15 vs 17 Inch wheels – What Are The Differences

Wheels are the most important parts that keep our vehicle moving on the road. Choosing the best wheel size from the available options is not easy.

Do you need to choose the right wheel size for your vehicle from the 15 vs 17 inch wheels option? It can take a lot of time if you lack proper guidelines, so I have put this quick guide for your help. 

Both 15″ and 17″ wheels provide optimal performance for their users. They have some visible differences between them based on their structure, performance, appearance, benefits, and other features.

The following table will give you a quick guide to the possible differences between these two wheels. So, let’s land on the next parts to gather complete knowledge about the 15″ and 17″ wheels.

Comparison table of 15 vs 17 Inch wheels

15 vs 17 Inch wheels

Characteristics15 inch wheel17 inch wheel
Sidewall height6’’4.5’’
Weight Light-weight (12-22 pounds)Heavy (13.25-30 pounds)
Wheel size15 inch17 inch
Bolt pattern4 or 5 holes4, 5, 6, or 8 holes
Sidewall flexExtra sidewall flexStiffer sidewall
Wheel width6-6.5’’6-8’’
RideSmooth rideHarsh ride
HandlingPoor handlingGreat handling
Wheel offset30-50 millimeters35-65 millimeters
Performancegood performance great performance 
Noise QuieterNoisy
Clearance  Poor clearance Better clearance
Load index rating80-90 235
Load range CD,E
Price Budget friendlySlight Costly

Discussion on distinctive features of 15- vs. 17-inch wheels:

There are several differences between the 15″ and 17″ wheel’s features. You can choose the right wheel size by considering the following details about these features. You will be able to identify the best option for your vehicle after comparing these features side-by-side.

Sidewall height

A 15 inch wheel has a different sidewall height than a 17 inch wheel. For example, a 15 inch wheel features a 6″ sidewall height, while a 17-inch wheel comes with a 4.5″ sidewall height. The extra sidewall height offers 15 inch wheels more space between you and the road. 


Now let me talk about the material of the 15″ and 17″ wheels. A 15 inch wheel is constructed with alloy steel to offer maximum durability for its users. Similarly, a 17″ wheel is also constructed with alloy steel to provide maximum durability and long life.

Moreover, alloy materials make these two wheels strong enough to easily perform heavy-duty tasks.


Another distinctive feature of these two wheels is their weight. For example, a 15″ wheel comes with a lightweight feature and can weigh 12-22 pounds. On the contrary, a 17″ wheel has more weight and can be around 13.25-30 pounds.

As a result, this extra weight will impact your car’s overall performance and will burn more fuel to run than the smaller wheels.

Wheel size

There is a huge and crystal clear difference between the size of 15″ and 17″ wheels. A 15 inch wheel is literally 2 inches smaller than a 17” wheel.

Smaller wheels provide more sidewall flex than bigger wheels. Choose the right size wheel based on your vehicle and the requirements on which surfaces you will ride most.

Bolt pattern

If you compare the bolt pattern between these two wheels, there are some noticeable differences in their bolt pattern.

A 15 inch wheel comes with a bolt pattern of 

4 or 5 holes, while a 17 inch wheel comes with a 4,5,6, or 8 holes bolt pattern. I hope you can decide which bolt pattern will best fit your car without any difficulty. 

Sidewall flex

Small wheels offer increased sidewall height than larger wheels. If you look closely, you will see the difference between the sidewall height of these two wheels.

The increased sidewall height of a 15″ wheel provides extra flex on rocky or uneven roads to ensure safe travel for your car. On the other hand, a 17″ wheel comes with a stiffer sidewall that is perfect for off-roading vehicles. 

Wheel width

If you compare the wheel width of these two wheels side-by-side, there is a huge dissimilarity between them. A 15 inch wheel has a 6-6.5’’ wheel width that lets you install larger tires to improve handling and have a good hold onto.

On the other hand, a 17 inch wheel features 6-8″ width ranges to offer great handling, stability, and maneuverability against off-road terrain.


The backspace between these two wheels differs from each other. A 15″ wheel’s backspace can range from 5-5.92’’, while a 17 ” wheel’s backspace can come in 5.6-7’’. The difference between the backspacing of these two wheels has its own improved cornering ability.


Small wheels offer the smoothest ride because they have more shock-absorbing ability than the larger wheels. For example, a 15 inch wheel provides a more comfortable riding experience, while a 17 inch wheel will provide a comparatively harsh riding experience for its users.


A 15 inch wheel requires low-profile tires that come with poor handling ability against paved surfaces. It can easily wear and tear in challenging weather conditions as well. In comparison, a 17 inch wheel requires a higher profile tire than the smaller wheels.

As a result, its improved tread tire offers great handling on paved surfaces. It also ensures more durability in challenging weather conditions. 

Wheel offset

Extra wheel offset ensures great clearance for its users. Similarly, a 15 inch wheel features a wheel offset of 30 -50 millimeters that offers excellent clearance and saves your vehicle from scratches.

However, a 17″ wheel also comes with a great wheel offset of 35-65 millimeters to offer maximum clearance to avoid unwanted scratches on your vehicle. 


Bigger wheels feature overall optimal performance for your vehicle. A 15″ wheel offers a comfortable riding experience with maximum stability.

On the other hand, a 17 inch wheel provides great overall performance with its high-profile tires to overcome paved and challenging off-road obstacles. 


