I am about to trade in my 2004 Hyundai Accent which has 13-inch wheels for a 2012 Kia Rio which has 15-inch wheels. Specifically, from sitting in the driver’s seat, how would I be able to tell the difference in wheel size? Thank you very much. abxxx

Possibly the ride smoothness.
A larger tire diameter will travel over cracks and bumps different from a smaller one.

Think about the difference in diameter of the wheels on
a shopping cart ,
a hand truck ( 2 wheel dolly ),
and a bicycle
rolling over the tile in a store. Same tile , different tire sizes, equals different ride.

To ken green: Thank you for your message. Would a larger tire diameter travel over cracks and bumps smoother than a smaller one? Thank you. abxxx

Yes, feels smoother to me ( I have trucks with 15, 16 & 18" wheels ) yet very relative to the tire size as well.
On the cars you’re talking about I think you’ll find a smoother ride.

You’ll see vehicles with these huge 20" and larger custom wheels and THEY get a much harsher ride because of the extreme shortness of the tire ( from the rim to the road ) with its stiff short sidewall.

What used to be considered ‘low profile’ has changed. If the tires on the Rio are 50 profile or greater (55 or 60) I wouldn’t be concerned. They’ll give a bit better handling than taller tires, might (or might not) ride slightly rougher, and are a bit more expensive. But 15s are very common, shouldn’t be a problem. What size, exactly, are they?

You now have a much wider choice in tires with 15" wheels than you do with 13" or 14" wheels.

The tire size is the determining factor, not necessarily the rim size.

15s are kinda common, more so on small cars than anything else. I think 17s are common on mid-sized vehicles. My car came with 19s from the factory, but they’re 55 series tires.

13" wheels are history except maybe on boat trailers…15" are now considered kinda small. 17" has become the new “standard” with 20" becoming common…

This profusion in tire and wheel sizes has created a major headache for the tire retailers who don’t have enough shelf-space or money to stock all the possible tire types and sizes…

You’re trying to compare the difference in ride between 2 vehicles and I think you would be hard pressed to descern what affect the difference in rim diameter is having by itself.

Way too many variables.

I agree. As a standard size, there are too many other variables to be concerned. Go for it if that’s your only reason to hold back.

The ride quality of 15" wheels should be better than 13". Another factor you might feel is stronger brakes. 15" wheels allow more space for larger brakes with bigger brake pads. Bigger brakes on a car of the same weight would stop faster and better than smaller brakes.

The Rio is a different car than the Accent and “ride” and braking performance has a lot do with the tires that are fitted on the car. The Rio should ride nicely, handle well, and stop effectively. That’s what you need to be looking for, how the 2 cars compare is hard to say since they are so different. In the end you are the judge of how they compare. The Rio should be just fine, and the 15" wheels just part of the total package.

I own a 2008 Hyundai Accent, and from observation I have noticed that Hyundai and KIA automobiles are very similar in terms of their technology build, some parts and accessories of my car even have both Hyundai and KIA logos on them. Having said this I would say that the differences between a 2004 and 2012 model of any car is too far fetched to start comparing; a lot would have changed that would make it inaccurate for you to make a comparison in this context of wheel size and its effects.

abxxx, in your case you’re talking about two entirely different cars. While it’s true that on a given car a larger diameter wheel with a lower profile tire will ride more firmly, each car has its own ride characteristics. My 2005 tC with 17" wheels and low profile tires (45s) rides much better than my 2005 Corolla did with 15" wheels a much higher profile tires. The Corolla rode much harder.

The suspension design is so critical to the ride that no blanket statement about ride quality can be made based just on wheel or tire sizes.

We have three cars; one old with 13" wheels and two newer with 15" and 17" wheels respectively. The car with the 13" wheels steers the best of the three and rides just as good as any of them. If a small wheel size is truly a handicap, then a good suspension design can overcome that, similar to what “the same mountainbike” said.

I can’t notice anything when driving to indicate that, yes, this car indeed has larger wheels and tires or that car has smaller wheels and tires. The 13" tire is dwarfed in height and width when viewing it alongside the 17" tire.

I’d like to add a question. Does anyone know of a truck with very large wheels that drives and rides better than a good car with small wheels? Large wheels on cars are among the latest brainwashing efforts from auto marketing people to sell extra cost options.

Common Sence


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