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Thread: Tires: Larger diameter/lower profile vs. Smaller diameter/higher profile

  1. #1
    Senior Member Mithrandir's Avatar
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    Question Tires: Larger diameter/lower profile vs. Smaller diameter/higher profile

    Open question to all,

    Concerning tire size.

    Positives/Negative points of owning and using larger rimed & lower profile tire compared to smaller rimmed tires with larger profile.

    (ie a 15″ wheel with a 60-70 profile vs a 17″ wheel with a 40-50 profile)

    Assuming that the different tire sizes fit and work with the car in question:

    I think that

    A smaller diameter, larger profile tire is:

    • less expensive
    • more comfortable (cushioned) ride
    • lighter (both tire and rim) — in general not counting light weight alloy rims
    • more difficult to damage
    • less costly to fix or replace if damaged
    • tends to last longer (tred does not wear out as quickly)

    compared to a larger diameter, smaller profile tire.


    A larger diameter, smaller profile tire is
    :

    • better handling
    compared to a smaller diameter, larger profile tire.

    Does the larger diameter, lower profile tire brake better than the smaller diameter, higher profile tire?

    Is there any other benefit of larger diameter, lower profile tires over smaller diameter, higher profile tires?

    Is there something else that I am missing in comparing different sized rims and corresponding tire profiles.

    Thanks for your thoughtful responses.
    Last edited by Mithrandir; 09-17-2014 at 11:07 PM. Reason: Added another plus for Smaller diameter/higher profile tires
    Sincerely,
    Anthony

    'Many are my names in many countries,' he said. 'Mithrandir among the Elves, Tharkûn to the Drarves; Olórin I was in my youth in the West that is forgotten, in the South Incánus, in the North Gandalf; to the East I go not.' Faramir

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  2. #2
    Administrator Ken's Avatar
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    Hi,Anthony.

    Here's a few words of wisdom that might clarify some of the points.

    The Pro's - First of all, your pals will think your car is cool if you Plus Size. The bigger the diameter, the cooler you are (at least some folks think so). The biggest benefit from Plus Sizing is the increased road handling. By increasing the wheel diameter (and maintaining the original overall diameter), the height of the tire side wall deceases. This has the effect of less tire sway or roll, and increases the stability or cornering ability of your ride. Other than appearance and peer envy that is about it as far as the Pro's go.


    The Con's - The effect on suspension. By decreasing the side wall of the tire, you will increase the effect of road bumps, pot holes, expansion joints and all the other deformities of our roads and highways. Road noise will be increased also. A few things to beware of when choosing to Plus Size. The larger the diameter of the wheel, the more difficult it is to meet the load requirements for a safe and reliable wheel. Some manufacturers solve the problem by adding material to the wheel so it will pass the performance standards. By adding material, the weight of the wheel becomes heavier than the suspension the vehicle is designed to take and function properly. The tire and wheel are considered unsprung weight, and can cause excessive wear on the struts or shocks, bearings, spindles and brake systems.
    Plus Sizing is not a bad thing when done properly - for example when upsizing, unless the rolling radius is maintained as for the original tire then the car's computer can get upset and the speedo can read incorrectly.

    Just a few points.

    Ken.
    Last edited by Ken; 09-21-2014 at 08:22 AM.
    Die dulci fruimini!
    Ken.
    Wolds Bikers, Lincolnshire, England.

  3. #3
    Senior Member grouch's Avatar
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    I prefer to go with smaller rims and larger, more meaty tires. The tires act as part of the suspension. A thicker sidewall will give more than a low profile and be less prone to road damage. I prefer to install tall, narrow tires on my 4X4 trucks rather than the big fat ones everybody wants as those tend to float on snow and mud. narrow tires will bite down and get good traction. My '01 Ram 2500 has never gotten stuck.
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  4. #4
    Senior Member Mithrandir's Avatar
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    Thanks for the replies. I will look into the cost of new smaller rims (-1) that fit on my car and cost of tires to determine if it is worth the hassle. Of course will need to be sure that the new tires can handle the weight, otherwise it is a non-starter.
    Sincerely,
    Anthony

    'Many are my names in many countries,' he said. 'Mithrandir among the Elves, Tharkûn to the Drarves; Olórin I was in my youth in the West that is forgotten, in the South Incánus, in the North Gandalf; to the East I go not.' Faramir

    What nobler employment, or more valuable to the state, than that of the man who instructs the rising generation? Cicero (106BC-43BC)

    Do not meddle in the affairs of Win32, for it is subtle, and quick to anger. -D. Martinez

  5. #5
    Administrator Ken's Avatar
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    I would only consider going 'smaller' if you already have larger diameter wheels fitted. Personally I would not recommend going smaller than the manufacturers wheel/tire combination, Anthony - they are the sizes the car suspension, etc., were designed for.

    If going smaller in the manner Grouch was talking about, for heavy snow/mud conditions, then I think you will find that he was suggesting skinnier tires, say 175s instead of 195s, possibly on a narrower rim, say 5 1/2 J instead of 6 1/2 J but still keeping the original diameter of the wheel.

    Come back, Grouch.

    Ken.
    Die dulci fruimini!
    Ken.
    Wolds Bikers, Lincolnshire, England.

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