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Dodgerench, ASE Certified Technician
Category: Dodge
Satisfied Customers: 3407
Experience:  30+ years Dodge/Chrysler exp., ASE Master with L1 certification. Driveability/ combustion specialist
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2006 Dodge Ram 1500: 17 wheels and new tires..swap..service dept

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Just bought a used 2006 Dodge Ram 1500 (28K miles) that has 17" wheels and new tires on it. My wife loves the look of the bigger 20" wheels so we had the dealer agree to swap out the 17''s for 20''s. We have to set up an appointment with their service dept. Since I don''t know much about trucks I''m starting to wonder if this is OK to do. Is there any drastic downside to getting the 20" wheels/tires? I know I should expect lower mpg (though I''m not sure I understand why). Will the MPG be WAY lower or just 1-2 mpg. Should I be concerned about anything else?   Thanks, Mark
Customer welcome to Just Answer!.

Your wife is right... the 20 incher-ers do look great, but carry a few downsides...

You guessed there might be a slight decrease in mileage and it's probably going to be true. Wider tires that offer a greater treadpatch on the road surface will give the truck better dry-road traction but the friction it coincidentally creates will cost you a little bit in the MPG department. Keep 'em inflated to at least 35 psi to minimize hysteresis and to get the most miles out of them.

Tires can cost substantially more in the 20" size as compared to plain-jane units. You might want to check into replacement cost compared to the smaller size.

Snow or off-road traction will likely be inferior to the 17" tires in most cases. A wider tread patch spreads vehicle weight, preventing good compaction of snow or penetration to firmer mud in the case of 4-wheeling. The tread design on the 20" tires typically is much more car tread-like, with less depth or distance between tread blocks.

They look so good other people will want them, too! You'll need locking lug nuts without a doubt.

Your insurance may or may not cover the new wheels in the event of a curb shot or theft if the company isn't made aware of the parts swap. The original VIN will indicate steel 17" wheels and tires and they may balk at the cost of the larger units (substantially more). I'm sure it can be added into the policy, but will likely carry added cost.

There's a chance the base suspension may not be up to the larger and heavier tire/ wheel combination. It will drive fine, but certain road conditions such as bumps/ potholes/ washboard may be handled better with the exact springs and shocks specified for use with these wheels. I don't know for a fact that this is true or whether you'd notice the difference... but it might be.

If you decide to go with the bigger wheels, it's all good. Nothing good comes without a price (lol)! One thing that the dealer does need to do is to recalibrate the ABS to accept the new tire size. Otherwise your speedometer will be off by a bit, as well as the odometer readings.

Write back if you have any questions.

Congratulations on your new Ram!


Customer: replied 9 years ago.
Reply to Dodgerench's Post: Thanks for the reply.
I'm less worried about operating costs like the price of the tires and the MPG, etc. Like you said, everything comes with a price. Because of my lack of experience with trucks and 4x4's, I'm more concerned about wanting to make sure I don't make an expensive mistake. I'm just looking for reassurance that the 20" tire size isn't going to start a chain reaction of neccesary upgrades. We live in a quiet neighborhood and will probably never go off-road. Wife likes the 4x4 for the security it provides in snow and I just wanted a pick-up truck so I could stop borrowing from friends. we both like the look of the Dodge as it seems bigger and badder than most. Even though we don't really need it, we just like it!! Most likely the most demanding situation we'll put this truck in is a trip to Lowe's or Home Depot to carry home remodeling / landscaping type stuff.

So you think just changing to 20" size will not REQUIRE me to also change out anything else like shocks or springs or lift-kits...etc...?

I'll probably accept later today...Thanks for your help.

There shouldn't be any problems like that, Mark. I don't know of any different-offset hubs and for one wheel or the other, so you shouldn't have clearance problems. Turn the wheels lock-to-lock while turning to be sure nothing rubs, but I'd be surprised if it did. These are still Factory wheels.

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