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#1 of 59 Are Larger Wheels / Tires a Waste of Money?
Jul 14, 2007 (12:48 pm)
An otherwise very intelligent golfing buddy recently purchased a 2007 Mercedes E350 with the "free" sport package that included larger 18" staggered size wheels and tires. On the 19th hole, we did a little math after I bet him that the difference in tire replacement cost with that "free" sports package would exceed the gas savings he would get from the E350 V6 over the E550 V8. Even I was surprised at the results:
E350 standard tires = 17" V-rated 245/45. Tire Rack replacement price for Pirelli's = $147 each. Including shipping and mounting/balancing, about $750 per set. Expected lifespan of these tires = 30-35k miles with rotation. E350 Sport tires = 18" W-rated 245/40 front; 265/35 rear. Tire rack replacement price for Michelin's $263/310. Including shipping, mounting/balancing, about $1,400 per set. Expected lifespan 12k-15k miles, no rotation possible.
Difference over 6+/- years and 100k miles (buddy drives 16k miles a year): Standard = 2-3 sets at a total cost of $1,500-$2,250. Sport = 6+ sets at total cost of $8,400. Or a whopping $6,150-$6,900 more for the E350 Sport. By comparison, the additonal cost of gas for a E550 V8 18 mpg instead of the E350 V6 23 mpg would only be about $4,000 over 100k miles.
In my own garage(s) are a 2004 Acura TL 6-speed (17" 235/45) and 1995 Nissan Maxima SE 5-speed (15" 215/60). The former required new tires at 22,000 miles at a total cost of $800. The latter has gone 155k miles, and just needed it's 3 replacement set, bringing the total cost up to $1,300 for 13 years and roughly 7 times the mileage on the Acura. Yes, the TL handles a little better than the Maxima. But it sure as heck isn't within a country mile of my 911. It's still a FWD sedan for goodness sake.
It seems to me, at a time when a lot of people are concerned about gas prices, the added cost of equiping the family sedan with larger wheels and high performance tires is both financially imprudent and, at least in the case of cars like the E350, an enormous waste of money (it still doesn't handle as well as a non-sport 5-series, IMO).
So I pose the question - how prudent are 17-18-19 inch wheels and low profile, high performance tires on a family sedan?
#2 of 59 Re: Are Larger Wheels / Tires a Waste of Money? [habitat1]
Jul 14, 2007 (1:00 pm)
here I might have some agreement with you. But then it is all about the look with these bigger wheels. It is no more or no less prudent than a short skirt on a happily married mother of four. But in some cases it just looks good.
But I do agree low profile tires don't last very long and do dip into the wallet. With 35 and 40 series tires you can almost feel the paint stripe of a crosswalk.
#3 of 59 Re: Are Larger Wheels / Tires a Waste of Money? [habitat1]
Jul 14, 2007 (8:59 pm)
For some, the extra cost of larger wheels and tires is worth it, for looks, performance, or both. In my case, as long as they are decent looking (no wheel covers please ) the size, or bling level, is not important.
#4 of 59 Re: Are Larger Wheels / Tires a Waste of Money? [habitat1]
Jul 15, 2007 (4:53 am)
What was the bet?
#5 of 59 Re: Are Larger Wheels / Tires a Waste of Money? [jipster]
Jul 15, 2007 (5:15 am)
What was the bet?
19th hole dinner and drinks.
#6 of 59 Re: Are Larger Wheels / Tires a Waste of Money? [elroy5]
Jul 15, 2007 (5:34 am)
For some, the extra cost of larger wheels and tires is worth it, for looks, performance, or both.
Perhaps, but I wonder how many others have done the math and realize that, on cars like the E-class, the sport package wheels and tires will actually cost them several thousands more in tire replacement over the life of the car?
I consider myself pretty financially prudent, and I didn't give it much consideration when I opted for the $200 "HPT" package on my Acura TL 6-speed. I certainly didn't realize at the time that I would need to spend roughly $5,600 in tires for my TL to get the same mileage (155k) I got out of my 1995 Nissan Maxima SE for under $1,500 in tires.
#7 of 59 Re: Are Larger Wheels / Tires a Waste of Money? [habitat1]
Jul 16, 2007 (4:41 am)
I think this would be a more relevant question if you were considering larger, performance tires for a vehicle like a Honda Accord. Even if your buddy got the smaller tires I've got to believe the lifetime ownership costs of the E350 significantly exceeds that of cars offering comparable utility. So basically he's willing to pay more for some intangible value that can't be easily converted to dollars and cents. The same rational can be applied to what options a person chooses.
I do agree that most people probably don't realize just how much they will end up spending on these larger wheels.
#8 of 59 Re: Are Larger Wheels / Tires a Waste of Money? [tpe]
Jul 16, 2007 (5:18 am)
I would agree with your suggestion that most folks willing to pay $50,000+ probably doesn't care as much about paying $8,000 vs. $2,000 for replacement tires over 100k miles. But I've also seen business associates of mine spend hours shopping Mercedes and BMW dealerships for a lease deal that saves them an extra $30-40 per month. Yet, the high performance "sport" tires on a E class or 5 series can equate to an extra $75-$100 per month in replacement costs. And many of those associates couldn't tell the difference - they think "sport" is listening to ESPN on XM satellite radio.
#9 of 59 Re: Are Larger Wheels / Tires a Waste of Money? [habitat1]
Jul 16, 2007 (6:06 am)
My Passat came with the 17 inch wheels and tires. I liked the handling and did not like the ride. I would never buy another vehicle with low profile tires. The ones I see around here on SUVs just look stupid to me. Unless of course you get the ones with spinners, ooooo
looking at an ML320 CDI, I will opt for the fattest tires available for that vehicle. I plan to go off road from time to time.
#10 of 59 Re: Are Larger Wheels / Tires a Waste of Money? [gagrice]
Jul 16, 2007 (7:39 am)
I liked the handling and did not like the ride. I would never buy another vehicle with low profile tires.
What was the aspect ratio? I find that 60-series is a good balance between handling and comfort for a daily driver on unkempt roads.
As for giant wheels, one thing I'd like to do eventually is put some lightweight 15s and 40-series (maybe 35?) rubber on the S2000. Tricky part is figuring out whether or not a 15-inch wheel can clear the brakes.