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I am in Ireland, so we use summer tyres all year and this is about the only set of rims to be used on the car.

I acquired a 2015 Citroen C3. It has 17 inch alloy rims. I never had alloys before.

Tyres are due for changing soon - and I found that new ones cost a fortune, with anything except admittedly-crappy (C/E rating) budget tyres costing over 100 Euro/piece fitted. Also, I am not a great driver and can sometimes clip a kerb etc - alloys are not easy to repair properly.

I'm thinking of getting a set of steel rims from a breaker. I can store the alloys securely, and when the time comes to sell the car on, I'll have a set of shiny unworn alloys. This was my own idea, but the men at the tyre shop think I should go for it. (I was clear I'm getting the rims from a breaker so this is not about the shop trying to sell me a set of rims).

So, questions:

  • Apart from the car looking less cool, what are the downsides of getting steel rims from a breaker and replacing the alloys with them? (I'm not really worried about trims, if the breaker does not have them I can get them from a cheapo shop). Should I expect the car to handle much worse? The steering is not very sharp as it is, just because it's a Citroen C3. I sometimes understeer a little, but am getting used to it. This being a 1.2L car, high speed energetic driving is not likely to happen (though it certainly can cruise at 120 kph on a motorway).

  • If I do that, should I go for 15 inch or 16 inch? The current tyres are 205/45R17; the tyres to use to keep the diameter more or less the same are 195/60R15 or 195/55R16. The R15 ones are cheaper, but would the handling be significantly better with R16?

  • I need to get bolts with them, as the bolts are different for alloys and steels, right? And are bolts specific to the model of the car?

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My car came with alloys for summer and steels for winter.

As long as you have the correct size and the correct wheelnuts then it will be fine.

One difference is price between 15 and 16, but also “compliance” with rough roads - also depends on the aspect ratio : a 40 is much “harder” than a 60. A 55 or 60 will likely feel softer than the 40 17 you have at the moment.

  • Thanks! Actually, I do feel quite hard on ramps and forest roads, despite the Citroen's famed soft suspension - now I understand why! Now to get the correct wheelnuts - and do I need to replace the bolts too? – Mikhail Ramendik Sep 22 at 0:18

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