Wider Tires on Your BMW 3 Series

Friday, July 27, 2012 by Gary Stanley

While moderating the BMW forums, one of the most common questions I answer is in regards to upgrading tires to a larger size. Using a wider size on the same wheel while maintaining the same overall diameter is known in the tire industry as "plus zero" sizing. This is typically done to get a larger contact patch and for an improved cosmetic appearance.

Here is a list of common plus zero sizes on two popular generations of BMW 3 Series vehicles:

E36 (most 1992-1998 BMW 318i, 325i, 328i, 330i models):

  • If you have factory 16" wheels with the Original Equipment size of 205/55R16, you can install 225/50R16 tires with no problem. This is a very common upgrade and fits the wheels well. The plus size maintains the correct overall diameter and load requirements. With this change, you'll gain about an inch in tire width.

Below are two Firestone Firehawk Wide Oval Indy 500 tires. The tire on the left is a 205/55R16 and the one the right is size 225/50R16. 

E46 (most 1999-2005 BMW 323i, 325i, 328i, 330i models):

  • With the Original Equipment size of 205/55R16, you can use the plus size of 225/50R16.
  • Owners with the O.E. size of 225/45R17 you can plus size to either 235/40R17 or 235/45R17. With the 235/45R17 size, it's a fit in a vast majority of cases and typically only rubs on a lowered vehicle or a car with worn suspension components.
  • For the Original Equipment size of 225/40R18, the plus size of 235/40R18 will work. This is also a case where the plus size fits in the vast majority of cases and typically only rubs on a lowered vehicle or a car with worn suspension components.

For more information on this topic, read "Plus Size Wheels and Tires."

 

 

Comments on Wider Tires on Your BMW 3 Series

Monday, March 18, 2013 by Trevor G:
Hi Gary,
Thanks for taking my question again. Can you recommend a 'plus zero' size for 235/55R18? Thanks!
Tuesday, March 19, 2013 by Gary:
Trevor,

I can check on this for you. What is the year and model of vehicle in question?
Tuesday, March 19, 2013 by Trevor G:
Thanks for checking on this Gary. I have a 2009 Toyota RAV4 Limited V6 with both 17" and 18" alloys.
Is plus zero sizing my 18's overkill? I have decided on either the Pirelli Scorpion Zero Verde in 18", Michelin Latitude Tour HP and Yokohoma Geolander A/T-S on my stock 17" alloys, or Pirelli Scorpion Zero Asimmetrico (the Mercedes H-Speed rated version in plus zero 235/60R17). Thoughts?
Thursday, March 21, 2013 by Gary:
The only other 18" size we have fit on the 2009 Rav4 is 245/55R18 which is an uncommon size with very few choices.

I like the Pirelli Scorpion Verde quite a bit, very good choice!
Tuesday, September 24, 2013 by Tom:
I have a 93 bmw e36 325i. It is lowered 1" with Bilstein Sports/H&R> I have 225/45R17 all around. The rears have begun "chewing" the inside corners. Are these too wide?
Wednesday, September 25, 2013 by Gary:
Tom,

We have had no such problems with 225/45R17 on this car. You may want to have the camber setting of your alignment checked.
Wednesday, October 16, 2013 by Elier:
Hi, I have a 2002 BMW 330i with 18" wheels, 18x8.5 front and 18x9.0 back. What size tires are the best fit for my car if I want to both maintain performance and ride comfort, but most importantly I don't want them to rub!Thanks in advance
Friday, January 3, 2014 by gasper:
Can I install 225/45R17 on my 1999 BMW 318is?
Saturday, January 4, 2014 by Gary:
gasper,

Yes, we have used 225/45R17 on the 1999 BMW 318is with no problem.

http://www.tirerack.com/tires/index.jsp?affiliate=FH8
Sunday, January 5, 2014 by T.J.:
Hello Gary - This is interesting and helpful. I have a 2001 BMW 325xi that came with factory 16s. They came optional with a 17" wheel. I bought 17" wheels off of a 2003 BMX X5. What size tire would I need to keep factory diameter, or can I safely go bigger/wider?
Monday, January 6, 2014 by Gary:
T.J.

