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General VW Discussion This is a place for General VW topics (the company, not your vehicle). General topics about a specific vehicle should be posted in the General TDI Dicussion Forum sections for that vehicle platform. A4, A3 & B4, B5, etc.

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Old March 23rd, 2009, 05:00   #1
rcnaylor
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Default Buying - what are ads and disads of 16 v. 17 inch wheels?

Trying to decide on the options for a new TDI. What are the advantages and disadvantages between 16 inch wheels and 17 inch wheels?
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Old March 24th, 2009, 08:05   #2
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Oh, my who do you want to answer? You'll get answers all over the map.

16 inch wheels are lighter. No, they're the same. 17" rubber is more expensive. No, they're the same. 17" wheel+tire weighs more. No, they're the same. Polar moments are higher with 17" wheels. But they handle better.

The more you read, the more conflicting "info" you will find.

I think you ought to go with the combination you like the best, and don't ask such subjective questions here. You'll only get conflicting confusing answers that won't really help you make up your mind.

Besides, if you like them, who cares what everyone else thinks?
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Old March 24th, 2009, 09:48   #3
Joe_Meehan
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Generally the 17 inch wheels will give you more road feel. You may like that or you may not like it. I would expect that if all else was the same the 17 inch would also give you a little better grip.

17 Inch will be more likely to be damaged by pot holes and such (less rubber to absorb the shock.

Since I would guess you are talking about OEM alloy rims with either one, that will not be different.

Personally I think the 17 inches look silly, but I am an old guy and if you like the looks don't worry about what I think.

Good Luck
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Old March 24th, 2009, 20:29   #4
rcnaylor
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Thanks for the input guys.

I'll probably spit the difference. No 18's. No 16's. Go for the 17's... if I find them on a car that has the big options at a good price.
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Old March 24th, 2009, 20:52   #5
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My JSW came with stock 16", Bridgestone Turanza EL400---rated near the bottom by TireRack (and I concur---had them on my trade-in Camry Hybrid---dreadful tires on that car!).
Purchased 17" Passat wheels (new--take-offs) from dealer with Goodyear Eagle LS2s---235/45 x 17, for $500. Eagle LS2s not highly rated either, but huge difference in grip, and yes, a much firmer ride.
I'll probably sell the Bridgestones and put dedicated winter tires on the 16" wheels.
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Old March 25th, 2009, 08:18   #6
2td
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Default 17" hoo ha

This one is easy, since this is a road application & not a real race rim the sweet 16 is better. Spokes are weak on side thrust, so longer ones need more "meat" because of the increased leverage, or loading. Blades eat power, just the opposite of a wingenerator {the longer the blade, the more pwr. ... Consider the Schwinn Air dyne @ the gym: The only workout you get is the blades paddeling the air.. If you drive on the highway, you will loose a till the day they crush it.. Keep in mind you are spooling up 4 of these to some 60 mph. I weighed a steel rim and a pkg 1 alloy, and 16's are the same, the 17's unsprung weight is more On back roads mud rock and sand wants to gather on the wide flat rim shelf. The car always shook bad & I couldn't find it right away.. This is my first winter.. The wide low tire gets stuck easily. Snow got through the spokes easily on the county road, then I spun them up on I 29 and the snow centrefuged in a glob, car shaking, forcing me to stop. Single digits, kneeling in the snow, reaching through the spokes cleaning out the slush, late for work, no thanks..This particular style spoke stuck out a bit; I knew they were dynamically dirty, but they looked good, and they came with the car.. then their beauty left. They curb "cuff" easily, and look very nasty. In agreement with others, they rim cut easily also.. One of the great evolvement in vehicles was the b.f.goodrich invention of the pheumatic rim.., immediately dominating the small to no side wall.. On dynamics, Truckers are going to SUPER SINGLES. A road bike will never catch a mountain bike for one main reason. I like an insight rim. Its a blank rim cast and its seems they "imaged" a pattern on the surface..
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Old March 25th, 2009, 19:37   #7
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Well, fwiw, largely because of deals available, I wound up with the 16's.

Guess I'll have to do without the boost to my macho side.

PS Just bought a graphit blue metallic with DSG and sunroof. Put 200 miles on it back to town. Lovin' it.
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Old March 29th, 2009, 11:12   #8
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My macho side suffered too....the TDI JSW I found with roof and manual just didn't have the wheels I thought I wanted...18" smoked Khartoums... but the little 16" wheels STILL look better than the wheels on the other car I was considering - A Honda Fit Sport !
I'm learning to live without the boost to my macho side as well.
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Old March 29th, 2009, 16:27   #9
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Wow my macho must be really up there!
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Old March 30th, 2009, 07:47   #10
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Lookin good Irpavlo.

I wound up getting $2300 off MSRP plus a $500 VW loyalty bonus on the one with 16" wheels. So, sometimes you just have to let the money talk.
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Old April 1st, 2009, 15:54   #11
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I went back & forth over this (and I haven't even bought the damn car yet) I like the 17" Mugellos from the Passat and the 17" dark grey Goal rims too. I'd forgotten about the stupid TPMS sensors for the new rims, I think they're an additional $200? I'll probably keep the stock 16s for winter. The mileage difference is negligible, but the potholes around here can be brutal.
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Old April 1st, 2009, 17:30   #12
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I was wondering the same as well 16 or 17 inch wheels... Stumbled upon this question at the right time - that's what makes this a great place. I can find all the answers...
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Old April 2nd, 2009, 13:10   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rcnaylor
Trying to decide on the options for a new TDI. What are the advantages and disadvantages between 16 inch wheels and 17 inch wheels?
First of all you should elect to use the tire sizes VW specifies

They are tested, will fit, and will provide same rolling diameter for speedo accuracy.

Once you've agreed to do this you'll find

the 16 in tire

will have higher sidewall (55)
will have narrower tread
will create lesser rolling resistance
will provide better snow/wet traction
will provide poorer lateral grip figure and more mushy handling feel
will provide better ride quality
will better protect wheel rim
will be less prone to flatspotting from extended sitting

the 17 in tire

will have lower sidewall (45)
will have wider tread
will create more rolling resistance
will provide poorer snow/wet traction
will provide better lateral grip figure and better handling feel
will provide rougher ride
will provide less rim protection
will be more prone to flatspotting from extended sitting
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Old April 2nd, 2009, 14:35   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rcnaylor
Trying to decide on the options for a new TDI. What are the advantages and disadvantages between 16 inch wheels and 17 inch wheels?
My suggestion: Buy your 2009 with the panaramic roof and six speed manual. Buy your wheels and real leather seats off of a 2006 model and get an aftermarket Nav system.
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