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17's vs 18's Durability

DeepBlue

Ready to race!
Location
NYC
I know there is a lot of anecdotal info on this topic, but is there anything resembling a consensus in regards to which is more/less likely to be damaged after an encounter with some road imperfections?

I am located in NYC/NJ and we have more then our fair share of busted up roads. I've been riding stock 17's the entire time I've owned my GTI and in that time, I've bulged several tires, all DWS's and maybe slightly bent up a rim or two, which were fixable.

At this point, I am at a crossroads... sell or ride car into ground. If I chose the later, new tires would be needed very soon. That being the case, I figured I might be able to snag a new set of OEM 18's with tires for same price as a new set of tires from Tirerack. I would need to get new TPMS since my set is way old but that's just maintenance.

I always wanted a set of Detroits/Huffs... What do you guys think? 18's way more likely to get damaged vs 17's or about the same?
 
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3carmonte

Gelbrain
Location
Seminole, FL
Ride
2007 GTI DSG Coup
Here's what I have observed as a former New Yorker born and raised now retired in FL. There are advantages and disadvantages to both set-ups. The 17" rims take a 225/45 profile tire which have about a half inch taller sidewall than the 225/40 tire that goes on the 18" rims. This is all stock sizes we're talking here and does not represent every tire and wheel combination that dubbers have installed on their cars. Just saying. The low(er) profile 18"s are more prone to rim curb rash than the 17"s (NY has lots of curbs that thwart parallel parking as you know. NOT a problem here in FL). The lower profile 18"s DO NOT take potholes as well as the higher sidewall 17"s. Rim's have been broken on occasion. The ride on the 17"s is "softer" also because of this advantage. The 18"s "look cooler" and with tires like these: https://www.golfmkv.com/forums/index.php?threads/anyone-running-firestone-firehawk-500-tires-225-40-r18s.369976/unread corner like a roller coaster car. The 17"s are a close second here so... for the wrap, tires / wheels are a major component of our suspension. Everything the car can do is done through the tires. I once exploded a brand new Goodyear Eagle hitting a pothole on the George Washington bridge and had to empty a trunk full of luggage onto the roadway to get at the spare...in the Winter time (like now). That was back in the days of high profile tires when radials were first catching on in America (we were still riding on bias-belted tires when Europe had radials for over a decade already). Tires are way better today in every respect but personally, I believe the low profile 18"s are the Autobahn wheels where the 17"s are 'ment for around town. JMHO. - Good Luck and Happy New Year!
 

DeepBlue

Ready to race!
Location
NYC
All valid points.

Parallel parking is all I do anywhere I go in NYC, but I've been doing it since day one and honestly, there is no margin for error even with my current wheels. Any contact with a curb will leave a mark on the rim as the tires do no bulge out far enough to protect the wheel. I've been working around this limitation since day one and I do not contact the curbs at all when I parallel park. Amazingly, my stock 17's are in near perfect shape after 10 years or ownership, maybe a small nick here and there but nothing like the curb rash you see all over the place here.

Granted, 18's will be bumpier and not as comfortable as 17's, but that could be somewhat addressed by the tire choice. On the other hand, look and handling will be improved, and I may be actually be able to get a better deal on a set of take off 18" OEM rims with tires vs buying a new set of 17" tires for current rims. So overall cost is a factor as well.

My concern is that all things being as they are, am I more likely to suffer catastrophic damage to rims due to road imperfections with 18's vs 17's. I'm leaning towards a no, but that is just my opinion.
 

3carmonte

Gelbrain
Location
Seminole, FL
Ride
2007 GTI DSG Coup
It sounds like the 18" set-ups that you would like to get into are too good to pass up. You really can't go wrong. I love my 18"s, both look and feel although my "cookie cutters" have chips and abrasions from the previous owners that I have touched up with chrome paint. Priced a new set and those rims are $300 to $500 each. I know Tire Rack is a sponsor here and I have certainly spent money on tires with them over the years but this most recent purchase came right from a Firestone dealership because Tire Rack could not beat their price all-in. Trivia:
My dad taught me to parallel park. He drove a bread truck for 30 years in Queens and was one of the best drivers I have ever known. If a car could fit in a spot, he could "walk it in" no bumper touching and no curb rubbing in the process. It's a lost art. So many don't have a clue. What will you do with your 17"s if you make the swap?
Hufeisen_18_VW.jpg

These are my wheels (without the imperfections) I never knew these were Hufeisen aka "Huffs"
 
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DeepBlue

Ready to race!
Location
NYC
Ahh, I always wanted a set of these!

