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Why is a 19" car tire way more expensive than a 16" tire? If you compare a 225/45/19 with a 215/65/16 they are double the price even though they have the exact same outer diameter.

One possible answer is the smaller sidewalls need to be more stiff but a 225/55/17 is still more expensive than a 215/65/16. It would need marginally stiffer sidewalls and will almost require equal amount of material.

I was also wondering what advantage will a 19" tire offer as compared to a 16" tire? Given that they have an almost identical outer diameter they should wear out at the exact same rate. The only thing that comes to mind are better looks.

See the attached image for comparison of all three sizes Tire size comparison

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  • Welcome to Motor Vehicle Maintenance & Repair! – Cullub Aug 28 '18 at 3:25
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The economy of scale - the market for 16” tires is larger than that of 17” cf 18” cf 19”.

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  • Also some 16" or 17" tires can be more expensive than 19" if you need an uncommon size. – MadMarky Aug 28 '18 at 7:48
  • There's also the fact larger tires have become more popular of late ... I'd expect there's some price gouging going on with them due to it ... people want them, so the price goes up. Economy of scale still drives 16" tires to have lower prices because they are used more readily as OEMs from the factory. – Pᴀᴜʟsᴛᴇʀ2 Aug 28 '18 at 12:16
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As no one from the tire industry has given a valid reason why a tire with less material should cost more than one with less material one can assume it market is forces (i.e. people are willing to pay more for the a tire that goes on a 19” rim). If they can get more money for less material it makes sense. After all making money is why they went into business.

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While there is an element of truth in that pricing will be steered by demand, in reality it's all about structure, strength and reinforcing. The design and build of a lower profile tire requires significantly more strength in some areas, such as the side wall, as they don't have as much rubber (and pressurised air inside) to absorb impacts before the wheel is hit - so the reinforcing wire in the sidewall has to be significantly stiffer and stronger.

Consequently, cornering then can cause greater shear along the footprint in contact with the road, so that may also require extra lamination or reinforcing. The increased tread movement may also lead to greater temperatures, so different rubber compounds may be needed.

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