The noise level between 15 vs 17 inch wheels differs from each other. A 15 inch wheel comes with extra sidewall height than a 17 inch wheel. In addition, it enables you to air down to get maximum flex on uneven grounds.

Its soft rubber cushioning produces less noise, while a 17 inch wheel with a stiff tire produces louder noise on the road. 


There is a comparable difference between the clearance of 15″ vs 17″ wheels. Smaller wheels come with less width, so it offer poor clearance.

On the contrary, larger wheels come with increased wheel width, which provides great clearance and the safest cornering control for your vehicle.

Load index rating

If you compare the load index rating between 15 and 17 inch wheels, they come with the following load index ratings that is quite different from each other.

A 15 inch wheel features an 80-90 load index rating, while a 17 inch wheel comes with a 235 load index rating. As a result, a 15 inch wheel can carry lighter weight, while a 17 inch wheel has a heavier load-bearing capacity.

Load range

There is a huge difference in the load range between 15 and 17 inch wheels. 15″ wheels come with a load range of C, which means they are compatible with 6 ply tires.

In contrast, 17″ wheels come with a load range of D or E; in other words, they require tires with 8 or 10 ply tires. 


A 15 inch wheel is different from a 17 inch wheel based on its price as well. However, smaller wheels offer great overall performance but are cheaper than larger ones.

Furthermore, a 17 inch wheel is way more expensive than a 15 inch wheel.

Difference between 15 inch and 17 inch alloy wheels:

A 15 inch alloy wheel surely has some dissimilarities from a 17 inch alloy wheel between their features. Let’s find out what the differences are between these two wheels. 


A 17 inch alloy wheel is more aesthetically appealing than a 15 inch alloy wheel. So, choose wisely; go for 17 inch wheels if you are interested in an attractive appearance. 


These two wheels come with different ground clearance abilities. A 15 inch wheel requires low profile tires, which gives extra sidewall flex and poor grips on ground clearance. On the contrary, a 17 inch wheel comes with a stiffer tire that provides great grips for maximum ground clearance.


A 15 inch alloy wheel features poor handling than a 17 inch alloy wheel. Larger wheels with high profile tires come with more tread pattern that ensures great traction, handling, and grips than smaller alloy wheels.


If you love a comfortable ride, then 15 inch alloy wheels will suit your vehicle. They come with more shock absorbing ability because of their soft rubber cushioning tires. If you don’t bother about the comfort, then go for 17 inch alloy wheels. 

The pros of 15 vs 17 inch wheels:

Both 15″ and 17″ wheels feature their own advantages for their users. The following pros will help you decide the suitable wheel size between these two wheels. Let’s have a look for more clearance. 

Pros of 15 inch wheels:

  • Appealing appearance:

A 15 inch wheel has a more pleasant and appealing appearance than the smaller wheels. It gives your vehicle an attractive look that will soothe your eyes. 

  • Comfortable riding quality:

It requires extra cushioning rubber tires to absorb road shocks to ensure comfortable riding quality on off-road rides. 

  • Produces less noise:

A 15 inch wheel produces less noise on the road than a bigger wheel size. If you prefer a quieter vehicle, then it can be a smart investment for you. 

  • Budget-friendly price:

A 15 inch wheel is literally cheaper than larger wheel sizes. If you are up to getting a budget-friendly wheel, then choose a 15 inch wheel for your car. 

Pros of 17 inch wheels:

  • Aesthetically attractive appearance: 

Larger wheels come with an aesthetically attractive appearance than the smaller wheels. As a result, a 17 inch wheel will provide the more attractive appearance to your car that you desire.

  • Great handling:

A 17 inch wheel comes with a tread pattern that gives it improved grips, great handling, and stability against paved surfaces. 

  • Increased ground clearance:

Bigger wheels also feature increased ground clearance because of their comparatively extra wheel width. A 17 inch wheel also provides increased ground clearance for your car to offer maximum stability and safety. 

Frequently Asked Questions:

Can I Replace 15 Inch Wheels With 17 Inch?

The short answer is yes, and it depends on your desired wheel’s material. Suppose you want to replace the existing heavy 15 inch wheel with a 17 inch lightweight, high-performance wheel.

If you choose lighter wheels with great performance, you will see a change in fuel efficiency. In contrast to that, choosing a heavier 17 inch wheel than your present wheel will decrease your vehicle’s overall performance. 

How Is Ground Clearance Affected By 15″ Wheels With High Profile Tires Versus 17?

There is no exact answer to this question. It entirely depends on the tire you are choosing. If you go to a higher profile of your stock tire, it will increase the ground clearance.

On the other hand, if you choose a low profile tire for a 17 inch wheel to replace the stock 15″ wheel, it will decrease the ground clearance. It totally depends on what type of tire you are choosing.

What Is The Benefit Of Larger Alloy Wheels?

Larger alloy wheels offer great handling and stability for their users. It needs a thinner tire than the smaller ones. The stiff tire has less flex, which ensures increased grips and great handling than smaller wheels.


You have read through the whole article. I am certain you have all the information you need to know about 15 vs 17 inch wheels. Both of them offer their optimal performance according to their features. So, now it will be easy for you to decide the right wheel size for your car based on your needs as well as your test. 

I am an engineer and the chief editor of tireslover.com, I am a passionate blogger as well. I am the person who can ensure a perfect, informative, honest, and helpful, guide with 10 years of work experience with different varieties of tires.

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