Does Wheel Size Matter?

Does wheel size matter? When it comes to the wheels on your vehicle, it certainly does. While upgrading wheel size can improve the look and performance of your vehicle, adjusting your wheel size without taking certain details into account can cause your speedometer to function improperly, damage your vehicle, and put your safety at risk. 

When considering bigger wheels, it’s safe to fit a tire up to 20 millimeters wider than stock on the OEM rim. If you are looking to switch out your rims, the equation gets more complicated. Tire sizes are a combination of metric and percentage sizes, while wheels are sized in imperial measurements. Use the below formula to determine wheel height:

  • Convert a wheels size to millimeters: Multiply by 25.4
  • Calculate the sidewall height by multiplying tire width by height percentage
  • Add these numbers together to get your total height on your wheel and tire

To avoid a speedometer error, your new wheel should be within 3% of the original wheel height. If this standard is not met, the vehicle will travel farther before your wheel makes a full rotation, causing incorrect information to go to your computer. Without the correct information, your car may not respond well to warnings and emergencies. Not only will it confuse your speedometer, it can cause damage to your anti-lock braking system and stability system calibrations. 

One way to avoid these inaccuracies when adding a larger rim to your vehicle is to compensate with a reduced tire height. This is why most cars with larger rims have a thinner outside band of rubber than an average tire. Inversely, if your wheel is smaller than the original, consider compensating with a larger tire height. It is always a good idea to discuss these upgrades with a trusted mechanic before altering your wheels. 

You must also take safety into consideration when changing wheel size. The wider a tire is, the more grip your vehicle has on the road because it covers more surface. This gives your vehicle more to hang onto, improving handling and maneuverability. It is also important to note that tires with short sidewalls are stiffer and more susceptible to blowouts. You will also want to try and stick with the same brand when upgrading your tires. Different branded tire tread patterns can cause spin outs and loss of control.

To apply the above formula, it is important to know how to read tire size. We’ve got you covered. Click here to learn more. If you have additional questions about safely upgrading your vehicle’s wheel size, don’t hesitate to contact us.

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