Tire Basics 101: Selecting Rubbers

For most people, the biggest improvement in performance can be achieved through a simple tire change. That being said here are a few tire basics for our scene.

OEM wheels with wider tires:

If this is the route you’re taking, you are somewhat limited in tire selection. Depending on the width of the wheel, you have a range of tire widths to choose from. The minimum would be the lowest width before you start stretching tire (more about this later). If possible we always recommend the maximum or as close to that in order to maximize tire patch and thus grip.

While that seems simple enough you have to take note of the changes you are making. Where in an ideal world you should be able to change the tire width and maintain the same sidewall, changes in width also affect the sidewall. This means a 55mm sidewall on a 195mm wide tire is not the same as a 55mm on a 205mm tire. If you don’t want to throw off your speedometer then you have to do some further calculations. Luckily there’s an app website for that:

http://tire-size-conversion.com/tire-size-calculator/

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Aftermarket wheels, larger but similar to OEM:

Lets start off with a basic setup with basic fitment. Meaning conservative drop and wheel specs allowing a proper square tire. Use the same method as above, but when using the tire size calculator make sure to account for the change in wheel diameter. This change will affect the tire size sidewall and width you’ll need as to not throw off your speedometer.

As long as your drop and wheel specs are conservative you should be able to fit meaty wide tires without much issue.

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Aftermarket wheels, aggressive fitment:

Depending on the kind of wheel fitment you choose you have a few options. If you plan on running a conservative drop you can usually get away with running a minimally wide tire size. If you want to run wider width tires with an aggressive drop then chances are you’ll have to adjust camber (preferably only about 3 degrees), roll/pull fenders, and possibly adjust coilovers setting. These are again case-by-case, and vary from car to car. If this is the gray area you want to be in we will have more articles/you can give us a call for help!

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Super Saiyin Stance, Make-it-fit wheels:

If this is the route you are taking then chances are that all convention and rules will be thrown out. While not recommended, you will probably be selecting tire widths bellow the minimum, this will stretch out the tire to slope the sidewall and give more clearance. Camber will be a game you play like a master and stiff coilovers or air will be your life. In cases like this theory is not enough, and fitment usually ends up being a trial and error process. Good Luck.

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