Automotive

Big Rims, Small Sidewalls. Why?

  • Last Updated:
  • Apr 8th, 2016 10:06 am
Tags:
None
[OP]
Deal Expert
User avatar
Mar 1, 2008
15075 posts
4015 upvotes
Toronto, Ontario

Big Rims, Small Sidewalls. Why?

I don't understand the latest trend manufacturers have with their vehicles. It seems that more and more new vehicles are coming with big rims and small sidewalls for no good reason. Why? Aside from the fact that they look good and are deliver good cornering due to less sidewall flex, they add unsprung weight, look goofy on a family car (looking at you Honda Accord), and make tuning a comfortable suspension that much harder. Replacing them are a pain in the butt and they are also more prone to bent rims due to small sidewalls. It also causes everything above the wheel wells to be placed higher, thus reducing the area of the vehicle that is surrounded by glass and giving it an open, airy feel.

Right now 2016 TLX SH-AWD has 225/50R18 and they're ridiculously big and heavy. Honda Accord comes with 215/55R17 or 235/40R19. Even a Corolla goes from 195/65R15 to 215/45R17! To me, this is getting ridiculous.

Edit: Forgot to mention that a lot of times, the brakes that hide behind these large rims are sized so they normally fit on 16" or 17" rims. So with 19" rims but small brakes, again no point in my opinion.
47 replies
Deal Addict
May 4, 2014
4878 posts
6167 upvotes
Toronto, ON
On my car, anything below 18's don't fit because of the big calipers(mine comes with 19's stock).
Deal Fanatic
Aug 15, 2015
8712 posts
5095 upvotes
ON
geokilla wrote: It also causes everything above the wheel wells to be placed higher, thus reducing the area of the vehicle that is surrounded by glass and giving it an open, airy feel.
Not sure I understand what "everything above the wheelwells" you're talking about ...
Deal Addict
User avatar
May 10, 2005
1288 posts
74 upvotes
"...but in 1 revolution of the engine I traveled further than you, sucker!" some one told me once.
Deal Fanatic
Aug 15, 2015
8712 posts
5095 upvotes
ON
langong wrote: "...but in 1 revolution of the engine I traveled further than you, sucker!" some one told me once.
That would be true if he has a 1-1 gearing and direct drive with a one speed transmission.
Deal Addict
Jul 7, 2007
1299 posts
900 upvotes
Lower sidewalls, better handling.
Bigger wheels = big brake kit
Sr. Member
User avatar
Feb 27, 2008
586 posts
24 upvotes
As others have said, less sidewall means better handling due to less deformity in the rubber under acceleration, braking, and cornering, thus all of the car's response to the road can be handled by the suspension. This also gives it a stiffer ride, since the suspension is usually stiffer and doesn't react well to small imperfections in the road. A taller sidewall would deform over this imperfection and iron it out for the rider.

In terms of bigger rims, they usually look nicer and provides more space for brakes.
Deal Addict
Jan 20, 2014
2556 posts
611 upvotes
Ottawa
Manufacturer's are picking some of their wheel and tires marriages from the stance scene.

I have no emperical evidence but I think if you measure the wheel stickoutniss from most OEM from 10 years to now, it definetly sticks out more although the overall wheel offset remanins mostly unchanged.

Wheel/tire combos are no different in keeping up with trends.

The good thing about when an OEM puts bigger wheels/thinner sidewalls together is that they usually engineer a suspension to compensate.
Deal Addict
User avatar
Oct 9, 2010
2814 posts
955 upvotes
Windsor
Better handling, more room for brakes, and if the car was made for those wheels/tires, the ride "quality" (smoothness) can be handled by the suspension.
Deal Addict
Feb 6, 2011
1740 posts
1488 upvotes
low profile tires = less rim protection, more bent rims when going through potholes, more curb scuffed rims, rougher ride. But have better handling and better mpg's.

Personally, I don't like them.
Deal Addict
Mar 30, 2010
2886 posts
1190 upvotes
GTA
geokilla wrote: they look good and are deliver good cornering due to less sidewall flex,
That's the reason why
Deal Addict
Jul 13, 2009
4762 posts
2876 upvotes
Just in time for pothole season!

Good luck out there!!
Deal Addict
User avatar
Dec 15, 2011
3049 posts
631 upvotes
The car companies are just cashing in from the buyers wanting bigger tires and stylish rims.
Deal Expert
User avatar
Jan 7, 2007
20821 posts
4967 upvotes
Poormond Hill
billford wrote: low profile tires = less rim protection, more bent rims when going through potholes, more curb scuffed rims, rougher ride. But have better handling and better mpg's.

Personally, I don't like them.
Better mpgs?
A life spent making mistakes is not only more memorable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing.
Deal Addict
Sep 15, 2011
1025 posts
563 upvotes
HUNTSVILLE
^Yeah, I'm not so sure about that...
[OP]
Deal Expert
User avatar
Mar 1, 2008
15075 posts
4015 upvotes
Toronto, Ontario
The worst part though is that the brakes look stupid small in these big rim vehicles. Just look at the brakes at the Accord with those 19" rims for example. It's a family sedan, so why even throw on such a large rim? Also it's been reviewed many times that the ride was actually harsh due to those low profile sidewalls compared to the same vehicle, same suspension, with a slightly thicker sidewall. Not all manufacturers tune the suspension so it matches the rims and sidewall size.

Top