Big Wheels

For the last couple of years, one of the bigger aftermarket trends in cars has been putting on over-sized wheels and tires.You’ve seen them, big suv’s with 20, 22, 24 inch and larger rims. Later people began putting them on cars too. Chrysler 300s and Dodge Magnums are prime candidates for the so-called “Dub” treatment. It was almost always newer cars, at least until recently. In the past year I have been seeing more and more old cars with ridiculous wheels. If you look around I’m sure you will see some of these things. Most newer vehicles have been designed to accommodate larger wheels like 16-18″ rims anyway, so the bigger wheels can usually fit into the wheels with relatively little modification. They usually do restrict the steering angle which increases the turning radius, but this seems to be a price people are willing to pay. However older cars were typically designed for only a 14-15″ wheel. This means that a 24″ wheel won’t fit in the wheel well, no how, no way. The cars I’m talking about hear are typically mid-70s to early 80s American cars especially mid-size gm coupes like Monte Carlos and Grand Prixs or sedans like the Chevy Caprice. So that means that in order to install such a large wheel on such a car the body must be raised up to provide sufficient clearance. So that means the car will need new springs and shocks to jack it up. Then the owner can mount 22’+ diameter rims and tires on this thing. If you have never shopped for such wheels and tires, keep in mind that a set of 4 wheels and tires of this size is going to cost at least a couple of thousand dollars.big wheels
So you mount a set of wheels and tires that are worth more than the car, and seriously degrade the handling and ride of the car at the same time. These big wheels and tires are much heavier than the stock sized wheels, usually 40-60 lbs more per wheel. The way a vehicle suspension works, the worst place to add weight is at the wheels. This adds what is known as unsprung mass. This adds inertia for to parts that are supposed to move up and down over bumps and potholes. And given the nature of most Michigan roads I would not want to risk really expensive wheels and tires on one big pothole. Also the increased ride height would result in some pretty scary cornering behavior. It’s just my opinion (and of course that is what is blog is ultimately about anyway) but I think these cars just look stupid, and the functionality is very definitely degraded.

Leave a comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.