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Old 07-17-2013, 04:16 PM   #1
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NooB Q: 16 vs 17 Wheel

Couldn't find an exact answer by searching the forums so I'm hoping you'z guys (and gals) can school me up on wheel/rim size.

Assuming the exact same tire/rubber and the exact same wheel, what are the pros and cons of choosing a 16" wheel vs a 17" wheel?

1.) Price is clearly in favor of the 16 for both the rim and rubber.
2.) I've heard weight, but I've also heard that's negligible.
3.) Sidewall flex? What's this exactly? Loss of handling in turns?

Help a automotive ignoramus learn a little.

If I can save several hundred dollars simply by choosing a smaller rim when I move to a 2.5 lift and 35's then I will.

Thanks in advance.

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Old 07-17-2013, 04:25 PM   #2
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If you are running the exact same diameter tire it is pretty much a wash. Heavier wheels vs. heavier tires. So just get what you like. Not much difference really.

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Old 07-17-2013, 04:35 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RubiNooby View Post
Couldn't find an exact answer by searching the forums so I'm hoping you'z guys (and gals) can school me up on wheel/rim size.

Assuming the exact same tire/rubber and the exact same wheel, what are the pros and cons of choosing a 16" wheel vs a 17" wheel?

1.) Price is clearly in favor of the 16 for both the rim and rubber.
2.) I've heard weight, but I've also heard that's negligible.
3.) Sidewall flex? What's this exactly? Loss of handling in turns?

Help a automotive ignoramus learn a little.

If I can save several hundred dollars simply by choosing a smaller rim when I move to a 2.5 lift and 35's then I will.

Thanks in advance.
You pretty much listed them.

Many people (on this side) would go with 16"'s over 17"'s because: Rims are cheaper, tires are (usually, but not always) cheaper, more sidewall for the ability to air down.

Some people go down to 15"'s, but you have to be careful with the rim fitting over the brakes.

Down side, more flex in corners. More of a floating feeling when driving. Can be harder to balance the tires.
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Old 07-17-2013, 04:40 PM   #4
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sidewall flex is the amount of "cushion" a tire has, assuming same size tire, a smaller rim will have a taller sidewal, alowing it to flex more. where as a 17 inch wheel will have a half inch less sidewall.
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Old 07-17-2013, 05:12 PM   #5
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I went with 15" wheels. Going that route you save around $100 per tire vs. 17".

One downside to 15 or 16": If you want to go up to 37" tires, most start at 17".

Some say 17" will ride better on the road. More side wall is definitely better for wheeling though. You want more sidewall for better handling off road + less likely to scratch your wheels.
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Old 07-17-2013, 05:46 PM   #6
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A 255/75/17 has the exact same sidewall as a 255/75/16. The 17 in rim will result in 1/2 taller ride height, a few pounds more in weight, and a difference in effective drive ratio. Do the math. Same sidewall.
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Old 07-17-2013, 05:46 PM   #7
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Went with 16" wheels, wanted a little more tire when I air down. Saved over $400 on new Duratracs and Pro Comp 7069s going down from 17''.
Would liked to do 15'' but, I still have to use my Jeep on the road and didn't want balancing issues that sometimes happen with more sidewall and more so with the Duratracs that have a bit of a reputation to be hard to balance.
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Old 07-17-2013, 05:55 PM   #8
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Sidewall flex is exactly what it says it is. It's how much the sidewall moves when you put it under a load. More flexible sidewalls move more.

Sidewall flex is good off road. You want the tire to conform to the terrain somewhat. To help this, you reduce air pressure. The more you air down, the more flexible the tire becomes, the better traction you get.

Sidewall flex is not good for high performance race cars. Flexible sidewalls make for sloppy handling in the corners.

Sidewall flex is good for ride comfort. A tire that is flexible absorbs the shock of hitting a bump in the road. The more shock you absorb in the tire, the less the spring and shock have to deal with.

Excessive sidewall flex is bad for tire life. When you see a car with an underinflated tire driving down the road, you can see how the sidewall bows out on either side where the tire touches the ground. As you drive down the road, this flexing causes the tire to heat up. Heat up the tire too much over long enough distance and you destroy the rubber inside of it, resulting in a blowout. Some kinds of tires are fine with a little flexing but too much is always bad no matter what kind of tire it is.


The key is to find a balance for the type of driving you want to do. Every tire has sidewall flex to one degree or another. The question is how much. A low profile racing tire will have very little. A big super swamper tire on a small rim will have tons of sidewall flex.

