Sunday, February 27, 2011

18" VS 19" Rims: The Pros & Cons (Best Motoring International)

         Many motoring enthusiasts love to up-size their original rims: from 14 inch on a Proton Wira to 16 inch, or even 17 inch is not uncommon in Malaysia. 

Not very pothole friendly! (Source)

 Sure looks nice, but is it practical? (Source)

However, most people do it for the looks, without considering the aftereffects. Changing to a different size affects the whole behaviour of the car entirely. Auto manufacturers spent a lot of their resources researching on such issues, whereas many motoring enthusiasts simply change the size without considering issues such as the durability of the parts, chassis, and speedometer readings. Generally bigger size rims have a wider width, resulting in more grip. This increase in grip translates to more rolling resistance, hence higher fuel consumption. Other issues may include wrong rim offset, producing fender rubbing, or even knocking into the chassis. Braking also is an issue. Bigger rims are generally heavier, thus it takes more effort to brake. Without upgrading the brakes, the braking distance increases. For general daily driving purposes, many people who have changed to much "bigger than stock rims" may not experience a significant impact. 

Personally, I have increased my rim size from 14 inch to 17 inch. Even though it looks fantastic, the car wanders at high speed, the road noise is much more significant, and fuel consumption were at an all time high. Handling wise, cornering is awesome, and responsive.This does not bode well for everyday use unfortunately, with the "excellent" road conditions of Malaysia this means that every bump, crease, unevenness is felt. As a result, I will be downgrading my rims back to 15 inch, much more comfortable and economical at the same time. 

As a general rule of thumb told to me by many tyre shops, if you want to upgrade your rims do not exceed 2 inch from the original specifications and the tyre size have to be matched within 3% allowance of speedometer reading. 

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