Last year, we told you about our Silverado 3500 tow rig that literally ate tires (“100,000-Mile Semi Tires For Dualies” May, ’11). In order to solve our tire wear problem, we swapped out our factory 16-inch wheels for a set of Vision’s Heavy-Hauler 181-series 19.5-inch wheels and medium-duty truck tires. We’ve racked up nearly 20,000 miles on them towing an RV trailer between California and Nevada, and here’s what we’ve learned.
The Truth About 19.5-inch Wheels and Tires
Making the jump to 19.5-inch-diameter wheels and medium-duty truck tires is a big and costly step. But if your truck truly needs them, you’ll find yourself wishing you had done it sooner. We were amazed by how much more stable and sure-footed our truck became when we made the conversion.
Yes, the 19.5-inch tire and wheel package is heavier than the factory combo, but with that extra weight came strength our truck desperately needed. We didn’t experience a significant increase in tire shimmy, though we did notice the 19.5-inch tires were more prone to following grooves in the road. The extra mass also made it more difficult to accelerate and stop the truck, yet the reduced rolling resistance of the medium-duty tire package actually improved our over-the-road fuel economy slightly. Based on our current tire wear, we predict these tires will last at least 70,000 miles.
Fashion vs. Function
The 19.5-inch-diameter Vision wheels and tires look awesome—and no modification we’ve made to our dualie has gotten us as many compliments at the fuel stations we go to. That being said, if we had made this switch for purely cosmetic reasons—we would have been missing the point. Fitting 19.5-inch wheels to a daily driver that you haul nothing in but yourself is a mistake. The same high-strength tire sidewall that makes these medium-duty truck tires so good when they’re loaded down also makes them ride rougher than the factory 16-inch tires when the truck is empty. To really take advantage of what these tires and wheels can do, you want to fit them to a vehicle that weighs at least 9,000 pounds.
The Perfect Trailer Tire and Wheel
We also fit a matching set of 19.5-inch Vision wheels and tires to our 12,000-pound, 37-foot fifth-wheel travel trailer, and we can’t believe how much better the trailer tows with them! The squirm is gone, the rolling resistance has been reduced, and the 14-foot-tall trailer feels so much more stable. Even if you don’t run 19.5-inch wheels and tires on your truck—these make for a great trailer upgrade.
Vision 19.5-Inch Tire Specs:
Tire Type: Radial
Tire Size: LT225/70R19.5
Overall Diameter: 32.2 inches
Tread Construction: 4-ply steel
Sidewall Construction: 1-ply steel
Tire Ply Rating: 12-ply rating
Tread Depth: 16⁄32 inch
Overall Width: 9.5 inches
Approved Rim Width: 6.75 inches
Maximum Load (tire): 3,640 pounds
Maximum psi: 95
Load Range: F
Vision Wheel type: Heavy-Hauler 181
Wheel Construction: Cast-aluminum, with a machined and polished finish
Wheel Size: 19.5x6.75 inches
Bolt Pattern: 8-on-6 inch
Load Capacity: 4,300 pounds