Your 1-ton truck was made to work.
Made for hauling heavy loads across state lines.
Upgrading your truck is worth the cost, but only if it can help you work smarter.
If you’re thinking of stepping up to 19.5” wheels there are plenty of elements to consider.
In the following article, we’ve compiled the determining factors that will help make your decision easier.
We’ll look into the life of your tires, how to get the most out of your engine, if bigger tires are better for fuel economy, and what kind of extra equipment you might need. We’ll also see if it’s better towing capacity and why looks shouldn’t be your only factor.
Great Reasons to Buy 19.5” Wheels
The Longevity of Your Tire
The number one reason people make the switch to 19.5” wheels is because they’re running through rubber too quickly. They’re fed up with changing out their consumer grade tires every 40k miles.
The 19.5” tires are commercial grade and have a longer life than your stock 17” tires.
It’s difficult to put a number on how many more miles commercial grade tires will last because everyone uses their tires differently. One guy may run 100k miles a year hauling nothing. While you run 30k miles a year hauling 20k pounds everywhere you go. These two tires have very different lives.
Even though we can’t put a set mileage on these tires. We did get a quote from the owners of Northstar Wheels, “Making the switch to 19.5” wheels [from the stock 17s] will extend your tire’s life, typically 2 to 3 times what you’re getting now.” This means if your current tires last 40k miles, your new set would endure 80k to 120k miles. We’ve even seen commercial grade tires get up to 150k miles before tapping out.
When it comes to tire longevity, there is a decision you need to make:
Do you want the longest tire life possible or do you want a more comfortable ride out of your 19.5” tires?
If you’re looking for the longest life, choose a set of 265, H Load Rating tires at 6.75” wide. The Load Rating of a tire is related to the maximum weight the tire can hold. An H Load Rating (16-Ply) is the strongest rating that a 19.5” wheel can have.
All 19.5” tires have multiple steel bands going around the tire underneath the tread. Stronger steel bands equate to a higher load rating and heavier tires. With an H Load Rating your tires will be very strong, but also very stiff. This stiffness is why some people compare the comfortability of their ride to tires made of wood or metal rather than rubber and air. On top of that, many people don’t make the full use out of them. They tend to last so long that they start to dry rot before your maximum mileage is reached.
On the other hand, if you’re looking for a smooth ride while hauling across country, we recommend a set of 225, F Load Rating (12-Ply) tires at 6.00” wide. These tires are more comfortable and safer for the job. Comfortability can be a very important factor if you’re going to be hauling long distances consistently. An F Load Rating compresses easier under the weight of your haul which grips the road better. You’ll see the difference when you drive in the rain or snow.
Two things to keep in mind are that a wider wheel isn’t always better for you and that no matter which 19.5” wheel you choose, your tires are going to have a longer tire life than your consumer grade 17” tires do now.
Furthermore, the load ratings aren’t the only factors when it comes to how smooth your ride is. You need to consider which kind of tread you want to use. An aggressive tread is great if you’re frequently going off road, but it does have a higher rolling resistance and you’ll notice it when cruising. A straight tread like this is great for highway driving. It has much less rolling resistance and makes for an easier ride. For more on tire treads, check out Toyo Tire’s article.
Regardless of the tires you choose, your new steel or aluminum wheels will last the lifetime of your dually.
The Life of Your Engine
Whether it’s travelling with your trailer, camper, car hauler, or doing a hot shot across the country. If you plan on hauling long distances with your 1-ton truck, trading up to the 19.5” wheels is your best option because it allows for a taller tire.
Although a taller tire may have slower acceleration, it will save your engine in the long run by lowering your cruising (60+ mph) RPMs on the highway. Consider how often you’re accelerating on an on-ramp compared to the amount of time you’re travelling at your cruising speed. For most drivers, this would be a couple minutes of accelerating compared to several hours cruising.
When it comes to the life of your engine, according to PopularMechanics.com, “It's indisputable that high RPMs burn fuel faster and increase strain on components.” Think of the hardship your truck endures when your hauling at high RPMs. By choosing 19.5” wheels your cruising RPMs are down between the 1k and 1.5k mark. This causes considerably less stress on your engine, transmission, and pistons.
A lower RPM gives your truck a better fuel economy. Here’s the science from itstillruns.com, “Tire width has no effect on vehicle speed, but tire height does. Simple math dictates this fact; in order to cover the same amount of ground, a small tire must rotate more times than a larger tire. Because of this, the taller the tire, the faster it propels the vehicle, even as the vehicle's engine produces the same number of rotations per minute (RPM).… Because they cover more ground without the need to increase an engine's RPM, taller tires make for more miles per gallon on the highway. When traveling in town, however, smaller tires provide better fuel efficiency as they offer better acceleration.”
