Edmunds Answers

Voted Best Answer

  • avatar zaken1 03/05/11 4:39 pm PST

    Larger wheels will increase the turning radius; and they will also slow the steering response. The popularity of larger wheels has stemmed from their use on race cars; which led copy cat motorists to put them on their passenger vehicles; apparently thinking that it would make them handle more like a race car. As so often happens in such copy cat situations; something major is overlooked.

    The reason large wheels have been adopted on race cars is that they increase stability under the extreme road shocks and cornering forces encountered in racing situations. But they also create a corresponding loss of maneuverability in slower speed driving and everyday passenger car use. That's why they have not been used on passenger cars; until this mass mania of drivers trying to create a more powerful image forced manuacturers to offer them as options.

    Granted; manufacturers used to make cars with smaller that optimal wheels in order to save money. In those days; it made sense to upgrade to larger wheels. But 16 or 17 inch wheels are the largest sizes which offer a practical advantage in everyday driving at legal speeds. Furthermore; the extremely low profile tires which are typically used on the very large wheels create a very stiff ride, have a surprisingly short tread life, and are super expensive when the time for replacement arrives.

    This mania is only appropriate for people who use their car to show off, to impress equally ignorant people, or who drive to act out unresolved conflicts which we'd all be better off if they were faced and dealt with. But they sure make the tire and wheel manufacturers smile, all the way to the bank.

Answers

  • zaken1 03/05/11 4:39 pm PST

    Larger wheels will increase the turning radius; and they will also slow the steering response. The popularity of larger wheels has stemmed from their use on race cars; which led copy cat motorists to put them on their passenger vehicles; apparently thinking that it would make them handle more like a race car. As so often happens in such copy cat situations; something major is overlooked.

    The reason large wheels have been adopted on race cars is that they increase stability under the extreme road shocks and cornering forces encountered in racing situations. But they also create a corresponding loss of maneuverability in slower speed driving and everyday passenger car use. That's why they have not been used on passenger cars; until this mass mania of drivers trying to create a more powerful image forced manuacturers to offer them as options.

    Granted; manufacturers used to make cars with smaller that optimal wheels in order to save money. In those days; it made sense to upgrade to larger wheels. But 16 or 17 inch wheels are the largest sizes which offer a practical advantage in everyday driving at legal speeds. Furthermore; the extremely low profile tires which are typically used on the very large wheels create a very stiff ride, have a surprisingly short tread life, and are super expensive when the time for replacement arrives.

    This mania is only appropriate for people who use their car to show off, to impress equally ignorant people, or who drive to act out unresolved conflicts which we'd all be better off if they were faced and dealt with. But they sure make the tire and wheel manufacturers smile, all the way to the bank.

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