QOTD: Big Wheels, Small Sidewall – Yes or No?

Jason R. Sakurai
by Jason R. Sakurai
qotd big wheels small sidewall 8211 yes or no

The debate rages on, whether 22-inch, 24-inch, even 26-inch or larger wheels, and tires without a lot of sidewall to them, are okay or not.

Is this appealing in certain parts of the country, such as Arizona, California, Texas, and throughout the South all the way down through Florida? Are the weather conditions such that few, if any, lifted trucks and SUVs in the rust belt are inclined to run these big wheel and tire combinations?

We each have our preferences, the types of vehicles we like, the year, make, and model, and sometimes this discussion can get fairly heated. But nothing seems to set off enthusiasts from one camp or the other as much as wheels and tires, especially in combination with big lifts, and very detailed undercarriages.

Some call them brodozers and mall crawlers, descriptions less than kind and oftentimes meant to provoke a reaction from the owner or fan of these lifted trucks. Surprisingly, there seems to be less commotion caused by lowered trucks that have big rims and tires sometimes described as rubber bands, perhaps because they aren’t expected to do something else, such as go off-road, or pull a trailer, or carry a load.

What’s your take on this controversy, and do you see any difference between lifted and lowered trucks that run big wheels, and tires that aren’t in proportion to them?

[Images: © 2021, J. Sakurai/TTAC]

Join the conversation
2 of 68 comments
  • MoparRocker74 MoparRocker74 on Jan 18, 2021

    YUCK. Most have covered the functionality argument, so I’ll stay away from that and focus more on personal taste. There’s absolutely ZERO reason for wheel diameter to exceed 18” unless you’re running some gigantor 44”+ tires, then MAYBE a 20” wheel is warranted. I get that some people like the look but to me, that look is just plain awful. For one, modern style wheel designs seem to be trying to out weird/complicate each other. If it doesn’t have roots in the look of a classic Cragar, Ansen Sprint or some other 5, 6 or 8 spoke design...what are you even doing? I never understood the appeal of the cabbage shredder/garbage disposal blade designs....that got started when my buddies were all lowering minitrucks. Some newer designs mimic the crosslace BBS look, which I get on a sportscar but on a truck? Eeww. One thing I do notice on these bigger truck wheels is at least they tend to have a deep lip and some offset. I absolutely HATE flat-faced wheels, especially when the spokes come right to the edge of the tire without even a soft lip defining where the wheel ends and the tire begins. I succumbed to 20” wheels since my Scat Pack’s Brembos require them. Shopping for wheels that fit one of these is infuriating if your taste is classic musclecar styling. Most of what fits these modern Mopars looks like it belongs either on a Maxima or something unless you’re dropping $700+’on custom forged pieces. Adding insult to injury, the LX cars use a 5x115mm bolt pattern thats a thin blonde one off the classic 5x4.5” that they SHOULD have used. But in the end I went with Voxx Demon replicas, staggered. Best compromise of reasonable price and looks right.

  • ToolGuy ToolGuy on Jan 18, 2021

    "I got a question. If you guys know so much about women, how come you're here at like... the Gas 'n' Sip on a Saturday night - completely alone, drinking beers, with no women anywhere?" Lloyd Dobler (John Cusack) - Say Anything - 1989

  • Aidian Holder I'm not interested in buying anything from a company that deliberately targets all their production in crappy union-busting states. Ford decided to build their EV manufaturing in Tennessee. The company built it there because of an anti-union legal environment. I won't buy another Ford because of that. I've owned four Fords to date -- three of them pickups. I'm shopping for a new one. It won't be a Ford Lightning. If you care about your fellow workers, you won't buy one either.
  • Denis Jeep have other cars?!?
  • Darren Mertz In 2000, after reading the glowing reviews from c/d in 1998, I decided that was the car for me (yep, it took me 2 years to make up my mind). I found a 1999 with 24k on the clock at a local Volvo dealership. I think the salesman was more impressed with it than I was. It was everything I had hoped for. Comfortable, stylish, roomy, refined, efficient, flexible, ... I can't think of more superlatives right now but there are likely more. I had that car until just last year at this time. A red light runner t-boned me and my partner who was in the passenger seat. The cops estimate the other driver hit us at about 50 mph - on a city street. My partner wasn't visibly injured (when the seat air bag went off it shoved him out of the way of the intruding car) but his hip was rather tweaked. My car, though, was gone. I cried like a baby when they towed it away. I ruminated for months trying to decide how to replace it. Luckily, we had my 1998 SAAB 9000 as a spare car to use. I decided early on that there would be no new car considered. I loathe touch screens. I'm also not a fan of climate control. Months went by. I decided to keep looking for another B5 Passat. As the author wrote, the B5.5 just looked 'over done'. October this past year I found my Cinderella slipper - an early 2001. Same silver color. Same black leather interior. Same 1.8T engine. Same 5 speed manual transmission. I was happier than a pig in sh!t. But a little sad also. I had replaced my baby. But life goes on. I drive it every day to work which takes me over some rather twisty freeway ramps. I love the light snarel as I charge up some steep hills on my way home. So, I'm a dyed-in-the-wool Passat guy.
  • Paul Mezhir As awful as the styling was on these cars, they were beautifully assembled and extremely well finished for the day. The doors closed solidly, the ride was extremely quiet and the absence of squeaks and rattles was commendable. As for styling? Everything's beautiful in it's own way.....except for the VI coupe....it's proportions were just odd: the passenger compartment and wheelbase seemed to be way too short, especially compared to the VI sedan. Even the short-lived Town Coupe had much better proportions. None of the fox-body Lincolns could compare to the beautiful proportions of the Mark V.....it was the epitome of long, low, sleek and elegant. The proportions were just about perfect from every angle.
  • ToolGuy Silhouetting yourself on a ridge like that is an excellent way to get yourself shot ( Skylining)."Don't you know there's a special military operation on?"