Before you replace your car’s tires, it’s a good idea to research the impact of different wheel and tire sizes on your car’s performance and your budget, because finding the right sizes can make using the cheapest brand of tires even easier on your wallet when it comes to maintenance costs.
In this post, we will explore the differences between a wheel and a tire, common wheel sizes and their corresponding tire sizes, and which wheel sizes it is cheapest to buy tires for.
The Anatomy of a Car Wheel
The terms ‘tire’ and ‘wheel’ are usually used interchangeably, which is a bit inaccurate. The wheel is the circular metal component, while the tire is the black ring-shaped structure around it.
A wheel connects the two internal edges of a tire, and it is usually made up of steel or a metal alloy. It has two major parts: the disc and the rim. The disc of a wheel keeps the axle of the hub and rim connected, while the rim is the outer edge of the wheel.
Functionally, a wheel’s job is to convert engine power into a spinning motion, which propels the vehicle forward. On the contrary, a tire is made up of rubber. It is on the outer side of the wheel, and it features a tread pattern. A tire’s job is to provide traction to the vehicle, which ensures stability by providing a grip on the road; plus, a tire’s exposure to the road makes it more susceptible to wear and tear as compared to a wheel.
Collectively, a wheel on the inside and a tire on the outside make up a car wheel. The two have very different compositions and functions, and without either of the two, a car wheel is incomplete and non-functional.
How to Read a Tire or Wheel Size
Tires and wheels come in different sizes–you can find the complete information of a tire or wheel size written on the tire. It’s usually a combination of letters and numbers in seven sets. To know the wheel size, look at the digits representing the rim diameter, and to know the tire size, look at the digits representing the width.
Common Cheap Wheel and Tire Sizes
Wheels are available in sizes ranging between ten and thirty inches. Among these, the most common wheel sizes range from fourteen inches to nineteen inches–these are suitable for regular passenger vehicles and mini trucks. The tires that go with the common wheel sizes range from 115 millimeters to 335 millimeters.
As a rule of thumb, bigger wheels cost more. You’ll not only have to spend a larger amount when you buy them, but you may also need to pay higher maintenance costs.
So, if you’re looking for cheap wheel sizes, opt for a rim measuring anywhere between fourteen and nineteen inches. The cheapest tire size to pair with this wheel size is R15; R16 and R16 LT variants are also some of the most reliable cheap tire options.
Are Tires Cheaper for Seventeen or Eighteen-Inch Wheels?
Tires are cheaper for wheels of seventeen inches.
Are Tires More Expensive on Bigger Rims?
Yes–the bigger the rims, the more expensive your tires will be.
Is It Cheaper to Buy Tires and Rims Together?
Yes–most sellers will give you a good discount when you buy tires and rims together.
What Tire Sizes Give the Smoothest Ride?
The best tire size for your vehicle depends on its type and model. However, generally, smaller wheels offer a smoother ride because there’s low stability but predictable handling.
Do you have more questions about tires? Be sure to check out our posts on whether you should use wheel locks for cheap tires and why sport tires may be cheaper than touring tires!