Many people love the look of their car when it’s fitted with the largest tyre they could find on the market. But how will it affect important factors such as drivability and comfort? Let’s take a look of Sidewall Thicknesses for your car.
Let’s choose a sample tyre model which has a healthy mix of the characters we’re looking to compare. A tyre that is good in the dry, remarkable in the wet, and has low-noise ratings such as the Goodyear Eagle F1 Asymmetric 3. It’s also very comfortable and provides you with precision handling. You can get such universally performing tyres at your nearest tyre shop.
A tyre like this should do a good job of highlighting its dynamic properties with respect to varying sidewall thicknesses or wheel sizes ranging between 17, 18 and 19 inches.
If you test these tyres in real-world scenarios such as a track or good empty roads, you will find all of these tyres to exhibit minor differences. However, expert drivers will be able to tell that the 19 inch performs better in dry conditions while the 17 inch is the slowest. You should notice that these differences won’t matter much for everyday driving.
With the 18s, you will experience a slightly increased under steer in the corners, and the car’s overall handling will slightly improve. Also, the front turn-in is a lot quicker, which inspires a ton of front end confidence, improving the car’s overall handling.
The 19-inch will show much smaller differences than the 17 and 18 inches. However, it’s still a noticeable step. As the sidewall thickness reduces, the tyre stiffens and becomes more accurate, which means it will be a lot more fun to drive.
Testing a tyre model in different sizes with good overall performance in the wet might surprise you. Even though the differences are minute, you will find that the 17-inch is the quickest in the wet if you look closely.
This is because there’s enough rubber on the 17s that helps the tyre to deform under cornering loads. The tread patterns widen, and the rubber flattens, which aids the tyre to better grip the surface of the road. This will provide better drivability, increased sharpness and prevents sudden oversteers.
With the 18-inch tyres, you will notice that the car becomes more unstable on wet roads. Although the grip levels will seem almost similar, the way 17-inch tyres cut through the water will give you the confidence to attain better speeds and handling making it the best tyre to choose if you live at a place that gets frequent showers.
Noise Vibration Harshness (NVH)
NVH is a measure to identify how noisy a tyre could be. This metric helps you understand the loudness of a tyre and its noise frequency. For instance, tyres that give you noise readings of 70 decibels in-cabin could sound a lot harsher in reality.
Technically, the lesser the sidewall thickness, the better the NVH rating. However, there isn’t much difference in noise comfort levels between the 17 and 18-inch tyres. Furthermore, if you opt for good quality tyres, the difference between 18 and 19 inches also won’t feel as much.
If we choose to nitpick the Goodyear we mentioned earlier, the quietest tyre of the lot would be 18 inches.
On smooth roads, all three tyres performed broadly similar in terms of ride quality and comfort. The tyre noise of the 18s and 19s was a little bit on the higher side.
While the 19inch tyres performed best in dry conditions, surprisingly, the 17s gave superior handling and grip in the wet. The comfort and noise levels have been best with the 17s and 18s, depending on if you’re after a quiet tyre or looking for optimum ride comfort in terms of Sidewall Thicknesses.