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Ride quality difference with 18, 19, or 20 inch wheels

Ride quality difference with 18, 19, or 20 inch wheels

Does anyone have experience with the ride quality difference with 18, 19, or 20 inch wheels/tires?

I have pre-ordered a Model Y Performance but am a bit concerned about the low sidewall height and (potentially) the rough ride on the 20" tires as the roads can be a bit lacking in the area (N California coast).

Is it possible to get the Performance model with 18 or 19" wheels? Would it even make a noticeable difference? Or am I worrying for nothing.

Thanks in advance

bubbles0 | August 3, 2019

Can't comment about the Y. I have Model 3P with performance brakes, which required the 20" wheels. The ride is definitely rough, which I am use to having had a series of performance cars. If you are concerned about the smoothness of your ride and or potentially damaging your rims, I suggest you consider the 18's if they are offered. I wanted performance so I got the 20's. As such, I try very hard to avoid potholes. Good luck

raqball | August 3, 2019

I just switched from the 18" Aero's to the 19" Sports and to be honest, I don't notice any difference whatsoever..

mrburke | August 3, 2019

@jc07 - Based on the poor roads in Northern Cal, I would stick with the 18"s even if that means forgoing the performance option.

raqball | August 3, 2019

mrburke | August 3, 2019
@jc07 - Based on the poor roads in Northern Cal, I would stick with the 18"s even if that means forgoing the performance option.
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Yeah I doubt I'd attempt the 20"'s if the roads are even semi bad.....

4barkie | August 3, 2019

Unfortunately I don't have a performance, but I do have 19" on my RWD LR. The ride is a little stiff but I don't like feeling like I am driving my living room couch. I also have a bmw x3, and my previous car was a mb slk320-ride is similar to both of those.

So far haven't had any pothole disasters here in NorCal. Only 1 go round with a curb, that I lost on the day after I got it.

howard | August 3, 2019

I have gone from 20s to 18 winters and back to 20s. I have bent one 20” rim so far. The 18” winters were a bit smoother and quieter. As others have suggested I would go 18” and will probably get another set of 18s for the summer and leave the 20s off for good unless at the track.

CS96 | August 4, 2019

It’s all personal preference. Go with what you think looks best verse opinions on a forum. If you like 20 inch wheels and the red break calipers go for it. I’ve driven over 4K miles on PA roads which are known to be the worst roads on the east coast and just now bent one rim going 95+ mph on I-95 in Florida on a pot hole so big it made everyone in the car get startled.

Price to replace the wheel was $715 exactly and $350 for a tire. I’ll pay that price everyday for the look I want. But ultimately that $700 price tag to replace the wheel may help you make your decision wether it’s worth the price.

CS96 | August 4, 2019

Realized my phone auto corrected brake calipers to the wrong spelling. Figured I’d correct myself before someone else does.

ODWms | August 4, 2019

I have driven Model 3s with all 3 tire/wheel options, and honestly note very little if any discernible difference in ride quality. I have also driven a model S with 21 inch wheels, and I did notice the Model S seems to have a smoother ride.

sixstring09 | August 4, 2019

I have Aeros on a LR and have come to the conclusion that these vehicles are not designed or intended for smooth comfortable rides.

The manufacturer recommends 45psi all around and that is very hard. It does give the best mileage though.

I've dropped to 39 all around and it is just a little smoother but nowhere where it should be. I'm not expecting an S-class ride here.

To get the best mileage per watt, they have to be hard.

The more resistance that the tire absorbs the more electricity the vehicle has to spend to maintain forward momentum.

Simple physics I guess.

I still like my Flintstone riding M3! :)

perrop23 | August 4, 2019

I went from 18 to 19 inch and noticed a smooth ride instantly. I drove the 18s for two month and felt a lot more road vibration. I do want to go to a bigger rim but not sure on wheel clearance.

Thrillion | October 17, 2019

Gray Performance 20" wheels were added to my order!!!

Original order included the silver/white 20" Performance wheels.
I saw this morning they are changing to gray. I requested to have the gray ones on my order.
Now my account shows the gray 20" on my blue P3D!!! Awesome!!!

radean84 | October 17, 2019

It's all about sidewall. If you have a tiny firm sidewall, you're going to feel the road and be at risk of a blowout or bubble if you hit a pothole. If you look at the size of a tire, 275/40/ZR20 for example, the 40 represents the sidewall. A 30 series sidewall is lower profile, less sidewall than a 40. So, if you have a smaller wheel with close to the same overall diameter, then you could run a much thicker sidewall. This typically equates to better ride quality. The other big factor is firmness of the sidewall and tire pressure. I have the 18" wheels with the stock Michelin tires and I'm running just over 40psi. They ride nice and take rough roads well, but I'm surely losing some efficiency by running the lower PSI. It's a trade off. Bottom line in my experience, you will have rougher ride with larger wheels and smaller sidewalls.

radean84 | October 17, 2019

@JC07 my advice to you would be get the car as-is with the 20" performance wheels. If you feel like it's rough or you have other concerns, you could easily trade someone for a nice set of 18s, maybe even get some cash on top. Lots of people with the 18s are after the 20s mostly for looks. If you wanted to swap to 18s I don't think you'd have any problem setting a deal up on Facebook marketplace, craigslist, forums, etc.

wayne | October 18, 2019

I have 20 inch performance wheels heat at 44 psi. I like the sensitive road feel and I am hoping the higher pressure will protect against pothole damage. So far so good (knocking on wood).