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Guest Message by DevFuse

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17" vs 18" Wheels/Tires


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3 replies to this topic

#1 OFFLINE   Rob052067

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Posted 20 July 2007 - 04:16 PM

I see a lot of posters are into big flashy 20" wheels. I just want tires that perform well in regards to good handling; traction on wet surfaces; low noise; long tread life; and best possible gas mileage. Can anyone explain the pros and cons of 17" vs 18" wheels & tires? Ignoring looks and image, would the $500 cost to upgrade to 18" provide a substantial improvement in handling and performance?

If I get an Expedition, it will be a 2WD XLT non-EL and will never driven be off-road.

My '04 Yukon SLE 2WD 4.8LV8 has 16" wheels & tires. They've always squealed a little in tight turns and have not always performed admirably on wet pavement.


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#2 OFFLINE   bbf2530

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Posted 20 July 2007 - 05:12 PM

I see a lot of posters are into big flashy 20" wheels. I just want tires that perform well in regards to good handling; traction on wet surfaces; low noise; long tread life; and best possible gas mileage. Can anyone explain the pros and cons of 17" vs 18" wheels & tires? Ignoring looks and image, would the $500 cost to upgrade to 18" provide a substantial improvement in handling and performance?

If I get an Expedition, it will be a 2WD XLT non-EL and will never driven be off-road.

My '04 Yukon SLE 2WD 4.8LV8 has 16" wheels & tires. They've always squealed a little in tight turns and have not always performed admirably on wet pavement.


Hi RobO52067! :D Since you are not really interested in the "looks", save your money and stick with the 17's.

As far as "good handling, traction on wet surfaces, low noise, long tread life, and best possible gas mileage"; These things are more a function of the type of tire on your wheels, as opposed to the size of the wheel. For almost all except "good handling" (kind of vague), you are better off staying with the 17 inch wheels/tires.

All other things being equal, an 18" lower profile tire will give you better handling (due to the shorter, stiffer sidewall), but that would really be ultimate 9/10ths, 10/10ths type sport car handling. After all you are talking about an Expedition here, so let's face it, you won't (or shouldn't) be driving it like a sporty car (or even like a car in general), so you will not see any real benefit by paying $500 for 18" wheels.

Also, not to get into complicated tire dynamics, but most of the attributes that you are describing are hard to achieve all together. In other words, the best handling tires (shorter, stiffer sidewalls and stickier rubber compounds) are not made for high mileage and long tread life (harder rubber compounds and less rolling resistance in the tread blocks), and visa versa. A tire optimized for dry handling will not give you good wet handling, and visa versa.

As to why the tires on your Yukon squealed in turns and were not very good in the wet: Well, they were OEM tires which are by definition, compromises of price and performance in the first place. Also, it is a RWD truck, nose heavy and light in the rear. It is not meant to be driven in a "spirited" manner, forget about tight turns at anything approaching speed. Do you check your tire pressure regularly, and keep it at 2-3 PSI above the recommended pressure (the one listed on the sticker on the drivers door jamb, not what is printed on the sidewall)? It wouldn't surprise me if they were under-inflated.

To cut to the chase, in your case, since you are not interested in the looks, you would be wasting your money. You should stick with the 17's. When it is time to replace the OEM tires, call a place like "The Tire Rack", describe what is most important to you, and let them recommend the best tire for the job.

I would also recommend you go to their website "www.tirerack.com", and look around the site. It is full of good information concerning your question, and others that you may have. Just navigate around and take a look.

Whatever you decide to do, good luck! :beerchug:

Edited by bbf2530, 20 July 2007 - 05:13 PM.


#3 OFFLINE   Rob052067

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Posted 20 July 2007 - 07:31 PM

Thanks for the detailed and informative response, bbf2530!

The squealing I mentioned was from the front tires, but I think it's mainly due to how much of an angle the tires are placed into by the front axle when making a tight turn (low speed). I tend to drive with a light foot, so I've not burned any rubber off the rear tires. ;-)

I normally try to keep the tires filled to 35psi as noted on the door jam. I've never overinflated them by the 2-3psi you recommend. I do usually have to add air after an oil change though, since for some reason my dealer seems to like to set them to 30psi when I go in for an oil change and rotation.

Thanks again for the info!

Edited by Rob052067, 20 July 2007 - 07:31 PM.



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#4 OFFLINE   bucky

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Posted 05 August 2007 - 11:51 AM

I like the look (size and chrome both) of the 20 inch wheels. I suspect that 17 inch wheels will give a softer ride which suits me just fine. Another thing people fail to consider... Go price a set of 20 inch tires as opposed to 17 inch tires. The difference will pay my car insurance for a year and quite a bit of fuel to boot.