Hyundai Sonata Hybrid - dealer says aftermarket wheels aren't allowed!

Discussion in 'General' started by Peter L, Jun 21, 2016.

  1. Peter L

    Peter L New Member

    In the past I have always minus sized the wheels on my VW diesels because it made sense to me to spend less in the long run on tires and get a softer ride and better mpgs. Anyway I bought a new 2016 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid (Limited) which comes with 17" wheels. The less fancy version of the hybrid comes with 16" wheels and is rated 1 mpg better. So I strolled up to the service guys and said I would like to switch to the 16" wheels. I was told that it is not advisable because it could damage the transmission and all the computer settings would be off. I was shocked. I was also told that the wheels on the hybrids are a different beast and contain magnets used in regenerative braking.

    Can anybody straighten me out on this? Can I really not change out my wheels either to the 16's on the lesser model or to aftermarket wheels?

    Thanks for any enlightenment.

    xcel and BillLin like this.
  2. 08EscapeHybrid

    08EscapeHybrid Moderator

    The regenerative braking is not done in the wheels itself. Maybe at the wheels if the HSH has electric motors at the wheels, but I doubt that. Regenerative braking is probably done by the transmission. Hybrids usually have special lightweight alloy wheels, so I do understand their hesitancy to switch though. In a Hybrid, it is always a best bet to stick with the stock wheels and tires. Even keeping the stock wheels, but switching to a different tire can have a negative impact on fuel economy.

    I'd keep it the way it is, but their reasoning for keeping it stock is crazy. The person who said that didn't understand how the car worked, but did know that switching the wheels and tires was generally a bad thing.
    xcel and BillLin like this.
  3. Peter L

    Peter L New Member

    In general I understand not changing out wheels on a hybrid but I cannot fathom why I could not use the stock 16" wheels from the base Sonata hybrid. Thoughts?

    PaleMelanesian, xcel and BillLin like this.
  4. PaleMelanesian

    PaleMelanesian Beat the System Staff Member


    The wheels and tires are just that, wheels and tires. On a hybrid they're likely to be lightweight wheels and low rolling resistance tires, but that's it. As long as the outside diameter is the same, it will not affect anything major on the car.
    SE: P205/65/R16
    LTD: P215/55/R17

    Sidewall height is 205*0.65 = 133.25
    divide by 25.4 to get inches = 5.246
    times 2 for top and bottom sidewall = 10.492
    plus 16 for the wheel = 26.492 inches

    Same math on the 17's = 26.311 inches, less than 1% different.

    They're both factory options, so they'll be fine. If your dealer won't do it, find another who will.
  5. BillLin

    BillLin PV solar, geothermal HVAC, hybrids and electrics

    Peter, try a different dealer and see if they have the same story. I would doubt it. Good luck.

    p.s. Welcome to CleanMPG!
  6. seftonm

    seftonm Veteran Staff Member

    Find a new dealer, I wouldn't want to service my car there if that is their level of knowledge.
  7. Jay

    Jay Well-Known Member

    I like the bigger wheels because they have less sidewall flex for better handling, they're lighter weight which reduces unsprung weight (again for better handling). They're usually wider, though, which increases rolling resistance and air resistance. The LTD is 60 lbs heavier than the SE which will also contribute to that 1mpg hit in FE.
    08EscapeHybrid, JonNC and xcel like this.
  8. PaleMelanesian

    PaleMelanesian Beat the System Staff Member

    The tires may be lighter, but the wheels are heavier. Plus, the mass of the rim is farther out, making rotational inertia worse. For our purposes here, smaller wheels with taller tires is almost always the better choice. Sidewall flex? pump up the pressure. ;)
    xcel, Prozac and seftonm like this.
  9. Prozac

    Prozac Well-Known Member

    Absolute hogwash and I agree with Mike, find a new service department. I hate when people spout "out-your-butt" facts!
    08EscapeHybrid and xcel like this.
  10. Airbalancer

    Airbalancer Well-Known Member

    Lol, cannot the change the rims
    Really every snombelt car needs black steel rims for their winter tires , that is the winter look :D

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