Wheel size is a hot topic in the automotive world, as many drivers choose to customize their wheels and tires for aesthetic or performance reasons. But how does wheel size affect the vehicle’s performance, handling, fuel economy, and safety? In this blog post, we will explore some of the advantages and disadvantages of different wheel sizes and how to choose the best one for your vehicle.
Wheel Size and Performance
The effect that wheel size has on the overall performance of a vehicle is quite big. Larger wheels typically increase unsprung weight, while smaller wheels decrease it. This can influence acceleration, handling, and braking performance.
Larger wheels need more power to roll because of their increased surface area. This can reduce the vehicle’s responsiveness and agility, especially in stop-and-go traffic or on hilly roads. They also affect the vehicle's aerodynamics negatively.
On the other hand, smaller wheels need less power from the engine in order to rotate and they usually stop much faster. This can improve the vehicle’s responsiveness and agility, especially in city driving or on twisty roads.
However, wheel size is not the only factor that affects performance. The size of the tires that fit on the wheels also matters. Tires have different widths, sidewalls, treads, and compounds that affect their grip, rolling resistance, noise, and comfort.
Wheel Size and Handling
Wheel size also affects a vehicle’s handling, which is how well it steers, corners, and stays stable on the road. Larger wheels have a negative effect on:
- The turning radius
- Traction in corners
- The center of gravity of the vehicle
In comparison with this, smaller wheels are:
- Better around corners and turns
- Less power hungry
- Worse in bad weather conditions and in rough roads
The shape and profile of the tires that fit on the wheels also matter. They have different aspect ratios, which is the ratio of their height to their width. Tires with a low aspect ratio (also known as low-profile tires) have shorter sidewalls, which make them stiffer and more responsive. Tires with a high aspect ratio (also known as high-profile tires) have taller sidewalls, which make them softer and more comfortable.
Do You Need Assistance With Your Tires?
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