Re: Tire diameter in relation to bearing failure
I would say that it isn't the size of the wheel specifically, but the increased rotating mass in combination with imperfect wheel/tire balancing that wears out the wheel bearings prematurely. The cheap factory tires GM uses (like the terrible Goodyear Eagle LS2 standard on my old Malibu V6 with 18s) tend to have bad production tolerances and lousy balance as a result. Harsher ride certainly doesn't help either.
It's also important to consider that some factory parts are simply substandard, like the ACDelco stabilizer links. If GM used a product as nice as the Moog links bought to I replace them on my old Malibu, they'd outlive the rest of the car.
Personally, when I look at cars, wheel size is an important factor. I'm glad my SS "only" has 19 inch wheels, versus the 20+ inch wheels that are "in style" on muscle cars. That makes them naturally lighter and allows a tire size that has better ride quality. I made sure my wife's Cruze didn't come with the 18 inch wheels on some variants and has more reasonable 17s.
I don't intend to ever own a car, truck, or suv with 20 inch wheels. Besides looking cartoonish in my opinion, they compromise ride, fuel economy, and contribute to suspension wear. Even acceleration is negatively impacted.
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2017 Chevy SS Sedan
6.2L LS3 V8/6-Speed Manual