lot better.

    Police service is harder than most retail CV/Gr. Marquis customers' driving habits, but I still do a lot of upper ball joints for the blue hairs.

    The '03 and up CV's have a different suspension, and do not seem to have a problem.

    The message is clear, increasing the diameter of the wheel and shortening the sidewall does shorten the life of some suspension parts, and stress the cars.

    Harry
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    I get your point regarding unexpected stresses.

    On the other hand, if a relatively upsizing upsizing of wheels from 15 to 16" on a Crown Vic caused the mechanical failures you cited, that to me is a confirmation of the crappy engineering and poor quality of Ford. No surprise there.
  • boaz47boaz47 Posts: 2,751
    Most of this is simply a issue of taste. Much like custom paint jobs or cold air intakes or polished valve covers. Maybe even exhaust tips. For the most part people get 22 inch wheels because they like how they look. Go to a NOPI event anywhere and see what they consider a good looking car. Someone could drive up in a great looking Porsche brand new and not even get a second glance because the Honda Civic parked next to it had a custom paint job and a sound system that cost more than the whole Porsche.

    Not my cup of tea but it is something an import enthusiast can get their teeth into. Lets face it, long gone are the days of buying a car with steel wheels and hub caps unless you are simply buying a commuter car. I totally agree that 14 and 15 inch 60 series tires and fine for most every day use and they tend to be less expensive. low profile tires are the style right now for car people and big tires are the style for truck people. If you can afford it and you like the way it looks it isn't a waste of money if you have the money to spend.
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    I get your point, but the target for starting this forum wasn't boy racer types who like to modify Hondas or those that think Suburbans with 22" chrome wheels are hot. I've never been to a "NOPI" event, whatever that is.

    Rather, my target audience included the unsuspecting buyer of a no-cost "Sport Package" option on a E350 that will potentially be spending 4 times as much (an extra $6,000) to keep rubber on 1" larger wheels. Or the Acura TL buyer like me that went for the $200 "high performance tire" option. Or every 3/5/7 series that gets a sport package option, even if it's predominantly used as a grocery getter and mundane commuter. Or, for that matter, every bloody automatic transmssion car out there. :surprise: ;)

    I do agree that it's all about personal taste and preferences. And a significant percentage of larger wheels and high performance tire upgrades are purchased based upon looks, not performance (see A/T comment above). My only point was to suggest that, given the dollars involved, the decision warrants a bit more financial analysis and prudence than is probably being done by most. After all, look at how many forums include that famous question "do I REALLY need to use premium gas in my $30k/$40k/$50k+ xxxxx?". Whenever gas prices spike, some people are tempted to put low octane gas in a high compression engine thinking that they are saving 7-8% in fuel cost (not realizing that the lower octane results in retarded timing, lower mpg and the risk of long term engine damage). In the case of that aforementioned E350, over the course of 100k miles, the theoretical difference between premium and regular gas would only be $850+/-, unrealistically assuming NO loss in fuel efficiency. That's less than 15% of the additional cost that will be spent on replacement tires during that time, thanks to the no cost Sport Package.

    And no, I haven't loaded up on put options on Pirelli and Michelin and I'm not trying to drive down their stock price. ;)
  • texasestexases Posts: 9,103
    Here's a link to a CD article on how upgrading the tires w/no wheel change makes a big difference:
    Subie tire upgrade
    This is one reason the big wheel options perform better - better tires. Put the same tire on both, the difference would shrink greatly. I did that, got much better handling with no wheel change.

    One other problem is on some cars (BMWs?) the big wheel option comes with run-flats, which seem to cause problems.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 49,624
    Today I saw an early 90s BMW 7er with oversized wheels. The car of course had windows tinted far past legal limits, so I couldn't see the dopey driver. The funny part though was that the car had badges on the front fenders, similar to the AMG engine size badges...but they said "20""...as if that's something to be proud of on such a car. It didn't look cool, it looked kind of sad, I felt sorry for the car.

    My E55 has 18" factory wheels, and that's about as big as I want to get, knowing what decent tires cost for the thing.
  • boaz47boaz47 Posts: 2,751
    Right now I think 18 is about optimum if you are looking for a wheel and tire upgrade. Living in the land of the aftermarket store I can see no reason to add a OEM tire and wheel upgraded at all. The aftermarket provides you with better choices and better looks for the most part. Plus if you are going to upgrade anyway you can order lighter wheels to go with the tires of your choice. I am not sure if 20s or 22s are for anything other than looks. But ultralight 18s with BFG G force T/A or better yet R-1s will make a sporty car feel like a sports car. At less than $300.00 a pop it doesn't seem bad but they are so sticky you will never get more than a summer out of a set. The cost of the wheels are a whole different story. Of course if I were going to go that route I would order new struts and lower the vehicle 2 inches as well.

    But for a daily driver, stock is most often the best except for better looking wheels even if they are the same size as stock.
  • john500john500 Posts: 409
    I believe texases' link sums up my opinion about tires. The comparison should be done with some type of numbers and the g force during cornering is probably the best number to use. I would sum it up as: For low end cars, a tire swap is probably a good idea. For high end cars, a tire swap probably has a negligible effect on cornering.

