When you buy a new car, it is fitted with wheel rims that are specifically designed to fit that vehicle. But if you want to change the look of your car, can you upgrade your rim size? Here are a few points to consider before you start swapping those old wheels for a set of shiny new alloys.
This may not be something you consider initially when you buy larger or smaller rims for your car, but as well as changing all your suspension setup, you’ll also need to have your speedometer recalibrated. Your car speedometer is calibrated to work with the size of the wheels that are fitted in the factory, to ensure they give an accurate reading of the speed of the vehicle based on the number of wheel revolutions. If that changes and you don’t change your speedometer then you’ll get inaccurate readings from your sensors. That could land you with a speeding ticket even if your speedometer says you’re doing the legal speed!
The temptation to put larger rims on the back to change the profile of the vehicle while leaving the front as standard will throw the geometry of the vehicle out and affect the handling, steering and braking performance. While some cars do come from the manufacturer with different size front and rear rims, the design of the vehicle has been specifically set up to factor these differences in without adversely affecting the performance. Changing one set of rims on a car that has the same size rims on both the front and rear will affect the balance and performance of the car unless it’s done by a professional.
Changing to larger rims may give your vehicle enhanced road presence but before you head out and buy those expensive, shiny alloy rims, it’s wise to check and double-check that they’ll actually fit without touching the wheel arches. Remember that tyres also expand when they’re hot, so even if those rims just about fit when you’re in the garage, a few minutes out on the open road will cause the tyres to swell, and you may suddenly find that there’s an unpleasant ‘burning rubber’ smell coming from the back!
While a small change of an inch either way (larger or smaller) won’t have a huge effect on overall performance or handling, any change in wheel rim dimension will have an effect on the efficiency of the vehicle. If you go for larger rims that means larger tyres, (and possibly low-profile options if space in the wheel arches is tight), which means a bigger bill when you buy new tyres. Remember that for many cars you’ll need to factor in the spare too – if you’re changing the size of your wheel rims then the spare will need to be the same size as well.
Larger rims may also mean higher fuel consumption and possibly greater ‘road noise’ in the cabin due to the increased footprint of the tyre on the tarmac. It may also limit your options when it comes to choosing new tyres to fit your larger or smaller rims.
The main reason for buying new tyre rims is, in the main, based on aesthetics rather than performance enhancement. But as the correct wheel geometry is essential for the safety of your vehicle then this is a topic that really needs some expert input.
At Al-Futtaim Fastfit, our expert technicians can talk you through the process of buying and fitting new rims. If you want to make sure that your vehicle not only looks good, but performs at its best too, talk to us today.