Before asking the question, "Can I use a larger tire size?", you should first ask yourself "Should I use a larger tire size?" Why is this important? While going to a larger size may give you that "big tire" look, changing your vehicle's tire size affects more than just cosmetics. Altering your vehicle's tire size can affect speedometer and odometer accuracy, handling, steering response and even safety issues such as tire load capacity. If done incorrectly, changing the tire size can decrease the safety of your car. If done properly, a larger tire size can be beneficial and even make your vehicle more fun to drive.
Can you use a larger tire size on your car or truck? Depending on your wheel size, vehicle clearance and some other factors, there's a good chance that the answer is "yes." Our experts have decades of fitment experience and can point you in the right direction for your specific car or truck.
Is wider better? Often times, it is. We have found that many vehicles can benefit from an increase in tire width. In the post, "Wider Tires on Your BMW 3 Series?", we discussed options for upgrading tires to a wider size on this popular sports sedan. Using a wider size on the same wheel while maintaining the same overall diameter is known in the tire industry as "plus zero" sizing. It results in a wider contact patch for better lateral grip and an improved cosmetic appearance. This type of change in tire size can also benefit trucks, SUVs and crossover vehicles.
What about going to a taller tire size? Increasing tire height can help to reduce unsightly fender well gap, increase ground clearance and in many cases it can result in a softer ride. While there are some exceptions, most passenger cars simply don't have enough clearance between fenders and suspension components to increase enough height to make a noticeable difference. Many trucks, SUVs and crossover vehicles, however, do have adequate clearance that allow for a taller tire size to be used.
How about using a tire that is taller and wider? Some full-sized trucks like the Ford F-150, Chevy Silverado and Dodge Ram can accommodate substantial tire size increases with both height and width. Let's look at an example of a popular increase in tire size with a top-rated On-/Off-Road All-Terrain tire. Check out the difference in size between 265/70R17 and the larger 285/70R17 size below.
The larger 285/70R17 tire in the photo above stands over an inch taller and is nearly an inch wider than the 265/70R17 size.
The larger 285/70R17 BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A KO2 tire in the photo stands over an inch taller and is nearly an inch wider in total than the exact same model of tire in size 265/70R17. The width of the tread is also a half-inch wider. Many late-model domestic trucks accept this difference in size. Keep in mind that there are some trade-offs, mostly involving fuel economy and a reduction in loose snow traction.