17 or 18 inch wheels for 4×4: Which One Better for You?

Are you planning to purchase new wheels for your 4×4 but can’t determine between 17 or 18 inch wheels? Selecting the right wheel size between these two wheel sizes is always challenging for most 4×4 owners.

However, no worries, read this resourceful article to know details about the difference between 17 or 18 inch wheels for 4×4. Here in this article, we discussed the difference between the features of these two wheel sizes for you.

You will learn about the advantages and limitations and relevant frequently asked questions here. In addition, you will be able to choose the right wheel size for your 4×4 after reading through the full content. 

So, let’s quickly look at the following table to learn the differences between 17 and 18 inch wheels for 4×4.

Comparison table between 17 and 18 inch wheels for 4×4

17 or 18 inch wheels for 4×4
Features17’’ wheel18’’ wheel
Handling Better off-road handling  Great on & off-road handling
Wheel size17 inch 18 inch 
Sidewall Taller sidewall Stiffer sidewall 
TractionGood tractionGreat traction
Weight Light weight Slightly heavy 
BrakeSmall brakeLarger brake
Ride qualitySmooth ride Comparatively rough riding 
AccelerationNeed less effortNeed extra effort
Appearance AttractiveMore attractive 
Price Cheaper  Costly
Suitable forOff-road terrain On road and off-road terrain 

17 or 18 Inch Wheels for 4×4: Detail Differences discussion

17 and 18-inch wheels offer several differences between their features. The below-stated parts will give you detailed information about the dissimilarities between these two wheel sizes. 


The handling performance between 17 and 18 inch wheels slightly differs from each other. For example, a 17″ wheel faces difficulty in handling on paved surfaces because it has less tread than the bigger wheels.

On the contrary, an 18″ wheel is stiffer and comes with an increased tread that provides stability and superb handling against paved roads.

Wheel size

If you make a comparison between the size of these two wheels, you will see the visible difference between them. A 17″ wheel is one inch smaller in size than the 18″ wheels.

However, both wheel sizes are suitable for 4×4 and, of course, for paved and off-road surfaces. 


If you compare the sidewall height of these two wheels, there are visible dissimilarities between them. A 17-inch wheel comes with increased sidewall height than an 18-inch wheel.

In addition, a raised sidewall provides increased flex that ensures a smooth ride over challenging off-road obstacles.


In comparison to traction control, 17 and 18 inch wheels vary. An 18-inch wheel fits with wider tires, which means it has more thread in it.

As a result, an increased tread pattern on a tire ensures maximum traction control. On the contrary, 17″ wheels come in fewer tread patterns that, decrease their overall traction quality. 


You will find a noticeable difference in the weight between 17 and 18 inch wheels. 17″ wheels weigh around 25 lbs each that’s why they offer great fuel efficiency.

In contrast to that, 18″ wheels weigh about 29 lbs each and burn more fuel than 17″ wheels. So, for a greater fuel economy sticks to 17″wheels for your 4×4.


Larger wheels need larger brakes, while smaller wheels need smaller brakes. A 17-inch wheel needs comparatively smaller brakes for maximum grip control.

On the other hand, an 18-inch wheel requires larger brakes for excellent performance. However, keep in mind that a 10% increased wheel size will decrease 10% of the performance of your brakes.

Ride quality

The ride quality of 17 and 18 inch wheels varies based on their performance. The increased sidewall of a 17″ wheel lets you flex more to overcome challenging off-road obstacles.

It offers smooth ride quality for its users on off-road rides. Opposed to that, an 18″ wheel is stiffer, that’s why it can’t flex and the results in rough ride quality in off-road vehicles.


In contrast to acceleration, a 17″ wheel is always a smarter option than an 18″ wheel. We all know that smaller wheels provide greater acceleration than bigger wheels.

Your engine will need less effort to activate your vehicle that wears smaller wheels. On the other hand, your engine will need more effort to speed up your vehicle.


There is a clear difference in the look of 17″ and 18″ wheels. An 18-inch wheel has a more attractive appearance than a 17-inch wheel.

So, if you want a more appealing look, go for 18″ wheels for your vehicle. Otherwise, stick to less attractive 17″ wheels for a smooth ride.


There is a considerable difference in the price range between 17 and 18 inch wheels though both of them are designed for 4×4 and suitable for paved/ off-road surfaces.

For example, a 17″ wheel is cheaper but provides great overall performance for off-road driving. On the contrary, an 18″ wheel comes at a high price and offers excellent handling, stability, and traction.

Suitable for

A 17’’ wheel is suitable for off-road surfaces thanks to its extra sidewall flex. You can air down your tire if necessary to overcome challenging obstacles off-road.

On the other hand, an 18’’ wheel is stiffer and provides great performance on paved surfaces. So, choose your wheel size as per your requirements.

Advantages and limitation of these two wheels

17″ and 18″ wheels both have their own advantages and limitation as well in their overall performance. Let’s have a look at their advantages and limitations from the below-stated parts.

17″ wheels: 


  • A 17-inch wheel is cheaper.
  • Its extra sidewall offers increased flex for off-road surfaces.
  • It provides the best riding quality for a smooth ride.
  • It has more acceleration than the larger wheels.
  • Suitable for off-road vehicles.  


  • It may not offer great handling on paved roads.

18″ wheels:


  • A 18″ wheel features an appealing look.
  • It comes with great handling. 
  • It offers more traction and safety against paved surfaces.
  • It is designed for off-road vehicles. 
  • It provides better stability for your 4×4.


  • It is comparatively more expensive than the 17 ” wheel range.
Read More: 16 vs 18 inch Wheels Ride Quality – Which One Is Better?

Frequently Asked Questions:

Are 17 or 18-inch wheels better for off-road?

If you compare their off-road performance, 17″ wheels are way better for off-road driving. For example, 17″ wheels offer increased flex for off-road terrain.

On the other hand, 18″ wheels are stiffer, that’s why they may not be suitable for off-road vehicles. Make sure your wheel size is not more than ½ of your tire height.

Can you off-road with 18-inch wheels?

The short answer to this question is yes, you can go off-road with 18″ wheels. You can go for 18-inch wheels if you are ok with a little bit of rough riding experience. However, most off-road riders love them for their greater handling quality.

Can I replace 17-inch wheels with 18-inch?

Yes, you can replace your 17″ wheels with 18″ for your 4×4. To do that, you will need to get a smaller tire size for a perfect fit overall wheel diameter.

In addition, it will offer you a slightly different driving performance than 17-inch wheels, but that’s ok for most car owners.


Getting the right wheel size between 17 or 18 inch wheels is not easy, but it is not impossible either. We hope our well-researched in-depth article on 17 or 18 inch wheels for 4×4 is sufficient to solve your dilemma.

Both wheels come with great construction for providing overall great performance for their riders. However, 17″ and 18″ wheels have several noticeable differences in their features.

Which one is best between them always depends on the requirements of individual riders. The purpose of use also has a great impact when choosing your desired wheel size. 

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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