Big wheels small tires or small wheels big tires?

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theBROFESSOR

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No it’s not a riddle though it sounded like ones to me. I see a lot of trends around my city and the trend now is to put the biggest wheels and smallest times on a jacked up rig.

Now let me preface this by saying many of these guys who are in this trend are pretty boys who never take their trucks down a dirt road and I know that.

But in your experience do the size, height and thickness of the tire make a huge difference where you are? Pretty sure it does where I am. Just getting input. And no I’m not wanting to “pretty” my rig up with some fancy 26” wheels. I prefer functionality over pretty any day.
 

Stone74

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I prefer a thinner tire for overland. Save a little mpg and less resistance. I haven't decided on the exact size of tire I will get for my build...it'll either be a 235/85R16 or 245/75R16. I am building my rig up for function first, then form.
I think Andrew St. Pierre White of 4Xoverland did a video on tires.

Just one I found doing a quick search and one that I watched recently.

A lot of great info on his videos.

Also, Ronny Dahl has great videos. Good info here as well.
 

Jimmy P

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I prefer more sidewall, and less rim. I believe that it allows for better off-road capabilities, and a more comfortable ride. Width wise, to me depends on what you're doing. I've done more requiring a larger contact patch, and with my lighter the rig I think the wider tire is an asset in the muck.
 

Cort

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I call those "Bro trucks" which are all show and no go driven by guys who in their middle ages still shop at the buckle. Usually they can be spotted by their sequined jeans and reversed trucker hats.

For offroading I like the smallest rim that will clear my calipers which these days will usually be a 17" or 18" rim. Taller sidewalls have many pros such as ride comfort and ability to air down for better contact patch.

If you choose to go wider you will follow more ruts in the road but have better flotation in soft stuff.

This is far from a comprehensive list of pros and cons. Tire choice has so many variables.
 

Winterpeg

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I agree with the above.... more rubber the better. From what was explained to me a while back the only reason you would want to go with a low profile rim and tire setup is for high speed maneuvering as the tires are more stable.

My ride quality alone improved vastly by going up a couple tire sizes and keeping my 16" rims. I have never understood why guys with truck put on big rims... their ride quality must suck big time in comparison to the exact same truck with smaller rims.... and trucks aren't exactly known for great ride quality to begin with!

Another thing to add to the already good points listed above already is rim protection... for city driving even. For instance if I slide too much and hit a curb it's only rubber that hits that curb, not the rim. For an opposite extreme example, I've had to replace rims on my wife's corolla due to icy conditions and her having the wheel turned as she hit the curb.
 

Rubicajon

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I'll say the old school rule I've lived by. Right or wrong.

A tire is twice the height of the wheel or the wheel is half the tire height. 40 inch tire 20 inch or smaller. 33 inch tire 16 o17 inch wheel.
 
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4wheelspulling

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It's all show on most of the big wheels and small tires. Remember back 30 years or so when you saw all the trucks lifted so tall, you had to have a ladder to get in them? Unless you are a running a swamp buggy, that is one trend I am glad is over. Same with the 20" wheels! Unless, you are running a rig that has 40"+ tires it is all for looks. The large wheels and small tires do help give you better handling on the road. But don't give you the traction and let the tire conform around rocks off-road. Some will say that the 15" wheels are going away to larger wheels. That is due to everyone having bigger brakes or larger disks, for stopping safety. I for one can still run with 15" wheels on my Jeep Cherokee and will as long as I can find the tires I want for all the off-road benefits. Benz.
 

000

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More Tire less wheel gets it done. Unless it’s something really big like a rock rig, a little more sidewall on stock wheels gets it done with less expense and breakage on most rigs.


Sent from my iPhone using OB Talk
 

Joey83

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Small wheel big tire, will be running 28" tires (235/60r17) on 17" wheels on my little suv next year (215/65r16 stock size)
 
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phxdsrtrat

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Smaller wheels, larger tires. If I were to peg the absolute largest wheel size I would say 18", and that's pushing it. Most I know run 17" wheels which on modern rigs is sometimes as small as you go without doing spacers or other stuff. My dad ran 16" wheels on his truck way back in the day and you definitely can't go wrong with 15" if they fit. Some will say 20" is okay, but, as another person pointed out I also refer to these as "bro trucks" that will never see dirt.

-Curtiss
 

TacoBessy

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I’d be lying if I said I didn’t miss my 15” stock wheels but, I’m running on 285/70R17 = 32.7x11.2R17 I’ve been trying to figure out if I want to keep 17” or try to fit 16” wheels on my first gen taco with tundra brakes.
 

