Can You Change Different Tire Sizes On The Same Rim?

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By Douglas Mercer

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There are many factors to consider for tire shopping, but the most important is the size which determines the fit with the existing rim. Can you put different size tires on the same rim? 

It is not straightforward to answer because the tire dimension depends on three factors: height, width, and diameter. If you share this same question, dive into those sections below to explore it.

Can You Put A Wider/Smaller Tire On The Same Rim?

Yes, you can change the tire width on the same rim, given that it fits your wheel. The new tire must have similar inner bead diameter, similar/narrower width, and identical aspect ratio with the old one. Otherwise, poor handling and safety and damaged parts will follow. 

Each vehicle features a certain wheel size that allows you to adjust the tire height and width to tailor your driving style or aesthetic. The key point here is that you know the essential measurements to determine the options within the allowable range.

Pros And Cons Of Wider Tire Size

Wider Tires

A wider tire not only gives a more edgy look but also offers a smoother ride with better handling, stability, and comfort. But it will cost more, deliver poorer fuel economy, and bring potential damage due to its heavy weight. 

Advantages

Tires are the only car part that comes directly with the road surface and contributes to body weight support. In addition, they help absorb shocks, control handling, and generate traction. 

Therefore, every change, no matter how small, improves or impairs the driving experience. When it comes to a wider tire, the benefits you can expect include:

  • Better appearance

A larger tire encroaches on the space between the well and the wheel hub. This design feels more elegant and luxurious – an upgrade in appearance without physically impacting the paintwork or paying too much for accessories. Some people also love the large size to increase the aggressive look of their car.

  • Added ground clearance

A larger clearance prevents rocks or other road objects from getting into the tires and causing punctures. That is why off-road tires are often large to conquer bumpy roads.

  • Increased performance

The higher the contact patch with the road, the better grip the tire offers. It is due to the increased treads and the large rubber compound. Cars achieve good traction control when braking, turning, or accelerating so they do not slip in unfavorable conditions.

This plus also has positive effects on handling. Thanks to lower rolling resistance, stability is increased, especially at high speeds. The larger cushion size absorbs more shock, thus leading to a comfortable ride.

Disadvantages

  • Higher price

Big tires usually cost you more. It is not surprising because production requires more rubber and more labor for these products. You may also have difficulty finding a specific size for your vehicle. Fewer manufacturers join the market with big-size tires.

  • Poor fuel efficiency

Larger tires usually weigh more, so they need more power to roll. It also strains the engine at start-up, and that’s not to mention the extra weight will put more pressure on the related components.

  • Potential damages

You usually only discover the inconvenience of changing tires when driving in extreme conditions. 

For example, a larger diameter-to-width ratio may interfere with the proper operation of the tachometer. This unit may get confusing signals due to familiarity with the original wheel setups, thus reporting the wrong speed range. 

You should also be prepared for damage to the anti-lock braking system and the car’s overall stability. Your vehicle stalls or picks up after acceleration due to improper configuration selection. 

Some owners go crazy for the large size without foreseeing the drawbacks, thus paying for  higher fuel consumption and excess friction between components such as tires and fenders.

What To Consider When Changing Tire Size On Same Rim

Changing Tire Size On Same Rim

Wheel Well Size

All wheels need enough space to turn, bounce when traveling over rough terrain, or turn around. This leads to the term “wheel well,” where these manipulations occur. 

Pay attention to this area when you intend to go up in size. Otherwise, the tires may be rubbing against other metal parts in the wheel or suspension. Friction interferes with its smooth operation and reduces safety features.

Desire Vehicle Performance

As noted above, larger tires increase handling and grip and affect fuel economy – your driving performance. Although the change can be as small as 1-2 inches, the aspect ratio increases/decreases by up to 5%, thus drastically affecting speed. 

That’s why we recommend remaining the aspect ratio when upsizing. The theory is extremely simple: when you change tires, you change the distance traveled per lap around the wheel.

On the downside, options like that usually make more noise. Remember that you always have to pay a price for any outstanding feature. It is worthwhile to consider both sides of the issue before deciding.

Acceptable Difference In Width

The difference in safety width should be within 3% of the OEM size on an unmodified model. For example, if your sidewall markings are 235/45 18, your best bet would be to increase it from 235mm to 242mm.  

Tire Width Chart For Each Rim Size

Rim WidthMin Tire WidthMax Tire Width
5’’155mm185mm
5.5’’165mm195mm
6’’175mm205mm
6.5’’185mm215mm
7’’195mm225mm
7.5’’205mm235mm
8’’215mm245mm
8.5’’225mm255mm
9’235mm265mm
9.5’’245mm275mm
10’’255mm285mm
10.5’’265mm295mm
11’’275mm305mm
11.5’’285mm315mm
12’’295mm325mm
12.5’’305mm335mm
13’’315mm345mm
13.5’’325mm355mm
14’’335mm365mm

Is Changing Tire Height (Aspect Ratio) Possible On The Same Rim?

Can You Put A Wider tire

Regarding the tire height, we mean the aspect ratio – the second number in the code on the sidewall. As mentioned, we don’t recommend changing the aspect ratio, but the decision is up to you. 

Some people consider taller tires to improve the look of their cars. This need means a lower side wall which isn’t ideal for off-roading. On the contract, higher sidewalls improve ride comfort, but the tires tend to collide with the wheels or fenders.

Either way, you can choose the height if the dimensions are within a safe range. Check your owner’s manual or get expert advice on what’s safe to do with your car model.

Never Change Tire Diameter (Wheel Size)

Any tweak in the tire diameter will never do you good. In other words, the last 2-digit number in the tire specifications, for example, “18” in “235/45 18,” must stay the same no matter what. Why is it mandatory?

Once you change the diameter, it is required for a new wheel. Otherwise, larger tires cannot fit into the rim and, therefore, cannot inflate properly.

In addition, an ill-fitted rim and layer combination is not designed for safe and long-term operation. Tires can slip off the rim even when you’ve only started a few miles. 

Even if you prepare a smaller tire, it’s still impossible. The steel cables of the internal structure are not stretched to their optimum level, so they do not provide the necessary support.

FAQs

Is It Fine To Have 2 Different Size Tires?

Absolutely, NO. Even if two options have close diameters, they only work fine in the short term. Over time, they mess up your car’s handling capability and stability and put you in danger.

What If You Put The Wrong Size Tire On A Car?

First and foremost, the instability increases as the center of gravity deviates from the optimal point. This condition then has negative influences on braking, rotation frequency, and overall safety.

Is It Better To Have Taller Or Wider Tires?

Wide tires work well on soft surfaces like sand due to the increased surface area to handle the heavy load capacity of your vehicle. Meanwhile, the taller ones are ideal for conquering rocky trails. Hard rubber compounds increase grip on such terrains.

Conclusion

Feel free to adjust the height and width of the tire but never do so with the diameter. Plus, consider the margin of safety and trade-offs for every aspect of the new tire. If you are unsure about overall performance and safety, it is best to consult experts.

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Douglas Mercer

Douglas Mercer

Automotive Service Manager

Douglas Mercer is an automotive service manager with 12-year experience at Stockton Wheel Service, Douglas excels in addressing intricate tire and wheel concerns as plating wheels, straightening bent wheels, widening stock wheels, and precisely correcting offset and back-spacing…

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