Does wheel size affect performance?
Larger wheels seem to be what people want, but why is that? Does wheel size affect performance? It’s actually a complicated question, but at Mercedes-Benz of Arrowhead, we are ready to dive in. You can also see our new Mercedes-Benz options in Peoria, AZ, and check out their stylish wheels while you are at it by clicking the link below.
Are larger wheels faster?
Before we can really explore this issue, let’s start small. Modern alloy wheels are very lightweight things, and that is of course, good for performance. This is because your engine has to turn those wheels and tires before it even starts putting that power to the road.
Let’s assume your tire’s outer diameter stays the same, as it usually does when you are selecting options on a car. In this case, a larger wheel means less rubber on your sidewalls. An alloy wheel may be lightweight, but it is going to be heavier than the rubber that it replaces. This means it’s going to be a little slower.
Is it good to have large sidewalls on your tires?
Larger sidewalls give you better comfort as your tires can provide more cushion for the inevitable bumps on the road, and if off-road is your thing, that flex also allows for better grip by increasing your contact patch.
However, small side-wall tires will give you more precise control in corners. You don’t want your tires to flex side-to-side in corners, but the larger your sidewall the more it’s going to happen. This is something that has to be balanced heavily in racecars all the time. Though the issue is complex, a very reductive way to look at it is that a larger wheel is worse for acceleration and comfort, but better for cornering, and style.