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Summary
  • The rims support and distribute the vehicle’s weight to ensure proper balance.
  • Bigger car rims provide better stability, higher top speed, increased loading capacity, improved traction, and other advantages.
  • However, larger rims also have several drawbacks, like increased fuel consumption, decreased acceleration, accelerated tire wear, and reduced rolling resistance.

Wheel rims are essentially the base to mount the tire. They support and distribute the vehicle’s weight evenly across the axles to maintain proper balance and stability when driving.

They’re also customizable, with some owners upgrading stock rims for bigger ones. Besides aesthetic appeal, there are lots of practical reasons to make the upgrade.

Pros of Bigger Rims on a Car

Many drivers invest in bigger rims for various reasons, like better stability, higher top speed, increased loading capacity, improved traction, improved cornering, better braking, higher ground clearance, and aesthetic appeal.

Better Stability

Bigger rims contribute to better stability because of the larger contact patches, which make vehicles more stable and balanced.

Larger rims also increase the ground clearance of off-road vehicles. This makes it easier and safer to navigate uneven and off-road terrain, reducing the risk of getting stuck in mud and potholes.

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Higher Top Speed

While larger rims decrease your vehicle’s acceleration because of the added weight, they also increase the top speed. This is due to the engine needing to work less because the increase in rim size equates to lower revolutions per minute (RPM) to maintain certain speeds.

Increased Loading Capacity

Increasing the size of your rims also improves your vehicle’s weight capacity because it raises the amount of pressure your tires can hold. As a result, you can squeeze in more or heavier cargo than usual.

The increased loading capacity is useful if you plan to go on road trips with family and friends because you won’t have to worry about limiting the equipment and items you can bring.

Improved Traction

Traction refers to your tire’s grip on the road. Proper traction reduces the risk of slipping and skidding, even on wet surfaces. Tires have rubber treads that improve traction, producing the friction needed to stop moving when you hit the brakes.

Bigger rims mean larger tires and more treads for traction. While this increase might seem slight, it’s often enough to make better contact on the pavement.

Improved Cornering

Bigger rims allow for larger wheels, resulting in more road contact, wider tread, and stiffer sidewalls. All these add up to better cornering or the ability to navigate turns.

Better Braking

The aforementioned added rubber also improves your vehicle’s braking because it results in better grip and traction on the road. Bigger rims help decrease braking distance, which means you can come to a full stop faster when you brake.

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Higher Ground Clearance

The bigger rims result in higher ground clearance, which is the distance between the lower end of the vehicle body and the road. They provide more leeway to avoid hazards or hurdles on the road, especially when driving off-road and other rough conditions.

Aesthetic Appeal

Car rims come in different designs, and the bigger variants show this aspect to full effect. They offer a great way to style up your vehicle without drastically changing its overall look.

Cons of Bigger Rims on a Car

wheel rim of a blue car
Wheel rims are essentially the base to mount the tire. They support and distribute the vehicle’s weight evenly across the axles to maintain proper balance and stability when driving.

Some disadvantages of bigger rims on cars include increased fuel consumption, decreased acceleration, accelerated tire wear, reduced rolling resistance, speedometer errors, safety system warnings, reduced ride comfort, and premature wear and tear.

Increased Fuel Consumption

Bigger wheels are heavier and generate more friction compared to smaller rims, making the engine work harder to move them. This, in turn, means the vehicle consumes more fuel than usual because the engine needs to overcome the resistance.

Decreased Acceleration

The added weight also makes it harder for the vehicle to accelerate. It also leads to a slightly heavier steering wheel, making it difficult to turn your vehicle from time to time. But as mentioned, larger rims lead to higher top speed. It just takes a while to reach.

Accelerated Tire Wear

The wheel scraping, heavy steering, and lower sidewalls of bigger rims make them more susceptible to tire wear. And since this type of damage can’t be repaired, you’ll have to replace the wheel entirely once it wears out.

Reduced Rolling Resistance

Rolling resistance refers to the resistance the tires deal with as they roll on the road or ground. The lower it is, the more dangerous it becomes to take sharp turns because of the lack of grip or friction when turning. Doing so could even result in overturning.

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Speedometer Errors

Speedometers calculate the speed of the standard wheels that come with them. As such, modifications like installing bigger rims might throw off the speedometer’s calculations. Usually, this means slower reads than usual.

The inaccurate readings can make driving dangerous because they make it hard to tell what speed you’re driving at. They could also get you in trouble with the law if you accidentally break speed limits.

Safety System Warning

In the same vein as speedometer misreadings, bigger rims also mean some safety warning systems, such as the anti-lock braking system (ABS) and electronic brakeforce distribution (EBD), may not respond. This is because they’re calibrated to lighter wheels.

Reduced Ride Comfort

Larger rims could increase vibrations and noise inside the car, making for a less comfortable ride all around.

Premature Wear and Tear

Larger wheels also mean the increased odds of premature wear and tear on the steering system. Front end steering components tend to wear out faster when the wheels are bigger.

About The Authors
Written By Automotive and Tech Writers

The CarParts.com Research Team is composed of experienced automotive and tech writers working with (ASE)-certified automobile technicians and automotive journalists to bring up-to-date, helpful information to car owners in the US. Guided by CarParts.com's thorough editorial process, our team strives to produce guides and resources DIYers and casual car owners can trust.

Reviewed By Technical Reviewer at CarParts.com

Tony Harlin is a Master Gas and Diesel Diagnostic Technician with over 18 years of experience. He works full-time at a large independent automotive shop as a driveability and repair technician working on all types of vehicles with a focus on diesels. ASE certifications include A1-A9, L1 and L2, as well as X1.

Any information provided on this Website is for informational purposes only and is not intended to replace consultation with a professional mechanic. The accuracy and timeliness of the information may change from the time of publication.

File Under : Wheels and Tires , DIY Tagged With :
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