2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8: Wheel Curbing Near Miss
June 09, 2012
That was way too close for comfort. I nearly curbed the right-front wheel on our 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8.
I made a quick U-turn to position our GC on the curb behind another for a quick kumbaya photo, but I misjudged the relative position of the curb and the protuberant 295/45R20 rubber -- an occupational hazard when one drives different cars regularly.
A sickening feeling washed over me as the steering wheel tugged ever-so-slighty, a sign that the big Pirelli had just grazed something.
The merest touch is more than enough to permanently wreck the appearance of a wheel if aluminum meets concrete. Had I just become "that guy?"
Expecting the worst, I hopped out to see a pristine wheel. Turns out the tire bead and wheel rim are deeply recessed relative to the sidewall, and the spokes do not protrude beyond the sidewall plane until they're several inches above the asphalt -- well above curb height, in other words.
And so I got away with it. There isn't even much in the way of a sidewall scuff, indicating that it truly was a light touch. A more solid impact may indeed have led to wheel damage.
Still, I can't help thinking that maybe Jeep engineers understand the value of sidewalls when it comes to protecting wheels and such. I think they're hard-wired to get that more than most.
Meanwhile, I've got to stay on my toes.
Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing @ 3,657 miles