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18 vs 19” wheel options, long commute and snow - Help

18 vs 19” wheel options, long commute and snow - Help

I have a daily 110 mile commute in the Boston area where we get considerable snow. I have heard that the 18” wheels get slightly better range ( not sure if that’s due to the aero caps or size). I have also heard that the 19” are better in snow but am not sure why that would be. My question is, which option would be better for my overall commute. I am partial to the 19” sport wheels in that I think they look so much better on the car. I am not overly concerned about the range hit of the 19’s unless it’s more than 10%. I would like to avoid paying the extra $1,500 for the 19’s and have to get snow tires as well upon delivery in Feb - March 2018 ( I hope). I am a first day reservation holder estimated configuration Jan - March 2018. Maybe I wont be able to configure until March, delivery in April and no worries of snow this year. Then I could save money and buy snow tires for next winter ☃️. Still left with the tire wear and range questions of my daily commute. Any words of wisdom would be greatly appreciated.

Shock | December 19, 2017

If you like the 19" get them. We're talking 3% of your total car cost so that every time you walk up to the car you get to gaze upon the greatness of 19". If I get 18" it's only because I really, really don't care about wheels. But you do, so get what you want.

I defy anybody to post real data indicating a meaningful difference in range between the 18 and 19 (I know some comment a while back about 10%. I didn't believe it then and I don't now). If you're terribly concerned about snow get winter wheels. I'll be real surprised if somebody has a link showing braking distance of 19" wheels on a car with all season being appreciably worse than 18" wheels on the same car with the same all seasons, in winter conditions.

andy.connor.e | December 19, 2017

18" have aero covers. 19" dont. Air resistance is the factor in why its estimated around a 10% difference in range Mr. Shock.

Bryan.whitton | December 19, 2017

18" Will also get better tire wear. With your commute I would be more worried about this.

Yodrak. | December 19, 2017

Other people in the northeat have commented that the tires on the 18" wheels will survive potholes better than the tires on 19" wheels. If I remember correctly from my time in Massachusetts, potholes can be a concern there.

stevea137 | December 19, 2017

Also, you will have a better choice snow tires on 18" rims. In my experience, low profile snow tires are a good bit more expensive compared to the equivalent diameter regular profile snow tires.

Of course, the best approach is to just buy a second set of rims for snow tires so you could have 18" snow tires and 19" summer tires. Not to mention the significant wear and damage it can save your factory rims by not re-mounting tires twice a year. That is what I have done with all my past vehicles.

IHaveArrived | December 19, 2017

I've never seen actual math on this, but what I've "heard" is that a larger wheel diameter is less efficient in deeper snow because more snow gets into the wheel and gets spun around as the wheel rotates, which requires more energy. The actual amount of weight is small, but as unsprung weight the effect is measurable. Feel free to correct/refute, as I said, I've never seen any actual math on this.

WormtownKris | December 19, 2017

Dumb question here, I suppose. But if one were to buy a second set of rims for winter snowies, what are we talking about for cost? Last time I did this was for a 1990 F150, and I got the rims for free from a co-worker. I'm guessing 18" rims to match the M3 bolt pattern will be a bit more expensive this time around? :-)

Rutrow | December 19, 2017

If you're planning on keeping a set of snow tires on rims in your garage all summer, you can probably save a bunch of money getting the car delivered with the 18" aeros, then buying after market 19"s for your summer wheels. The $1500 for Tesla 19's plus the cost of another set of 18's for snow tires would get you a SWEEEEET set of summer rims. If Model 3 tires wear out as quickly as I've heard Model S does, those barely used 18" tires you take off the make room for your snow tires will have a decent resale value soon.

stevea137 | December 19, 2017

Not a dumb question at all. TireRack doesn't have the M3 on their site yet which makes searching for wheels difficult, but 18" rims for the model S start around $200 and quickly go up, so I would expect similar prices for the M3.

WormtownKris | December 19, 2017

@steavea137: Thanks!