General Question

Ltryptophan's avatar

How does one go about correctly selecting the best wheels for various types of automobiles?

Asked by Ltryptophan (9106 points ) December 11th, 2011

Say you want to pick the best wheels for your souped-up honda…me…

Or, you want some offroad wheels for your SUV.

Is there a guide to picking wheels based on something other than looks?

What types of tolerances, and tire fittings are appropriate for each wheel style, and where does one learn comprehensively from japanese tuning through wheels for attaching racing slicks.

What are the best wheels for a few different classes of vehicle, and why?

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16 Answers

Coloma's avatar

I can’t answer all of your questions as I am rather car ignorant, but..I can say that I have a luxury sedan and I bought the Goodyear triple tread 60k, high performance tires a few years ago and they ARE awesome!
Pricey, but, extremely well handling, great on wet/icey/snowy roads, long lived, and ride like a dream.
They have lasted me over 3 years and I will be buying another set in Jan./Feb.
If you can afford it I think the higher end tires are always better.

Take your car into a tire store you trust for the best advice.

Scooby's avatar

I kept the original wheels on my car so I have the manufactures recommended wheel for that model, bigger wheels could affect mpg by lowering them; so I’m told! :-/ if you want to change your wheels, there are sites that you can choose wheels specifically for your car….
My cars a VW estate, I put firestone TZ300 on, good mid range tyre…..

Ltryptophan's avatar

@Scooby, I like what you said, wheels that come with a car are definitely going to be the right wheels!! :D

Now, using that as a good base, would it be right to say if you can find a wheel that takes the same tires, and has the same dimensions, and strenght tolerances, that the only difference you’ll face is maybe weight and design?

Is the weight of a wheel something that’s crucial if you can get around it?

HungryGuy's avatar

Round. Definitely round…

Scooby's avatar

@Ltryptophan
I think if you go for a reinforced tyre, they could be heavier, I play it safe and just go with what the manufacturer of the car recommends, there are sure to be some alternatives though too…..

Scooby's avatar

There is also the load rating to consider too…....

jerv's avatar

@Scooby Not entirely true. If you get a lower profile tire on a bigger rim then you have the same rolling diameter, thus leaving MPG unaffected. Now, if you mount bigger tires on bigger rims (or even on the same rims; the former owner of my car did that) then yes. But the rolling diameter of the tire is what matters here, not the diameter of the rim.

If done right, getting a rim that is an inch or even two inches larger while lowering the sidewall height of the tire will give you the same rolling diameter, MPG, acceleration, and not throw your speedometer/odometer off, but may be lighter, and will probably be more resistant to flexing when you turn, leading to better handling.

Scooby's avatar

@Ltryptophan
Look here ;-/

Thanks @jerv I wasn’t really too sure, nice one ;-)

jerv's avatar

A good tire size calculator is also a valuable tool.

Personally, I rarely run stock-sized tires; I often run slightly under, and find that my acceleration, handling, and MPG all improve slightly as a result, and are well worth the funny looks I get at the tire shop.

When shopping for rims, offset is important too. Basically, it;s the difference between where the wheel hub clamps and the center of the rim. Getting that wrong can lead to tire rub, bent/broken axles, and all sorts of other bad things.

DrBill's avatar

original equipment is always best, but if you do change it…..

Try to get the same diameter tire (regardless of rim diameter)
Smaller will cause the speedometer to register faster than actual speed, and allow faster acceleration.
Larger will cause the speedometer to register slower than actual speed, and allow a faster top end.
Wider will cause harder to turn
thinner will create less traction

If you do not match the size (as with slicks) front to back, or to change the rake, it will also change the caster and the camber, and you will have to realign the front end suspension at minimum but should do a 4 wheel alignment

If you make a radical change, you may also need to modify the brakes, mass of the tire + traction coefficient + speed = braking power needed. (it takes twice the power to stop a 30lb wheel, as it does a 15 lb wheel)

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

I highly recommend going into a custom wheel shop and discussing the request with a professional. These wheel shops have great deals and understand the nuances of fitting custom looks to any vehicle without compromising performance or safety.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

I like surfing sites like tirerack.com where I can research tires by how fast I go on average, the types of road I drive, the temperatures of where I live, etc.

WestRiverrat's avatar

You also have to consider function. Are you driving on roads all the time a regular tread tire is best.

If you drive through fields and construction sites, you will want a tire that is at least partially rated for offroad use. These will wear faster and create more noise on pavement, but they won’t lose tracton as easily in mud or snow.

Ltryptophan's avatar

@realeyesrealizereallies ???

RocketGuy's avatar

I hopped up my Acura with +2” diameter rims, but kept the same outer diameter. The speedometer was fine, MPG was fine. Handling was much improved. I opted for heavier rims because 1) they were cheaper, 2) they could take more abuse. If I drove it only on a track, I would have opted for really light rims.

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