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Re: 16" vs 17" Wheels (archive)

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Posted by Gregg on August 14, 1999 at 00:50:00:

In Reply to: Re: 16" vs 17" Wheels posted by Spencer on August 11, 1999 at 20:13:01:

: I have 18" wheels on my car with Eibach lowering springs and I think the car handles considerable better than stock. There's still a lot of meat on the tires even with 18" inch rims. Your car will definitely be a lot firmer with this combo but to my amazement the car is still very comfortable. On smooth roads it feels the same as if I had my stock wheels and tires but I do admit that on bumpy terrain it gets a little bumpy but not at all uncomfortable. If you are only going to up the size of your wheel to 17" I am certain that you not feel much of a difference in comfort.

: But now you are facing a cosmetic issue. If you increase your wheel size, it will look sportier but your ride height will increase do to the stiffer side wall. If you look carefully, your tires have quite a bit of flex in the side wall but a 17" tire wheel combo will have less flex. Also, if you make some rough caluculations, you will notice that the overall diameter of a 235/45 17 tire wheel combo is slight larger than your 16" setup.

: In my opinion, if you are going to up size your wheels you should also lower your car to make up for the increase in right height.

: Spencer

: : I am driving a '99 528IA with the standard 16" wheels and Continental tires. I am considering getting a set of 17" wheels and tires. I have been told that the car will handle much better with the 17's, they look better and I can use the present 16's for snow tires.

: : I like the way the car rides now; a very nice compromise between handling and a smooth, tight ride. How will the 17" wheel change that?

: : Thanks in advance.

: : Allen

Wrong! Misinformation. 1) Ride height will not be less on stock 16s vs 235-45-17s. The sidewall is shorter on the 17s and therefore, yes stiffer, BUT that leads to correction of your second point: 2) Overall diameter on 235-45-17s is slightly LESS (about a half step--245-45-17s are more a "true" Plus One from the 225-55-16s) than the stock 16s! Check your math and typical factory published specs. Going from a non Sport's 16s to a Sport's 235-17s (on a non Sport) will therefore increase rpms (revs per mile) and put more miles--noticeable mostly over several thousand miles--on your odo. The speedo will accordingly read up to a few mph conservative (it will look like you are always going a little "too fast" when you're not).

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