Unfortunately we do not have any experience or feedback from those installing an X5 wheel on the 325 so I am not sure what size to recommend. We would normally use size 225/45R17 on the aftermarket 17 inch wheels that we sell.
Thursday, February 13, 2014 by Major:
thanx for your information Gary, i have a bmw 318i which currently has size 195/65/R15 tires, what other sizes can you recommenced for plus zero sizing
Thursday, February 13, 2014 by Gary:
Major,

I can check on this for you. What year is your BMW 318i?
Saturday, April 12, 2014 by Daniel:
Greetings, I have a 1995 e36 325i 225-45-r17 front and 235-45-r17 back but I do not like what management feels heavy, slow and consumes a lot of fuel. Recommended me for better handling, and better fuel efficiency? Thank you.
Thursday, June 12, 2014 by Duckie:
Hey I really need some help, I've been researching forever! so I wanna get these rims with dimensions:
Front 18x8
Rear 18x9
Offset 35mm/span>
They're for my 2004 BMW 325i Sedan stock suspension
First I would like to know if they will even fit my car.
I have 205/55/R16 on now.
And most importantly what tires can I and am I going to have to get for them?
I wanna go as wide as I can on the rear. The front will depend on the rear. Also am thinking of getting wheel spacers if that would help...
Thursday, June 12, 2014 by Gary:
Duckie,

Based on the specs you provided, these wheels will fit your car with size 225/40R18 up front and 255/35R18 rear without the use of spacers.
Tuesday, June 17, 2014 by Jose Muniz :
I have a 2005 330ci 2 door convertible (e46)
I'm interested in putting set of wheels - 18x 8.5 front & 18x9.5 in rear . Not planning to lower car .
Will they fit without any rubbing issues & what size
Of tires can I purchase from you guys to make
OEM look ?
Tuesday, June 17, 2014 by Gary:
Jose,

Yes, as long as the wheel offsets are correct, you can use these size wheels. Suggested tire sizing would be 225/40R18 front and 255/35R18 rear.

http://www.tirerack.com/tires/index.jsp?affiliate=FH8
Tuesday, June 24, 2014 by Porter:
Gary, could you tell me if a certain wheel and tire will fit my 3 series?
Tuesday, June 24, 2014 by Gary:
Porter,

Yes, if this is a wheel that we sell, I can assist.
Friday, June 27, 2014 by doug:
will 205 65r16 fit okay on a bmw 325i 4dr sedan?
Monday, July 21, 2014 by James:
Gary, I'm hoping to fit 225/45 R17's up front and 245/45 R17's rear on my '97 328i with m sport package suspension.

The wheels are Staggered OEM contours which were originally on an E36 M3.

Will this set up fit?
Monday, July 21, 2014 by Gary:
Doug,

I can check on this for you. What year is your BMW 325i?
Monday, July 21, 2014 by Gary:
James,

245/45R17 is too tall for the rear, but you can use 245/40R17 with no problem.
Thursday, July 24, 2014 by Logan:
I have 2007 650 convertible 19inch factory wheels. What are the widest tires for staggered figment?
I have 1994 840 18 inch m parallel spoke staggered fitment 8 front 9.5 rear. What are the widest tires for this staggered fitment?
Thank you
Monday, July 28, 2014 by Gary:
Logan,

The largest we've tried on the 2007 650 is 255/40R19 front and 295/35R19 rear. For the 1994 840i, 245/40R18 and 275/35R18 are the largest we have tried.
Thursday, July 31, 2014 by Aki:
Hey Gary need ur help,
I have a F30 i.e 2012 bmw 328i sports pkg.
Tire size: 225/45/18.
One of my stock tire has a bubble on it and nearly 24000, so i thought i will replace all the 4 tires. I live in CA.
So i think summer tires should be good, as there no snow here.
I went to American tire company and they recommended Bridge-stone Drive Guard. But when i put those tires on my BMW, i don't get the handling or good traction, i feel like i am driving accord or corolla, no grip on the road. Could you please suggest me a good tire for my Car.
I checked out the Bridges tone 960a/s
and Michelin super sport, both don't come in my car recommended size 225/45/18.
-> So should i update my tires to 245/40/18 or suggest any size
-Would i loose warranty if i update to different tires?
- Would there be any impact in the the driving.

Please suggest me a good tire.
1.Handling
2. Road noise are my main concerns.

i am ok with 225 or 245 tire size.
thanks for your help.
Friday, August 1, 2014 by Gary:
Aki,

245/40R18 will fit with no problem. The Driveguard is an all season run flat tire that focuses more on a soft, quiet ride and long wear as opposed to summer tires that would have better handling and grip. Were you looking for run flat or non- run flat tires?
Wednesday, August 27, 2014 by Kevin :
We are wanting to upgrade my son's 1998 BMW 328is to 17 inch wheels. I think the m3s used a staggered wheel set up. I don't want to have to use spacers. How much offset and back spacing do I need to use if I use an aftermarket wheel?
Wednesday, August 27, 2014 by Gary:
Kevin,

There are too many variables to make a generalized statement on this one, however you can view the complete list of wheels that fit the vehicle in our wheel search database here :

http://www.tirerack.com/wheels/index.jsp?&affiliate=FH8
Tuesday, September 2, 2014 by Erik:
hi I have a 2001 330i sport. just came across a set of tires 225 55 17 will they fit my vehicle by chance? thanks ... -erik

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