Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Clothes Maketh the Man, Rims and Tyres Maketh the Car

Haa! After years of being in denial, I finally gave in. I traded practicality for more style by upgrading my Ford Focus S2.0 with 18-inch rims and tyres.

My new 18-inch set won't give me better fuel economy. It won't enhance pick-up or acceleration. It won't even enhance ride comfort.

What it does is make my Ford Focus S2.0 look sportier and more stylish.

Really, it's amazing what low profile tyres and bigger rims can do for the looks of a car. I've seen old bangers like Volvo 240s, Datsun 120Ys and even the 1970s Mitsubishi Lancer appearing stylish and good looking simply because they have been equipped with nice large sport rims and low profile tyres.

Of course, it's not just about looks. There are some additional benefits that are quite important, especially for speedsters.

One of the benefits of large sport rims and low profile tyres is that a blowout at high speeds isn't likely to cause your car to flip because the drop from the rim to the road surface won't be substantial.

Yes, it has happened to me before. Apart from a terrible rattle and annoying sounds, my Focus managed to coast to a stop at a safe place by the side of the road, about 150 metres from the blowout point.

Also, low profile tyres tend to be firmer than high profile tyres (when properly inflated to optimal pressure). This means that handling at corners is improved because of lesser tyre-wall roll.

In addition, the 18-inch rims and tyres allow my Focus to accelerate more smoothly.

So, for as long as I'm able to, one of the things I'd do when I buy my next car would be to swap out the stock standard rims for nice large sport rims and low profile tyres.


  1. Hey, it looks nicer and that matters a lot to us petrolheads!

    Anyway, don't do this separuh jalan la. Lower it!!!!

  2. I've thought about lowering my Focus, oh, about 1,000 times. Each time I do, I come to the same conclusion - better not.

    You see, I used to own a lowered Waja. It looked really cool. It gave me a lot of satisfaction.

    It gave my wife and children a lot of headaches, because it bounced too much on the road - Malaysian roads are not that good.

    Also, the Waja's undercarriage would suffer going over humps or bumps.

    So, now, I'm determined not to lower my Focus. The ride comfort is just nice, though still rather hard compared to most other cars.

    And when my 2 kids and 2 puppies - all of whom are growing up fast and big - take a trip in my Focus, I don't fear humps or uneven roads. I just 'sapu' them all and continue to drive at high speed :)