Mine came with Denvers which is a 17" version of these painted mate grey. Best tires I've had on the GTI were Michelin Pilot A/S 3's which are $700 for a set at TireRack right now. For that much, or even less actually, I'm pretty sure I can do wheels and tires installed. I haven't looked at any Firestones. Which ones do you have on now?

Contactless parking is indeed a lost art in these parts even with all the cameras and sensors, people still manage to smash into things. I don't have any of those on the GTI, small as it is, you would have to be blind to not be able to park it without contacting something.

Will likely keep 17's and maybe put on a set of used snow tires on it.
 

3carmonte

Gelbrain
Location
Seminole, FL
Ride
2007 GTI DSG Coup
I got these: https://www.tirerack.com/tires/tires.jsp?tireMake=Firestone&tireModel=Firehawk+Indy+500&partnum=24WR8FHI5XL&vehicleSearch=false&fromCompare1=yes
For $100 ea. with the fourth one free at the Firestone Garage. Mounting, balancing and TPMS batteries and schrader valves all four wheels" $50.00. Four wheel alignment, another $80.00.
Those Michelin Pilot A/S 3's are $739.96 a set for the 18"s and $607.96 for the 17's right now on TireRack.com. They don't have a good snow rating so... why not get performance Summer tires? I've never had good luck with Michelin's myself.
 

snobrdrdan

former GTI owner
I know you said you always wanted Huffs, but those are some heavy wheels (28-29lbs). And finding a set in clean/nice condition might be hard to do.
An alternative would be the MK6's Detroits...which are similar to the Huffs except they have black pockets instead of the dark gray found on the Huffs.

Alternatively, why not look for a set of take offs (with tires) from a MK7?
Those guys are letting those go for cheap (think ~$500/set with tires)...you'd just need to have TPM sensors swapped in though, since the MK7 doesn't use physical sensors in the wheels

But if you want comfort and better protection, 17's would be the way to go
 

DeepBlue

Ready to race!
Location
NYC
Detroits are a more likely bet since Huffs were offered on earlier models and are pretty scarce these days. One advantage of Huffs is that they usually are already equipped with TPMS given that they normally shipped with them.

I'm ok with either. Plus, you're quire right, lately I've expanded my search to pretty much any new set of tires in the right bolt patern. Hence, Mk7 take offs are fair game.

In my experience, Michelins are far more durable than anything else I've tried so far on GTI. Lost at least 2 Conti DWS's to bulges. Plus, they are pretty decent all weather tires. That is a pretty good deal. I'll have to check if something similar is available locally. Summer tires would be a bit of a stretch for NY though. Not really worried about snow, but rain is a concern.

Had no idea that one could update the batteries in TPMS's. Good to know!
 

3carmonte

Gelbrain
Location
Seminole, FL
Ride
2007 GTI DSG Coup
Re: "Not really worried about snow, but rain is a concern. " Have you read the reviews for the Firehawk's ? They are a terrific rain tire. We have to drive through Monsoons in the rainy season here in FL and I never would have considered them otherwise. Did you see the testimonial from @Latron about his Firehawks? The tread pattern works great dry or wet. I have no issues doing 70 on the highway in the rain. I have only hydroplaned once and it was the heaviest rain we had had in a while, but it was still vary manageable." The deep water channels are evident in the TireRack photo's of the tire. Link to quote: https://www.golfmkv.com/forums/index.php?threads/anyone-running-firestone-firehawk-500-tires-225-40-r18s.369976/#post-7369701
 

3carmonte

Gelbrain
Location
Seminole, FL
Ride
2007 GTI DSG Coup
I know you said you always wanted Huffs, but those are some heavy wheels (28-29lbs). And finding a set in clean/nice condition might be hard to do.
An alternative would be the MK6's Detroits...which are similar to the Huffs except they have black pockets instead of the dark gray found on the Huffs.

Alternatively, why not look for a set of take offs (with tires) from a MK7?
Those guys are letting those go for cheap (think ~$500/set with tires)...you'd just need to have TPM sensors swapped in though, since the MK7 doesn't use physical sensors in the wheels

But if you want comfort and better protection, 17's would be the way to go
I found these with charcoal pockets and reasonably priced too. https://www.wheelership.com/new-18-wheel-for-volkswagen-gti-golf-jetta-2005-2006-2007-2008-2009-2010-2011-2012-2013-rim-69822.html
 

DeepBlue

Ready to race!
Location
NYC
These are what I'm looking for. However, no tires. Adding cost of tires would put this purchase over $1k and thats a bit more than I would want to spend on a car thats worth about $3k tops.

I might just get something like this in 17" and be done with it.

 
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