How Does the Wheel Size Affect Your Driving?

Before changing your car’s wheel size, it is important to note that it may impact your driving, comfort, fuel economy, and performance. When a tire’s sidewall height reduces, the car’s performance and handling get sharper. The lap time also improves but not significantly. In terms of vibration, noise, and harshness, smaller rims are preferable as they are quieter and less harsh than large wheels. But these could also depend on the type and tire brand you are using.

If you want to change your wheel size, you need to consider some aspects. You cannot switch your original wheel with a fuel runner wheel and expect the same performance. Your car is designed to roll on a specific wheel size; therefore, changes can impact its performance if you are not careful.

Reasons for wheel size change

There are different reasons you might want to change your car’s wheel size. One of the reasons is when the car’s original wheel size is hard to find or completely unavailable. In most cases, older cars with small rims may only have a few tire options available, so the owners may opt to change the wheel size. By sizing up, you may have more tire options.

For other people, a change in wheel size is a matter of appearance. Many car owners use custom wheels to enhance the style of the car and boost its value, and in most cases, that means a larger wheel size than the original one. Other car owners downsize their rims with wider ones.

The Impact of wheel size change

wheel size affects
Image credit: Pxhere

Inaccurate speedometer

One of the impacts of a wheel size change is an inaccurate speedometer, especially when the wheel change is done incorrectly. Typically a larger rim means a larger diameter and fewer rotations as you ride your car. Consequently, the tire rotates slower, and the speedometer reads that as slow speed. Your car’s odometer also reads lower, and the faster you drive, the more the speedometer reading goes off.

Wear and tear on the suspension brakes

Larger wheels also impact the suspension brakes by changing the angle and influencing the transmission gear ratio. In some cars, the anti-lock brakes are also affected, which means you may need to change the car brakes and suspension to compensate for the wheel size change.

How to minimize wheel size change effects

When it comes to wheel size changes in your car, you need to make the correct calculations to minimize the effects mentioned above. For instance, you can increase the rim size while reducing the profile or boost the width. That way, you can end up with a wheel size similar to your original wheels and still have the large wheels you desire.

Additionally, you can use a wheel calculator to see your car’s acceptable wheel size changes. That means you may be able to do it safely with the right precautions. Luckily some good calculators give you information about how the wheel size change impacts your speedometer.

The Takeaway

If you consider changing your car’s wheel size, it is best to talk to a specialist to determine the ideal wheel sizes for your vehicle.

Jasper has been an enthusiast of the automotive and IT industries since the age of 16. He independently writes on the auto industry's recent happenings.