The two biggest things that affect sidewall flex are the size of the rim and the load rating of the tire. As the wheel gets bigger, there's less and less sidewall for the same size tire. This reduces sidewall flex. As the load rating goes up, the strength of the sidewall goes up, reducing sidewall flex. But keep in mind that stronger sidewalls hold up better to abuse off road so this is not necessarily a bad thing to have.

That being said, the specific wheels you're asking about are going to be in the same ballpark. For the most part, you're probably not going to notice much difference between a 16 and a 17" wheel assuming everything else about the tire is the same. Pick the one that looks the way you want it to, within your budget and you'll be fine.
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Old 07-17-2013, 11:55 PM   #9
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I have 15inch steel pro comps and 33x12.50 duratracs and love the set up. I drive everyday on the freeway and don't even notice more sidewall flex taking turns compared to the stock 255/75/17 setup. I also prefer the look of more sidewall on the tire! Not to mention I saved a ton by going to 15s!

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Old 07-18-2013, 04:57 AM   #10
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A 33 in tire with a 15 in rim will have more sidewall than a 33 in tire with a 17 in rim. a 255/75 tire will have the same sidewall, no matter what rim you put on there.
A 255/75/16 is a 31 in tire, a 255/75/17 is a 32, a 255/75/18 is a 33.
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Old 07-18-2013, 06:05 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Afmcronnie View Post
A 33 in tire with a 15 in rim will have more sidewall than a 33 in tire with a 17 in rim. a 255/75 tire will have the same sidewall, no matter what rim you put on there.
A 255/75/16 is a 31 in tire, a 255/75/17 is a 32, a 255/75/18 is a 33.
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Originally Posted by Afmcronnie View Post
A 255/75/17 has the exact same sidewall as a 255/75/16. The 17 in rim will result in 1/2 taller ride height, a few pounds more in weight, and a difference in effective drive ratio. Do the math. Same sidewall.
I could be wrong but the OP wasn't questioning the wheel size. I think he was asking for the pros and cons between a 32" tire with a 16" rim (265/75-16) compared to a 32" tire with a 17" rim(265/70-17). Sorry but your "do the math" comment sounds like you are trying to argue a point that no one was talking about.
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Old 07-18-2013, 06:31 AM   #12
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I could be wrong but the OP wasn't questioning the wheel size. I think he was asking for the pros and cons between a 32" tire with a 16" rim (265/75-16) compared to a 32" tire with a 17" rim(265/70-17). Sorry but your "do the math" comment sounds like you are trying to argue a point that no one was talking about.
I thought the answers Afmcronnie gave were clear and specific. I dont think he meant anything by the "do the math" comment other than the obvious.
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Old 07-18-2013, 06:42 AM   #13
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OK. That's cool. "Do the math. Same sidewall" That is not what the OP asked. He wants to run 35's either way. The OP wanted to know if a 17" or a 16" is better. Not which one is taller.
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Old 07-18-2013, 09:56 AM   #14
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I went with 16" rim over 17" for the backspacing. The procomp 7069 17" was 4.75" I believe and the 16" is 4".
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Old 07-18-2013, 10:07 AM   #15
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OK. That's cool. "Do the math. Same sidewall" That is not what the OP asked. He wants to run 35's either way. The OP wanted to know if a 17" or a 16" is better. Not which one is taller.
Ummm exactly. Wasn't asking about the end size of the set up, understanding that a 17 will be slightly taller in the end. I was asking if all else is equal what are the pros and cons of choosing a 16 or a 17 (what's the risk of switching my 17s for a 16).

Thanks again everyone for your help.

It sounds like a 16 will work just fine so long as I can find the rim and rubber I want. Kind of seems like the biggest "con" on a 16 is the rim and rubber selection. S

I'm a 80% on road and 20% off road driver, and I'll probably put 8K worth of miles on my rig a year at most (had this bad boy since January and I just hit 3K).
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Old 07-18-2013, 10:28 AM   #16
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lots of tire experts here, on a hijack note, will going to 15" tires (from 17") change towing aspects in any way?
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Old 07-18-2013, 06:38 PM   #17
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I ran 8x16 procomps on my last jeep they had a bs of 4.5. I didn't like the ride of the D rated tires. I run a lot of 2 lane backroads that are rough. I went back to 15's on this jeep c rated tires and used dyna beads to balance. Buy the size wheel that fits the style of tire you want to run. I drive 25k a year on country roads so 35's will be as large as i want. If i ever wanted bigger i would need 17's. I do tow a 6.5x12 trailer hauling 4 kayaks or a small Kubota tractor and the bigger sidewall hasnt caused any problems.

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