18 Vs 20 Inch Wheels Ride Quality: Know The Details 

How comfortable and smooth the riding experience one has mostly depends on the overall size of the wheels. A slight 1 – 2 inches difference can even change the entire ride quality. So, what are the differences between 18 vs 20 inch wheels ride quality?

  • One wheel is good for smooth and comfortable riding, whereas another one gives better control when cornering.
  • A large wheel can change the vehicle’s overall look, which is also a factor in this case.
  • There is a difference in engine performance and fuel efficiency.

These are just a few of the noticeable differentiator factors. To know all of them in detail, read the whole article.

Comparison chart of 18 vs 20 inch wheels

18 Vs 20 Inch Wheels Ride Quality

Before we give you a detailed comparison between 18 vs 20 inch wheels, here is a chart of those differentiator factors.

Factor18 inch wheel20 inch wheel
Smooth ridingMoreLess
Fuel efficiencyMoreLess
LookLess appealingMore appealing
Overall controlBasicBetter control
ComfortMoreLess on bumpy roads
Impact on engineLessMore

18 vs 20 inch wheels ride quality: Detailed Analysis

Now, it’s time to know in detail about all the differentiator factors between 18 vs 20 inch wheels, so you can compare them and choose the one that best fits your needs.


  • Wheel size has an impact on the overall riding experience.
  • Bigger wheel impact on wheel’s weight and fuel efficiency.

The 18″ and 20″ wheels may only differ by 2 inches, but those two inches considerably impact all other measurements.


  • Wheel weight is one of the essential factors in ride quality.
  • A massive wheel will certainly have more weight than a smaller wheel.

The 20-inch wheel is relatively heavier than the 18-inch one due to its size. The additional weight can impact the vehicle’s mileage and speed.


  • Wheel’s sidewall means the distance between the edge of your wheel and its tread.
  • The smaller wheels have a larger sidewall than bigger ones, which has an impact on ride comfort.

An 18-inch wheel has a broader sidewall, which typically offers better cushioning and shock absorption than a 20-inch wheel.

The increased sidewall can absorb more of the jolts and shocks from road irregularities, resulting in a smoother ride.

Smooth Riding

  • The quality of a wheel is best measured by how comfortable and smooth your ride will be with them.
  • A bigger wheel is a little bumpy, so a smaller one is preferred for a regular smooth ride.

From the chart, you can see that the 18-inch wheel gives smoother riding in comparison to the 20-inch wheel. Here the reason is that the large wheel makes the ride rougher.

Fuel efficiency

  • Each wheel has separate fuel usage based on overall size.
  • Larger wheels reduce the fuel economy for additional weight.

18-inch wheel is more fuel efficient than the 20-inch wheels since it has lower rolling resistance. Rolling resistance is the energy needed to move a wheel which causes more fuel consumption in bigger wheels as it has more weight in the vehicle.


  • Wheel size has a big impact on the looks of your vehicle.
  • A bigger wheel gives the vehicle a more appealing look.

Since the 20-inch wheel is larger than the 18-inch wheel, it will give your vehicle a more aggressive and sporty look. The 20-inch wheels also make the vehicle look more prominent on the road.

Overall control

  • Overall control indicates the average control of wheels in types of roads.
  • A larger wheel provides better control, especially when cornering.

The 20-inch wheel has better overall control than the 18-inch wheels. The larger size offers more grip and better handling, which is especially useful when cornering or taking sharp turns.


  • Wheels size affects how easily you can accelerate your vehicle.
  • A massive wheel can slow down acceleration due to additional weight.

The 18-inch wheel is more efficient in terms of acceleration than the 20-inch wheel because it has lower rolling resistance and less weight. The larger sidewall also helps with better transfer of power from the engine to the road surface.


  • Riding comfort and smoothness is quite relatable but not the same.
  • Smoothness indicates the smoothness of the ride, and comfort indicates ease in riding.

The 18-inch wheel is more comfortable than the 20-inch due to its bigger sidewall, which helps reduce shocks from the terrain underneath.

It provides a smoother journey on uneven roads as well. On the other hand, when facing obstacles like potholes and speed bumps, the 20-inch wheel can be less comfortable and make for a rough ride.

Impact on engine

  • Wheel size also impacts on engine, brake, and suspension.
  • When a comparatively large wheel is installed, the engine needs to work harder due to more rolling resistance.

