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Discussion Starter #1
I am in the process of ordering some wheels from wheelsnext.com. They were unable to get the rims I wanted in the 18x7.5 dimension but instead are offering me 18x8.5 for the same price. They said it will still fit the same 235/55/R18 tire that I want.

In other threads I noticed that a few people have 18x8.5 wheels with apparently no rubbing, but just wanted to know if there are any major downsides to the 8.5 versus the 7.5 width?

How do they compare with ride, handling, etc.?
 

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I would imagine the handling would be improved (since it's wider) but I can't really comment on ride since I don't know stock rim size.

Would the wider rim/tire stick out of the wheel arches?
 

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you should be ok, merely because of the size tire you are running. 235/55 isn't that wide/tall....but please don't pull the trigger simply on my word...I've been burned in the past with wheel/tire sizes...


But really the important question - whats the offset?
 

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Look up the spec table for the particular tire model that you have in mind. I glanced at some, for your size, on Tirerack. Most give an allowable rim width of 6.5 to 8.5, with a 'measured' width of 7.5. Some were lower (6-8, around 7). Also look for a Tirerack tech note about the meaning of these terms.

Mounted on the widest allowable rim, the tire section width will be somewhat more than the nominal one.

What offset are you planning on using. You can't talk about the clearance of a particular rim width, without also considering the offset.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
The offset is +38.

The wheel is a Falken Hanabi 18x8.5 offset +38. The guy from wheelsnext said that the Element allows for an offset range of 35-42.

Wheelsnext also said that this configuration will not protrude from the wheel well. I'm just trying to figure out if I should trust 'em ;-) I looked around a bit on this forum and found that many are using 20x8.5 and they are even with the wheel well, so I think I'm OK.

Going for this (but my E is silver):
 

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At 235mm, your selected tire is (nominally) 9.25" wide. You can check the spec tables for the actual width, most likely given for tires mounted on 7.5" rims. Some spec tables also have a footnote saying how to adjust the width for rim size. I've seen numbers like .2" for .5" increase in rim, but that's for 70 profile tires.

Offset determines where the center line of the tire lies. Rim width has little effect on tire clearance, since it is always less than the tire width - except for this slight width change that I mentioned. But most clearance problems (especially with aggressive tread tires) have to do with the width of the tread, not the maximum width of the tire. It's the corner of the tread that most likely to hit something such as strut tower bell top, or the fender liner (when the wheel is turned). Lowering the offset moves the tire away from the car. This increases the distance from the strut tower, but may increase the likelihood of rubbing on the fender liner (larger turning circle for the front tire).

If you also lower the Element, then you can run into rubbing problems on the rim of the rear fender.
 
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