    I've seen lateral acceleration (g- ratings) go from 0.79 to nearly 0.9 on a Honda Civic by switching from factory tires to a sticky grip tire that is two sizes (i.e. a 185 to a 205 mm) larger. Although there are other aspects to handling, that is nearly the rating that a low end Porsche would get. It turns an almost intolerably boring breadbox into something a little more fun to drive for about $500-600 if the rims are not changed. Pricewise, I believe the consumer would be much better off doing the conversion as an aftermarket addon instead of a dealer upgrade. On the other hand, I believe that the gains on a high end car are very marginal (although I don't have any data). For example, I would be very suprised if a Subaru WRX STi would increment in the same way with a +2 tire swap (i.e. if the tires would fit and not rub in the wheel well, the STi would likely go from 0.92 to 0.95 or so instead of the same increment of 0.11 as on the Honda Civic) since the STi has already had some level of optimization by the manufacturer.
  • boaz47boaz47 Posts: 2,751
    I don't remember if it was car and driver or Edmunds that bought the wheel and tire upgrade for the origional WRX to get some reasonable increase in handling. I seem to remember it was a $1800.00 to $2400.00 upgrade or something but it did increase the slalom speed of the WRX by quite a bit. But then if you go all the way to the WRX STI RA-R it already comes with lightweight 18s and low profile 235x40 Bridgestones.
  • urnewsurnews Posts: 668
    So I pose the question - how prudent are 17-18-19 inch wheels and low profile, high performance tires on a family sedan?

    Our MSRP $27,105 2007 SEL AWD Fusion came "standard" with P225/50R/17 Michelin tires and I am already dreading the day when I will have to replace them. The base S Fusion comes with 16-inch 60-series tires, which I believe would ride better but not handle as well.

    As to "how prudent," the answer is "not very," but high performance tires seem to be the trend (probably a conspiracy with the tire manufacturers to sell more tires since they don't last very long either, in addition to being more expensive).
  • oldfarmer50oldfarmer50 Posts: 14,442
    That was a great article. Spot on.

    It seems then that the original question: "Are larger wheels and tire a waste of money" was half right. The wheels make minimal difference but the tires can enhance handling quite a bit.

    I wonder if that stabilizer bar trick would work on some of these FWD cars that understeer? Why don't he car companies put them on as standard equipment?

    2019 Kia Soul+, 2015 Mustang GT, 2004 Chevy Van, 2000 Chrysler Sebring convertible

  • texasestexases Posts: 9,103
    Of course, there's the $$. One other reason is that understeer = stable, seems like they want nothing unusual for most drivers to deal with.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    One of the reasons you might not notice a big difference with a tire upgrade on a "high end" car is that the high end cars have as a rule much better suspensions. You can get great g ratings on just about any car on a flat smooth track but in complex road conditions just having better tires won't give you "high end" handling.
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    I think I agree with your point. But one thing is for sure, using high performance tires on a car with a low performance suspension is a formula for pissing money away for minimal benefit.

    Case in point, the original Lexus GS400, when it first came out. Lexus offered an upgraded 17" wheel and high performance tire option. Friend of mine bought one. At 5,000 miles, the tires were already showing excessive wear. At 8,000 miles, Lexus refunded his option price and gave him a set of the standard rims and tires. The probelm was the Buick like suspensions Lexus used resulted in the body roll of a typical Camry. The high performance tires were wearing out dispropotionally on the inside and outside edges due to the body roll.

    The lesson is - if you want a good handling car, start by buying one with a good suspension. Then put on high performance tires if you want even more performance. But there isn't enough rubber in a Pirelli factory to turn a Lexus into a BMW.

    P.S. That friend of mine that went through a set of 17" tires on the Lexus GS400 in 8,000 miles ended up trading it on a BMW 545i a couple of years later. With the sport package and staggered wheels (can't be rotated), he got 20,000 to 25,000 miles out of the even higher performance softer compound tires. (i.e. because the BMW didn't come standard with that wonderful Lexus body roll and the tires were held flat to the ground by the BMW sport suspension).
  • dave8697dave8697 Posts: 1,498
    how is the icy road traction affected by low profile tires?
    My 16" 60 series are fine on a FWD car. The same size tires are pretty questionable on my RWD Mustang. I have to drive long distances on dark, snowy and icy, narrow roads in the winter.
  • bumpybumpy Posts: 4,435
    The profile itself doesn't matter too much. What does matter is that most if not all low (sub-50) profile tires are for summer use only, and they don't have the tread patterns or rubber compounds for all-season or heavy winter driving. Mustangs and most other RWD vehicles without good stability and traction control systems really need dedicated winter tires to handle anything more than a dusting of snow.
  • texasestexases Posts: 9,103
    Like bumpy said, plus your Mustang has much less weight over the wheels than any FWD car, further reducing traction. Get a set of snows from Tire Rack or Discount tire (15"s on rims, if they fit/$$ work). But they may be out by now.
  • boaz47boaz47 Posts: 2,751
    Tires are all that low profile. The stock tire on my ZTS was a 70 series. The stock tire on my old Camaro was a 60 series. What most people consider low profile tires most often start with 50 series. I have seen DUBs with 30 series. But then like it was said they don't come as a M&S. The advantages are simple, if the car is set up for it the tires don't roll on the rim in hard corners. But they also wear faster.

    Big rims do have a look that dresses up the car but they make for a harsher ride. I don't know if they are a waste of money if looks are what the driver wants. If how a car looks wasn't important to some there would be so many after market parts stores and custom paint shops.
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