This new fad of larger wheels and how-low-can-we-go tires just might be
scaring off the middle-aged bread and butter customers.
Not too long ago, -75 and -80 tires were the norm. Wheels were mostly 14
inch for typical family cars and station wagons. Those sizes and profiles
must have evolved by the application of good engineering sense. They
delivered fine performance and durability.
What's driving the recent trend? Today's cars look like they're riding on
their rims. Could it be this is a cheap and dirty way to lower the cars?
Intuitively, they look like a hard ride and easily subject to impact damage
from road hazzards. Also, being as wide as they are, it would seem
difficult to get them to wear evenly across the tread and equally difficult
to achieve alignment angles which are always calculated to the center of
the wheel. Is there a bonafide reason to these new designs, or is it just
A popular theory is these low and wide tires provide better cornering and
traction. Is that really the case or just advertising hype? How about
hydroplaning? If wide tires hydroplane earlier, then there is no merit in
the traction claim. As for cornering in a passenger car, its hard to beat
a VW Scirocco and those typically were equipped with -80s.
Frankly, oversize wheels and undersized tires turn me off esthetically.
Eyeball engineering tells me they are all wrong. My guess is a sizeable
minority feels the same and are avoiding the new models solely for that
Manufacturers need to offer reasonable tire options. Particularly, the 14
or 15 inch wheel with -80 profiles. Keep in mind there are buyers out
there who remember 6.70-15 wheels and tires and that roughly corresponds to