It's time to upgrade tires and wheels from factory stock and I am looking for pro's and con's for going with 15" or 17" wheels. Thanks for the input...
pro for the 15s, tires will be cheaper. and, imo, look better.
con for the 15s, have to be careful for what backspacing/offset so you can fit the calipers. some 15s (i think cragar soft8s are the example) fit reliably.
pro for the 17s, no fitting problems with the calipers.
con for the 17s, tires are more expensive.
depending on wheel maker some sizes (15 or 17) may not have the wheel look you want if aesthetics are a consideration.
First things first... make sure you measure and make sure that the rotor and caliper fit inside a 15 inch rim...
Then... REALLY do your research... I heard a ton of things about 15 inch tires being cheaper... but after three weeks of searching, i went with 16 inch Pro Comp Rims and a Mickey Thompson 285/75R.16... I spent about $200 less than what I found for 15 or 17 inch...
Not saying you will not find a good deal now, but when was doing my research, I found 16 inch rims and tires to be the best bang for the buck...
I got 15x8 Soft 8's with 4'' backspacing. They rubbed so I got a $20 grinder from Harbor Freight and went to town on the calipers. That was about 2000 miles ago and other then some surface rust at the grind points (been too busy to put a coating on yet) it's totally problem free. The best part is, I'v got all my stock wheels and tires ready to sell.
2008 Jeep JK X: auto trans, 3.73 gears, D44 rear, D30 front
Mods: 2'' Rusty's coil lift, Superchips 93 octane tune, Cobra 75 CB radio, 33'' Duratrac's, onboard air compressor
My Build Thread! ---> http://www.jeepforum.com/forum/f96/dronacs-build-thread-1104134/
35x12.5017 tires cost more than the tires and wheels combined for 15" wheels.
35x12.50R15s are nearly always load range C tires
35x12.50R17 tires are often ubber-stiff load range E tires designed for full size trucks that weigh 2-3x as much as a 2 door JK
The exception is that the Goodyear MTR w/Kevlar in a 35x12.50R17 appears to actually be made for our type application because they are load range C tires.
Finally, 35x12.50R15s are much lighter than 35x12.50R17s. So, they don't sap performance as much on road, and less stuff breaks offroad if you wheel hard.
So, save a ton of money that can be used on other upgrades, get a softer ride on road and offroad, get better performance and gas mileage from a lighter tire, have fewer breaks offroad with a lighter tire, and have a larger market for resale if you decide to sell your 35s on craigslist to a TJ, XJ, YJ, or some Toyota truck owner. (Because their rigs are even lighter than JKs, they really avoid stiff, heavy load range E tires.)
Unless you like a stiff/firm ride, 15s are the way to go--in my opinion.
I went with Duratrac 33x12.5r15 on MB 72 from discount tire direct. Tires are a lot cheaper than 16" or 17" and they're available in load range C. I weighted the original 18" Sahara wheel and tire and my new setup is actually 1lb lighter (69lb vs 70lb).
tire prices flucuate just like gas prices. fewer manufacturers are using 15 inch wheels on production trucks and SUV's . The price of 17 and 18 inch tires has dropped sugnificantly in the past 2 or 3 years and 15 inch tires have gotten more expensive. At some point, probably in the very near future, 15 inch tires will actually cost more than the same tire in a 17 inch, because of supply and demand offsets.
Also 17 inch wheels will probably allow your brakes to stay cooler.
2010 Rubicon, 4" lift, Currie control arms and trackbar, 37x12.5x17 Goodyear MT/R kevlar
I donít know that I would agree with the pricing argument.
Another factor in pricing has to do with the cost of manufacturing a 6 ply vs an 8 or 10 ply tire.
I would be skeptical of the claim that a load range C 35x12.50R15 would ever cost more than a load range E 35x12.50R17.
The market for the 17s in a 35" tire is pretty much limited to full size trucks and a relatively small number of JKs (as a % of the overall vehicle market). 15s are run on a significantly larger number of vehicles--imcluding nearly all the TJ, XJ, YJ, etc. on this forum in addition to the Toyotas, older full size trucks, etc.
I've been actively shopping for wheels and tires and I've come to a decision. I have a stock height 07 4 door, and I wanted 15" but with the issue of possibly having to grind the caliper I've decided on 16" wheels. I don't want to end up having issues down the line with rust.
Plus, tires for 16" wheels don't appear too much more expensive than 15". I'm looking at 265/75/16 to go with them. They seem to run close to the same price as 32" tires for 15" wheels. My 2 cents.