If you’re a long haul trucker doing hot shots, you'd be better off thinking about your cruising RPMs than your in-town acceleration. If you’re thinking about putting 19.5” wheels on your daily vehicle, you’ll be using more fuel, not less.
Choosing the right tire for your 19.5” wheels can make a whole lot of difference regarding your fuel as well. Find a set with low weight and low rolling resistance like these from Ironman. It has a closed shoulder side wall and plenty of straight tread to help you get the most out of your highway driving.
Why Not Just Jump Up to 22.5” Wheels?
This question comes up a lot.
We don’t recommend upsizing to 22.5” wheels on your 1-ton truck because you’ll run into compatibility issues.
One issue you’ll see is that with 22.5” wheels there is only one size tire that’ll fit an unlifted dually – the 255/70R22.5. This tire doesn’t have many tread options. So, you either pigeonhole yourself into getting the one tire or you’d have to lift your truck.
Lifting your dually can be more trouble than it’s worth though.
It’ll take 5 to 6 hours for a professional to get it done, cost an arm and a leg, and make your 1-ton truck less efficient for work. Keep in mind, you did get your rig so you could haul so don’t force your truck to carry that weight on stilts.
Another issue you’ll find is that with 22.5” wheels there is a different bolt pattern than the one that came stock on your truck. You’d need an adapter to convert your current 8 lug pattern to the 10 lug pattern that 22.5” wheels demand.
Adapters aren’t all bad, but they add an additional cost and another stress point into the equation from axle to tire. For every additional component you add to this equation, it’ll be harder to achieve balance correctly.
The balance of your truck is especially important on larger tires because the larger the circumference, the smaller your pivot point will be in comparison, and the more you’ll see the effects of this unbalanced equation. Symptoms can include a rougher ride, uneven pressure, and excessive heat which leads to an uneven tread wear on your tires.
The solution to all of this is to use Direct Bolt On wheels. With Direct Bolt On wheels, you won’t need a lift for your axle or an adapter. They are designed to have the same bolt pattern that your truck already has. Northstar Wheels are known for making all of their wheels Direct Bolt On and so is American Force. With Alcoa or Accuride., you’ll have to look specifically for their wheels that are labeled with Direct Bolt On to avoid needing an adapter.
Bottom line for why to buy 19.5” wheels
If your ultimate goal is to modify your 1-ton truck to work smarter, have a longer tire life, put less stress on your engine, and get a better fuel economy on the highway then upgrading to 19.5” wheels is a no brainer. You should definitely consider stepping up.
Not So Great Reasons to Buy 19.5” Wheels
Great for Towing
Your 1-ton truck can haul a lot of weight. There is a limit though. It’s called your GCWR – Gross Combined Weight Rating. This number is different for every truck and it’s not posted on your door jam’s sticker. Check your owner’s manual or Google for this spec.
Upsizing your wheels is not going to increase this number. Your hauling capacity will be the same amount as it was when you had your stock 17s.
A set of 19.5” wheels aren’t the solution to hauling more weight. If you’re looking for a greater towing capacity, you’ll have to trade in your 1-ton truck for a Medium Duty Truck.
What 19.5” wheels would allow you to do, is haul the entire amount that your axle can handle. Meaning that the weakest link of your hauling capacity isn’t your wheels anymore. It is now your axle.
For a quick 3-minute explanation on figuring out your Weight Capacities check out the YouTube video on the right.
The appeal of a set of 19.5” wheels is undeniable. That’s why so many advertisers slap on a big set of wheels before shooting a commercial. Cars.com put it this way, “Larger wheels give cars a more aggressive stance and greater stage presence, which is why automakers install king-size rims on concept cars. They look cool.”
Although they do look cool. We don’t recommend putting them on your daily vehicle. Your regional work truck doesn’t clock enough miles to see the benefits. Your choice to step up to 19.5” wheels should be because of the longevity of the tire, the longer life of your engine, and the better fuel economy at cruising speeds while hauling. It shouldn’t be just cause it looks good.
There are many great reasons to step up to 19.5” wheels on your 1-Ton Truck:
You’ll extend the life of your tires by 2 to 3 times what you’re currently getting
The lower RPMs are easier on your engine, transmission, and pistons
Better fuel economy when you’re hauling over 60 mph
There’s no need for extra equipment like lifts or adapters
If these are your reasons, it's far better to bite the bullet now and pay a little extra for a new set of 19.5” wheels & tires. It will save you time and money in the long run from the hassle of frequently purchasing new tires.
If you’re wanting 19.5” wheels because:
You want your in-town truck to look good
You think it’s your solution to towing more weight
Then it’s best to just stick with your stock 17” wheels.
Here’s a quote from Austin Sullivan, Co-Owner of BuyTruckWheels.com, “I don’t want to sell something to someone and they just get upset about it. So, I don’t mind telling them how it is or if a wheel/tire is not right for them.”