Does Rim Width Matter For Tires? [Engineer’s Answer]

Does Rim Width Matter For Tires

Many car owners are desperate to know if rim width matters for tires. As an engineer, lemme help you out.

Rim width certainly matters for tires, especially for the tire width. Because choosing too narrow tires compared to the rim may cause air to escape near the tire beads. Choosing too wide tires increases the traction, making it difficult to take sharp turns, which may sometimes cause blowouts.

Although you can install rims of different widths, it will affect your vehicle in many ways. So, Keep reading to understand everything for the betterment of yourself and your car.

Rim Width vs. Tire Width

How does the rim width matter for tires? Overall, wheel size can positively and negatively affect your car’s performance. Choosing the right rim and tire size is extremely important for your safety.

Let me walk you through this problem by considering two crucial factors.

  1. Rim width vs. tire width
  2. Rim width vs. tire height/diameter.

1. Does rim width affect tire width?

The tires have flexible sidewalls, which allow them to be mounted on different rim widths.

After collecting years of data, the companies have identified appropriate tire widths for each rim width.

Therefore, the rim width definitely affects the tire width.

As I mentioned earlier, every chosen rim width has a range of tire widths that would work like a charm.

However, it’s vital to avoid choosing tires that are too narrow or too wide compared to the rim.

Because there are disadvantages at both ends, consider falling between those two extremes to have correctly mounted tires.

If you don’t understand, look at the image below.

Tire width vs rim width
Tire width vs. rim width

Look at those rounded points. The BLUE color circles represent the properly mounted tire to the rim, while those RED color circles represent improperly fitted points.

Let’s understand each instance.

The rim is too wide, the tire is too narrow: Unnecessarily wide tires that are larger than the size recommended by the manufacturer can cause air to escape. The unnecessarily wide rim of a typical car tends to give a slightly rougher ride as the tire sidewall is not curved enough to bend over potholes and bumps.

The rim is too narrow; the tire is too broad: Having too narrow rims compared to tires makes it challenging to make fast cornerings as the tire sideways distorts unduly.

The tire is fitted correctly to the rim: Here, there is no problem.

Use the table below to find the right tire width for your rim width.

(Here, rim width and diameter values are all in inches. Tire width values are all in millimeters.)

Important Disclaimer: This table should be only used as a reference. The sizes should be varified with manufactures/professionals. Although this table suggests values for optimal performance, this table is only for informative purposes only. Proceed at your own risk.

So, as we discussed so far, the rim width matters for tires in many ways.

2. Does rim width affect tire diameter/height?

Let’s see whether rim width matters for tire diameter/height.

Typically, the rim width doesn’t affect tire height. However, the tire sidewall height, diameter, and aspect ratio do.

Suggested Reading: Why are rear wheels bigger than the front wheels of cars?

Essential things to keep in mind about tire sizes and rim sizes

But, before we dig into these two, let me explain how tires and wheels are measured in size.

Because tire sizing is slightly confusing, some numbers are metrics, some are standard, and others are aspect ratios.

Let’s consider a specific tire, “195/55 R 16 87W,” for instance.

  1. The first is the tire width, a three-digit number (here 195) measured in millimeters.
  2. The next two-digit number (here 55) refers to the aspect ratio, represented in percentages. The aspect ratio is calculated by dividing the tire height by the width.
  3. The next two-digit number (here, 16) is the wheel diameter in inches.

The wheel width

The wheel width is measured from bead seat to bead seat. It’s not the wheel’s actual width.

Because the measurement from the bead seat to the outside of the wheel typically has around half an inch.

So, you need to be mindful as an 8 inches wide wheel is 9 inches wide.

The tire width

When it comes to the tire width, as I mentioned earlier, the tire width is measured in millimeters which represents the width from sidewall to sidewall.

However, you must understand that you cannot recognize a definite correlation between tire width and contact patch.

Typically, the Contact patch refers to the width of the tire that contacts the ground. So, understand that choosing a tire width matching the wheel’s width isn’t good.

By the way, here is why do modern tires not use inner tubes.

Things to be aware of

I guess you now better understand whether the rim width matters for tires. However, gotta keep in mind certain other essential things.

1. Other aspects

If you need to have a safely mounted tire to the wheel, you must be aware of wheel backspacing and bolt patterns.

2. Too wide/Too narrow tires

Having too few tires, as shown in the ” Tire width vs. rim width” figure, can limit the grip, while having too wide tires can hinder suspension and may limit turning. Further, installing too wider tires increases the traction, making it difficult to take sharp turns. Also, you may end up having blowouts due to wheel tangential force.

3. Follow the user manual

Please consider following the advice given in the user manual, as every single tire is designed to mount a particular rim width and size. So, it’s not wise to mix sizes and sizes.

4. Speedometer and odometer errors

Mixing rim sizes and tire sizes may display wrong readings in your speedometer. So, you will have to re-caliber those sensors.

5. Professionals help

If you’re unsure what to do, don’t hesitate to seek professional advice, as it’s completely worth it rather than spending your money, time, and effort on unnecessary shiny things.

6. Taking measurements

Learn for yourself how to take these critical measurements yourself. Because at some point in your life, you will need it.

7. Be patient

If you hurry and need to install a tire or rim immediately, but you don’t have the correct one, just be aware that DON’T install an inappropriate one, or you may end up with a disaster.

Suggested reading: Can you put a tubeless tire on a tube rim?


Most vehicle enthusiasts want to know if the rim width matters for tires.

Yes, it does, especially on the tire width. So, in this comprehensive guide, we’ve discussed this concern in detail with helpful graphics and tables.

Further, we’ve discussed essential things you need to keep in mind about tire sizes and rim sizes as it will be helpful for you when buying a new tire or rim in the future, followed by essential things you need to be aware of about rims and tires as a knowledgeable vehicle lover.

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