Piston Slap: Tyre Size Minus 1 or Minus 2?

Sajeev Mehta
by Sajeev Mehta
piston slap tyre size minus 1 or minus 2

Gavin writes:

Dear Sajeev:

I have a Gen 7 Toyota Camry V6 and I am getting close to replacement of the factory 225/45/18 low profile tyres. The selection of long wearing low profile all season tyres in 45 series is pretty slim. The four cylinder version of my Camry has 215/55/17 tyres on 7×17 inch rims and the selection of long wearing 55 series touring tyres is much better. My question is, since I am not really a ‘sport driving type’, would it be better for me to find a nice set of wrecking yard alloys and downgrade to the smaller rim/taller sidewall size tyres? Is the difference in performance between 45 series and 55 series noticeable or should I stay with the original low profile tyres.

Finally, Discount Tire seems to really push their ‘tire certificates’, a road hazard protection plan for $20/tyre. Is Road Hazard really necessary on a vehicle equipped with TPMS?

Cheers,

Gavin

Sajeev answers:

Oh yes, we’re talkin’ about the last good-looking Camry! Come 2015, we’re really gonna love seeing yours on the road. Well maybe not love, as auto blog readin’ fanbois are committed to hate anything Camry, appreciating the subtle differences is strictly off-limits. But, once again, my intro digresses…

So anyway, you absolutely can switch to a minus 1 tire size for those benefits, plus a better ride with less NVH on bumpy roads. Excuse me, “tyre size minus 1.” This is a great idea for more people than we’d like to admit. Also consider a -2 size to the 16″ rims offered on the 2007+ Camry LE and XLE. It’s doable as they all used the same front calipers and 11.65″ front rotors. (I think.) And tire choices for such conservative driving? You are covered, for cheap.

  • Would it be better for me to find a nice set of wrecking yard alloys and downgrade to the smaller rim/taller sidewall size tyres?

Yes, much better. And don’t fear the 16″ alloy! Hell, go right ahead and get universal 16″ steel wheels, chrome trim rings and a chrome center cap for that cop car look!

  • Is the difference in performance between 45 series and 55 series noticeable or should I stay with the original low profile tyres?

Your admission of not bring a “sport driving type” means no, you won’t care. If anything you’ll love the better ride. Also note how huge tires are on vintage race cars, and modern F1 machines: sidewalls are a GOOD thing.

  • Finally, Discount Tire seems to really push their ‘tire certificates’, a road hazard protection plan for $20/tyre. Is Road Hazard really necessary on a vehicle equipped with TPMS?

TPMS is great, but it’s not 100% effective against road-going hazards. Consider debris like nails and bolts left in construction sites, or in trucks exiting those areas. The sensor can’t sense that shit going into the red zone between the tread and the sidewall. So should you get road hazard? Totally your call, depends on your comfort level.

Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry…but be realistic, and use your make/model specific forums instead of TTAC for more timely advice.

Comments
Join the conversation
2 of 69 comments
  • Amancuso Amancuso on Oct 23, 2014

    Informative article here. I just find it funny that he had to point out that he isn't a "sport driving type" . I could tell that just by the fact he drives a Camry.

  • Speedlaw Speedlaw on Oct 27, 2014

    Don't fear the -1. My 3 has the lovely and oh so precious staggered wheels, in 17 inch with 40 and 45 series. Wonderful for ultimate driving but not so much for pothole land or tire rotation. OE is 225 fronts 245 rears, and the -1 is to a 16 inch rim with a 225/50. Not as precise, but pretty much the same contact patch and ultimate grip. The fat sidewalls make it plush, not surgical, but take one mpg away...ok trade. I can also now rotate tires. The OE tire on the current 3, non sport, is a 225/50x17, as in "we don't want customer complaints'. The Golf comes with 225/45 x 17, a common "sport tire" size. The -1 there is a 205/55 x 16, also a common size. Unlike the lateral move on the 3, the -1 here with less cross section totally changes the car...you see how much the tires change things.

  • ToolGuy It is raining super-hard outside right now.
  • Analoggrotto It's getting awful hard to tell these Mercedes apart from one another.
  • Analoggrotto Ah the Fisher Price car for the uncoolest of uncool dad-bods.
  • FreedMike If it were a GLI, it’d be a decent project car. But at the end of the day you have a base Jetta, and those weren’t all that great. Speaking of project VWs - when I was living at my old house a few years ago, one of my neighbors had an OG 1983 GTI sitting on his lawn. Lord, did I want to take that car home.
  • Dukeisduke "Gouging" - lol. California's gas prices are driven by a combination of the highest state gasoline tax in the US (66.98 cents per gallon) and the CARB-mandated California-only boutique fuel blends.
Next