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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I have some scary sidewall damage on two of my 6 year old tires, so I am thinking it's about time to replace them. At first I thought of going with cheaper 17 inch rims so I could upgrade to larger rotors down the road, but I am pretty broke right now after all the audio and other work done to the car, so I think I might keep my stock 15 inch rims and buy Mustang GT calipers and better pads when I have some cash for that.

Is there any benefit in buying tires wider than the factory 205-65-15? I assume that the wider tires will have a slightly better grip. It seems like 215-60-15 are pretty common. Is this the widest size I can go with safely? Are there any disadvantages with using 215-60-15?

Regarding the actual tire, I am thinking of getting Hankook Optimo H727 all seasons tire. The reason I like this brand is that for years Hankook all-season tires have been near the top in Consumer Reports rankings while their price is relatively low. I can see places selling them for less than $80 a pop online. This is their highest grade tire before getting into their ultra high performance series. Conveniently, I think they have the 215-60-15 version.
 

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The only disadvantages are:

The possible added weight of a larger tire will reduce acceleration and fuel mileage.

The possible added rolling friction of a wider contact area will reduce acceleration and fuel mileage.

The possible difference in diameter will affect speedo readings and abs operation, while reducing/increasing acceleration while increasing/reducing mileage respectively.

Those aren't a lot of cons considering how much grip you'll get for freeway corners & ramps.
 

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I have 225/60R 16 wheels/tires on my 1997 Sable. This is a great upgrade and I say get rid of the 15" wheels. My over-sized wheels gives me better handling and ride than the previous 15" wheel configuration. With the 16-inch wheels you can upgrade the brakes as well to the 4th Gen configuration for about $40 bucks.

I have not noticed any difference in fuel economy or acceleration. The over-sized tires if anything may increase your fuel economy because it changes the gear ratio at highway cruise speeds, to your advantage. The engine will be operating at a lower rpm during cruise, lets say 200 rpms less.

It will throw your speedometer reading off. For example, when the needle reaches 70mph my actual speed is closer to 75mph. Something you need to be aware of in speed traps.

Overall I think its worth the money.

Monsoon
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
I know that ultimately larger rims are better. However, I have almost decided that I won't be upgrading to 16 or 17 wheels. The cost is just too much. It's particularly harder to swallow given that you have to get new tires at the same time. I am trying to think of the best things I can do with the 15" rims... e.g.

1) For the looks, polish my 15" rims and clean up a little. Cost: (maybe $60 for Dremel kit and treatments)

2) Get 215 width 15 tires instead of 205. Cost: 0. Same price as new 205-65-15, I have to change mine anyways.

3) Mustang GT calipers + Hawk HPS brake pads.. cost $300 in parts only. This stuff is pretty expensive actually..

I did cost comparison.. if I figure out how to swap calipers myself, then going with this plan will be about $400 cheaper than buying 17 inch rims with the much more expensive tires that fit, and going with the 11.6 brake upgrade. Premium 215-60-15 tires can cost me $80 online. But a comparable 225-50-17 inch tires will cost me $130 a pop.. The rims I like (Rage A5 on discounttire.com) cost $115 a piece, these costs all add up to a rather nice figure..
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks a lot for everyone's input. Thinking over all the options again, I like Monsoon's idea. I like the idea of having oversized tires. If that improves ride and cabin noise, I think it's a good idea. I also always disliked how the g3 wheel wells are obviously oversized for the stock tire diameters. A set of compatible 16 inch rims is not too expensive in the end, and I might sell my 15s for whatever they sell to finance the purchase. It's the 17 and 18inch wheels and the tires they require that start being a little too expensive IMHO.



Probably my last question, any ideas whether 225-60R-16 or 215-65-16 will run better overall, with regards to ride quality, road noise, grip, and fuel economy?
 
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