On your way to work one morning, as you step on the gas to make a green light, you spot a pothole big enough to swallow a Scion iQ — but too late to avoid it.
You cringe as you brace for the dreaded clunk! and accompanying jolt, hoping your tire survives the impact and spares you the replacement costs, because generally, the larger that tire is the more expensive it will be to replace.
The tire, though, may not be your biggest worry (or expense). If the wheel that the tire is mounted on is bent or otherwise damaged, replacing it could cost hundreds of dollars if it is the aluminum alloy type installed on a growing number of vehicles. Auto manufacturers have steadily increased the diameter of the wheels and tires on most vehicles during the last 15 years, so that now the standard size on a compact car is typically at least 15 inches. A 16-inch wheel is the smallest size available on midsize sedans, and many SUVs come with 17-inchers as the smallest available. Larger wheels and tires equal higher replacement costs, and alloy wheels boost the cost higher still — much higher in some cases.