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Here's the Weird, Practical Reason People Put Aftermarket Rims on Honda Odyssey Minivans

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author photo by Eric Brandt December 2017

There's a strange trend in third-generation Honda Odyssey minivans that you may not have noticed, since the Odyssey is not exactly a head-turning vehicle. It's weirdly common for Touring models of the 2005-2010 Odyssey to have either aftermarket wheels or wheels borrowed from a similarly-sized Acura of the same vintage like the MDX.

Why is this happening? Do the drivers of these Odysseys just want to add some flair to their minivans? That could be part of it -- but the main reason is a very weird "feature" on the top trim of the Odyssey in its third generation.

The Odyssey Touring came with a special kind of situation with its wheels and tires. It's called the Michelin PAX System, and it was a terrible idea. In Honda's words, regarding the PAX System: "You'll enjoy a great new level of confidence driving in an uncertain world. In the event of a puncture, you can still travel at 50 mph up to 125 miles. Its specially-designed larger wheel contains a flexible support ring and is anchored to a unique low-profile tire that even enhances handling." In other words, Touring models came with a very specific kind of run-flat tire. Unfortunately, Michelin PAX tires are only available through Honda dealers, and a set costs about $1,000.

So, why not just get different tires? Because the tire size is so weird that nobody else makes tires in this size at all. The official tire size is 235-710R460A. Tire sizes, in general, are already a little confusing, and I couldn't tell you what that mess of numbers means. But the wheel size is 17.5 inches. This is the only situation where I've ever heard of a car coming from the factory with a ".5" in the wheel size. This begs the question: What are you to do if you drive one of these vans and you need new tires? Assuming, of course, that you don't want to spend the $1,000 at the Honda dealer.

The best solution is to simply get a different set of wheels that accepts normal tires in a normal size -- which is why it's common for Odyssey drivers to get Acura wheels with the same bolt pattern and about the same overall size. In addition to the luxury of being able to buy tires, another added bonus is that if you opt for 17-in wheels, you get slightly better ride quality over the stock 17.5-in wheels, thanks to the extra meat on the tires.

The practice of swapping out wheels on these minivans is so common that odyclub.com (yes, there are Honda Odyssey forums) calls it "DePaxing" -- and it's one of the most popular topics on the site.

Unfortunately, it's not quite as simple as just taking off the old wheels and putting on the new ones: If you've ever installed a set of wheels that aren't the stock size on a car with a tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS), you know that it makes the TPMS freak out. Being the top trim for the Odyssey, the Touring models have TPMS -- and it really doesn't like it when you "DePax" your wheels improperly; you'll get a warning light every time you start the van. Since no other car in history has stock 17.5-in wheels, just about any wheels you choose to replace the stock ones are going to cause an issue for the TPMS, unless you take the extra necessary steps. The easy way is to just use the Acura TPMS with Acura wheels.

So, next time you see a third-gen Honda Odyssey Touring with Acura wheels or some sick aftermarket rims, you'll know the driver isn't just trying to look cool. They just want to be able to buy normal tires without spending a fortune.

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RELATED INVENTORY
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
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Used 2014 Honda Odyssey Touring
Used 2014 Honda Odyssey
$26,606
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
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Used 2015 Honda Odyssey EX-L
Used 2015 Honda Odyssey
$27,000
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
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Used 2016 Honda Odyssey EX-L
Used 2016 Honda Odyssey
$29,000
This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
Here's the Weird, Practical Reason People Put Aftermarket Rims on Honda Odyssey Minivans - Autotrader