Many car owners are desperate to know if rim width is 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.
Table of Contents
How does the rim width matter for tires?
It’s evident that overall wheel size can positively and negatively affect your car’s performance.
In fact, choosing the right rim size and tire size is extremely important for your safety.
Lemme walk you through this problem by considering two crucial factors.
- Rim width vs tire width
- 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 in order to have properly mounted tires.
If you don’t understand, look at the image below.
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 wide: Having too narrow rims compared to tires makes it challenging to make fast cornerings as the tire sideways tends to distort unduly.
The tire is properly fitted to the rim: Here, there is no problem at all.
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 matter for tires in many different ways.
2. Does rim width affect tire diameter/height?
Now, 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, tire diameter, and aspect ratio do.
Suggested Reading: Why are rear wheels bigger than front wheels of cars?
Important things to keep in mind about tire sizes and the rim sizes.
But, before we get to dig into these two, let me explain how tires and wheels are measured in size.
Because tire sizing is a little bit confusing. Some numbers are metrics, some of them are standard, while others are aspect ratios.
Let’s consider a specific tire, “195/55 R 16 87W,” for instance.
- The first one is the tire width which is a three digit number (here 195) measured in milimeters.
- The next two digit number (here 55) which is reffering to the aspect ration which is represent in percentages. The aspect ratio is calculated by deviding the tire height off the tire width.
- The next two digit number (here 16) stands for the wheel diameter in inches.
The wheel width
The wheel width is measured from bead seat to bead seat. It’s not actually 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 actually 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 need to 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 that matches the wheel’s actual 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 have a better understanding of whether the rim width matters for tires. However, gotta keep in mind certain other essential things.
Other aspects: If you need to have a safely mounted tire to the wheel, then you gotta be aware of wheel backspacing, bolt pattern.
Too wide/Too narrow tires: Having too narrow tires, as shown in the ” Tire width vs. rim width” figure, can limit the grip, while having too wide tires can be a hindrance to suspension and may limit turning. Further, installing too wider tires increases the traction, which essentially makes it difficult to take sharp turns. Also, you may end up with having blowouts due to wheel tangential force.
Follow 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.
Speedometer and odometer errors: Mixing rim sizes and tire sizes may result in displaying wrong readings in your speedometer. So, you will have to re caliber those sensors.
Professionals help: If you’re unsure what to do, don’t hesitate to seek advice from professionals as it’s completely worth it rather than spending your money, time, and effort on unnecessary shiny things.
Taking measurements: Learn for yourself how to take these critical measurements yourself. Because at some point in your life, you will definitely need it.
Be patient: If you hurry and need to install a tire or rim immediately, but you don’t have the correct tire or rim, just be aware that DON’T install an inappropriate rim or tire, or you may end up with a disaster.
Suggested reading: Can you put a tubeless tire on a tube rim?
Most vehicle enthusiasts are curious 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 the rim sizes as it will be useful for you when buying a new tire or rim in the future, followed by important things you need to be aware of about rims and tires as a knowledgeable vehicle lover. Hope you found this helpful. Consider leaving a comment below if you got any questions regarding this article.