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I guess I can chime in again since I've updated my setup. I virtually have the same amount of sidewall (or slightly more) versus what I ran in stock form, however I went up to a 17" wheel and overall diameter when up by about 2-2.5". That gain also is from going to a 10ply tire versus the 5 ply I ran before. Still with my previous statement about more sidewall unless you're going for looks. It's all about function.
 
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4wheelspulling

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I’m only running 31” tires because it is a nice size for my uses. Load rage C. That is with a 15” Alloy 8” wide Jeep Wheel. 31 x 10.5 x 15s. Wheel width/ tire width one factor along with how many ply , road range. And tire pressure. Oh, and how heavy you are! All matter in the tire selection for your application. Off roading I like how my BFG, KM3s feel at 15 psi. when wheeling, through most situations.
 

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I use 265/75r15 on my truck... they’re big enough I can air down if I need a huge contact patch... but otherwise they get me through everything I actually need to get through or over..

They have enough sidewall that my rims haven’t touched a curb yet, no matter how aggressively I scrub them
 

4wheelspulling

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Figuring out the right tire / Wheel size, 50/50 rule for me too; for your vehicle and use is the single best modification you can do! Vance.
 

Winterpeg

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I’m only running 31” tires because it is a nice size for my uses. Load rage C. That is with a 15” Alloy 8” wide Jeep Wheel. 31 x 10.5 x 15s. Wheel width/ tire width one factor along with how many ply , road range. And tire pressure. Oh, and how heavy you are! All matter in the tire selection for your application. Off roading I like how my BFG, KM3s feel at 15 psi. when wheeling, through most situations.
Bring a couple spares if you are running C rated tires offroad.
 

Cort

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Bring a couple spares if you are running C rated tires offroad.
Why is that? Load rating no longer has anything to do with the number of plys or layers of fabric. Almost every tire has 1-2 layers of fabric or 1 steel belt. My personal experience is that modern c rated tires are perfectly reliable off-road. E rated tires on lighter vehicles give such a rough ride it doesn’t make sense unless that’s the only load rating for a specific size.

I’m not coming at you on this post. Just sharing my understanding and experience.
 
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Winterpeg

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Why is that? Load rating no longer has anything to do with the number of plys or layers of fabric. Almost every tire has 1-2 layers of fabric or 1 steel belt. My personal experience is that modern c rated tires are perfectly reliable off-road. E rated tires on lighter vehicles give such a rough ride it doesn’t make sense unless that’s the only load rating for a specific size.

I’m not coming at you on this post. Just sharing my understanding and experience.
My ride quality increased when I went up a tire size and switched to an E rated tire.

You are correct in that the rating no longer reflects LAYERS... but it does reflect toughness.

From my experience... helping others change their tires and/or waiting while someone was changing their C rated tires.... and then seeing my E rated tires take a literal beating and look like they've been sliced and diced with knives.... and not have a failure.

I stand by my statement.

Having a flat sucks when it's the beginning of your trip and you now have to wonder if you can make it the rest of the way into the trail.... camp for weeks... then make it all the way home - without a spare now. I encountered that last year with my trailer.... I've upgraded those tires to E rated now as well.

Drop the tire pressure down a notch if the tires are too stiff. They will likely still wear evenly. Not making the best mpg is still better than not making it home at the end of the day.
I factor in comfort level in the psi I choose as well as fuel economy.
 
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Billiebob

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It all comes down to use. If you are airing down and clambering over obstacles go for the smaller rim, taller sidewall. But if 90% of your use is a mix of highway & gravel roads the lower profile tire on a bigger rim will handle more agressively better.

If you need floatation for sand or mud go for a wide tire. But if floatation is not a need go for the skinny tire which will offer less rolling resistance and handle puddles or slush at higher speeds without throwing the vehicle into a spin.

Me, I like pizza cutters. I've run 33x10.00 17Es, 33x10.50 15Cs, 33x12.50 16Es. 235/85 16Ds. I hated the 12.50s and in the mountains I have zero need for floatation. Even our beaches are more gravel than sand.

My next tires, due for this winter will be old school 7.50R16s real skinny and 32" tall. I know my highway handling will suffer from lots of roll and squirm cornering but I'll just have to adjust my driving style.

The 7.50R16s are rated to last 50% longer than any modern MTs or ATs. And I can buy 5 mounted and balanced for less than the cost of 4 BFG 33x10.50R15s KO2s.

Cutting the cost of tires in half sounds like a good experiment to me. I love pizza cutters with an old school grip tread.
 
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