The 20-inch wheel requires more power from the engine than the 18-inch one because of its greater mass and higher rolling resistance. This can lead to increased fuel consumption and decreased engine performance. It also affects vehicle braking, handling, and suspension as well.

Are 18 or 20 inch wheels better?

Although both the 18 and 20-inch wheels have some disparities, they are good regarding use cases and requirements.

For example, if you want your vehicle to run smoothly with average control and fuel efficiency is your main need, then an 18-inch tire set is recommended. Even if it is about choosing either 18 or 20-inch wheels for off-road, 18-inch wheels give more smooth riding.

But if you want to add a more appealing look to your vehicle and if you prefer more control over your vehicle, then a 20-inch wheelset is preferred. However, with a 20-inch wheel, you may compromise smooth riding on bumpy roads.

Can I replace 18-inch wheels with 20-inch?

Changing from 18″ to 20″ wheels may be possible depending on your vehicle’s build and model, compatibility, the wheel well’s depth, and other factors.

If you are thinking of replacing the wheel, consider that larger wheels reduce fuel efficiency, affect the quality of the ride, and increase the load on your engine, suspension, brakes, and tires. For these reasons, we generally do not recommend plus-sizing from 18- to 20-inch wheels.

If you decide to go ahead with replacing your 18-inch wheels with 20-inch ones anyway, use the correct size tires designed for these larger wheels to maintain an even contact patch between the tire tread and road surface.

It is also recommended that you maintain proper inflation levels, as this reduces rolling resistance, which can positively impact fuel economy.

Additionally, verify any modifications (including increasing wheel size) against the manufacturer’s recommended load limits. Otherwise, exceeding load limits could lead to catastrophic failure of components such as suspension or brake parts.

18 vs 20 inch wheels ride quality: Our recommendation

Both 18 and 20-inch wheels offer different advantages and disadvantages. The 18-inch wheel is ideal if you want a smooth ride, good fuel efficiency, and better control.

On the other hand, the 20-inch wheel is best for an aesthetically pleasing look and better grip on tight corners. It ultimately depends on your individual preferences and needs.

Always remember to verify any modifications (including increasing wheel size) against the manufacturer’s recommended load limits and properly inflate your tires to reduce rolling resistance. Doing so will ensure you and your passengers a safe and comfortable ride.

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


What is the advantage of 20 inch wheels over 18-inch wheels?

The main advantage of 20-inch wheels over 18-inch is that they provide better aesthetic looks and grip on tight corners.

They also have a higher load capacity, allowing for heavier cargo. Moreover, the 20-inch wheels allow for more customization options compared to 18-inch wheels.

Does wheel size affect ride quality?

Yes, wheel size greatly affects ride quality. Larger wheels are generally heavier, increasing rolling resistance and decreasing fuel efficiency.

This may also affect vehicle braking, handling, and suspension. Smaller wheels tend to provide a smoother ride because of their lighter weight and lower rolling resistance.

Do bigger wheels give a smoother ride?

No, bigger wheels do not necessarily provide a smoother ride. The heavier weight of larger wheels increases rolling resistance, which can lead to increased vibration and decreased fuel efficiency.

Smaller wheels tend to provide a smoother riding experience due to their lighter weight and lower rolling resistance.

What are the disadvantages of 20 inch rims over 18-inch rims?

The primary disadvantage of 20-inch rims is that they can increase the load on your engine, suspension, brakes, and tires.

They are also heavier than 18-inch rims and have increased rolling resistance, which reduces fuel efficiency.

Moreover, 20-inch rims may not fit in some vehicles due to wheel well depth. Also, you may experience a rougher ride due to the larger wheel size.

Do 20 inch wheels affect gas mileage more than 18-inch wheels?

Yes, 20 inch wheels can affect gas mileage. Larger wheels are typically heavier than smaller ones and have increased rolling resistance, which reduces fuel efficiency.

The decrease in fuel efficiency may not be noticeable with normal driving habits, but it is still present. So, if you are looking to maximize fuel efficiency, 18-inch wheels will generally do the job better than 20 inches.

Read More: Can You Use Wheel Spacers With Steel Wheels?


In conclusion, when it comes to 18 vs 20 inch wheel ride quality, both offer distinct advantages and drawbacks. The 18-inch wheel is better for a smooth ride, fuel efficiency, and control, while the 20-inch wheel offers more aesthetic appeal and grip. For more details, you may reach out to us.

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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